Squash, the social game

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Cliff Rawson’s love of squash has helped him travel the world and guide up-and-coming players.
The 72-year-old has been a member of the Timaru Squash Rackets Club since 1978 — one of the group’s longest-serving fellows.
Rawson took to the court once again recently when his club hosted the AD Long Cup competition for masters players.
At the event, he took on the club he was introduced to the game through — Fraser Park, based in Lower Hutt.
‘‘I’ve been playing squash for 49 years,’’ Rawson said.
‘‘Somebody convinced me, in Lower Hutt, that I should have a hit at the game.’’
At first, he found the game ‘‘extremely awkward’’ but once he found his feet, Rawson became ‘‘hooked’’.
He quickly became involved with the club’s committee, before moving to Greymouth and joining the region’s club in 1973.
He then moved to Timaru and said joining the Squash Rackets Club was a good way of meeting new people.
‘‘Joining a sports club is a brilliant way to make new friends.’’
Rawson said he enjoyed everything about the game of squash.
‘‘I also enjoy coaching people. There’s nothing I don’t enjoy about it [the game].’’
Beating players who were younger than him was always a bonus, he said.
After-match functions were a highlight too, with many friendships formed.
‘‘I’ve made a lot of friends with squash and travelled around New Zealand with it, including a trip to Hong Kong in 2014 to play in a masters tournament.
‘‘Altogether, there were 32 players and I got 11th.’’
He was also the coach at the New Zealand coaching school for top New Zealand junior players.
‘‘I spent a week in Wellington and a week at Lincoln in 1985.’’