Peter is a sports writer at the Bay of Plenty Times

Squash: Oakley beats coach in major boilover

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Jamie Oakley (right) has had the best week of his squash career so far. Photo / Andrew Warner
Jamie Oakley (right) has had the best week of his squash career so far. Photo / Andrew Warner

Tauranga's Jamie Oakley, 18, of the Devoy Squash and Fitness Centre, caused a huge upset on day one by beating his coach and sixth seed Kashif Shuja in straight sets.

"I didn't really expect to win, let alone win 3-0. That was just a bonus, I guess," Oakley said.

"It was a weird feeling as I didn't really know whether to be happy or a bit edgy. But I will take it and it is good for my confidence playing against those guys. He is obviously coming to the end of his career and is happy to see me play so well."

Oakley's mother, Dame Susan Devoy, was part of a good-sized crowd at the Carrus Glass Court in the Tauranga Boys' College gym on Friday night.

"I think she was as shocked as I was, I guess. She is an awesome squash player and even better Mum so I can't ask for much more than that."

Oakley came up against another of his coaches in second seed Lance Beddes in the quarter-finals on Saturday.

Despite losing 1-2, Oakley took plenty out of the game.

"I was very happy. I took a set off him and it was a good learning curve and a big step up for me. These players know how to put the ball away a lot easier and any false shot you play against these guys, there is no going back. It is point over, whereas with juniors you can get away with a few. Which is kind of a good thing because you have to learn where to put the ball and where not to put the ball."

Oakley is excited about the rest of the year ahead.

"I am hoping to get selected in the New Zealand junior team to go to Poland in August and I have been offered a squash scholarship to George Washington University in Washington, DC after that.

"Squash is growing over there which is a good thing but it is a really high standard. My brother [Josh] has been over there for a year at Hobart College in upstate New York playing on a squash scholarship there. He is loving it over there so I thought it is an opportunity I can't really say no to."

Remarkably, there is another Oakley brother also on a sports scholarship in middle distance runner Julian, who is at Providence College in Rhode Island.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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