The NZ Junior Age Groups and Inter-District teams tournament was held at Invercargill’s Squashcity club from 1-7 October and Northland was well represented with 9 of our juniors attending. The tournament saw over 180 juniors competing from around NZ and Northland took out 6 top 10 placings in differing age groups.
Zoe Dykzeul was Northland’s top performer which saw her finish as runner-up in the NZ Under 17 girls. Zoe had a strong run to the final winning her quarter and semifinals without dropping a set. Zoe played the top seed in the final, Anna Hughes from Auckland and while Zoe put up a strong fight she lost the final 1-3.
Zoe’s achievements this year were rewarded at the prize giving when she was awarded the prestigious Squash NZ Award for the Most Improved Junior Girl for 2015 after winning the South Island Juniors and coming 2nd in the North Island Juniors, NZ Age Group Nationals and Oceania’s for the Girls Under 17s, she also moved up over 300 points on the NZ squash grading list this season and also recently reaching A grade.
This award has only been awarded to one other Northland girl which was Shelley Kitchen in 1993, while Max Trimble was awarded the boys title in 2013, being the first Northland boy to get this award.
MacKenzie Johnson was another strong performer and took out the bronze in the NZ Under 17 girls, after going down in her semifinal to the top seed she came back with a strong finish to win the bronze in 4 sets against Rhiarne Taipa from Hastings.
Finn Trimble came 5th in the Under 17 Boys, after losing a tough quarterfinal Finn came back strongly to win his next 2 matches without dropping a set to take 5th place.
In the Under 15 girls Annmarie Holst came a credible 4th , as did Freddie Jameson in the Under 11 boys. Freddie was unlucky not to have a podium finish after losing a tough 5 set battle to the eventual 2nd place player. Riley-Jack Vette Blomquist placed 6th in the Under 13 boys.
Two other Northlanders who play their squash for Auckland had strong finishes with Abbie Palmer runner-up in the Under 19 girls and Natalie Sayes 3rd in the Under 13 girls.
The Inter District Teams Event followed the Individual Nationals and this year saw Northland only send a girls team.
The Northland Girls played Central first up and had a strong win 3-1, next up was Eastern and once against saw Northland win 3-1, they then faced the also unbeaten and 2nd seeds Canterbury in their final pool play and all of the girls played extremely well and won 4-0 which took them into the final.
Northland had not had a girls team in the final since 1997 when they won the title. This young Northland team played well but they went down to a very experienced Auckland side who won their 7th title in a row.
Full Northland Results:
Zoe Dykzeul – U17 Girls – 2nd
MacKenzie Johnson – U17Girls – 3rd
Iyra Stewart – U17 Girls – 13th
Annmarie Holst – U15 Girls – 4th
Sian Duggan – U19 Girls – 14th
Finn Trimble – U17 Boys – 5th
Shayden Toka – U17 Boys – 19th
Riley-Jack Vette Blomquist – U13 Boys– 6th
Freddie Jameson – U11Boys – 4th
Northland Girls – Zoe Dykzeul, MacKenzie Johnson, Sian Duggan, Annmarie Holst, Iyra Stewart – 2nd