I am pleased to announce that you can now play squash, squash 57 (racketball) and table tennis at the Fort. There are of course, ‘Covid’ rules in place to ensure as safe a return as possible.
For those returning for the first time since lockdown
You must not enter the club if you have any Covid symptoms.
Expect to have your temperature taken on entry to ensure you do not have a fever.
All touchable surfaces have been sprayed throughout the club and then lacquered to ensure that pathogens cannot survive for up to 4 weeks. We re-apply the product every 2-3 weeks to be sure! This includes the walls, doors and floors of the courts.
You must not bring any disinfectants of your own into the building for to do so would compromise the expensive treatments used.
A one-way route exists where possible, In through reception and out through the fire doors.
Please socially distance yourself from each other when inside the building.
If you do arrive early, please wait in the lounge or on the court balcony, not in the corridor outside the courts.
What is permitted
Sides – keep to your side of the court and play the ball to your opponent’s side. Great fun, not. Sides can be played by players outside of their declared bubble if they are disciplined to keep to the rules which are designed to keep socially distanced. Squash England have produced an excellent video on how to play.
Normal full court play can take place but only between you and a bubble of 5 other players. Players within this bubble are permitted to play full court matches with the following modifications.
- Only two players on a court at one time.
- Play best of three games.
- Play first to 11 points, sudden-death at 10-all.
- Use ‘Sides’ as a way to maintain social distancing throughout the warm-up.
- During each game, when the first player reaches six points, both players should wipe away excessive sweat, sanitise their hands and the ball (I’m not sure which ball!). Repeat between games.
- The same player to serve / touch the ball during each half of a game, and at the halfway point, switch servers.
- Protective eyewear or visors are strongly recommended at all times but are not mandatory
How will it work at the Fort?
You have to be a member of Fort Stamford to play here.
Membership is £43 per month and includes the free use of courts, the pool, gym, classes and the toning salon and when open, the spa. You can currently play 10 rounds of golf at Staddon Heights and 6 games of tennis at Plymstock Tennis Club. You will be able to book courts via the club App FitSense or via the receptionist, up to 7 days in advance from 6.45am.
Given the closure of the Life Centre, a special ‘Squash only’ membership is now available as an alternative to our Inclusive package which will appeal to the occasional player. There will be a £30 annual charge + £5.50 each time you play. They can book courts up to 5 days in advance from 6.45am in the same manner as an inclusive member.
A non-member cannot currently play.
- You must inform the club of the members of your bubble before you book courts and ongoing, any changes to your bubble by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
- You cannot play anyone outside of your bubble without first emailing the club.
- You must have not played for 7 days to join or create another bubble.
- You must contact us if you want to change or add someone to your group by emailing email@example.com
- You cannot have a different bubble with friends at another club.
- You can play against someone within your household who is not in your declared bubble.
All change here. Everyone has the same booking rights to the courts (racket play only), 7 days in advance from 6.45 in the morning. A computerised system is now installed enabling access via a booking App. No more having to phone to book and cancel. All is very user friendly, even for us oldies!
- Book the court in your name only, preferably via the App. When your opponent turns up, they will declare themselves to the receptionist who will cross check to see that they are in your declared bubble and will then take payment (if appropriate) and open the entrance gate.
- Waiting List – You can now be added to a waiting list and will be automatically allocated the court and notified by email should the other person cancels. This could be right up to the time of the court, so make sure you remove your name from the waiting list when you no longer want to play, just in case the court becomes available with late notice.
- Court sessions are 45 minutes. Generally, 15 minutes is allowed between bookings to allow for air change. Please respect others safety and leave on time. Your playing longer means a delayed start for the next couple if the air is to change.
- Cancellation – You must give 4 hours-notice if you want to cancel a court booked in your name. This can easily be done without the need to phone reception. Simply go to ‘Manage Bookings’ in the ‘Book’ tile of the App and cancel. No excuses. With just 2 courts in play, not cancelling your court with due notice is not acceptable. 3 late cancellations in a calendar month and you could be prohibited from booking. The same applies for no shows, although I am considering making that punishment worse than imprisonment and have them administer the bubbles system, a nightmare!
- Arrive ready to play, disinfect your hands prior to play, bring your own bottle of water and keep your bag on court, not in the changing rooms.
The government is concerned about social distancing in the changing rooms and discourages us from providing showers at this time. A shower is provided in the communal spa area for the purposes of rinsing off before swimming.
The bar is open Tues – Fri evening until 9.30 but is staffed after 7pm by the receptionist. Stella, cider and soft drinks will be on tap from Friday, as well as the usual bottled drinks and a bottled ale. We are unable to provide our normal selection of beers due to our being unable to host functions at this time.
We are probably all amazed that we are being allowed to start playing so soon. If from the outset we can endorse this ‘bonus’ and take it for what it is, a first step, we will avert the pit falls the bubble system might otherwise create. If you have a larger group of friends, you might want to consider dividing yourselves into smaller bubbles of say 4 or 5. There is always someone who doesn’t play for 7 days, they can then move into the other friendship bubble to freshen things up. If you forget to include someone, it gives you that option to add. Nobody wants to choose friends over friends to include or exclude from a bubble. Having a bubble of 6 fit players playing 3 times a week leaves no room for change. If you find yourself without a group to play, let James know and he will endeavour to match you with others in a similar predicament firstname.lastname@example.org
Please don’t put me in the embarrassing position of having to bar you from the club for flaunting the rules concerning bubbles. Remember to book and remember to cancel. Also, remember that a bubble is not for life, unlike supporting Leeds United!
Finally. a big thank you to James Ham who is going to administer the bubble system. Bubbles will be published on the club board behind the courts. No doubt, other issues will arise, but in the meantime, the courts are now bookable on the App, it’s game on!
How to download the App
- Go into your App Store,
- Search and download FitSense
- Open the App and Allow Notifications if asked
- Select ‘Member Sign In’
- On the top of your screen press ‘Activate my Account’ highlighted in blue
- Type in your name and date of birth and press ‘Activate now’. Hopefully this will be successful.
- An email will hopefully be sent to you with the password for your account.
- Go back a page in the FitSense App
- Fill in your email address and password
- Highlight ‘Remember Me’, log in and you’re away.
- Click Manage Bookings to see what you have booked. From here you can cancel courts easily. No excuses!