15 February 2019 – Saint Andrew’s hosted a very successful 25th edition of the FNB Squash Festival over the weekend of 8-10 February, with the school’s first and second teams performing well against some of the top squash-playing schools from around South Africa.
The results were as follows:
Saint Andrew's 4-2 Saint Alban's College
Saint Andrew's 6-0 Saint Stithian's College
Saint Andrew's 4-2 Grey High School
Saint Andrew's 3-3 King Edward VII School
Saint Andrew's 0-6 Selborne College
Saint Andrew's 4-2 Queen's College
Saint Andrew's 6-0 Saint Andrew's College
Saint Andrew's 5-1 Parktown Boys' High
Saint Andrew's 0-6 Michaelhouse
Saint Andrew's 1-5 Westville Boys' High
The Deutschmann family influence
During the course of the Festival, tribute was paid to the Deutschmann family, who have been an integral part of Saint Andrew’s squash for many decades now.
All three brothers who attended Saint Andrew’s – Garrick, Calvin and Michael – were in attendance, along with their parents, Keith and Lorna. At the FNB Breakfast, always a highlight of the Festival, each member of the family was acknowledged and presented with gifts to thank them for a quarter-of-a-decade of impeccable service to squash at Saint Andrew’s.
The Deutschmann family: (back) Michael, Garrick and Calvin, (front) Lorna and Keith (Photo: Jason Knott, Saint Andrew's Photographic Club)
"I think it is well deserved, because it is a family that is synonymous with squash at this school and in this province, and even in the country, if you look at how far-reaching their contribution is," commented tournament organiser Margo Morgan this week.
"All three of the boys were there at the first one, in 1995, and now again this year. It was really special to have them there and I think it was long overdue to acknowledge their contribution publically."
On the playing front, Josh Deutschmann, the son of the eldest of the three brothers, Garrick, played at number one for the Saint Andrew’s 2nd team against other schools’ first teams.
"Josh did really well," Margo Morgan reckoned. "He coped really well as a grade eight playing number one in the second team. That effectively makes him number seven in the rankings. He fought very hard and he did well."
The FNB tagline has become a part of everyday life: "What can we do for you?" Well, 25 years of loyal support of a squash tournament, which has enabled it to become arguably the most prestigious schoolboys' event on the South African squash calendar, is a pretty good answer to that, and tribute was paid, too, to the bank and its support of Saint Andrew's and the FNB Squash Festival.
It is rare that one insitution backs an event for so long, so Saint Andrew's and squash have been very fortunate to receive the backing of FNB.
Depth of squash at Saint Andrew's
Reflecting on the ability of the Saints’ second team to compete with other schools’ first teams at the Festival, Margo said: "We've got some nice depth and we are very grateful for that. Depth doesn't happen overnight. It takes a long time to build depth. For the next two years, we have a good group, but the year after next we are going to lose a huge bunch of players because there is a very big nucleus of grade elevens playing squash. We're going to have to take our opportunity well in the next two years."
Running an eye over the results, she continued: "I think we are in a very good space. We beat Grey High (PE) for the first time in many years, which was a really nice win for us. The boys were ecstatic. It was very tight. It was a nail-biter and we won 4-2."
The depth of Saints' squash was to the fore in their draw against KES, who had won the Top Schools title in 2018, she added. "We drew that one, but, in games, we snuck in one extra game, so, technically, we edged in, but if you take it away from the Festival aspect, you have to win three out of five, so that meant we were down if we took it on that. The boys are right there. That's very manageable.
Dale Fletcher at the FNB Squash Festival (Photo: David Lombard, Saint Andrew's Photographic Club)
"Selborne are very strong. They have three SA Schools players in their team. They have the boy who is probably going to be number one in the under-19 age group this year. Their number two has just moved up to under-19. He was a very strong contender in the under-16s. And they've got a very strong player who was in under-14. He and Joe Meyer – Luke Jacoby is his name – have a very close match every time, and this time it was Luke that had the edge.
"That could go either way. Selborne has incredible depth, if you think that Luke is playing at number four, like Joe. We're pretty much in the same space. We didn't have a good match against them. They were definitely better on the day. Our boys were a little bit flat on the day."
Strong Saint Andrew's team
Based on her very deep knowledge of boys’ squash and on the teams she saw in action at the FNB Squash Festival, Margo believes the current Saint Andrew’s team belongs in the top five, possibly top three, teams in South Africa. Impressively, that has not been a rare occurrence under her leadership and that of Calvin Deutschmann.
Summing up the Festival, she said: "It was a brilliant weekend. Everything went well and somebody described it as a spectacular weekend. It was a real celebration.
"The support from all over was great. There were a lot of parents, including from visiting schools. You don't often get that in squash. Teams like Grey High and Selborne had a lot of parents watching.
"I think the support was good because all the top schools were playing, and the Festival is a prestigious event. I think a lot of squash parents are very passionate, not just in our province, so there is a lot of support for their children. That's really great to know. In terms of support for Saints, I was very grateful for the support we got from the school, the staff, the parents and the whole Saint Andrew's squash family. It's very evident on weekends like this. I realise how blessed we are because of that."
The Saint Andrew's 1st squash team, Deutschmann family and guests – Dale Fletcher, Paul Jooste, Lenny Kretzmann, Keanan Cantor, Michael Deutschmann, Garrick Deutschmann, Calvin Deutschmann, Kyle Kitching, Joe Meyer, (front) John Bridger, Colin Hickling Margo Morgan, Joseph Sehloho (Regional Manager, FNB), Chris Thomas, Lorna Deutschmann, Keith Deutschmann. (Photo: Jason Knott, Saint Andrew's Photographic Club).
On the horizon
There’s no rest awaiting for either Margo Morgan or Calvin Deutschmann in the wake of the FNB Squash Festival. They’re now preparing for the Bloemfontein Junior Open, which, according to Margo, is likely one of the five biggest junior squash events in the world! Taking place from 1-3 March, it requires every squash court of every club in Bloemfontein, plus private squash courts, to accommodate the field of approximately 525 players this year.
Past experience tells us Margo, Calvin and their committed, large group of helpers will make it a great success, as usual.