0pen draws Sth Is squash players

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North Otago squash stalwart David Laughton came within a whisker of a double at the Excelsior Open and club championships recently.
Laughton made the final of the men’s competition at the open, falling in a tight three sets to Queenstown’s Dave Gardiner, and followed up with his 15th consecutive victory in the Excelsior men’s club championships. The annual open featured 48 players divided into six grades from all over the South Island. Laughton gave his all in the men’s final against top seed and A grader Gardiner, and the pair put on a display of top squash before the visitor prevailed. Oamaru’s Linda Direen was the top seed and made it through to the final with ease in the women’s open, where she beat Oamaru team-mate Brenda Hall in three sets. It was the battle of Oamaru v Timaru in the mixed grade 1 final, where Mike Goldingham (Oamaru) faced Craig Garner (Timaru). Garner claimed the first set and Goldingham the second, and it was all square after four sets. The fifth and final set was locked at 9-9 before Goldingham ran with it 15-9. No 8 seed Justin Lobb (Palmerston) beat Oamaru schoolboy Jake Gawn in the mixed 2 final, Bevin Sturm won the mixed 3 title without dropping a set, and Excelsior’s Darryl Johnston won the mixed 4 title. In the Excelsior club championships, Laughton faced rising star Keidah Bungard in the men’s open final, but Laughton called on his experience and determination to win for a 15th straight year in three sets. Bungard’s consolation was victory in the junior boys grade, while Bree Louden beat Tannah Rintoul to claim both the women’s open and junior girls titles.