Forces Squash players stake claim for service team spot

A match against Shropshire Squash Club provided an opportunity for new and returning players to make an impression.

A number of new and returning squash players were given a chance to impress in Shrewsbury.

An Army fixture against Shropshire Squash club was treated as a trials day as all three services were on the hunt for new talent.

One new player was the RAF's Aircraftwoman Theresa Igweike.

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She only joined the Air Force in March 2020 and the first time she picked up a squash racket was in June 2021.

Just over three months later, she made her debut in a competitive match.

While she showed promise on the court, it was a losing start but plenty of positives to take.

She said: "It was good experience and I'm going to take away some things to work on and get better for next time."

"It was fun as well so that's always a good thing about it."

The Army coach, Tania Bailey, was full of praise for Igweike.

"Absolutely fantastic," she said. "Her attitude was perfect – (she) listened, learned and wanted to take on board everything that we said.

Watch: The latest episode of Forces Sport has Captain Kat Matthews as the guest – one of the military's leading female sports personalities.

"You could see as soon as we started talking about the game, she was all over it, listening in and focused on trying to help herself.

"I can see her improving really quickly."

Bailey is a key get for the Army as coach due to her past experience in the game.

She's represented England as a player on a number of occasions and in the prime of her playing career, she was ranked as the number four in the world.

That experience means she is the best person to rate the potential talent in the military of which she says there is plenty.

She said: "We're giving people the try that maybe haven't played squash before or have played a few years ago and they came back into the sport.

"We're trying to encourage more female participation with the hope that some of them will then step into the Army team and we'll have a bigger pool of people to select from.

"There's a lot of potential.

"Quite a few of the ladies, it's the first time I've seen them and there's some real quality.

"The enthusiasm and the passion for the sport will take them a long way and, obviously, their fitness levels are high, being in the Army, so they've got some real good potential."