The ninety-fifth Lapham-Grant Matches, or United States versus Canada Invitational Squash Challenge Matches, took place this weekend in New York City with the visiting Canadian teams taking all three men’s competitions, and the U.S. side claiming the women’s Crawford Cup.
The Lapham-Grant Matches returned to New York City after a seventy-two-year hiatus. The Grant Trophy for supremacy in men’s doubles was last hosted at The University Club of New York in 1945 and the city’s enthusiastic club squash community was eager to see the return of this prestigious international squash competition.
The U.S. women earned the only trophy for the hosts, defeating Canada 33-18 in the Crawford Cup singles and doubles. Canada swept the three men’s competitions, defeating the U.S. in the Lapham Trophy men’s singles 18-15, Grant Trophy men’s doubles 27-19 and Lawrence-Wilkins Trophy Veteran’s Men’s Doubles 17-13.
The Lapham Cup matches for men’s squash singles between the United States and Canada are believed to be one of the oldest amateur sporting events between two countries, having been played every year since 1922. In 1945 the Grant Trophy matches for men’s doubles was inaugurated, followed by the Crawford Cup matches for women in 1999 and the Lawrence-Wilkins Trophy matches for veteran men in 2001. These four events, now held at the same time and city each year, are hosted in alternate years by the United States and Canada at the continent’s greatest squash club venues.
Since each competition’s inception, the United States leads the Lapham Cup series 53 matches to 41. With its victories this weekend, Canada leads the Grant Matches series 33 to 31 and the Lawrence-Wilkins 10 to 6. With their win the U.S. women now trail the overall series with 6 match wins to Canada’s 9.
“New York is a great squash town and it was wonderful to have so many fellow players travel across the continent to participate in this year’s competition,” said Scott Fuller, Event Chair. “The captains succeeded in building teams with wide representation from across Canada and the United States, and the depth of talented players in New York helped the U.S. field a strong team. Much credit goes to the Canadian men’s Captain, Norm Crook, for fielding a powerful ‘travel squad’ that remarkably was able to overcome our home city advantage.”
“The matches were competitive and brought a lot of old friends together; my fellow American teammates could not be more excited after winning a great weekend of competition against a strong Canadian team” said Ann McGowan, captain of the winning U.S. Crawford women’s team.
The weekend was packed with squash. Liam Culman, co-captain of the U.S. Lapham Grant team called it “the perfect combination of intensity and fun.” The captains from both sides of the border worked hard to provide all players with several matches. Although the schedule was a challenge, the number and quality of the matches made for an exciting weekend.
Guts and glory filled the weekend as members from both teams played with passion and sportsmanship in hopes of bringing the trophies back to their respective countries.
“While the age range varied, the enthusiasm in all the matches was that of a junior squash tournament,” said Kit Tatum, co-captain of the U.S. Lawrence-Wilkins veteran men’s team.
“Although the final match score in the Lawrence Wilkins was in favor of the Canadians, a slew of matches went 3-2 and the competition was much closer than it seemed,” said Jack Wyant, fellow captain.
The traditions that make this event unique were on display during the closing awards ceremony at high noon on Sunday. In accordance with long standing traditions, the winning teams experienced the high honor of ceremonially drinking champagne from some of the grandest trophies in all of sport during the pompous closing ceremonies.
“The venues and hospitality couldn’t have been nicer. New York City in early April is lovely and something that all players were lucky to experience. The warm temperatures, spring bulbs and flowering trees capped off a great weekend.” said Karen Levine, Canadian Crawford Captain.