Record entries for squash tournament

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This year’s Oamaru Squash and Badminton Club open squash tournament has attracted a record number of entries.

Starting today, more than 100 players – 50 women and 54 men – will be playing in the annual tournament.

“Usually, we struggle to get 70 [entries],” Oamaru Squash Club president Michael Goldingham said.

“I don’t know what the difference is. I think our club members are travelling to other people’s clubs to play and they’re thinking about coming to Oamaru.

“We’ve got some senior guys going to other tournaments and I think they’re spreading the word.”

The Oamaru club’s Tyne St building was also an attraction.

“You go to any other club around and it’s quite new, and very sterile,” Goldingham said.

“But you can get lost in this place .. everyone loves it for its quirkiness.”

A large contingent from Cromwell has entered and other players are travelling to Oamaru from as far away as Wellington and Invercargill.

Goldingham expects a high standard of competition.

“With that many people, the range in the different grades is going to be very close, right from the top people to the people at the bottom of the grades, it’s very close.

“They’ll be some good games.”

And Oamaru competitors are expected to do well.

“We’re doing pretty well in the district, in the tournaments – we’ve got a couple of young guys who are doing really, really well at the moment,” he said.

“Liam Direen has been playing over in Malaysia .. Keidah Bungard, Thomas Pickles is playing really well at the moment.”

The Oamaru club has about 110 members at present – 80 squash players and 30 badminton players.

The open squash tournament is open for the public to watch – games will be played from 5.30pm to 11pm today and 8.30am to 9pm on Saturday.

Some games will also be played at Excelsior’s squash courts.