The Northland Open is bringing some of New Zealand’s best to the Whangarei Squash Club from today until Sunday with several players ranked inside the top 250 in the world. Mixing it with the PSA ranked players are around 100 entries in various grades to create a real carnival of squash.
Men’s No. 1 seed Is Lwamba Chileshe at 126 on the PSA world rankings and a finalist at the NZ Championships last year. Next is younger brother and defending Northland Open champ, Temwa Chileshe at 206 while in the women’s Satellite draw the top seed is Abbie Palmer, the seven-time winner of the Northland Open ranked 117 in the world.
For the Chileshe brothers who play out of the Lugton Park Club in Hamilton the Northland Open will be one of many PSA Challenger tournaments this year.
Temwa was a finalist at Morrinsville, the Waikato Open and the Auckland Open, Lwamba was the winner at Morrinsville and finalist at Panmure.
Northland’s Masters player Sam Gearing will have the honour of facing Lwamba in the first round on Friday night. While Finn Trimble, 22 from the Whangarei club, now based in Waikato and a three-time winner of the title, has the hard task of taking on Temwa Chileshe first up.
Older brother Max Trimble, a former top New Zealand Junior from the Whangarei Club plays fourth seed and 238th ranked Elijah Thomas from Auckland who is the national age group junior champ in the first round.
There is also the Mania Squash Clubs Riley-Jack Vette-Blomquist who won the New Zealand Junior Open title earlier this year. He has a tricky first round match against Auckland junior, Mason Smales who is a lanky left-hander with plenty of shot making ability. Both have world rankings.
Whangarei player, Nick Wilson takes on third seed Sion Wiggin ranked 219 in another key match while Australian Damon Macmillan ranked 347 plays Bay of Plenty junior Benjamin Adams.
The smaller women’s tournament also features notable Northland player, Shelley Kitchen who is still playing squash at a top level into her early 40’s. Kitchen, formerly ranked at No 6 in the world was a finalist at the Browns Bay Open in Auckland to Palmer and earlier in the year to Emma Millar in the Henderson Open in five games.
Also notable in the women’s event is teenager Ella Lash from Auckland who is already ranked 205 in the world as well as Sacha Pou-Tito a four-time Northland Open winner and member of the Whangarei Club. Former Northland top junior player, Annmarie Holst from the Maungatauroto Squash Club has entered as has, 15-year-old Chelsea Trail who is an up-and-coming junior from the Kamo Squash Club.
The tournament will be livestreamed on facebook live Squash Northland with the women’s finals from 2pm and the men’s 3pm Sunday 13 June. The draws are on isquash and below.