The University of Warwick enters team into the Premier Squash League
Manchester United, Saracens, Chelsea FC, Wasps, Tottenham Hotspur and…the University of Warwick. What do all of these fine institutions have in common?
Well, they are all premier league sports clubs, fielding world-class athletes who compete at the absolute pinnacle of their respective sports. Whether that sport be football, rugby or squash.
On June 30, the Premier Squash League (PSL) announced that two new teams would be joining the current league of 10 teams for the 2017/18 season. One of these new teams was the University of Warwick, in a joint venture with Kenilworth Squash Club.
Last season, players such as Nick Matthew (three-time world champion, current world no. 4), James Willstrop (former world no. 1, current world no. 7) and Ali Farag (current world no. 5) competed in the PSL. To be clear – this means that the Eden Hazard’s, Leigh Halfpenny’s and Andy Murray’s of squash will be competing both for and against Warwick University on a regular basis starting from October.
In other words, sport of the highest level will be available to watch, live, right on your doorstep this year. Crazy, right?
Head squash coach at the university, Steve Townsend, is immensely excited by the prospect of a professional squash team. Speaking to England Squash, he said he believes that PSL "is tremendously exciting for both the University of Warwick and Kenilworth Squash Club." Townsend, whose enthusiasm was evident, went on to state: "We hope it will attract elite squash playing students to our programme at Warwick…we can’t wait to get going."
Last season the PSL was won by MB Nottingham in a co-venture with Nottingham University that has clear parallels with Warwick’s new and hopefully prosperous arrangement.
This is not only extremely exciting for the squash club at Warwick, but sport at the university as a whole. Academically, Warwick is consistently ranked as one of the best universities in the country. However, despite a solid history in British Universities and Colleges Sport and whilst strides are being made in the right direction, there is still a significant gulf between Warwick and some of the other elite sporting universities in the UK. With the university now having a professional sports team with world-class athletes on their roster, this is positive for Warwick’s sporting image and performance sport as a whole for years to come.
As impressive a moment for the university’s sport structure - not to mention the squash team - as this is, it is an equally fantastic opportunity for students. If you’re a student at the university and want to come and watch some of the world’s best battle it out then like and follow WarwickSquash and WarwickSport on social media to keep up-to-date with all the latest information regarding fixtures, tickets and more about the PSL in the coming months.
Warwick Squash were also recently featured in our online ‘Why you should join’ series as one of the clubs on campus that are most appealing to join for freshers – and such a boost will only increase the popularity of the club and the enthusiasm of its members. Last year the men’s team finished 4th in the Midlands 1A division, and the club has won the University of Warwick Sports Club of the Year in previous years.
Warwick’s first fixture is due to take place on October 24, in a local derby at Birmingham, whilst their home bow is scheduled for November 7, against 2016-17 champions Nottingham.
Home fixtures will be held at Kenilworth Squash Club (a short bus journey away) before eventually moving to the brand spanking new on-campus Sports and Wellness Hub which is currently under construction. Unfortunately though, we don’t have a 76,000-seater stadium like Manchester United do, so you’ll have to snap up your tickets quick when the time comes.
Written by Liam Stafford, President of Warwick Squash club.