Reigning champion Kent Darlington successfully defended his Whanganui Squash Club championship open men's title, while there was a changing of the guard in the open women's division with top seed Ngakuira Osborne claiming the honours.

The championship was contested over the last two weeks with singles and doubles matches wrapped up over the weekend after another successful year for some club members.

While down in entries this year, it did not affect those playing hard for the club trophies, some which date back to the 1960s.

Darlington took out the title this year after a three-set win over Matt Ratcliffe. Darlington was fresh back from the New Zealand Masters Nationals last week in Tauranga where he finished second in his 40-44 year age group and went undefeated in the teams event for Central.


He won a total of six matches out of seven over the five-day tournament. He also took out the masters title, the mixed doubles title after pairing up with his wife Paula and the men's doubles tit 3-0.

The women's open title changed hands for 2018 as top seed Osborne defeated Pauline Slovak 3-0 to continue her great form this season. She will be looking to continue her form for the Whanganui club as she heads to New Plymouth next week for the National B Grade Superchamps teams event where Whanganui are seeded second.

D Grader David Grant also had a great club champs and continued on his winning ways.

He took out the D Grade trophy and then went on to win the C Grade Cup as well, winning all his matches and taking out the top seed Jared Perkins 3-1 even though he was seeded fourth in that draw. He will hope to continue his hot form at the National Champions of Champions in Ohakune next month when he represents the Central District team after he won the District Champion D Grade title at Levin earlier in the year.

The women's doubles title ended with an upset as second seeds Paula Darlington and Laurie Hill defeated top seeds Osborne and Pauline Slovak in a five set battle 8-15, 16-14, 14-16, 15-11, 15-10.

The Whanganui junior programme showed how strong it is with 20-odd kids entering and getting a taste of what club champs is all about spread across five divisions.

In the final of the junior girls' division Aria Bannister took out the best Junior title by beating Zoe Rapson 3-0. Bannister also picked up the E Grade Cup and the Most Improved Junior Girl title. Bannister has had a fantastic year to date and is currently ranked No 2 in NZ for under-11 Girls. She has moved from J2 at the start of the year to be sitting currently at E1 and not far off D Grade. She will be looking to mix it up with the best as she heads off to the North Shore Club next week in Auckland to contest the New Zealand Junior Nationals.

The junior boys division ended with Thor Darlington taking out the best junior title where there was some tough battles against his peers.


In what was essentially the final, Darlington beat last year's winner Blake Hoskin (second seed) in a competitive four-set match. He showed that he has risen up the ranks this year also as he is ranked at NZ No 9 in the under-11 boys. Darlington also picked up the Best J Grade trophy, Most Improved Junior Boy and the F Grade Cup.

There were some trophies handed out which have a special place in the club's history.

The Most Promising Junior Cup which recognises a good club member showing promise, sportsmanship, improvement and attitude went to Samson Power. Power, who shows all these qualities, is down at the club most days and, with his attitude on and off the court around other younger juniors, he was rewarded with the trophy.

The club's Achievers Award went to Sean Edmonds for 2018. This is gained by hard work and ability. Edmonds has moved from D1 up to C1, a rise of a whopping 590 points, registering 30 wins from his 52 matches played.

The club's top trophy of Best All Round Club Member was won by Paula Darlington. She puts in a huge amount of volunteer hours. From being vice-president to the club captain, from junior convenor who runs the Friday night programmes, to running the club's tournaments, having her kids all play and trying to fit in a hit now and then for herself, it was a well-deserved award for someone who loves the sport with a passion.