Te Awamutu Courier
Celebrating achievers at squash club
Contributions of members recognised
On the back of a highly successful 2021, Te Awamutu Squash Club has plenty to look forward to as the 2022 season begins. Despite the many disruptions and disappointments that lockdowns brought, club president Aaron Donaldson still had plenty to celebrate when reflecting on another truncated season at the muchreduced end-of-season awards evening.
With changes to alert settings cancelling the annual club championship, the club decided to host a more celebratory night to recognise the individual efforts of club members and special award winners from across the season.
This included the presentation of the Catherine Livingstone Memorial Trophy for club member of the year awarded to a club member who demonstrates continued commitment and dedication to improving the club.
This was Rebecca Hill for the fantastic job she does in the instrumental roles of club secretary and junior administrator, in addition to the many years of help behind the scenes to oversee, co-ordinate and manage many of the club’s tournaments, grant applications, updating of Covid-19 requirements and much more.
If there is something that needs doing, chances are Rebecca already has it covered.
The Club Spirit award was shared between Rachel and Patrick Downard, in recognition of the combined effort the husband-andwife team have contributed to the Te Awamutu Squash Club.
Together they oversaw the creation and running of the highly success Summer Tri-series, and individually they have taken on plenty of new roles within the club.
After completing her bar manager’s licence in 2021, Rachel has worked closely with longstanding bar manager Shane Barrell to manage the bar and continually upskill the club’s committee with the host responsibilities.
Additionally, she has co-ordinated the catering for a number of club functions and tournaments and is always willing to offer a hand wherever needed.
Patrick has taken over not only the organisation of the successful junior coaching programme, but also the position of men’s club captain from longstanding club member Cliff Nightingale.
In these roles, Patrick has been instrumental in overseeing both the junior and senior men through a very disrupted year, creating additional avenues for participation to fill the voids left by lockdowns and level changes.
Other award recipients included the presentation of Senior and Junior Club Ladder winners, Chris McKinley and Gabe Titchener; Men’s and Women’s Novice Cup, presented to the most improved senior novice players, Paul Higham and Hayley Kerrison respectively; as well as the presentation of the Club’s Most Improved Overall Player, which was awarded for the second year running to Austin Furniss.
After gaining a whopping 710 points in 2020 to move from a J1 to D2; Austin outdid himself again in the 2021 season gaining another 1000 points moving him from a D2 to a C1, not an easy accomplishment given the disrupted season.
In the junior divisions, the trophies for Most Improved Junior Boy and Girl went to the well-deserving pair of Troy Morrison and Dayna Burr whose dedication and commitment to the sport have seen them both make significant moves up the grading list and achieve personal highs.
Dayna, in particular, has had a stellar season, winning not only the J grade division of the Waikato Champion of Champions competition, but also placing fifth overall and claiming the top female spot in the Werder
junior one-day tournament series for 2021.
The Junior Sportsmanship Cups for the 2021 season were awarded to newer juniors, Gabe Titchener and Chloe Chipperfield, whose willingness to learn and enthusiasm to play has led them to make the most of every opportunity presented at the club.
Some of the other main highlights from the season included the men’s E Grade team winning the Waikato District Superchamps and securing a spot at the national superchamps event; which was unfortunately cancelled due to our return to alert level 4.
Likewise, the senior Interclub teams featured strongly in local competitions with six teams (women’s A, C and F, as well as Men’s B, C and D) winning their Autumn Interclub Pennants and three men’s (A, C and F) teams crowned winners of the Winter Interclub season before lockdown saw the cancellation of the spring rounds of competition.
Individually, some of the Te Awamutu senior players achieved season highs, with Jorja Tarrant’s triumphant return to squash and A grade, allowing her to compete as part of
Hamilton Squash’s premier women’s team who were crowned New Zealand’s top club team and winners of the Mitchell Cup.
Similarly, Paige Browne was also able to get her first taste of A-grade squash, after reaching this significant milestone in 2021.
In the men’s, up and coming senior junior player, Connor Hill was awarded the prestigious Robin Lindsay Award for Sportsmanship at the annual Squash Waikato Awards night for his conduct, determination and commitment to the sport.
As a secondary school student, Connor has excelled in both the junior and senior divisions within the club.
As a senior, he has achieved impressive gains individually, with a 75 per cent winning average across 2021 moving him up the grades from a C1 to B1.
Moreover, his strong match win in the men’s A team Winter Interclub final was integral to the team’s division 1 victory.
Connor has competed in the Hamilton’s boys’ secondary school teams, alongside other Te Awamutu Squash members, including Austin Furniss, Brad Seager and Mark Seager to finish top of the Waikato secondary schools’ team competition and fifth at the New Zealand secondary school competition.
For those interested in giving squash a go, the 2022 season will begin on March 1, with plenty of social and competitive options available. For more information, or to keep up-to-date with what is happening at the club, visit the website teawamutusquash.co.nz or like their Facebook page.