Three-time world squash champion Nick Matthew OBE has urged the people of the area to rally behind the newly-opened Scarborough Squash Academy.
Matthew was guest of honour as the world-class facility at Scarborough RUFC’s Silver Royd HQ was unveiled on Friday evening with over 100 in attendance.
The three-time World Open and British Open winner and Commonwealth Games gold medalist on three occasions was left impressed by the facility, which houses four state-of-the-art squash courts and a viewing area.
“It’s great to see there’s investment in the future of squash in Scarborough,” he told the Scarborough News.
“There’s no healthier sport in the world to play, it’s been voted that way over many years, and it challenges both the mind and body.
“I’ve known the McCabe family for a while now and they’ve supported me throughout my career and it’s great to see them giving back to the community by helping put this facility together.
“Ultimately I’d love to stay involved here in Scarborough and come back on a fairly regularly basis.”
The £1million academy, which also includes Hartley’s Cafe, was the brainchild of the McCabe and Guthrie families, with support from Scarborough RUFC and Scarborough Borough Council.
Sheffield United FC chairman Kevin McCabe said: “I’d hope Friday’s event has a big influence on the Scarborough community.”
“It’s a great sport that’s been lost in the town, we’ve almost lost a generation of squash players in Scarborough.
“It was planned that squash courts would be built at the new facility at the Leisure Village after the closure of the Filey Road Sports Centre.
“For whatever reason that didn’t come to fruition so we got our heads together and together with a number of people, we’ve ended up here with this superb facility.”
McCabe admits he’s excited for the future of squash in the area after all the hard work of bringing the state-of-the-art facilty to fruition.
“Someone of my age doesn’t get excited too often, but this is very exciting,” he added.
“We recognise that we have to make it work. This has been built for a purpose.
“We have an infastructure that is second-to-none and it’s now about managing it.
“We’ve got an enthusiastic committee who will be working hard to drive squash in Scarborough and the wider area.”
Those views were echoed by his son Scott, chairman of the Scarborough Squash Academy, who added: “Paul Walters from England Squash has said this is the best new facility he has seen for many years, which is great for Scarborough.
“We’d really like to bring big squash events to the Scarborough Squash Academy going forward.
“Whether that be Yorkshire Squash events, England Squash tournaments or even international tournaments or championships.
“These could draw people from all over the world, there’s nothing to say we couldn’t attract these events here.”
Links are already being formed with local schools to try and get more youngsters playing the sport and using the facility.
“While there’s a good hardcore of people playing squash in Scarborough, they tend to be of an older generation,” added Scott McCabe.
“It’s great to see so many kids up here doing coaching sessions and playing squash and we need to build on that now.”
The academy also impressed Paul Walters of England Squash, who said: “From an England Squash perspective, it’s fantastic to see a facility like this here in Scarborough.
“This is an international-class facility of a very, very high standard and I hope the people of Scarborough take advantage of it.
“So often you see squash facilities on the downward spiral - they’re cold, dark and not maintained, so they’re not awfully enticing.
“This is completely different - you walk in and it just hits you. It’s bright, vibrant and a superb facility.
“It’s an easy sport to play, and within 40 minutes you can have a great game of squash, a great work out and be done.”
You can find out more on how to play squash at the academy via their Facebook page @ScarboroughSquashAcademy or by phoning 01723 357740.