Women’s squash team triumphs Team clinches third place in national Superchampion contest
Te Awamutu women’s C grade squash team covered themselves in glory placing third at the National Superchampion Competition in Napier.
The second seeded Te Awamutu side were anxious to finish the tournament strongly in the playoff for third place against Royal Oak Racquets Club (Auckland).
Team No. 3 Jude Nightingale got them off to a flying start winning 3/0, followed by No. 4 Ashton McDonald winning a tightly-contested match 3/1.
A tough 3/1 loss for No. 1 Vanessa Robb (in her best match of the tournament), meant Emma McLaughlin once again found herself under pressure to win. She duly obliged, winning 3/0. Her super effort was topped off by a comfortable 3/1 win to No. 5 player Shaana Paterson to secure a 4/1 team victory.
Te Awamutu had some tense times in their first pool match against hosts and eighth seed Hawkes Bay Squash Rackets Club (Eastern District representatives).
After gaining the lead with a 3/0 victory to Renae Boyden, Te Awamutu quickly found themselves on the back foot with the first and third seeded players going down 0/3 and 1/3 against some strong opposition.
A tense 3/2 comeback win for Emma McLaughlin put Te Awamutu back in contention. Victory was secured with a calm, composed 3/1 win to Shelley van der Hulst. With first match jitters out of the way, Te Awamutu met sixth seed Kamo Rugby and Squash Club (Northland) in their second pool game.
With a lacklustre performance Te Awamutu lost 4/1 to the eventual runners-up of the tournament. After a night’s reflection, Te Awamutu were determined to return to form against third seeds Hawera Lawn Tennis and Squash Club (Central Districts).
Van der Hulst won 3/0 first up, backed up by a tense 3/2 victory to Paterson. Ahead 2-0, Te Awamutu seemed to be regaining their winning ways. However, with a 1/3 loss to Nightingale the pressure returned. It was eased by McLaughlin winning 3/1 and, despite Robb losing her match, Te Awamutu prevailed 3/2 to make the semi-final against unbeaten top seeds Havelock North Squash Club (Eastern). Te Awamutu was unable to topple this much stronger and indomitable side which dropped only one match (in the finals) throughout the tournament to become worthy national women’s C-grade title holders.
Team captain, Jude Nightingale said the Te Awamutu players’ spirits were lifted throughout the tournament by the wonderful support from both current and past members of the Te Awamutu Squash community who made the long trek to Napier to cheer on the team throughout the week.
“With many fond memories and friendships made in and around some tight contests, tough competition and an overall third place finish, there certainly is plenty to be proud of.”
Te Awamutu had earlier qualified for the national tournament by winning both their matches convincingly (4/1, 5/0) at the Waikato District Superchampion competition.
The team was coached by Cliff Nightingale, managed by Sharon Garrick and sponsored by Te Awamutu Squash Club, Thomsons ITM, Keir Landscaping, AI Electrical, Brian Laird, Alexandra House, Murray Gane Plumbing, Truestyle, The Tomo Bar and Eatery, Fastway Couriers Hamilton, HB Farms, James Robb NZ Couriers, Plumbing World and Mitre 10 who made competing in Napier a possibility.
Relaxing on Marine Parade after placing third at the National Superchampion Squash Competition in Napier. Te Awamutu C grade team of, from left: Cliff Nightingale (coach), Shelley van der Hulst, Renae Boyden, Jude Nightingale, Ashton McDonald, Craig McDonald (supporter), Shaana Paterson, Emma McLaughlin, Vanessa Robb and Sharon Garrick (manager).