Hawke's Bay squash coach Colin Hayvice has heard jokes suggesting he was so confident his two E grade teams would win national titles he didn't have to attend tournament.
"I already had an African safari holiday booked before the teams qualified. I wish I had been there ... it would have been fantastic," Hayvice said.
A three-time national title-winning coach with teams before taking on the Hawke's Bay Squash Club's E grade women and Hawke's Bay Lawn E grade men at the start of the season, Hayvice, 76, had to leave on his holiday 10 days before the teams travelled to their recent Wellington-hosted national Superchamps finals. Both teams won their titles with unbeaten runs at the Tawa club.
"I was very lucky to have a couple of top blokes take over," Hayvice said, referring to B grader John Cornforth, who took the men, and C grader Rick Nichol, who took the women.
"Because John is such a good player the blokes listened to him and the girls had plenty of respect for Rick," Hayvice said.
He pointed out the women didn't have a lot of experience at national level but were well balanced. The squad also included 10-year-old Francesca Pilcher, who finished third at the national under-11 championships, and Hayvice said he is mightily impressed with her potential.
The women were seeded fourth in their six-team event and beat Edgecumbe 4-1, Mana 5-0, Papakura 3-2 and Lugton Park 4-1 before overcoming Ohakune 3-2 in the final. Their No 2, Tiana Hohaia-Hall, was unbeaten in all five of her matches.
Manager Terri Reid said her troops praised the time and effort given by Hayvice and Nichol. They also believed their time and dedication to training, strong team camaraderie, sense of honour and sacrifices from their respective families were other keys to their success.
Hawke's Bay Lawn's men beat Mana 4-1, Takaka 5-0, Ohakune 4-1 and Lugton Park 4-1 before defeating Tokoroa in their final. Two of the matches in the final were decided in the fifth set.
Both No 1 Allen Hokai and No 3 Sabian Bolingford were unbeaten in all five of their matches. This side had a good mix of youth and experience, with 14-year-old Jack Cornforth the youngest and Mark Thompson the oldest at 60.
"The men weren't as strong as the women so I was really happy with their performances," Hayvice said.
All three of his previous national teams titles as a coach were won with the Taumarunui club. He intends to coach again next year, possibly with a D grade women's team from the Hawke's Bay club.
An E1 grader who won New Zealand Masters 70-74 age group titles in 2013 and 2015 and the 75-plus title last year will aim to go back-to-back in the 75-plus age group in Timaru later this month.
The Hastings C grade men finished second to Auckland's Royal Oak at their national Superchamps final in Invercargill.
The winning E grade teams were:
Hawke's Bay Women: Terri Reid (manager), Debbie Anderson, Zillah Daysh, Sarah Mullen, Francesca Pilcher, Tiana Hohaia-Hall, Kate Spencer (captain), Rick Nichol (coach), Colin Hayvice (coach), Rebecca McIntosh (manager).
Hawke's Bay Lawn Men: Allen Hokai, Chade Bolingford, Sabian Bolingford, Jack Cornforth, Mark Thompson, Ben Reriti, Rob Leith, John Cornforth (coach), Colin Hayvice (coach).