The Saint Andrew’s 1st squash team departed for Pietermaritzburg on Thursday morning. They’ll be flying the flag of the Free State in the annual
Top Schools Tournament, which determines the top squash school in South Africa.
Saints heads into the event ranked third in South Africa behind only Selborne College and King Edward VII (KES). Earlier this year, at the FNB Squash Festival, Saint Andrew’s went down to Selborne and drew with KES. That was in February. How much might the results change in July?
Squash captain Kyle Kitching feels the Saints’ team is well prepared for the challenging weekend that lies ahead: “Everyone has done their bit in training.
We all played in inter-provincial tournaments during the holiday, and Lenny [Kretzmann] and I played in the Jarvis Cup [Men’s Inter-provincial} Tournament. We’re mentally prepared.”
Furthermore, he believes that the depth of the Saints’ team is the best it has been in a number of years. The addition of Paul Jooste to the side this year has been very positive, he said: “Since Paul came into the team, he has brought a lot of youthful energy to the side. He has made a difference.” Continuing, Kyle said the combination of coach Calvin Deutschmann and administrator Margo Morgan has been crucial to the success of Saint Andrew’s squash: “We’re so grateful for
Calvin, our coach, and for Miss Morgan. Having one of the best coaches in South Africa, if not the best, has a massive impact on us, because we learn a lot from him, not just as a coach but also as a person. He’s a really nice guy. Miss Morgan is like a mother to us.”
As a Saint Andrew’s Old Boy, he said Calvin also brings further valuable understanding to his knowledge of squash: “He knows what we’re going through. He’s been through it and he can guide us through things.
These guys want to be how he is.” Kyle is one of the most capped Saint Andrew’s 1st team squash players in the history of the school and, he revealed, he is hoping to reach 200 caps by the end of the year! “I have learnt a lot from these guys,” he said of his team-mates.
“They all have different characters, so you learn a lot. You see the different ways in which they play and you try to add things into your game.” In turn, he has tried to help the other members of the team develop: “I have tried to bring what I know and encourage the guys to learn things I have learnt, including using experience and one’s mind-set.
Being positive plays a big role. That’s something we have to focus on in order to improve.”
The Top Schools Tournament runs from Friday to Sunday and takes place at Epworth and Maritzburg College.
Pictured above: Paul Jooste, Lenny Kretzmann, Margo Morgan, Kyle Kitching, Dale Fletcher, Keanan Cantor and Joe Meyer