Squash Open wins praise from event organisers

Ty Adams (left), of the Wanaka Squash Club, pursues the ball in a match against fellow club...
Ty Adams (left), of the Wanaka Squash Club, pursues the ball in a match against fellow club member Rob MacAndrew at the Wanaka Squash Open on Sunday. Adams won the match. PHOTO: SHANNON THOMSON
"Epic" battles kept spectators enthralled at the Wanaka Squash Open over the weekend.

Nearly 70 competitors from as far as Northland converged on the resort town for the Wanaka Squash Club’s annual tournament— including brothers and New Zealand representatives Lwamba (ranked NZ No 2) and Temwa Chileshe (ranked NZ No 3) — fresh from playing professionally in England.

The brothers, who are home in New Zealand on a two-month break, competed against each other in the tournament final last year, younger brother Temwa coming out on top.

This year the results were reversed, Lwamba winning 14-12 in the fifth set.

The women’s final also went to five sets with local player and New Zealand junior representative Martha Toghill winning a closely fought match over club vice-president and tournament controller Emma Brown.

Brown said competition on the court had been fierce throughout the weekend.

"It’s great — we’ve had a lot of epic battles and lots of five-setters and good matches," she said.

The tournament had been a team effort from the Wanaka squash community and was indicative of the culture of the club, she said.

"It’s a cool community and the club at the moment is a really good club — everybody is really supportive.

"It’s not just me being tournament controller, everybody has stepped up and helped out and that just reflects the club at the moment."

Lwamba (left) and Temwa Chileshe. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Lwamba (left) and Temwa Chileshe. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Club president Tony Johnston echoed those sentiments.

"[There’s] lots of helpers around the place — yeah, it’s been going really, really well," he said.

A lot has changed since the club held its first tournament more than 40 years ago.

Back then the club’s lounge was in a tent off the courts and players would come back the next morning to find glasses frozen solid.

Now players could see matches from the lounge and the club was working towards developing its complex to accommodate more players, with plans to expand from two courts to four.

The club had "more or less" doubled its membership in the last three years, with the increase being " mainly juniors and females", Johnston said.

He put the growth down to having the "best committee" he had been on since he first got involved in the governance side of the sport — and he would know.

Since he first joined squash committees in the ’70s, Johnston has served as chairman of Squash Otago, and has been on the board of Squash New Zealand to name a few.