Waitara club over dol­drums

North Taranaki Midweek - - GARDENING - CHRIS­TINE WALSH

Waitara Squash Club is of­fi­cially over its bout of the dol­drums.

With a suc­cess­ful 2017 sea­son un­der its belt, the ball is now firmly in the club’s court - now it’s game on for 2018.

A few years back the club faced dwin­dling mem­ber­ship and a gen­eral lack of pub­lic in­ter­est in squash, the game. It is now ranked num­ber one in the Cen­tral Dis­trict re­gion for the high­est per­cent­age of games won, and that ranked it 13th in New Zealand.

‘‘It’s like all clubs these days, they prob­a­bly all strug­gle to get to how they were in the old days,’’ club pres­i­dent Mike Davie said.

Key mem­bers iden­ti­fied where the club was and where it wanted to go and they de­cided to put the call­out for new blood and fo­cus on young play­ers com­ing through. Mov­ing for­ward, it pro­moted squash in the com­mu­nity by run­ning a ju­niors’ pro­gramme, host­ing its two an­nual tour­na­ments, and en­ter­ing and host­ing events it hadn’t for years.

‘‘What we did was get our name out there. A lot of peo­ple didn’t even know the com­mu­nity had a squash club,’’ Davie said. ‘‘Club num­bers were down to about 30 a cou­ple of years back and now they have in­creased to 50 plus.’’

Davie said draw­ing new peo­ple in was the hard part, but keeping them there was made eas­ier by the club’s friendly fam­ily vibe.

‘‘I think in the squash com­mu­nity as a whole through­out New Zealand you just all get along and ev­ery­body is in the same boat.’’

Ju­nior player Brooke Reid is in her fifth year hit­ting the in­door courts and is ranked 13th in the NZ un­der 15 girls, she gained a NZ Cham­pion ti­tle as part of the Ha¯ wera D grade ladies team and se­lec­tion for the NZ Ju­nior Train­ing Squad. ‘‘I want to be like Kait­lyn Watts, she’s the New Zealand top ju­nior girl. She’s al­ready rep­re­sented NZ and she’s only 16.’’

Club mem­bers with plenty to cel­e­brate were Travis Fore­man and Ed­die Henry who made it to the Cham­pion of Cham­pion Na­tional play­offs, Henry went on to be­come Na­tional Champ in his F/J grade. The women’s in­ter­club team won Cen­tral Squash Divi­sion 2 for the sec­ond year.

For 2018 club nights have shifted to Mon­days, 7pm on­wards and is open to ev­ery­one. Rack­ets and balls are avail­able for a $2 do­na­tion for non mem­bers.

CHRIS­TINE WALSH/ STUFF

Eddy Henry and Brooke Reid hard hitters in the game of squash.

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