We have a very long season....
As you know, I'm not only running the Squash Section at Wadi
Degla, but the whole Sports Department, with 20 sports!
But of course, squash is my baby, and I'm very proud that my
team again won the National Leagues, our 5 titles in a row....
Like I said we had a long squash season, 15 or so local
tournaments all over Egypt, and I'm so proud of my coaching
team, Omar Abdel Aziz and all the coaches around him - I think
we probably have got the best coaches in Egypt.
And what about our players, Ali, Raneem, Nouran, Mazen, and all
of them, the very best in the world, and the very best in the
Juniors as well.
I am also so proud that since I arrived in Wadi Degla in 2013,
we have won every single year the National Leagues.
I truly enjoyed the whole experience.
This 2018 edition is by far the best of National Leagues Finals
It's so good for the juniors to watch those top players, they
have like 7 or 8 top 10 players matches every day to watch and
Egypt's squash is boasting with so many players in the top 20,
and the level here of the teams is just incredible.
Division 2, leader Tanta with 3 victories was meeting El
Shams, 2 victories... Shams victory puts him with 3
victories, and as they are playing a wo tomorrow, they will
finish with 4 wins no matter what.
So nothing seems to be written in that division with Shooting
with 3 victories, meeting El Rabat, while Tanta, also
with 3 victories, is meeting El Zohour... It should be all
Wadi Degla v Smouha
Division 1, the big clash - the final in fact - of the
Division 1 between the table Leaders Wadi Degla (Cairo) and
Smouha Club (Alexandria) didn't go as we expected it to go
to be honest.
Boast a superb team of World Champ Mohamed Shorbagy, Marwan
Shorbagy and Diego Elias, it looked a very high mountain to
climb for the Cairote today. But the absence of their number 1,
Mohamed Shorbagy, pushed Marwan to number 1 against Ali on Cairo
Territory, then Diego against Karim Ali Fathi and Mohamed
ElSherbini against Mazen Hesham.
Was Mazen going to be fit enough to give a crucial point to his
team? Nouran Gohar was sure favourite against Rowan but then
again, was she...
Nouran Gohar 1-3 Rowan Reda Elaraby 11-5, 7-11, 3-11,
A very nervous Rowan started a bit overwhelmed with the weight
on her shoulders: "she has world number ones counting on her"
told me an eminent member of the Smouha Club Team.
But slowly, the World Junior Champ was able to impose her
devastating boasting and sublime volleying against a Nouran that
never felt comfortable in her movement and not really in the
match. I'm told she is suffering from an ankle trouble but it
doesn't take anything away from a superb young Rowan of course.
Mazen Hesham 3-0 Mohamed Elsherbini 11-8, 11-8, 11-5
A very interesting match between Amazing Mazen, whose squash is
truly not the one you find in manuals, inventive, mad, inspired,
against a very solid Mohamed ElSherbini, cousin of, who did his
best to contain the uncontainable.
It was the first time I was watching Mohamed play and he is a
very disciplined and clever young man. I could see his game
plan, the way he kept the ball as straight as possible while
still finding lovely attacks and retrieving his opponent mad
Very good start for Mazen, 5/1, 8/3 in the first before Sherbini
got used to the conditions - his first appearance on a
glasscourt since the World Juniors in 2010, and Mazen! - only
bowing 11/8. The second is about the same style, with Mazen
dominating 9/5 but a few focus wobble for Mazen and Sherbini
takes full advantage of it, coming back to 8/9, before tining
the last shot of a very long rally!
Coming back from 2/0 was a bit too much but a very good match,
with two different style of players, good show.
Ali Farag 3-0 Marwan El Shorbagy 11-8, 11-8, 11-3
An extremely tense Marwan entered the court in Blackball today.
I don't think people realise how complex it is for Marwan and
Mohamed to play in Egypt. Both having spent a lot of time in the
UK, both having made clear how they enjoy their time in London,
they must feel they have something more to prove when they come,
especially in Cairo - with the old rivalry between Cairo and
And today, the rivalry was alive and well as ever between
Wadi Degla, up to that match 4 consecutive National Leagues
titles, from Cairo, and Smouha Club, Alexandria, where
Mohamed and Marwan learned to play, a long time ago, before they
both moved to South of England to Millfield.
Ali, well, he is home. He lives round the corner, he is home, he
just won the National Title a few weeks ago - against Marwan -
and feels comfortable, and very keen to win the title for not
only his club, but also his sponsor, CIB Bank, who also sponsors
Wadi Degla. A lot of motivation for Ali, and a lot of weight on
the shoulders for Marwan.
The pace was frantic to be honest in that match from beginning to
end, with Marwan managing to read Ali's crosscourting extremely
well, but making far too many errors (I counted 6 in the second
to put any consistent pressure on Ali.
In the third, Marwan just didn't show up, and Ali was able to
dictate the shots from beginning to end, 8/2, 11/3.
Raneem El Welily 3-0 Mariam Metwally 11-9, 7-4 retired
"I didn't do anything this week" smiled Raneem at the end
of the match. "All the others won the matches the whole week
so I didn't have any pressure"....
Mariam did her best today, but she was again riddled with
injuries, her back plus the Achille tendon flaired up... She
retired in the second game, offering Wadi Degla a victory
against Smouha - unlucky to lose Mohamed today - and their -
wait for it - 5th title in a row.
Coincidently, Sports Director Karim Darwish arrived at his
post in 2013 - the year they started to play. Could that be