New Zealand Nationals 2023

New Zealand Nationals 2023 : Day THREE : FINALS

[1] Joelle King 3-0 [2] Megan Graham  11-5, 11-5, 11-4

[1] Paul Coll 3-0 [2] Lwamba Chileshe  11-2, 11-3, 11-3.

Paul Coll & Joelle King claim New Zealand Titles – King Equals Dame Susan Devoy’s Record

Joelle King has made history at the New Zealand Squash Open, claiming her tenth national title to equal the record set by squash great Dame Susan Devoy in 1992.

World number four King was joined on the winners podium by Paul Coll, who notched up his seventh national title during the final day of competition at the Devoy Squash and Fitness Centre in Tauranga.

“This is always a special tournament for me, I can remember being a 10-year-old watching the nationals so to be here equalling Susie with 10 titles is pretty cool,” said King.

Squash great Dame Susan Devoy congratulated King on becoming the second ever New Zealand woman to secure ten national titles.

“Records are made to be broken and I hope we’ll see Joelle back here next year to go one better,” said Dame Susan.

King’s only setback of the day was forgetting her squash shoes, with friend and doubles teammate Amanda Landers-Murphy managing to locate them at their accommodation and get them to King with half an hour until game time.

“In 17-years of playing professional squash I’ve never once forgotten my shoes, unfortunately today was the first day it ever happened but my good old doubles partner had my back so I owe her one.”

On court King showed her pedigree for a comfortable victory over Megan Graham in the women’s final. The eight-time Commonwealth Games medal winner controlling the pace of the match and directing play with her power and precision for a comfortable three game win 11-5, 11-5, 11-4.

In the men’s final world number five Coll took on tournament second seed Lwamba Chileshe. Coll playing his trademark game to wear down his opponent and force mistakes during long rallies.

“I felt like I played really well today and it’s great to get another title,” said Coll. “It’s been a really cool week, I love playing at home, I’ve been having a tough year but everyone’s really stuck with me and supported me so it’s great to come back here and see everyone.”

The New Zealand Racketball Invitational also drew to a close, with Lauren Clarke taking the honours in the women’s division and Stuart Martin in the men’s.

Squash New Zealand Poipātū Aotearoa Chief Executive Martin Dowson extended his thanks to everyone involved in a fantastic tournament.

“This has been a great few days of competition featuring a host of professionals as well as the future stars of New Zealand Squash,” said Dowson. “As well as showcasing the best in our sport, this is also a significant development opportunity for many of our younger players and it’s been great to see this community really support each other over the past three days.

“I’d like to thank the athletes, coaches, referees, and everyone who has helped to make this a great tournament, we look forward to doing it all again next year.”

Day TWO : Quarters & Semis

New Zealand Nationals 2023 : Day TWO

Men’s Semis :  
[1] Paul Coll 3-0 [4] Elijah Thomas  11-4, 11-9, 11-7
[2] Lwamba Chileshe 3-2 [3] Temwa Chileshe  9-11, 11-5, 11-4, 5-11, 11-1

Women’s Semis :
[1] Joelle King 3-0 [5] Winona-Jo Joyce   11-2, 11-3, 11-4
[2] Megan Graham 3-1 [6] Ella Lash   11-1, 11-5, 5-11, 11-5

Men’s Quarters :
[1] Paul Coll 3-0 [8] Mason Smales  11-3, 11-6, 11-2
[4] Elijah Thomas 3-0 [5] Anthony Lepper  11-7, 11-9, 11-8
[3] Temwa Chileshe 3-0 [6] Joel Arscott  11-6, 13-11, 11-6
[2] Lwamba Chileshe 3-0 [10] Gabe Yam  11-9, 11-7, 11-8

Women’s Quarters:
[1] Joelle King
3-0 [9] Anne Leakey  11-1, 11-1, 11-4
[5] Winona-Jo Joyce 3-0 [4] Rebecca Barnett   11-5, 11-4, 11-3
[6] Ella Lash 3-0 [3] Abbie Palmer  11-4, 11-7, 11-7
[2] Megan Graham 3-0 [7] Sophie Hodges  11-1, 11-1, 11-5

Day TWO : King gunning for Devoy’s record

Joelle King, Megan Graham, Paul Coll and Lwamba Chileshe have booked their spots in the finals of the New Zealand Squash Championships, following another day of heated competition at the Devoy Squash and Fitness Centre in Tauranga.

Nine-time national champion King was a cut above in her quarterfinal, outclassing ninth seed Anne Leakey 11-1, 11-1, 11-4. King again showed why she’s ranked number four in the world as she took on Winona-Jo Joyce in her semi-final, King directing play from the middle of the court for a cruisy 11-2, 11-3, 11-4 win.

She’ll now meet Megan Graham in the women’s final at 1pm tomorrow where King will attempt to equal Dame Susan Devoy’s record of 10 national titles.

“I haven’t really thought about that record to be honest but it would be a pretty cool thing to do,” said King. “I’m loving being back home and being back in this environment so it should be a good match tomorrow.”

But two-time national champion Graham isn’t going to make it easy for her. The Glasgow Commonwealth Games athlete was clinical in her quarterfinal, breezing around the court and controlling the pace of the match to take an 11-1, 11-1, 11-5 victory over Sophie Hodges.

Graham faced more of a battle in her semi, dropping her second game against opponent Ella Lash but regaining her composure as she notched up a 11-1, 5-11, 11-5, 11-5 win.

In the men’s division Paul Coll was too good in his quarterfinal, up against eighth seed Mason Smales. Coll showed his class at the front of the court taking the pace off the ball to beat Smales 11-3, 11-6, 11-2.

However, Coll was made to work in his semifinal against Elijah Thomas. The West Coaster won the first game comfortably 11-4 but Thomas kept up with Coll’s pace and power in the second, eventually going down 11-9 with Coll taking the third 11-7.

“He came over and trained with me in Amsterdam a few years ago,” said Coll. “He’s definitely taken his game to another level since then which is awesome to see so he’s got a big future ahead of him.”

It was a family battle in the other men’s semi final with Lwamba Chileshe taking on younger brother Temwa. It’s often close when the brothers meet and today was no exception, the match going to five games, Lwamba just edging his younger brother 9-11, 11-5, 11-4, 5-11, 11-1.

“It was a very emotional game, we know each others games so well and there definitely wasn’t much in it today,” said Lwamba. “I’m feeling great and really looking forward to the final, I’m just planning to go out there and play the best squash I can.”

Earlier in the day Lwamba got the better of Gabe Yam in a fast-paced quarterfinal with Chileshe’s volleying up front proving the difference in the 11-9, 11-7, 11-8 win.

One of the matches of the day saw fourth seed Elijah Thomas take on fifth seed Anthony Lepper in a quarterfinal battle. It was an extremely tight match which saw multiple rallies of more than 50 shots. Thomas ultimately the more composed of the pair to take the match in three games 11-7, 11-9, 11-8.

“We really know each other’s games inside and out so that was always going to be a tight match but thankfully I was a little more clinical today to get the win,” said Thomas. “I’m pretty tired now, he’s always on the ball early which means it’s always hard work playing him.”

Another highlight of the day was a tightly contested match between two of the athletes heading to next month’s Junior World Championships in Melbourne. Oliver Dunbar and Apa Fatialofa met in a fast paced 13-16th place playoff. Dunbar took the first game with Fatialofa rallying to take the second. Dunbar holding on for a 11-6, 3-11, 11-8, 11-8 win.

The New Zealand Racketball Invitational also got underway, being contested by eight men and eight women.

“Racketball is a really fast growing sport in New Zealand,” said event organiser Shari Ball. “It’s really accessible and it’s a great equaliser, anyone can play anyone and we have a huge variety of people playing from across different ages and genders.”

The sport is proving a popular showcase, with young and old giving it a go in between the elite matches.

The New Zealand Squash Championships finals will be contested tomorrow (2/7/23) with the women’s final at 1pm and the men’s at 2pm. The full draw and results are available here and the event programme is available here. Athletes will be available for in person and remote media following matches.

Full Draws & Results  Streaming & Replays

New Zealand Squash Championships: Day One

It was an action packed first day of competition at the New Zealand Squash Championships with more than 50 matches played at the Devoy Squash and Fitness Centre in Tauranga.

International star Paul Coll (world #5) breezed through his first matches to qualify for tomorrow’s quarterfinals. Coll beat youngster Flynn Venmore 11-1, 11-4, 11-2 in his first match before notching up another comfortable victory against Keidah Bungard 11-2, 11-4, 11-3. Coll will meet Mason Smales in his quarterfinal tomorrow.

For 17-year-old Venmore, it was the match of a lifetime getting to take on his idol Coll.

“It was pretty special, he’s all class and was definitely just cruising while I was really puffing,” said Venmore. “He was giving me tips as we played which was really cool.”

Coll didn’t take it easy on Venmore and says the teenager has a great future in squash. “He’s a good player and he stuck in there well, he really wanted to learn and we had a good chat afterwards which I really enjoyed,” said Coll.

Nine-time national champion Joelle King had a bye first round before meeting Maiden-Lee Coe where she took a comfortable 11-8, 11-4, 11-6 win in the round of 16.

“It was good to blow the cobwebs out, I haven’t moved since I got home a few days ago so I’m definitely going to need to stretch tonight,” said King. “She was a good opponent, she played some great shots and I really enjoyed that match.”

King will play ninth seed Anne Leaky in the quarterfinals tomorrow.

2014 and 2016 National Champion Megan Graham also advances to the quarterfinals in her first New Zealand Championships since starting a family and rupturing her achilles. Graham’s experience and precision proving the difference as she beat Lily Rae in the round of sixteen, 3-11, 5-11, 11-9, 5-11.

“It’s really nice to see everyone and get back on court, I was a little nervous but it’s good to get that first win under the belt,” said Graham.

Apa Fatialofa won one of the closer games in his first match, the 18th seed beating 15th seed Allan Bailey, 4-11, 11-4, 8-11, 4-11. Fatialofa gave it his all in a hotly contested match against second seed Lwamba Chileshe in the round of 16 but Chileshe pulled through 11-13, 8-11, 11-13.

Temwa Chileshe also advanced to the quarterfinals. The 22-year-old kept his cool in his first match against Matthew Ward who looked threatening early. Temwa controlled the pace of the game, executing some beautiful drop shots to win the match 11-7, 11-8, 11-2.

The New Zealand Squash Championships quarterfinals will be contested on Saturday morning with semifinals to follow in the afternoon.

Full Draws & Results  Streaming & Replays