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Club nights return, players rejoice

PHOTO/STOCK.ADOBE.COM

Fewer interclub teams this year

SQUASH

CHRIS COGDALE
[email protected]

Wairarapa squash players are enjoying being back on court after nine weeks of inactivity because of the covid-19 pandemic.

The Masterton Squash Club opened to players on Thursday, May 14 and resumed their club nights last Thursday.

“The club night worked really well, and the players were pretty keen to get on court,” club captain Hayley Wilton said,

Red Star will resume club nights on Thursday. The Martinborough club reopened for members from May 16 and hope to restart club nights on Thursday.

Squash NZ have set out strict conditions concerning the reopening facilities, which the Masterton, Martinborough and Red Star clubs are applying.

They include signing in and sanitising on arrival, ensuring that no more than 100 people are in the facility at one time and that social distancing is adhered to in all areas outside the courts, such as hallways, common areas, changing rooms, and bar.

The resumption of interclub squash is also imminent, with Squash Wellington planning to start the competitions on Tuesday, June 23, for men and the following day for women and masters.

Wilton expected Masterton to enter the same number of teams as last year – three men’s and two women’s teams.

Martinborough Squash Club president Jackie Steventon said they would normally have up to four men’s and three women’s interclub teams, but that could be down to five teams this year.

Red Star president Greg Cottle expected the club to enter four teams, down from the three men’s, two women’s and two masters’ teams that played in 2019.

“The Wairarapa teams have more travel than any others, and that has probably put a few people off from playing interclub this year,” he said.

With the interclub season to be played over 10 weeks, plus an extra week for catch-up games if necessary, that would require Wairarapa teams to travel for five rounds.

The Squash Wellington region covers Wellington, Hutt Valley, Wairarapa, and Kapiti Coast, as far north as Otaki.

Squash Wellington are also working on a revised tournament draw as from July.

Wilton said that would result in each club in the region getting one tournament to host, which would make up for tournaments cancelled because of the lockdown and provide a financial boost for the clubs.

The Masterton club was hit hard with the loss of its Mad Hatters’ tournament in March and the Farriers Masterton Open in April, while Red Star was forced to cancel its open tournament earlier this month.

The Martinborough Open was scheduled for the weekend of June 6-7 and will now be played in early August.

Wilton said the SuperChamps team competitions, which involve regional playoffs, with the winners progressing to national finals will also go ahead.

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