Pic: BTG020821SQUASH2 Caption: Don Ogier, from Tararua Squash Club, won the New Zealand Masters Squash title in the F1 grade in 1984.
Pic: BTG020821SQUASH3 Caption: Fred Hunt won the tender to build Tararua Squash Club building in 1971.
Pic: BTG020821SQUASH4 Caption: Don Selby from Pahiatua is the Tararua Squash Club's first treasurer.
By Steve Carle
Tararua Squash Club members will be celebrating the 50th jubilee of Tararua Squash Rackets Club (Pahiatua) Inc. in November this year.
The club's inception was back in 1970 and the building work started in 1971. Pahiatua Borough Council made available a corner of the Pahiatua Recreation Grounds where there was a stand of trees which had to be cleared.
The building tender was won by Fred Hunt for a contract price of $29,764.40 and the completion time was to be 14-16 weeks.
This was when Don Selby, a Pahiatua accountant, became the treasurer and committee member.
"The club didn't have any money when it started," he said. "Bank of New Zealand lent us $7000 and the rest was raised by interest-bearing $100 debentures.
"Together with Peter Reed, we came up with a scheme to repay the debentures, paying back so many each year. We paid back the whole lot as well as the bank loan. It set the club up in a sound financial basis.
"I started playing in my early 30s and continued for another 20 years. I used to go to tournaments all over the North Island and met a lot of people. A whole group of us used to go around the tournaments.
"It was a very strong club - 60 people would come to a tournament in Pahiatua. We had around 80 members then, today there are around 120 members. We've always had a strong junior membership.
"Early on an association was developed with the Island Bay Club in Wellington, we used to go to each other's tournaments a lot.
"John Pinel from Pahiatua was an A grade squash player, which was pretty short in clubs like ours. As a result, most of our tournaments were supported by at least three other A or B grade players - they were friends, it was one of the strengths of the club.
"Tararua Squash Club became quite a strong club. We used to play in the Manawatu competition, which meant we played away as far as Wanganui and Levin.
"Every week two carloads of us went, with 20 involved in the competition. I played masters tournaments as far away as Hamilton, Napier, Rotorua, New Plymouth and Masterton. They were quite a part of my life then.
"I was playing in a Hamilton tournament where if you lose the previous game on the court, you mark (referee) the next game. I lost my game and marked for two A graders.
"If a point looks like it happened, there is a bit of doubt about it at times. A graders in particular will have on markers like me. I'll never forget this, a very critical point I called, influenced the result of the game. One of the players questioned me. I stuck to my guns.
"In the bar later on, a New Zealand B grade player asked if I had marked the A grade game. He said 'congratulations for sticking to it, I was watching and you were right.'
"When you travelled away, it was a bit of an adventure, you sometimes didn't get home till midnight. We formed some quite strong friendships.
"To play squash you have to be fit, but it's a social game. If you want to get anywhere, you have to have a will to win. The only way to win is to think 'I'm going to annihilate this player'."
One of the club's most notable successes was Don Ogier winning a New Zealand Masters Squash Tournament in the F1 grade for the 35-49 age group in 1984. Don Selby played well at the same tournament, the club's only other representative.