Age and experience proved the telling point among the three A graders contesting the men's division at Rivercity Squash Club's Open tournament at the weekend.

The event, changed from a B Grade tournament to Open this season, attracted 52 entries for club's two court complex, forcing it to borrow courts on the Saturday from neighbours, the Whanganui Squash Club.

The top three seeds in the men's open draw were A graders, including former five time New Zealand champion and current NZ#10, Masters 35-39 age group NZ#1, and still A1 graded, Kashif Shuja from Palmerston North as the top seed.

Whanganui's Kent Darlington was 2nd seed, Stephen Bennett (PN) was 3rd and Matt Ratcliffe (WG) 4th.


Both Shuja and Darlington won their matches against Bennett and Ratcliffe, Shuja in 4 sets, while Darlington's were both in three. In the final however, Shuja again showed his class coming out the victor by 3 sets to 2.

Darlington managed to get closer than he ever has, but Shuja showed his experience in the end and made sure the back end of the match had some tough rallies to see him through as the Rivercity champion for 2018. Ratcliffe also had a good win as he pipped Bennett for 3rd place, 12/10 in the 5th set.

The women's top draw featured Whanganui Squash Club member Ngakuira Osborne carrying on her winning ways as she defeated all her opponents 3-nil. Seeded number one, Osborne defeated Shey Maclean from Ohakune in the final after Maclean had earlier managed to get a good couple of wins to finish above her seeding of third.

There were a few finals where the top seeds were tipped up by the 2nd seeds and a couple to mention were from Rivercity members.

In Men's division 1, young B grader Bryce McKenzie, who is improving every weekend and playing plenty of tournaments, managed to come back to win in the fifth set against top seed Jordan Bell from Palmerston North.

In a match where there was some unbelievable court coverage, both players gave everything but the fit Mckenzie managed to come out on top in the five set win.

Another who had a fantastic tournament was Jackie Dowman in women's division 4. Seeded at three she ended up beating all her fellow clubmates. Playing against the 2nd seed in her first match, she beat Julie Berry in five sets.

Next she had to take on the top seed, Gwen Stuart and won that in four. In her final match she was pushed all the way by Lisa Chase but held on to win her division 15/11 in the fifth set.