The first ever running of the Champion of Champions National Finals has produced 12 new national champions.
The event, in its first season of running, attracted 74 players to the National Finals held at Henderson Squash Club. These players had all won the right to represent their district by winning their District Finals held earlier in November. Competition was strong, with the warm temperatures creating a hot ball and many close matches. Numerous upset results were registered, and the team spirit amongst districts (...Southland in particular!) added considerable atmosphere to the event. However there could only be 12 Champions of Champions (one in each grade division), and only the very best were able to earn a national title.
The 12 players to win the inaugural titles should be incredibly proud of their feat. To win a national title is a fantastic achievement, but to be the first name on the 12 newly donated trophies is a very unique honour.
Many were pleasantly surprised at the size of the event in its first year. Given its novelty, and the late-season timing, to have 74 players travel to the National Finals was considered a good achievement. Squash New Zealand has no doubt that the event will only expand and grow in 2013, as 2012 participants speak positively of the experience, and the 2013 calendar accommodates the event more conveniently for players. In 2013, the district finals will be played in late September, with the National Finals in the first weekend of November. In order to keep the event as accessible as possible in its early years, host clubs in major centres (that are cheap to fly to) are preferred. In 2013 the Squashways and Burnside Clubs in Christchurch will take on the hosting, making the event easily accessible for the South Island districts.
2012 National Champions of Champions:
A Grade Women: Ellie Epke (Harcourts Eden Epsom, Auckland)
A Grade Men (Manurewa Cup): Lance Beddoes (Henderson, Auckland)
B Grade Women (Reid Family Plate): Tracey Kimble (Manurewa, Auckland)
B Grade Men (Otago District Cup): Shane Mouat (Manurewa, Auckland)
C Grade Women (Northland District Trophy): Chelsea Johnson (Henderson, Auckland)
C Grade Men (Northland District Trophy): Daniel Foster (SquashGym Palmerston North, Central) (pictured below)
D Grade Women: Kelsey Manuatu (Manurewa, Auckland)
D Grade Men: Phil Harris (SquashGym Palmerston North, Central)
E Grade Women (Rangitikei Squash Club Trophy): Elizabeth Mills (Papakura, Auckland)
E Grade Men (Patterson Cup): Anton Tukaki (Devoy Squash & Fitness, BOP)
F Grade Women (Ohakune Squash Club Trophy): Tori Claridge (SquashGym Palmerston North, Central)
F Grade Men (Ohakune Squash Club Trophy): Riley Inglis (Taupo, BOP)