Squash Easter Open sees intense play

By Jared Smith

The numbers may have been slightly down but the competitors at the Wanganui Squash Citi-Box Easter Open made sure they did not lack for court time.

Starting on Thursday, the three-day tournament hosted about 60 entries across the 15 singles and doubles divisions.

Action heading into the finals on Saturday afternoon was intense, especially across the men's divisions where several games went through to the full five sets.

Wanganui Squash Club's Donna Harold said there would be some sore bodies on Sunday.

For example, the Division One double's final, where Palmerston North's Blake Koolen and Brandon Keenan took on local father and son Kevin Austin and Liam English, seemed to go on "forever", with everyone waiting for a winner to emerge.

Keenan and English had gone virtually straight to that game after fighting out the Men's Division One singles final.

Ultimately, Keenan got some payback for losing the singles title to English as he and Koolen claimed the doubles crown.

Another standout was 13-year-old Courtney Trail, part of the Central District's squad and ranked No 2 in the country for Under 13s in 2012.

One of the two youngest players at the event, Trail had a tough five-set final against Ohakune veteran June Calder to claim the Women's Open title.

Having played in youth-oriented tournaments in Wellington and Auckland, Trail said it had been a tough adjustment stepping up to seniors.

"It's different to younger people. A bit more intense than when I play the younger ones - they run a bit more."

Harold said the open had been a good warm-up for when the Wanganui club hosts the E-Grade nationals in August.

A club team of five players plus two reserves was training for the district qualifiers, hopefully so they could make the nationals on home court, she said.

Finals results

All Wanganui players unless listed.

Men's Open: Stephen Bennett beat Matt Ratcliffe 3-1; Division One: Liam English beat Brandon Keenan (Palmerston North) 3-1; Division Two: Eli Jamieson beat Kevin Austin 3-2; Division Three: Mike O'Callahan (Palmerston North) beat Alastair White 3-1; Division Four: Hamza Ali beat David Signal (Tauranga) 3-1; Division Five: Jonathan Lloyd-West (Palmerston North) beat Matt Power 3-1; Division Six: Phil Pratt beat John Morley 3-0.

Women's Open: Courtney Trail beat June Calder (Ohakune) 3-2; Division One (round robin): Trin McCarthy 1 c/b, Kelsey Mackay (Patea) 2; Division Two: Jessica White beat Renee Rogers 3-1; Social (round robin): Rachel Gallagher 1, Sarah Simmonds 2.

Doubles Division One: Blake Koolen, Brandon Keenan (Palmerston North) beat Kevin Austin, Liam English 3-2; Division Two: Mike O'Callahan, Bryan Stent (Palmerston North) beat Mal Peters, Murray Gleeson 3-2; Division Three: James van Kerkhoff, James McKenzie beat Kim Bartrum, Shanan Whitlock 3-0; Division Four (round robin): Wade Coneybeer, Julie Kenny 1, Rob Moore, Stephanie Rose 2.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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