Open al­lows play­ers to shine

Pilbara News - - Sport - Ali­cia Per­era

Ju­nior squash play­ers picked up their rac­quets for an in­au­gu­ral re­gional tour­na­ment at the week­end, as Wick­ham Squash Club hosted the first North West Ju­nior Squash Open.

The first com­pe­ti­tion for ju­nior play­ers in the North West ran all day on Satur­day at the Wick­ham Recre­ation Precinct, where some fierce but friendly com­pe­ti­tion took place be­tween the 28 chil­dren tak­ing part.

Twenty-four young Wick­ham play­ers and four from Ex­mouth Squash Club went head-to-head com­pet­ing in three-four games through­out the day, which they fol­lowed up with skills clin­ics run by WA Squash State coach­ing di­rec­tor Mike Cor­nish on Sun­day.

Ex­mouth res­i­dent and State un­der-17 squash player Anita Tsan­garis, 15, be­came the over­all Open cham­pion af­ter de­feat­ing Wick­ham Squash Club ju­nior Leigh Trost, 15, three games to none in the grand fi­nal.

She said re­gional com­pe­ti­tions were a good way to chal­lenge play­ers and en­cour­age them to as­pire to a higher level.

Wick­ham Squash Club coach and ju­niors co-or­di­na­tor Natasha Alexan­der-Malek said with 28 young play­ers on the books, the club had started the Open with the help of WA Squash to give them more re­gional play­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“As coaches, when we see them on a reg­u­lar ba­sis on a Sun­day play­ing squash, we don’t ac­tu­ally see their level of squash com­par­a­tively, whereas to­day we saw a huge im­prove­ment right from our lit­tle be­gin­ners to our top play­ers,” she said. “When you stick to your own play­ers within your own club, the kids don’t tend to de­velop quite as well, so I think it’s re­ally im­por­tant for their de­vel­op­ment.”

The re­gional com­pe­ti­tion means all com­peti­tors now have a WA rank­ing, al­low­ing them to be eas­ily placed into di­vi­sions at any other com­pe­ti­tion in the State.

Alexan­der-Malek said the club planned to make the Open an an­nual event and ex­pand it fur­ther next year.

“Hope­fully we’ll see more of our neigh­bour­ing Pil­bara towns — Broome, Hed­land, Tom Price — take part,” she said.

“They do have some ju­niors and they are de­vel­op­ing them, so hope­fully next year when we hold the com­pe­ti­tion again, we should see a few more clubs.”

The Wick­ham Squash Club coaches thanked the spon­sors and the com­mu­nity for sup­port­ing the tour­na­ment.

Pic­ture: Ali­cia Per­era

Run­ner-up Leigh Trost and cham­pion Anita Tsan­garis, both 15.

Pic­ture: Wick­ham Squash Club

The young Wick­ham and Ex­mouth com­peti­tors of the in­au­gu­ral North West Ju­nior Squash Open.

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