Whanganui Squash Club players claimed titles across the board at the annual Central District Superchamps.

Every year the Superchamps teams event is held across the Squash Central district for B Grade through to F Grade.

A team can consist of up to seven players, but only five play each tie, therefore the winner is determined by the first to win three matches.

This year the Whanganui Squash Club had a Men's D grade and E grade team entered, along with three of its B grade players - Paula Darlington, Laurie Hill and Aria Bannister - in the Squashgym Palmerston North team and Emily Chamberlain played for the C Grade Tararua team.


All these teams won and are now off to represent the district at the National Superchamp event where all the district winners come together to crown the top team in the country in those grades in late September.

The Men's D grade team consisted of Lee Tuhiwai, Shandon Scott, Hector Hetherington, Vance Wilson, Samson Power, Michael O'Conner and Matt Power.

They had home-court advantage with the event was played in Whanganui where they were seeded 2nd behind Tararua. Hawera were the 3rd seeds and Dannevirke 4th.

With only four teams in the competition, it was always going to be tough and that was exactly what the Whanganui team got.

Up against Hawera in the first match, they ended up going right down to the wire. Wins to Samson Power and Hetherington, who both won comfortably in three sets, put the team up 2-nil.

Next up was Whanganui's No 1, Tuhiwai, who had been troubled with injury in the weeks leading up to the tournament.

Tuhiwai came up against a higher graded player and battled away, taking him close in a couple of games before succumbing in three sets.

O'Connor then had a tough five games against an opponent 30 years his junior, losing out in the end 3/2. It was left to Scott with the matches tied two apiece.

Scott started confidently winning the first 15/7, the second game was a little more difficult taking it 16/14 and he rounded out the win with a 15/9 in the third set to eventually give Whanganui the 3-2 win.

Saturday morning's game was against Dannevirke who were soundly beaten by Tararua 5-0 on Friday night.


The result was the same for Dannevirke, a 5-0 win to the strong Whanganui men. In the other game, Tararua rested one of their better players to their detriment, losing 4/1 to Hawera.

The equation for the home team in the afternoon game was simple, win and they make the trip to Blenheim at the end September for the national event, lose to Tararua and it would be Hawera making the trip across Cook Strait.

Again the Whanganui boys started strongly with easy wins to Samson Power and Hetherington.

Tuhiwai was back in the team after resting for Saturday morning's game. He came up against a former C1 player who was too strong for the Whanganui No 1, beating him in three sets.

Wilson, who has been to D grade nationals before in 2016 and had won a National E grade team championship at the home courts in 2014, was playing his second game of the day and a win would have clinched the tie before getting to the final match.

After losing the first set, Wilson won the next two before his much younger opponent came back to win the 4th set. Wilson dug deep and won the fifth 15/9 to the rapture of the local supporters.

Scott ended up winning the last game convincingly and giving the Whanganui team a 4/1 win to take the title and a trip to Blenheim for the national D grade event.


The Whanganui team produced a superb effort at Fielding Squash Club in the E Grade Superchamps. They were second seeds in a tough six-team round-robin.

The line-up included a few of the club's promising juniors in 12-year-olds Maximus Matthews (No 3), Thor Darlington (No 4) and Mac O'Connor (No 7). Both Matthews and Darlington played extremely well all weekend, with Darlington winning all five of his matches without dropping a set and Matthews winning four of his five.

Along with Aaron Toy (No 1), Mike Strang (No 2), Curtis Fatiaki (No 5) and Kees Robbertsen (No 6), the team had a good mix of youth and experience.

In the first round on Friday night they played fourth-seeded Feilding and Toy, Matthews, Darlington and Robbertsen all won their matches 3/0 while Strang won in four sets to get the team under way with a 5-0 win.

Saturday turned into a real battle with matches against sixth seed Taihape and Kawaroa Park (3). Whanganui knew it would be tight all the way as Taihape had lost narrowly to Kawaroa Park 3-2 in the first round.

Up first against Taihape, Fatiaki got the team off to a winning start with a 3/0 win. Strang was up against young Taihape junior Korey Ohara and battled hard but lost in three sets.

Next on were the No 1sand Toy delivered another 3/0 win. On fourth, and a chance to close out the tie, was the youngster Darlington and he delivered again winning 3/0 creating an untouchable 3/1 lead.


Last on was the other junior in Matthews who was up against Taihape junior Jack Squires.

Matthews fought hard in what was a tough five-set loss. After being down 2-1, he gutsed it out to level it up 2-all but eventually lost the match 15/11 in the fifth set.

Whanganui had survived with a 3-2 win and moved into the afternoon round where they faced Kawaroa Park.

In this tie, Robbertsen got the team off to a great start with a 3/1 win but then Strang lost 3/1 in a gutsy effort to Taranaki junior Cassius Leevey and Toy battled hard but lost in the fifth set.

Up stepped the two Whanganui youngsters again with Darlington and Matthews both winning in three sets to take the tie 3-2.

On to Sunday and Whanganui, the only unbeaten team, played Levin in the morning round.

Matthews, Darlington, Fatiaki and Toy all produced wins with Strang finding it tough going and the tie went the way of Whanganui 4-1. Toy's match was another brutal five-setter, this time in his favour after being down 2/1.


The afternoon round had Whanganui up against the top seeds Squashgym Palmerston North. Heading into it they had 4 wins, no losses while the Palmerston North team had 3 wins, 1 loss. A countback was not in Whanganui's favour.

The equation for Whanganui was simple, they had to win to go to the National playoff event. Again Matthews led off with a 3/1 win followed by Darlington and another 3/0 victory to give the team a 2-nil lead.

Next up it was the battle of the No 1s and Whanganui's Toy ended up having his third five-setter in a row. Up against Mike Trail of Palmerston North, Toy just lost out by the narrowest of margins 13/15, 16/14, 13/15, 15/11, 17/15.

Strang who, all weekend, was up against higher graded players playing in the No 2 spot and also nursing a thigh strain along the way was next. He lost 3/0 to the impressive Josh Brownrigg.

With the team matches locked at 2-all, it was up to Robbertsen.He was up against junior Baxter McGonigal.

It turned out to be another huge five-setter with Robbertsen taking a 2-1 lead after dropping the first set.


The fourth was tight with McGonigial clawing it back 16/14 but then Robbertsen hung tough in the fifth and after it was neck and neck at 9-all, he gradually pulled away to take the win 12/15, 15/9, 15/12, 14/16, 15/10 to book his team's place at the National E grade Superchamps in Oamaru on September 23-26.

Whanganui had other players involved in teams that won as clubs who can't make up a full team of their own club members are allowed to ask neighbouring ones.

Whanganui's B grade players Paula Darlington, Laurie Hill and Aria Bannister played in the Squashgym Palmerston North team and they beat Ohakune 5-0 and in the final Kawaroa Park 4-1.

They are now heading back to Palmerston North in late September for the National B grade event.

Club member Emily Chamberlain was also involved in a winning team, this time playing No 1 for the Tararua C Grade ladies and they are now heading to Hawkes Bay for their national event in September.

Whanganui also had a B Grade men's team in the competition, a first for many years. They found it tough going but lost to Squashgym 4-1 and Kawaroa Park 5-0.