THE celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of Kendal Squash Club began on style this week with a '1970s style' tournament.

Club members donned the fashion of that decade and played with old style wooden rackets, which are much smaller and lighter than the ones used today.

“They are a lot harder to use, you really need good technique to play with them,” rued the club captain after his first experience with the old equipment.

Another challenge for younger players was that the tournament used the traditional ‘hand out’ scoring where points can only be scored when serving.

This has largely been replaced internationally with American scoring which makes match times more predictable, a change brought about by pressure to make the game more suitable for televising.

Tournament winner was Mark Jackson beat who beat Steve Warner 2-1, with the plate winner Ben Cook who beat Ian Garnett 2-0.

Kendal Squash Club has its roots in the local community and began when a group of residents started playing in a converted ‘gas house’ in Staveley.

The court was unorthodox, being 6’2” too wide and 4’2” short of a standard length, with access via a hinged ladder. The court dimensions definitely provided an advantage in team matches and understandably the team won all its home games but lost all away matches.

Determined to improve the facilities, an energetic and determined group of founder members raised enough cash to buy part of the old Vaux Brewery site in the town centre, and a two court facility opened.

The only active club member who played at the old court, Tim Crake, recalled that: “The new facilities were so much better than the quirky old subterranean court.”

Squash was hugely popular at the time, and demand for membership outstripped supply, and a third, glass-backed court was eventually constructed.

And despite the recent decline in the sport's popularity, the Kendal club has continued to flourish and will be hosting more events to celebrate its half century including an exhibition match and an open day.

"The emphasis on keeping the facilities in tip-top condition means that we continue to offer some of the best courts in the county,” said Mr Crake.

For more information on membership and centenary events visit