Kids from all over NSW, Victoria, and the ACT competed at the Squash NSW Junior Country Championships at Cootamundra Squash Centre earlier this month. Following recent facility upgrades, Cootamundra Squash Centre hosted the 2023 Squash NSW Junior Country Championships last weekend.
Across two days, 48 juniors from Sydney, Coffs Harbour, Dubbo, Albury, Victoria, and the ACT trekked to Cootamundra to contest the Silver graded tournament. Catering towards young athletes moving up in their representative class, the competition was excellent, with some great squash on show. “It was a silver tournament, so we had a good blend of really advanced kids and some intermediate kids stepping up from bronze, and it led to some really good games,” said Squash NSW president Jay Kross.
“We had kids coming in from everywhere, and it was an excellent opportunity for them to earn ranking points, and it was also good to play in a regional spot and give these kids a new experience.”
“We’re trying to promote squash across the state, and we must get out to different areas and capture the attention of kids who may not have been exposed to the sport.”
With Cootamundra Squash Centre capable of hosting four games at once, Kross said it made them one of the prime locations to host major Squash NSW tournaments. “We’re in a building phase at the moment, and we try to share these tournaments around, but they do have four courts, and it’s not very often a club in a regional area will have four courts,” Kross said.
“Cootamundra is a really nice centre, and they have spent a lot of money and done up their courts, and it would be a shame to see it go to waste. We’re already in discussions for next year, and we’ll definitely look to host more events in Cootamundra.”
“The next thing we do at Cootamundra could be the NSW State Camp, which will be held next year. That’s when all the athletes that want to try out for the state team come together for a two day camp, and it is a strong possibility that will happen at Cootamundra.”
Cootamundra Squash Club President Graeme Johnson was thrilled to host the event earlier this month, and his committee is keen to show off the Squash Centre’s recent upgrades at any opportunity. “It’s great; we just finished out renovations on the front two courts, and it has new air conditioning, carpets, and ceilings, and that had been going for a couple of years, and it was good to give it a hit out to see what it was like,” Johnson said.
“The feedback was very positive, and everyone had a good weekend. “Plus, we were able to supply food, and as a small club, it was a good way to bring some money back into the club.” Johnson hopes that hosting such events lead to more focus on squash and a resurgence in player numbers. “We just have our local 30 to 40 members playing social comps,” Johnson said.
“It’s mixed because we don’t have enough to have men and women to do same sex competitions; sometimes we grade it, and sometimes we have a knockout, and at the end of the day, it’s about participation.”
“We have a good bunch of senior players that are quite good, but not a lot of juniors, and we are struggling to get that next generation in, but hopefully hosting significant events will see more people get involved.” Cootamundra Squash has started a new Monday night social comp for the remainder of 2023, with games commencing at 6 pm.
It’s open to Cub Members and the general public, and it will be a round robin of three matches played to 21 with handicaps. It’s only $7 to play, equipment can be supplied if needed, and children, women, and men are invited to get involved. “It’s a great sport, and you can play it in all weather,” Johnson said.
“Becoming a member is easy; you can get a code and play anytime, and we’re always looking to get new people involved.” Interested players can turn up on a Monday or check out the Cootamundra Squash Centre Facebook group for more information.
2023 NSW Junior Country Championships winners Under 19 Boy’s Winner: Xavier Brigden Under 19 Girl’s Winner: Emilia Scott Under 17 Boy’s Winner: Henry Kross Under 17 Girls’ Winner: Amelia Brigden Under 15 Boy’s Winner: Jayden Sparks Under 15 Girl’s Winner: June Steele Under 13 Boy’s Winner: Conner Moriarty Under 13 Girl’s Winner: Cleo Poulava Under 11 Boy’s Winner: Oscar Clark Under 11 Girl’s Winner: Yenuli Hathurusinge.