The annual Club tournament sees players compete for:
- The Drysdale Cup
- The Open Trophy
- The ‘A’ Handicap – The Wilding Cup
- The ‘B’ Handicap
- The ‘C’ Handicap – The Coaches Cup
- The Lowenthal Veterans Trophy
- The Herbert Squash Rackets Vintage Cup (Over 55)
- The Stainton Over 65s Cup
- The Edwardes-Berman Doubles Trophy
- The Handicap Doubles Trophy
- The Campion Cup
These are handed out at the annual Club Finals Night in March.
The cabinet standing inside the reception area of the squash courts holds memorabilia put together in the mid-1980s by Brian Phillips, who had rightly been regarded as something of an authority on squash since his playing days. He donated some of the material from his own collection and dragooned others into contributing objects.
Located in other areas of the Club are a number of other squash trophies which includes the Drysdale Cup housed in the rotunda, the Bath Club cup trophies (one for each of the three divisions), the Jesters tournament trophies and the Londonderry Cup. These are all competitions which the Club either administers or is involved with.
The Drysdale Cup
The winner of the Boys Under-19 competition at the British Junior Open Squash Championships (BJO) is awarded The Drysdale Cup, a magnificent-looking silver trophy of unique four-faceted design and standing well over a foot high. The Cup is named after Dr Theodore Drysdale, who could be said to be the grandfather of the BJO.
Drysdale was one of the early pioneers of the game and a member of the Royal Automobile Club, winning the Club’s first Open Championship, held in 1919/20. Drysdale was the first honorary secretary of the Tennis and Rackets Association’s Squash Rackets Representative Committee, the game’s first organising body, which went on to become the Squash Rackets Association (SRA), now England Squash.
In 1925 Drysdale suffered a mosquito bite which became infected and died of acute septicaemia within a fortnight. As a memorial, friends at the Club decided to pursue his vision and subscribed a substantial sum for the fine silver trophy. Named the Drysdale Cup, the new prize was to be competed for by boys aged Under-19. The inaugural competition took place at the Pall Mall Clubhouse in April 1926.
The Open Trophy
The prize for the winner of the Club’s Open competition is both handsome and sizeable. The current trophy is the second to have been played for after the first was presented to Amr Bey for him to keep in 1931 after he had won the Open three times in succession. The Club supplied a new trophy making two provisions; that the names of all the previous winners were engraved on it and that it was played for in perpetuity.
The ‘A’ Handicap – The Wilding Cup
The Wilding Cup is displayed in the rotunda and is presented annually to the winner of the A Handicap tournament. The trophy was donated by Henry Wilding, a member of the Club from the 1920s who continued playing regularly well past 75 years of age. He envisaged the trophy would be for veteran players over 50, though left it to the Committee to decide. At the time (in the mid-1940s) the A Handicap competition did not have a trophy hence the Committee decided to use Henry Wilding’s gift as the A Handicap trophy and it bears the names of the winners from 1946/7 onwards.
The ‘B’ Handicap
The B Handicap competition first took place in 1919/20 and the minutes from the squash committee explain that prize money was given to the winner rather than a trophy being presented. Sometime between March and May 1947 the ‘A’ Handicap Trophy, which had been lost and replaced by the Wilding Trophy, was found so the committee decided to make that the prize for the ‘B’ Handicap.
The Lowenthal Veterans Trophy
The Lowenthal Veterans Trophy, played for by competitors aged 45 and over, was presented in 1975 by Laurie Lowenthal, who joined the Club in 1947 and thereafter played twice weekly with Jack Giles for 25 years. Laurie explained that when he and his playing partner Jack reached the age of 45 they could not keep up with the younger players and felt they was still too good for those older than they were! He therefore thought it would be a nice thing to do to present a trophy for the over 45s. He went to Hatton Garden, paid around £100 for a trophy, had it engraved and presented it to the Club. Laurie never won the trophy – he was beaten three years running in a semi-final either by Toddy Berman or David Vaughan.
The Herbert Squash Rackets Vintage Cup (Over 55)
The Herbert Vintage Squash Rackets Cup is for players over 55 donated by G P Herbert. A slightly mysterious figure, Herbert said very little, paced around the changing room anxiously both before and after games, smoked a lot and was only seen in the squash area during the day.
The Stainton Over 65s Cup
First played for in 1994/95, the Stainton Over 65s Cup was presented by Neale Stainton, a much-loved figure around the squash courts, who felt there was a need for a competition for older members. A solicitor in the Post Office Solicitor’s Department in London, he used to be at the Club almost every day when he was working, often playing squash with Jack Giles.
The Edwardes-Berman Doubles Trophy
Two South African squash players, Michael Edwards and Toddy Berman, paired up and began playing doubles on a singles court at Pall Mall. They decided that they should start a doubles competition at the Club. Berman was tasked with sourcing the trophy which was made by Garrards. The Edwardes-Berman Doubles Trophy is an unusual design consisting of a solid wood rectangular plaque bearing a sculpture in silver of four players on its front and set on a wooden base. The annual doubles competition is open to all-comers and all ages. Sadly Michael Edwardes and Toddy Berman never won the competition.
The Canada Cup
The Canada Cup is a striking trophy, distinctive for having three handles. It is awarded to the member who, in the opinion of the professionals, has best demonstrated the spirit of Pall Mall and of squash in the previous year. It is the gift of Peter Wright, who was born in Toronto, came to Britain to work in London for nearly 13 years in the 1980s and 1990s and became a British citizen before returning to Canada. He presented the cup to the Club as a thank you for the wonderful memories he had of squash at the Club.
The Orriss-Courtney Cup
Back in 1926, the Club initiated a junior championship as a memorial to Club member, Dr Theodore Drysdale, and Club members subscribed to provide a substantial silver trophy for the event. This competition became known as ‘The Drysdale Cup’ and now forms the boys Under-19 event in the British Junior Open Squash Championships (BJO), one of the most prestigious tournaments in the world junior squash calendar. In 2018, the tournament organisers, England Squash, approached the Club to present a similar trophy for the girls Under-19 event. The Club was happy to comply, and since 2019 the girls in the BJO Under-19 event have competed for the new trophy, the Orriss-Courtney Cup named by the Club after two of its most distinguished members who have done a great deal for squash, both at the Club and in the administration of the wider game, Chris Orriss and Stuart Courtney.
The Campion Cup Ladies Championships
The Campion Cup is our newest event with 2019-20 being its inaugural year. Named after Women’s 60+ 2018 World Champion Jill Campion, it is to be held annually in conjunction with the Open Championships. Jill Campion is an incredible athlete having overcome injury and double hip replacements to become British National Champion, England captain and be named England Squash player of the year in 2014-15.