Team History

Grove Park

Club Competitions

Club Competitions

A History of Grove Park

In the BeginningThe Heydays2nd GenerationSuccess in MillenniumRecent Times

In the Beginning

Squash first came to Grove Park as a result of an amalgamation of Manchester Rugby Club and Cheadle Hulme Cricket Club, on the 1st September 1967, to secure both their futures. The clubs had both had a long and successful history dating back to the nineteenth century. In fact Manchester Rugby Club is one of the oldest rugby clubs in the world, founded in 1860 as Manchester Football Club (though curiously it has only ever    played rugby), it played an important role in the formation of the game, supplying both administrators and players. In the first ever international match, England v Scotland, at Edinburgh in 1871, four of the England XV came from Manchester.
(You can learn more about the history of Manchester Rugby Club on their website)

The former grounds of the two clubs were sold to purchase 22 acres of fallow field on the edge of Cheadle Hulme and by autumn of 1970 it had been transformed in to the Grove Park sports complex. The move to Grove Park saw the introduction of both Squash and Badminton though originally there were also plans for Tennis and Bowls.

The Heydays

The Grove Park Squash Club started with just two courts, the current number 2 and 3 courts. Membership was oversubscribed almost immediately, and it was not long, due to the success, that the building of two further courts was sanctioned. These courts, now numbers 4 and 5, were completed during 1974. With the excellent facilities now offered at Grove Park, the increased membership for the new courts was taken up at once.

Although comparatively still a young club the playing standard for both men and women had reached a high standard. Indeed, in 1974 the first of many league titles were claimed when the 1st and 2nd teams (pictured above) won the 3 South East and 4 South East leagues respectively. The number of club teams increased and the internal league system began to flourish. It was not long before the squash facilities expanded again.

In 1977 two further courts were added, the number 1 glass backed show court and number 6 court. Number 6 court is dual purpose in that it has the capability of being turned into a 150 seat auditorium for watching top class squash on court number 1. This novel seating system was regularly used to watch men's first team matches and has been used for super league matches and rounds of major tournaments. It was around this time the membership peaked at a staggering 720 members (not including a large junior section), the maximum allowed by the SRA for 6 courts.

2nd Generation

The ninety's saw the rise of a second generation of players who would come through the juniors. Some of which would push on towards top of the sport including Patrick Foster who reached World No.75 and Andy Whipp who reached World No.64.

Many smaller improvements have since been made to the facilities, however in 1997 a commitment was made to fully refurnish one of the courts every year for the next 5 years.  Somethings had stayed the same over the years at Grove Park, most notably Graham Gilbert who was a founder member of the club and was a regular member of the first team in the very early days. By the time he retired from team squash in 2011 he had played for Grove Park for over 40 years and had played in the NWCSL since 1961.

Along with squash in general, the total number of members reduced considerably since the heydays of the seventies and early eighties. However the strength of the teams steadily increased, adding three new teams during the nineties it peaked at eleven men's teams. Since first gaining promotion to the top flight in 1978 the First Team have only spent two seasons lower and have been in Division One continuously since 1991, regularly finishing in the top few places. It was after being promoted back to Division One in 1991 that it was decided to employ two young professionals fresh from university; Irishman Derek Ryan who who go on to be World No.7 and Yawar Abbas who went on to become a club legend winning numerous National masters titles and shaping Grove Park and squash in the North West for decades to come. The lower teams have won their leagues and divisions on numerous occasions over the years.

The ladies team has been a long standing member of the Cheshire Ladies 1st division, winning the league on numerous occasions in the early eighties. 

Success in the Millennium

2001 saw great success for Grove Park as they almost made a clean sweep of the Cheshire County competitions with success in the individual as well as team events. All three of our teams made it to the finals of the Cheshire Cup and came home with both the men's and for the first time the ladies' trophy. To round off a record year, long standing members Patrick Foster and Susan Dalrymple won the Cheshire County Closed Championships in the senior Men's and Ladies' events respectively.

In 2002 the Ladies team retained the Cheshire Cup and the Men's second team won the NWCSL Division 2 but declined the chance of joining the first team in the top division.

2003 saw the First Team desperately, just miss out on their first NWCSL Division One title. It came down to the very last match of the season against their title rivals, The Northern. Lead by Derek Ryan in front of a packed crowd,  Grove Park pulled of a hard fought 3-2 win. However heartbreakingly, despite being level on points Northern were awarded the Title on count back.

The Cheshire Cup was regained in 2005 after losing in the final, in two consecutive years previous. The third team comfortably won Grove Park's twenty second league title (3 South East) and subsequently went on to win the overall Division 3 Championship for the first time in Grove Park history.

After many years of being close, in 2010 the First Team finally won the NWCSL Division One Championship Title. Going down to the last match, they pipped old rivals Northern to the title by just a few points. Helped by top pro's like Laurence Delasaux the backbone of the team was very much home grown. The Hibberd twins, Morgan and Ky had started out on the 11th team as 11 year olds and played on every team on their rise to the top. Liam Foster had also been a junior with his brothers and of course the team was led by the ever dependable Yawar Abbas.

Recent times

In early 2017 Stockport Squash Club, who themselves have had a long history, moved their teams to Grove Park from the Ladybridge Park Residents Club in Cheadle Hulme. After playing independently at Grove Park for 4 seasons they amalgamated fully with Grove Park in 2022.

2018/19 saw the clubs biggest redevelopment with the installation of a mezzanine floor between courts 1 & 6. This allowed court 6 to be fully refurbished as a second glassback show court and gave us a full six high quality courts that allowed the vast expansion of our coaching programmes of Juniors but also adult intro and women only sessions.

After building back from the pandemic, the First Team won Grove Park's  biggest trophy yet (it was enormous). In the end of season NWCSL Playoff Final 2022 on the all glass tournament courts at the Manchester Open. Narrowly beating a strong Liverpool CC side it came down to the 5th game of the last match.

The ladies team continued to show the way with another Division One title in 2022/23 captained by another multiple National Masters Champion, Hilary Kenyon.

Grove Park Squash Club, Grove Lane, Cheadle Hulme, Stockport, Cheshire, SK8 7NB