Wales are rekindling tales of Welsh Wizards, Welsh squash Warriors and Welsh dominance at British Super League level.
Wales will be back competing at the top level of World class professional league squash in 2018-19.
Leekes Welsh Wizards and Dunraven Maesteg are previous British League champions – and now Wales believe they are ready to compete again.
The World’s top three players Mohamed ElShorbagy, Ali Farag and Marwan ElShorbagy all played in the Premier Squash League last season – and now Wales are pushing hard on recruitment and throwing down the challenge.
👇 Great news… professional squash returning to Wales 👇 https://t.co/cL9owTFHo9
— Gwent Squash Rackets Association (@gwentsquash1) August 8, 2018
Surrey club St George’s Hill are the PSL champions with Egyptian World number one Mohamed ElShorbagy leading the charge. They defeated Pall Mall-based Tradition@RAC 3-2 in the final with 2017 Rhiwbina Open champion George Parker one of the winners for RAC.
Wales and Newcastle University are the new teams playing in the PSL during the coming season, which starts next month.
The 10 teams who competed last time are all back in and the competition is split into north and south divisions.
Squash Wales are in the South along with Bexley, Chichester, Coolhurst, St George’s Hill and RAC.
The north section comprises Elite Sport Bristol, University of Nottingham, Team Pontefract, University of Birmingham Lions, Warwick/Kenilworth and Newcastle University.
Each league match will feature five-player teams with four men and one lady, all playing the best of three.
Welsh champions Peter Creed and Tesni Evans, the Rhyl-based player who won the British title this year and earned a Commonwealth Games medal, have committed to the Squash Wales team.
They will be joined by more Welsh players, although Pembrokeshire’s Joel Makin has committed to Birmingham, plus at least one big name in World terms.
The opening PSL match for Squash Wales will be against London-based Coolshurst and Squash Wales High Performance coach David Evans said: “It’s superb to have top level squash back in Wales after being out of the league for so long.
“It will be a massive experience for our players to compete against other World ranked opponents in front of a vocal home crowd.”
Squash in Wales has been experiencing exciting times with the Rhiwbina Open attracting World-ranked players to Cardiff, while Bangor University hosted a major women’s open championship earlier this year.
Evans is now ranked at number 12 in the World and there is a major feelgood factor returning to squash in Wales.
Squash Wales director of coaching Mike Workman said: “After the success of our senior players at a series of prestigious international events, the time is right to expose a greater number of Welsh players to this higher playing standard.
“With the current resurgence in both playing and spectator participation, it is our job to generate increased publicity and coverage for Welsh squash – at home and further afield.”
World class squash was introduced to Wales in 1989 when Adrian Davies, a young and cocky professional squash player from Llanelli, had a vision of establishing a world-class team in South Wales.
Within two years the Leekes Welsh Wizards were regularly winning the UK premier league title.
The love affair between Gerald Leeke, owner of the business, and squash grew when he bought the British Open to Cardiff.
“We decided it would be good to bring the Open down from Wales to Wembley – it is like the Wimbledon of squash,” he said.
The Wizards era was followed by the rise of Maesteg, a four-court members venue in the Welsh valleys. They recruited a team, led by British Open champion David Palmer, who won the PSL title three times in four years.
Australian Palmer won the Open title, beating Maesteg team-mate John White in the final.
Now Squash Wales have taken up the challenge and there is massive excitement growing about the season ahead.
PSL fixtures (match nights subject to change):
Tuesday 25: Warwick/Kenilworth v Birmingham, Squash Wales v Coolhurst, Pontefract v Bristol, St George’s v RAC, Newcastle v Nottingham, Bexley v Chichester.
Tuesday 23: Bristol v Warwick/Kenilworth, RAC v Squash Wales, Nottingham v Pontefract, Chichester v St George’s, Birmingham v Newcastle, Coolhurst v Bexley.
Tuesday 6: Warwick/Kenilworth v Nottingham, Squash Wales v Chichester, Bristol v Birmingham, RAC v Coolhurst, Pontefract v Newcastle, St George’s v Bexley.
Tuesday 27: Warwick/Kenilworth v Pontefract, Squash Wales v St George’s, Bristol v Newcastle, RAC v Bexley, Birmingham v Nottingham, Coolhurst v Chichester.
Tuesday 4: Newcastle v Warwick/Kenilworth, Bexley v Squash Wales, Nottingham v Bristol, Chichester v RAC, Pontefract v Birmingham, St George’s v Coolhurst.
Second Half fixtures reversed, dates to be confirmed.