The Novice league is organised by Ulster Squash to give those players who don't play in THE squash leagues a chance to play competitive games for a team. Aiming to keep these players interested in the game by providing a variety of opponents they normally wouldn't play and giving them an experience of what playing in a league is like.
QUB entered one mens and one ladies team.
The men's league was played at Ballyearl Sports Centre. The games were followed by a few drinks at the bar to wash down the food arranged by Ulster Squash.
The men's team consisted of:
The mens team played hard but unfortunately only Nick and Ciaran had anything to show for their efforts. Nick was probably the most exciting player to watch of the whole tournament with a LOT of extravagent diving for the ball.
Unfortunately the team missed the last week's match against Kiltonga and the prizegiving due to problems with transport. The winners of the tournament were University of Ulster.
The only other team that entered was Kiltonga, so they played each other twice - once at each venue (Kiltonga and Queen's PEC). In the first match, Zara was Queen's number 1, Muriel 2 and Claire played 3. None of the girls won their match, but Muriel's in particular was very close.
The second match, Louise filled in for the missing Zara. Again we didn't have any wins, but the games were close.
Despite lack of wins, the girls really enjoyed playing their matches and having a nice tea with the Kiltonga ones afterwards.
Last year the girls had to form a new team from scratch as all the previous year's members had all left uni. So after their break-in season just how did they do in the 3rd division?
"We came second last [ 6th ] this year which we were pretty pleased with. Thats an order of magnitude better than last year when we came last!!"
This year the intervarsities were held by the University College of Cork.
The Squash Intervarsities for those who don't know is an annual tournament competed in by many of the universities / colleges from all over Ireland. Suprisingly most players actually do manage to fit in the time to play squash after the socialising, the only question is, "Are they fit to play?"
In the men's section we were in a group of 3 with the top team going through to the semies. Against UCD(b) we lost 4-1, Cuan Boake getting the only win for Queen's and Ashley Peile going down in a 5 gamer which had 3 tie-breaks.
The second match was against University of Ulster (UU). There has traditionally been a huge (but friendly) rivalry between ourselves and the pol..., sorry, UU so we couldn't lose...Could we now? Cuan and Chris Doherty both won their games. While Ashley's opponent couldn't play because of some mystery illness (it wouldn't have been drink related surely?) so he had to play UU's no.1 girl, Big *cough* Jenny. Even though Ashley made it harder work than it really should have been, it still didn't last long enough for some of the spectators....
For the dinner we went to Jury's for the meal and dance. Unfortunately for Cuan his bottle of wine and harmonica playing just wasn't enough for the Norweigan from the College of Surgeons. After the disco, we all headed back to someones house for a few more, and stair trayboarding ....
The girls got through to the semi-finals only to be beaten by the eventual winners Trinity.
Semi finalists :- University College Cork and University College Dublin
Semi finalists :- Royal College of Surgeons Ireland and Queen's University Belfast