I’m very pleased to be back writing for the Yorkshire Evening Post after an enforced hiatus of a few months in which I gave every spare moment to finishing the writing of my book, Shot and a Ghost.
The book is made up of just over a year’s worth of diary entries which cover the details of my life as an elite sportsman.
Another reason for the hiatus has been the unrelenting PSA World tour schedule of late; since my last column in September we have played world series events in Manchester, Philadelphia, Doha, the World Open in Rotterdam, Hong Kong and just last week in Kuwait.
The last tournament before Christmas is in Delhi and begins on December 12.
Having the added pressure of publishing deadlines seemed to work wonders for my squash: happily I won the last two World Series events in Hong Kong and Kuwait back to back, beating Karim Darwish in both finals. Major tournament wins just don’t come along every day with the standard of world squash as it is (my last major title was almost two years ago in New York) so to win two in quick succession was marvellous. Above all it gives a sense of satisfaction which can be shared with all the people who contribute so considerably to my career and there are several people in this category.
These results have taken me to the number two position in the world rankings, where I sit behind Yorkshireman Nick Matthew, and what a perfect time it is to reflect, albeit not for too long, on the success of England’s, and even more notably, Yorkshire’s squash players. Harrogate-based Jenny Duncalf is the number two woman player in the world and so our county can claim to be the prominent hotbed in world squash.
After the exertions of the past few weeks it is time to head back to Leeds to recover before the final flourish in India.
There are some exciting times in store over the next few months; the World Series Finals (where the top eight world series points earners play off in groups) are to be staged at the Queens Club in London from January 4-8.
Sky Sports are covering the semis and finals live, the first live transmission that squash has received for a couple of years which is a direct reflection of the vastly improved internet streaming coverage that has been recently developed by producers Perform and the PSA.