Squash player Tamika Saxby.
Squash player Tamika Saxby.

Tamika creates racquet in New Zealand

COFFS HARBOUR'S Tamika Saxby has produced some outstanding efforts competing in the New Zealand Junior Open squash titles.

Arriving in Auckland to prepare for the tournament opened many new experiences as she prepared to take on unknown rivals in the open division, at the Panmure Squash Centre near Mount Wellington.

The tournament attracted entries from all over New Zealand and with a full draw in both girls and boys divisions it was interesting and a surprise to hear that a ballot was used to eliminate 30 players from the event due to the large number of entries received.

The Junior Open is based on ability, not age divisions, for players 19 years and under.

Drawn to play a late Friday night match proved eventful with Tamika forced to take time out with the blood rule in the fourth set.

On returning to court a few minutes later a further disruption occurred during the game in a complete blackout at the centre.

When power was restored, play resumed with Tamika being defeated in a tie break in four sets with the time approaching 11.30pm.

Not daunted by size and age of her opponents, Tamika then proceeded to hand out some lessons on ball control as she posted some very well constructed match plays to win four of her five matches to take out the junior open plate final.

Each match was of contrasting styles and Tamika showed good maturity to remain composed and cleverly work her opponents to all parts of the court.

Some keen spectators and coaches included, were impressed by Tamika's ability, as one to watch in the future, as she steamrolled players intent on power laden styles of play.

The high standards produced in the tournament are a direct result of centre activities and identification of prospective players from inhouse social programs and school district competitions, on a weekly basis.

The Kiwis can achieve this with centres located close together, compared to the vast distances between centres in Australia.

School programs are conducted in all districts which then feed select players to district and national coaching squads which appear to be strong in the younger age groups up to 17 years.

It sets a healthy scene for players and provides a sports path to reach the top in age divisions and with one national ranking system for all senior and junior players combined, junior players are raising their own standards seeking representative honours at district and national levels.

This was proven in the boys Open Final, played between two Under 17 future prospects in a classy display and the girls open final featured two of New Zealand's top females who compete internationally.

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