Chicago Hosts Ninety-Seventh Lapham-Grant Matches

l-r: The Grant Trophy, Crawford Cup, Lawrence-Wilkins Trophy, Eric R. Finkelman Award for questionable behavior and Lapham Cup.

Chicago, Illinois, is set to host the ninety-seventh annual Lapham-Grant Matches, April 19-22, at the Onwentsia Club, University Club of Chicago and Racquet Club of Chicago.

The Lapham-Grant Matches consists of four dual matches—men’s singles competing for the Lapham Cup, men’s doubles competing for the Grant Trophy, women’s combined singles and doubles competing for the Crawford Cup, and legend’s doubles, men’s players over 65 years of age, competing for the Lawrence-Wilkins Trophy. Over two hundred players will compete in the various competitions.

The matches alternate host countries every year. Last year, Team USA captured both the Lapham Cup and Grant Trophy on Canadian soil for the first time in two decades, while Canada reclaimed the Crawford Trophy and retained the Lawrence-Wilkens Trophy.

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The Lapham Cup matches date back to 1922 and are believed to be one of the oldest amateur sporting events between two countries, having been played for 90 consecutive years. The Grant Trophy matches were inaugurated in 1945, the Crawford Trophy matches in 1999, and the Lawrence-Wilkins Trophy matches in 2001. These four events, held at the same time and venue, are hosted in alternate years by Canada and the United States. Starting in 2000, all singles matches have been played with the international ball.

It is a tradition that the captains cooperate to make sure that their teams are balanced, and that matches are played in an atmosphere of camaraderie, goodwill, and sportsmanship. Matches are not refereed, therefore the highest standards of fair play are essential among participants. The matches also provide an opportunity for representatives from both sides of the border to discuss squash development initiatives. This grand social event has many unique traditions, including the Friday evening Captains’ reception, roses for every lady attending the Saturday night banquet, a LG tie (or scarf) for every player participating in the event for the first time, and the Eric R. Finkelman Award for “questionable behaviour”.

The coveted Lapham Cup is valued at over $50,000 and is similar in size to hockey’s Stanley Cup. It was donated in 1922 by Henry B. Lapham of Brookline, Massachusetts, for an international Men’s singles team competition between the U.S.A. and Canada. The Grant Trophy was donated in late 1944 by Alastair Grant of Montreal for a similar Men’s doubles competition. The Crawford Trophy was donated in 1999 by William Crawford of Vancouver in honor of his wife Richenda, for Ladies singles and doubles team competition. In 2001, Edgar A. Bracht of Toronto presented the Lawrence-Wilkins Trophy for the Men’s “Legends” (over age 65) doubles team competition. It is named in honor of the truly legendary figures of Barney Lawrence of Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario and C. Howard Wilkins Sr of Wichita, Kansas, both of whom did so much for the game, as players and builders.

The United States last hosted the tournament in New York City two years ago.