The Women’s Final saw Rachael Grinham and Alex Hayden both working the ball to the back court with Grinham getting the better of the exchanges and finishing rallies with pin point volley drops to take the game 11-7.
The second game saw Hayden appear more settled and withstanding the pressure from Grinham to take a close game and level at 1-1. The third game appeared to be anyone’s early but with scores at 3-3 Grinham took control reeling off 8 winners to go 2-1 up. With the scores seesawing Grinham appeared to have the finish line in sight at 8-6 before Hayden found better placement to take 5 straight points drawing level at 2-2. Grinham came out reset for the decider and at 6-6 took the next 5 points to win the Women’s Open title – becoming, at 45, the oldest player ever to win a PSA Tour title!
Rachael commented after her win : “Was really happy with the way I played this week. It was always going to be a tough road to get through to the end as all my matches right from the quarters were likely to be equally tough if I got through them. Though I played particularly here today.”
In the men’s final Rex Hedrick opened strongly in the opening game keeping focused on the task in front of him and maintained a slight lead at 5-2 and then 6-4 before he reeled off 5 straight points to take the opening game 11-4.
The second game saw both players maintain better placements with longer rallies, looking for any opportunity to gain the upper hand, however Hedrick maintained his focus better to take the game 11-7 and move to a 2-0 lead.
With all the pressure in front of him Joshua raised the intensity in the opening part of game three but with scores at 2-2 Hedrick won the next seven points to take a commanding lead 9-2 and finally wrap up a great win 11-5 to claim his first North Coast Open win, as eleven years ago he was the runner-up .
A very happy Rex Hedrick was asked about his win today and said : “It seemed to get better and better on court every day Lucky to come up against a player who had a five set battle in the heat yesterday. Been a great tournament in Coffs!”
The Roberts & Morrow North Coast Open was the first event for 10 month’s to be held in Coffs Harbour. There was a large crowd of supporters and near all-time record of entries in the supporting program giving players and visitors the opportunity to see world class squash on courts in the North Coast Region.
The finalists in the Men and Women events were first time winners, making it all that much more special for them. We would like to acknowledge the support of the PSA Office, Sponsors for the event, Roberts & Morrow, Coffs Coast Events and Council, TV networks, Media and Social Media personnel and all the visitors who attended the Squash Centre over 4 days of exciting competition.
Day THREE : top seeds beaten in semis
Rex Hedrick continued his strong showing to oust top seed Rhys Dowling in three games. Games were played with plenty of intensity with Hedrick making less errors to record a solid looking win.
Rex Hedrick : “Pretty tough conditions today, hot and humid so I was glad to escape 3-0 after Rhys started reeling off some winners in the third. Looking forward to the final tomorrow.”
Josh Larkin : “ Tough five setter today, unfortunate not to get in in four, but reset and set myself up well at the start of the fifth game. Played tactically well.”
Top seed in the Women’s Open Sarah Cardwell started strongly in the opening game against Alex Hayden but couldn’t convert the tiebreak with Alex taking a 1-0 lead. Alex gained confidence, moving freely and lifted the intensity in the second and third games to win in straight games to advance to her first final in the Roberts Morrow North Coast Open
The second semi-final between Rachael Grinham and second seed Jessica Turnbull, saw Turnbull start tentatively before making a late charge in closing the gap in the opening game with Grinham taking the game to go 1-0. Turnbull court position improved in the second game to level the match 1-1. The third game saw Grinham control the pace better to move to a 2-1 lead. In the fourth game Grinham moved the ball to all corners to wrap up an entertaining match in 4 games and advance to her first finals appearance here in Coffs Harbour.
Rachael Grinham: “Thought I’d played well. Was always going to be tough. Happy to be through. Jess was coming back from injury so I just had to focus on my game. Happy to be playing tomorrow”
Alex Hayden : “I knew it was going to be a tough match against a quality player like Sarah. My plan was to show up strong, composed and play to my strengths and I’m happy that I was able to do that”
Day TWO :
Proceedings started early with the Official Welcome by Coffs Harbour’s Mayor Paul Amos. Squash Australia President Jo Brodie also spoke highly of the efforts to bring the Roberts and Morrow North Coast Open to happen and the support of the playing public, who had travelled long distances to participate over the 4 days of competition.
Quarter Final action started with top seed, Rhys Dowling taking on James Lloyd, who had ousted no 6 seed Thomas Calvert. Dowling settled early with tight drives and keeping Lloyd to the back court. Dowling intensified the pressure in games 2 and 3 to run out a comfortable winner and advance to Saturday’s semis.
Joshua Larkin continued his progress with another straight games win over David Turner. Both players were prepared to work the ball particularly to the backhand court, with Larkin lifting his consistency to run out winner in three entertaining games.
Top seed Rhys Dowling was impressive with his win tonight and said “Happy to get the win in 3, should be fresh for tomorrow.”
Josh Larkin said : “ Very hot! Dave played well, moved well. Overall solid quarter final match. Glad I got up, now to rest and recover for semi final tomorrow.”
The women’s seeds moved through to the semi-finals with the only upset coming in what was the best match of the night between third seed Tamika Hunt and returning veteran Rachael Grinham. A slow start by Hunt saw Grinham take a two games to nil lead before Hunt settled and started a gutsy fightback taking the third and fourth games to draw level.
The deciding fifth game could have gone either way with Grinham holding steady to clinch the match and move into the semi-finals.
In other matches past winner Jessica Turnbull moved strongly to record a good win against Selena Shaikh, with first and fourth seeds Sarah Cardwell and Alex Hayden progressing in the top half of the draw.
Jessica Turnbull : “ Happy to get a win today. Hit some good length which saved me. Selena is a tricky opponent som I am happy to get through in 3.”
Day ONE :
Players were eager to get on court in very warm conditions at Coffs Harbour tonight with the first round match ups looking very different in very testing times, resulting in some upsets.
There was a good crowd present to witness the contest between No 2 seed, Joseph White and Dylan Molinaro with White withstanding a spirited challenge by Molinaro in the second and third games and after 43 minutes advanced to the Quarter Finals stage.
Unseeded Rex Hedrick proved to strong for Damon McMillan, controlling the flow of rallies from the front and not allowing McMillan to gain any advantage to move through to the next round in straight games.
The tournament program opened with a rousing session by the PSA players all contributing in a Junior Clinic, to encourage and have fun with club juniors participating in the support program of Graded events.
Joseph White : “ Happy to get off to a good start this week with a 3-0 win. Dylan has been playing well and he is a tricky player to play. Being a summer event this year court’s are nice and warm so I’m expecting some more long matches are ahead.”
Rex Hedrick : “Good to be back in Coffs after 11 years. I thought I started well and was able to keep in going . Looking forward to the quarters.”
Selena Sheikh : “Always good to play Heather. Great to be back on court. Felt I moved well and looking forward to tomorrow’s match in the quarters.”