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G.O.A.T: The Contenders Pre-1960s - Part 3


Over the next few weeks, we’re giving you the chance to decide the greatest players in squash history as we take a look at the achievements and legacy of some of the most recognised names ever to take to a squash court.

This week we begin by looking at some of the outstanding squash players to have graced the courts before 1960 in part one of our public vote.

Each day we’ll highlight the feats of different players to have competed during the era before asking you to determine the top players of that era in a public vote at the end of the week.

Read parts one and two.

Roshan Khan
Nationality: Pakistani
British Open Title Wins: 1
British Open Final Defeats: 2

Alongside compatriot and second cousin Hashim Khan, Peshawar-born Roshan Khan was part of the first wave of Pakistani talent that dominated the sport in the 1950s and early 60s, while he also played a huge part in the incredible ‘Khan Dynasty’ – fathering the legendary Jahangir Khan, who went on to have a record-breaking career in the sport.

Born in 1929, Roshan had established himself as one of the world’s leading players by the time he was in his 20’s and finished as runner-up to Hashim in the inaugural Pakistan Open before going on to win it three times in a row between 1951-1953.

Roshan made his British Open debut in 1954 against another of his cousins – Hashim’s younger brother Azam – with his run coming to an end in the semi-finals, while he lost out to Hashim at the same stage of the following year’s tournament.

Hashim proved to be his downfall again in 1956 as Roshan earned his place in the final for the first time but he got his revenge in 1957, coming back from a game down to write his name into the history books and end his cousin’s six-year title reign.

A fine 1958-1959 season then followed as he won the Pakistan, US, Australian and Egyptian Opens before losing out to Azam in the final of the 1960 British Open.

In addition to Jahangir, Roshan also fathered former World No.13 Torsam Khan, who tragically passed away from a heart attack during a match in Australia.

Charles Read
Nationality: English
British Open Title Wins: 1
British Open Final Defeats: 1

The first ever player to be crowned British Open champion, Charles Read was also a talented Lawn Tennis and Rackets player and became the British Professional Champion in both sports.

Read was based at the prestigious Queen’s Club in London and beat Bath’s C. Bannister in 1920 to win the first English Professional Championship title in squash, a title he went on to win again in 1928.

When the British Open – the sport’s longest-running tournament – began in 1929, Read was appointed as the inaugural champion and played in the following year’s final as defending champion, with the 41-year-old losing out to Englishman Don Butcher over two legs.

Susan Noel
Nationality: English
British Open Title Wins: 3
British Open Final Defeats: 1

Susan Noel was an accomplished squash and tennis player who counted three British Open titles and a US National Championships crown amongst her honours.

Noel was taught to play both sports by her father – Evan Baillie – who won a Rackets gold medal at the 1908 London Olympics and clearly passed on his sporting prowess to his daughter.

An actress who grew up in the shadow of the Queen’s Club, Noel captured a trio of British Open titles in succession between 1932-1934, vanquishing Joyce Cave, Sheila Keith-Jones and Margot Lumb in the respective title deciders.

That period of form also saw her win the US Nationals in 1993, while she defeated Cecily Fenwick in the final of the Atlantic Coast Women's Squash Championships to continue her success across the pond.

Away from squash, Noel almost tasted title success at the tennis French Championships as she, alongside partner Jadwiga Jędrzejowska, made it to the final of the women’s doubles event in 1936.

One final British Open final came in 1939 until the outbreak of World War II meant that the tournament wasn’t held again until 1947, ending Noel’s chances of picking up another British Open crown.

Noel drove a double decker bus during World War II and authored several books: Squash Rackets, More About Squash Rackets and Tennis Tears.

Margot Lumb
Nationality: English
British Open Title Wins: 5
British Open Final Defeats: 1

Like Noel, Margot Lumb was proficient in both squash and tennis and racked up five successive British Open titles between 1935-1939 – a total which puts her level in the all-time winners list with Malaysian superstar Nicol David.

Lumb was renowned for her superb physical condition and speed around court and it was these traits that saw her fail to drop a single game in those British Open triumphs, which came after a final defeat to Noel in the 1934 final.

The Englishwoman was also a success on the hardball circuit, claiming victory at the United States Hardball National Championships in 1935.

Alongside her illustrious squash career, Lumb proved a handy tennis player and reached the final of the 1937 All England Plate competition which consisted of players defeated in the first and second rounds of the Wimbledon Championships.

Lumb also participated in the British Wightman Cup in 1937 and 1938, with the latter of those years also seeing her finish as runner-up of the German Championships singles event.

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