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Some talented youngsters — and one very familiar masters player — will be in action at the South Island quadrangular tournament in Dunedin this weekend.
Squash Otago is hosting teams from Canterbury, Southland and Midlands for the annual event.
Teams consist of 16 players — eight men, eight women — with six in seniors, six in masters and four in juniors.
Each age group will have an overall winner, and the district with the most competition points will get its name on the trophy.
Team selection is a moving feast thanks to Covid, but Otago should be able to field a lineup that will challenge for the top honour.
Fresh from guiding a certain rugby team in its Super Rugby Pacific clash with the Force last night will be a Pirates club member in the Otago masters men’s team.
Highlanders coach Tony Brown is a dab hand with a squash racquet, and will line up with a rugby colleague, Highlanders analyst Andy Watts, and Paul Tapsell.
They are joined by masters women Tracey Flux, Sam Cross and Ange Button.
Ben Edwards (Pirates), Nick Askin and Brad Suddaby (both Otago) are the senior men’s trio, joined by Lowri Waugh (Otago University), Sophie O’Connell (Otago) and Alana Changfoot (Queenstown) in the senior women.
Ashton Hansen (Otago) and Isaac Cowley (Alexandra) are the junior men’s players, and a strong junior women’s team includes Martha Toghill (Otago University) and Aria Bannister (Otago).
Toghill, hailing from Wanaka, is 18, B1-graded and ranked seventh on the Squash NZ under-19 grading list.
Bannister, who recently relocated with her family to Dunedin from Whanganui and will be attending Otago Girls’ High School, is 14, B1-graded and ranked fourth on the national under-15 grading list.
Gore product Hansen, a 14-year-old pupil at Otago Boys’ High School, is B2-graded and is ranked second on the national under-15 grading list. As a 12-year-old, he was part of the SNZ junior transtasman team that competed in Australia.