On a cold winter’s night, midweek in the back streets of Cardiff, father-son combination Mick and Brad Fullick hit the courts.
It’s a common routine but this one marks their last training session before teaming up for the Newcastle Squash Association autumn pennants final.
Saturday’s decider at home will be their first together in the top grade since the 51-year-old veteran and 17-year-old rookie joined forces.
But it almost didn’t eventuate at all.
“Brad motivated me to get back into it,” Mick said.
“I’d actually retired four years ago from squash, but Brad started playing again about that time.
“He got a bit more serious with it, so I thought I’d have a hit with him.”
It began with a crack in A1, or second division, with Mick even switching to play with his non-preferred left hand so they were graded alongside each other.
They scored a grand final victory, including the traditional towel prize, and promotion to the highest rank.
Mick has picked up quite a few towels, or Newcastle pennants titles, down the years and reckons the linen cupboard was “going alright”.
“They actually give out towels – big ones for the winners and small ones for the runner’s up,” Mick, who was based out of Wallsend until that centre closed last year, said.
“We even get the little towels out occasionally as motivation.”
In the under-19 age group Brad is ranked fourth in the state and 13th in the country. Last year he made the NSW under-17 team and toured with the NSW Combined High Schools squad.
“That was a really good experience,” Brad said.
Top-ranked Mick and third-ranked Brad will line up with Shane Franklin for Cardiff, who take on minor premiers University. The squad’s fourth player Luke Collins has been sidelined with a knee injury since the final round of the regular season last month.
There will be nine pennants finals played at Cardiff Squash Centre from noon on Saturday.
The main women’s showdown sees a rematch of the spring decider between Cardiff’s top two teams while in the mixed final University meets Dora Creek.