Squash pair claims national title

KATHY RUMLESKI -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 1:54 PM ET

More good things come from sitting around having a beer after a game than most realize. Another ringing endorsement for this Canadian social norm comes from Londoner Craig Hall.

Hall and partner Sandra Shaw, also of London, teamed to win the Canadian 50-plus mixed-doubles squash championship last weekend in Burlington.

Hall said the two were enjoying a beer after a squash match and decided they should form a partnership to play provincially and nationally.

"I had the opportunity to play with a wonderful partner. It was hard to turn down," he said.

Hall and Shaw, the unseeded Ontario champs, defeated the top-ranked team in the semifinal (3-1) and the No. 2 seed in the final (3-0).

"It was exciting. We trained all through the fall. We trained pretty hard through January and the first part of February to get ready for this event," Hall said.

Hall and Shaw went into the tournament with lots of experience.

Shaw has won the women's doubles national title and Hall has won provincial crowns in singles play and B doubles.

Hall's latest singles provincial championship came three years ago in the 50-plus division. He also won in 35-plus.

The closest he came to a Canadian crown prior to this year was a second-place finish in singles.

"I was always the bridesmaid, never the bride. So it's really nice to actually get a title."

Hall said he and Shaw will continue to train together and will defend their title at next year's national championship.

Hall, a kinesiology professor at Western, has been playing squash for 35 years.

He was an assistant squash coach in the 1970s and '80s under Jack Fairs, who guided the Western men's team to its 22nd straight provincial title this month.

"I still follow the team very closely," Hall said.

The national squash championships are held in different cities across Canada.

Hall said London doesn't have the facilities to hold a Canadian championship.

"We don't have enough courts, unfortunately. London only has one doubles court."


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