Squash team create history

CHAMPIONS: Back from left, Walter Rika (manager), Praveen Kumar, Simon Edwards, Desmond Mokomoko, front, William Shaw-White and Haimz Edwards after beating Te Puke to qualify for the F grade nationals in Invercargill in September. Photo supplied

Staff Reporter

THE Ōpōtiki Squash Club’s F grade men’s team have created a special piece of history.

Desmond Mokomoko, Haimz Edwards, Praveen Kumar, Simon Edwards and William Shaw-White took part in the recent Bay of Plenty Squash regional qualifiers and secured themselves a ticket to Invercargill later in the year.

It’s the first time the club has ever won a district super champs, following several previous attempts.

Ōpōtiki Squash Club president Stacey Carter said the entire club was proud of the team and their recent performance.

“Our club is extremely proud of their success.

“We have competed numerous times in this annual event, but never held the victory banner.

“The team will represent the Bay of Plenty at nationals in September in Invercargill.

“Our boys are now preparing and fundraising to get their team to the South Island.”

Carter said the win was a big deal for squash in the small seaside town.

Numbers in grades fluctuate every year as players drop out of the sport or progress up the ranks and although they only had to defeat Te Puke Squash Club, it was still a superb effort.

“Overall, we won quite convincingly. It was 4-1.

“The men did really well, they were all really strong.”

She said the side were relatively new to the sport, all picking it up within the past 12 months.

“They are really excited. They’re just begun a busy training programme and started fundraising.

“As a club, we are all excited and have been helping them along.

“Never in its time has any team made it to nationals for this club.

“We have had many teams compete in the district finals, but never has anyone made it to nationals, so it’s pretty special what these five have done for our club.”

Carter said squash was in reasonable shape at the club.

“We’re doing pretty well for a small rural area.

“We have approximately 60 members, so we are still strong and operating well.

“We have good club nights and our players are all improving, playing up the grades and entering new competitions.”

She said there were a lot more competitive players than social within the club now.

“We are going really well. We couldn’t be happier with their effort.”

Carter said the team would now focus on training for Invercargill and improving in whatever way they could.

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