Alison Matthews

Welfare Officer

Why did you join the Berkshire Squash Committee?
Squash is in my blood – I am a massive fan. Having played all my life, I felt it was time to give back to a sport that has given me so much fun and reward. So, in 2021, when ex-chairman Sandy Burnett retired, I agreed to take over. My mission is to bring Berkshire squash back to the popularity levels not seen since the 80s. It’s a brilliant, healthy, social and entertaining game that will grow further given the right support and encouragement.

With the game in decline, and such fond memories from my Berkshire junior days, I felt the time was right to try and grow squash in the county. One of my first tasks was to agree our Mission, Purpose and Vision – please see the ‘Our Beliefs’ page for details. I hope that all Berkshire players can support the committee to achieve our vision and make squash in Berkshire great again.

Where and when did you start playing squash?
I started playing squash aged 6, at a 2 court squash club in Dursley, Gloucestershire. However, my love for the game started when we moved to Berkshire in 1982 and I joined Sindleshams. It was an amazing club, with 12 courts, and all the best players in Berkshire could be seen in battle.  

Who was your biggest influencer in the game?
My first real coach was Duncan Kemp and he managed to get me sponsorship and I owe him and John Barley (Sindleshams owner) a massive thank you, as this enabled me to get on court in all my spare time. Their support also enabled me to play for Berkshire at 3 junior age groups and culminated in me reaching number 1 in the under 19s.

What was your most important squash development?
As a 20 year old, to support my day job, I took my coaching exams and started coaching at Loddon Valley Leisure Centre, where I met some good friends and my future wife. Whilst I am no longer an active coach, I am always happy to help develop a player’s technique or game plan. Most importantly, all my personal and family successes stem from this decision.

What was your most significant squash event?
Sindleshams closure had a profound effect on me – it seemed like the end of an era! However, soon after, I moved to Oxfordshire, where I played some of my best squash and eventually managed to win the county closed, as well as the over 35s on more than one occasion. I also played for the Oxfordshire first team, over 35s, then over 45s for over 25 years and enjoyed some great times. We even managed to win the Nationals in the over 35s one year.

What are your proudest squash moments?
In 2009, upon reaching 40, I played the Masters over 40s circuit and finished 5th. My proudest squash moment soon followed in 2010, when I was called up to play for England at the Home Internationals in Edinburgh. I won all my matches 3/0 and we were crowned UK champions – a feat we managed to then repeat in Cardiff in 2011, where again I didn’t drop a game. Sadly, in 2012, we had some injury issues and some mixed results meant we finished runners up to Scotland. In 2013, I again finished the season in 5th place, but an injury meant I couldn’t play the Home Internationals in England, which was a shame as that would have completed the set.

What other squash successes have you had?
After Sindleshams closed, I took the first team to Wallingford and we won the Berkshire Premier division in 1998/99 and 2001/02. Many years later, playing 1 for Henley, we won the Berkshire Vets Division 1 in 2014/15 and 2015/16. I have also reached the Berkshire county doubles final on 6 occasions, winning it with Harry Carr in 2017 and 2018.

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