‘The Early Days’
It all started when I was five and I used to go to the Southgate Squash Club to watch my Mum, Dad and brother Steve playing. I loved watching so much that I wanted to join in, so things took off from there and I started playing regularly and really enjoyed it. Mum used to run the Saturday afternoon coaching sessions for juniors at Southgate, and Steve and I used to go every week. These were great fun and we did this for many years (Mum taking these sessions for about twelve years). Mum and Dad started taking me to some of the junior tournaments and when I was nine I won the Under 12 National Championships which was exciting. I was very small for my age and everyone used to say that the racket was bigger then me, and they were probably right.
I started going to regular sessions at the club with Paul where he had already built up a good stable of squash players including Tania Bailey, Stephanie Brind, Paul Johnson and Pete Barker who was also just starting, as well as others.
This was great for me as I used to hit with them, and watch them train and play. I would turn up for a session and Paul would throw me in at the deep end and say I was playing Tania today… this was nerve wracking for me, but it was also fantastic, and looking back I’m really glad Paul made me play them all as I could not have had better experience than that.
During this time a lot of weekends were spent travelling around England playing in junior tournaments, a massive thanks to Mum and Dad for that as I could not have done it without them. During my junior years, I was ranked in the top few in the country in all age groups and finished by winning the Under 19 Championships. I was also involved in the World Class Potential Programme and gained experience in national squads and trips abroad for tournaments.
We had a good group of players and I represented England many times, playing in the European Championships and winning the team event under 17 and 19 age groups. The highlight of juniorsdays, which I’m sure, the team would agree, was winning in the 2001 World Team Championships in Malaysia – Penang. The team consisted of Jenny Duncalf, Laura Lengthorn, myself, Tina Rix and Sarah Kippax. We beat Malaysia in the Final 2-1 with Laura coming from 2-0 and 7-2 down to win it 3-2. There was screaming and shouting, and many laughs and tears! - a great match and fantastic trip.
Top row, left to right: Laura Lengthorn, Jenny Duncalf, Sarah Kippax.
Bottom row is Annette Pilling (Coach), David Campion (caoch), Jahangir Khan, Alison Waters and Tina Rix.
Junior career ended on another high with winning the Under 19 Championship. This was a great end and a good start for my senior career. I turned Pro after I had finished my A levels and started to travel around the world competing in tournaments to build up my ranking.
Left to right are Tina Rix, Jenny Duncalf, Alison Waters and Laura Lengthorn
After turning professional I climbed the rankings and my break came in 2005 when I was a finalist at the British National Championships, being the first unseeded player in history to reach the final. This gave me confidence and I then went on to win my first WISPA tournament, winning the Southport Open in America the following month.
- Two years running voted ‘most improved player of the year’ 2004, 2005
- Women’s World Team championships.. Winners 2006
- Quarter Finalist Qatar, KL and the British Open 2006
- Semi Finalist Monte Carlo 2006
- European Team Winner 2005, 2007
- Quarter Finalist Qatar Classic, Hong Kong and Monte Carlo 2007
- Winner British National Championships 2008
- Representing England at the CommonWealth games 2006,2010 ( semi finalist 2010)
- Winning National Championships 2008,2010,2013
- Five WSA titles in 2012, after being out for 18 months with an Achilles injury
- Voted ‘Comeback player of the year 2012′
- European Championships team winner 2012
- 12 WSA titles (to date Feb 2013)