Wanganui's national masters champion Rod Bannister finished third amongst some of the top-ranked players in the country at the Central Squash Open in New Plymouth at the weekend.

The men's open tournament at Kawaroa Park, which also doubled as the Taranaki Open, was won by New Zealand's No4 ranked player Kashif Shuja, with the Manawatu professional dominating his first three games without dropping a set.

Shuja claimed the title in the final by default when Waikato University student Zac Miller, the New Zealand No9, pulled out with a calf injury.

Miller had been hurt while being pushed to the limit by Bannister in their hour-long semifinal, beating the Wanganui veteran in five sets 8-11 11-9 11-5 4-11 11-9.


Shuja had easily accounted for Palmerston North's Ben Calvert in three one-sided sets in the other semifinal.

That set up the playoff for third between Calvert and a tired Bannister, but Bannister proved an ironman by coming back after dropping the first set to win in four, 5-11 11-9 11-4 11-2.

In the women's open, third seed and newly-promoted A Grade player Jackie Tapp, from Taihape, reached the semifinals where she was beaten by Palmerston North's Danielle Fourie in three sets.

Fourie was then beaten in the final in four sets by her Palmerston North and former NZ Juniors team mate Rebecca Barnett. Tapp earned the consolation of third when she beat young Manawatu player Katilyn Watts in five tight sets, 11-13 11-5, 8-11, 11-5, 11-8.

Both Bannister and Tapp have been selected in their respective Central Squash teams to play Wellington Squash at SquashGym in Palmerston North on August 3.

Taihape's Loni Martin was also named as reserve for the six-strong women's team, who are managed by Wanganui's Kent Darlington.