Kids delight in challenge event
IN what can be described as very trying conditions, more than 50 squash players took part in the Coffs Coast One Day Challenge on Sunday.
Players contested eight divisions and there were some very tired players at the presentation after some gruelling and entertaining matches during the day. Players took advantage of the swimming pool to relax and enjoy the activities conducted by the centre.
With players from North Coast centres including Lismore, Kempsey, Bellingen, Urunga, Maclean, Waterview Heights and Big River there was plenty of new talents showing their skills to tournament officials and spectators throughout the event.
Coffs Harbour players were prominent in many of the divisions but the premier grade went to Mark Crawford, of Big River, who defeated last year’s winner Daniel Meier, of Kempsey, 38-31.
Meier had a larger draw and played more matches, which may have taken its toll when he reached the final, but nevertheless Crawford played consistently and deserved his win.
Jake Bohannon played well to record two wins in his pool before he lost to Meier.
Division 2 was won by Gemma Greenland, of Maclean, who remained undefeated throughout the day.
In the final she defeated Claudia McGarry, of Kempsey, who appears much stronger this year.
Jessica Marks, of Bellingen, showed she has plenty of talent and was very competitive at this level.
Further match experience will help her gain the consistency necessary to control the play better and use opportunities to attack.
She was a very deserving winner of the Tournament Encouragement Award.
In Division 3 Keelan Birch was the winner with well-controlled play.
His improved drives and length to the back court got better as the day progressed. In the final he defeated Trent Timms, of Urunga, who is another player to watch, 47-39.
Division 4 proved to be a real tough contest, with a countback required between three players to decide the winner. Aden Smith proved to have the best average, with Kurt Russell second and Jack Martin, of Urunga, a close third.
The players in this group produced some amazing results and their skills have improved immensely in the past 12 months.
Division 5 was won by Harrison Phillips, from Connor Herring, both of Coffs Harbour 56-52 in the final.
Connor didn’t let size overtake him as he worked hard throughout the match and pushed Harrison to the end. He produced some spectacular forehand drives and volleys but couldn’t overhaul the lead Harrison was clinging to.
Division 6 was won by Andrew Ritchie. Andrew has been working hard in training and was very steady throughout all his games. He defeated Laura Guise in the semi-final with better length 69-37. His finals opponent, Peter Guise, lifted his efforts to provide a real contest with his placements to the front court. However, he ran out of time and increased errors from the pressure Andrew was applying with his placements proved too much.
Andrew won 67-37.
In Division 7 Dougal McFarlane took a giant step forward, defeating Peter McKenzie in a tight struggle, 56-46. Players in this division were experiencing tournament conditions for the first time and all produced some great shots during matches. Dougal defeated Jay Whitwam 48-46 to advance to the final and then withstood the challenge and power game from Peter.
Division 8 had future stars written all over it, with Jack Sheehan and Jaden Herring placing some great shots to the back court. Jack proved the more consistent and focused on each point, setting up victory with a great service game to remain undefeated in this division, recording four very solid wins.
Awards went to Sheridan Stacey, of Coffs Harbour, and Jessica Marks, of Bellingen. The tournament provided some early match play for many, with the next event to take place at the Big River Squash Centre on March 19-20.
The tournament will be a NSW junior ranking event for players participating.
Next week there will be a rundown on the new Tuesday Teams Competition, which is shaping as one of the strongest contests for some time. Play got under way this week.
ONE DAY CHALLENGE
Results of finals played on Sunday, February 20
Div 1 Mark Crawford def Daniel Meier 38-31
Div 2 Gemma Greenland def Claudia McGarry 47-46
Div 3 Keelan Birch def Trent Timms 47-39
Div 4 Aden Smith def Kurt Russell plus 68-plus 61
Div 5 Harrison Phillips def Connor Herring 56-52
Div 6 Andrew Ritchie def Peter Guise 67-37
Div 7 Dougal McFarlane def Peter McKenzie 56-46
Div 8 Jack Sheehan def Jaden Herring 52-38.