Peter is a sports writer at the Bay of Plenty Times

Niles family help Devoy Squash win record Superchamp titles

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Last month's squash national Superchamps were a triumph for Tauranga's Devoy Squash and Fitness Centre.

New Zealand's largest squash club became just the seventh to win three national titles in one year and picked up second place in a men's and women's division final.

Among the winning teams were Sam Niles, 13, and Jack Niles, 15, while parents Marcus and Char also competed at the nationals for a unique family achievement.

Marcus said the key to the success of Devoy Squash and Fitness Centre is the culture of the coaching in the club.

"Everyone sees the Superchamps as the best event in squash and it is something that the players at all levels aim towards," he said.

"It gives every squash player in the country an opportunity to compete to be a national champion regardless of their ability.

Many players never get to go to nationals, let alone win one."

Char said competition for places at the club made for a highly competitive environment.

"We might have 13 or 14 players trying to make one of the seven positions in a team while the other clubs may either scrape together their numbers for the regionals or combine with another club," she said.

To make the Superchamps each club entered a team of five players plus two reserves in regional qualifiers. In July Devoy Squash and Fitness Centre won seven of the 10 titles up for grabs.

The Niles family each won their regional division, which meant Char went to New Plymouth, Marcus to Napier, Jack to Christchurch and Sam to Invercargill for the Superchamps finals.

Against the seeding predictions, Jack and Sam came home as national title holders to make it five Superchamps titles in the Niles family since 2011.

Jack's team beat Remuera in the final 4/1 and he was selected in the Bay of Plenty Junior Under 19 team.

Sam's team only had five players which made their task so much harder without reserves.

In the final they played Gisborne High School Old Boys. After four matches the tie was level at 2-2 and by chance it came down to Sam's match to decide the title.

He was up against a player who had not lost a set all week.

Sam lost the first set, won the second 22-20 and the third 15-12 before clinching a thrilling match and the title for his team 18-16 in the fourth set.

Left to right, Jack, Char, Marcus and Sam Niles had success at recent squash nationals. Photo/John Borren
Left to right, Jack, Char, Marcus and Sam Niles had success at recent squash nationals. Photo/John Borren

"The match was live-streamed so many of our friends and family were able to watch from all over the world," Marcus said.

"It was one of the most incredible games I have ever seen.

"I was watching on my phone in Napier and at the end I was in tears. I have since watched the match about six or seven times and I well up every time."

Char said squash was a sport that whole families could enjoy together.

"We can do it as a family, play together and support each other. And you get to meet so many people competing at tournaments right around the country."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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