Saudi EXTRAS #1                                                        Steve Cubbins @ Sunset Beach

01-Dec: In the Tent Tonight

Tonight's Opening Dinner should be quite something - it's to be held in a rather large marquee on the beach in front of the Sunset Beach restaurants and function rooms.

There will be a few attractions apparently, including Camel rides for those brave enough.

Hadi's Helicopter
With 64 players in the draw, accommodation at Sunset Beach is limited so the Golden Tulip Hotel is also being used this year.

"The hotel's only 7 minutes away from Sunset Beach," we were assured," and no traffic signals to go through either."

Excellent. Yes, we know that people often tend to underestimate timings like this, but even so, 10 minutes or so would be more than acceptable.

Except that Robert Edwards and I timed our first morning trip from Hotel to Venue, and it was 22 minutes, and traffic on the return trip made it a fair bit longer than that. Not such good news then.

Hadi Midri, who has been the master court builder here in Saudi since the year dot, didn't believe us. "No, 10, 11 minutes maximum," he claimed.

We challenged him to time himself on his next run, which he did, but his "10 or 11 minutes" wasn't convincing. "You'd need a helicopter to do it in that time," we joked, having had our timing confirmed on two more trips.

Still Hadi wouldn't have it, so on Tuesday morning he offered to take me there and back to prove it one way or the other.

Now Hadi drives fast, and he changes lanes like an Egyptian (he's Lebanese), so he would shave a minute or two off our time due to that, but nevertheless, I was able to get back to Robert's office and declare the result.

"24 minutes."

"So we were right," beamed the Voice of Squash.

"Not exactly," I replied. "24 minutes there and back."

Turns out that our driver was turning the wrong way out of the hotel, the wrong way out of Sunset Beach, taking us inland around two sides of a triangle through the centre of town, while the best route is a straight road down the coast with virtually no traffic or holdups.

You live and learn ...

No Sunsets yet ... but some nice night views ...

Black and White BALLS

Whenever there's a major tournament, PSA and Dunlop provide the official balls, and here in Saudi is no exception.

In the tournament office was a substantial box which, on inspection contained 16 boxes of balls - at a dozen per box that's 192 balls, more than enough for even a 64-draw event which will see 63 matches played and a lot of practice sessions.

Of course, some of the early rounds are on the traditional glassbacks (29 to be exact), so a mixture of Black and White balls are needed.

So we counted out the boxes ... 1 black, 1 white, 2 white, 3 white, 4 white, 5 white, 6 white ... where's the blacks ... 7 white, 8 white, 9 white ... ... we got to 14 white and finally ... 2 black.


24 black balls for 29 matches, 168 white balls for 34 matches. That's a bit of a problem ...

Fortunately riding to the rescue came our friends Samer Al-Khateeb of the Saudi Squash Federation, who had a supply of black balls he could bring down with him from Riyadh.

He duly arrived the next morning, with more black balls than you can shake a stick at ... problem solved, thanks Samer !

It's a hard life on the PSA Tour


powered by SquashSite

[HOME] [Today] [Info] [Draw] [History] [Gallery] [Players] [Extras]