Friends Reunited

Alison Henley reports on how Simon Parke and Daryl Selby teamed up again at Chapel Allerton

Friends Reunited

Euro Club Champs 2009
Euro Club Champs 2009

2009Aberdeen win the European Club Championships….

Fast forward to 2013 and two of that winning team Yorkshire’s Simon Parke and Essex boy Daryl Selby have joined forces again under the colours of Leeds club  Chapel Allerton  in the Premier Squash League supported by Dunlop.

Daryl, the current world no. 11, explains…

“Simon phoned me and asked if I fancied joining up with him again to lead Chapel Allerton in the PSL. He then called me again, and again, and again until I signed! Seriously though, I was very excited by the thought of playing for Chapel. I knew the club from spending some time training there in the past, and was always impressed by the facilities not to mention the friendly nature of the members and staff, so it was an easy decision to make”.    Story: Selby signs for Chapel A

Daryl with a clyb memberStill based in Essex, Daryl admits that the long drive home can be tiring, but feels very much at home at his new club:

“Over the last 5 years or so I was playing in the League close to home in familiar in territory, and don’t get me wrong, I loved every minute of it, but felt I needed a change of scene. Since signing for Chapel, I feel refreshed, and that’s a good thing”.

When asked how he rates Simon as a manager, a grin spreads across Daryl’s face. “Let’s just say that it was a pleasant surprise to find him far more organised than when we turned out for Aberdeen! In all honesty though, I couldn’t ask for a better manager, and that goes for the rest of the team. The support and advice he gives us is amazing”.

And what does playing team squash, either for England or in the PSL mean to a player that spends 90% of his time on the individual pro circuit? “Everything! I have always had a strong team ethic, and am often at my best when playing for others”

Daryl feels that the PSL is an ideal arena for seasoned pros such as himself and Simon to pass on their knowledge and professional approach to the younger players such as those on Chapel’s books Chris Simpson, James Earles and Matt Sidaway . “It’s good to be involved with these exciting young players, watching them develop, and if they can pick up some good things from me and Simon, then that’s great.”

Chapel members

That MC looks familiarThe other half of the duo is Simon Parke, a former World No 3, with a range of prestigious squash titles to his name. Nominally team manager at Chapel, he is still, at 41 years of age, very much integral to the team as a player. He also wears several other hats doubling as transport coordinator, hotel booker, taxi driver, player coach and mentor!

If that wasn’t enough Simon is also match day MC, slipping effortlessly between suit and track suit. Might these many roles impact on him as a player? “Yes, it can bring extra pressure, but to be honest I thrive on it, both on and off the court. The support given to the team by the club is second to none.

Cath and SueCath, Claire and Sue for example help me look after so much – ticketing, hosting our sponsors and those of the visiting team, dealing with media enquiries, producing the programme, tweeting match updates and 100 other things! Our Squash and Racketball Chairman, Jeremy Whiting, deals with the PR side of things. He looks after our title sponsors Dave Jones and Tom Flannery from Reward Capital LLP. He seeks to maximise advertising and other sponsorship revenue, takes care of budgeting and all the financial stuff.”

Like Daryl, Simon thrives on team play “It’s always brought out the best in me, from starting out in junior county teams, right through to playing for England, and now in the PSL.

So what does the future hold for Simon? “Well, I want to keep playing to a high level as long as I can, both in the PSL and individual masters competitions such as the National Championships in February. I am also enjoying doing the odd spot of commentary work and may look to increase that in the future.

“I have a real passion for coaching, and as my professional playing time decreases I will look to develop players for the future, not only here at Chapel Allerton, but on a wider stage.”

Alison Henley