Squash: Tough act for brothers to follow

Jamie (left) and Josh Oakley joke around ahead of their opening matches in the E grade national...
Jamie (left) and Josh Oakley joke around ahead of their opening matches in the E grade national squash tournament in Dunedin yesterday. The boys' mother is New Zealand squash great Dame Susan Devoy. Photo by Adrian Seconi.
If pedigree counts for anything in sport then the pint-sized Oakley brothers should have a promising future in squash.

Josh (12) and Jamie (10) have the best possible coach right at home - Mum.

Or to the rest of us - Dame Susan Devoy.

Devoy dominated women's squash from the mid 1980s to early 1990s, winning four World Opens and the coveted British Open eight times.

Since retiring unexpectedly in 1992, Devoy has had four sons, all of whom play squash.

The oldest two, Julian (15) and Alex (14), are in New Plymouth contesting the E grade nationals.

Josh and Jamie are in Dunedin representing a very young Bay of Plenty team at the F grade nationals and played their first matches yesterday afternoon.

In the five-strong team, there are two 12-year-olds, two 10-year-olds and the old man of the side, William Moore aged 13.

Team manager John Revington said it was perhaps the youngest team to compete at a national squash event.

The Oakley boys took up squash two years ago and are still learning the game.

"I like how you can go down [to the courts] and have a hit on your own and stuff. You don't have to have all your mates with you," Josh said.

Both boys are keen sportsmen and dabble in other sports like rugby and cricket.

But they are quite keen on squash at the moment.

Mum is still recovering from an Achilles injury but has a hit with the boys and passes on a few tips.

The best advice she gave the boys, Josh said, was, "You should worry about the next point and not what has happened in the past".

That steely focus which took Devoy to the top of her sport does not look like it has skipped a generation.

The E grade nationals are being staged over four days and wrap up on Saturday.

It is the lowest competitive grade but is a breeding ground for up-and-coming players and older people wanting to stay active.

The tournament has attracted a team from Kaitaia and involves more then 60 competitors.


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