Top seeds and world No.12 players Paul Coll and Joelle King were the expected winners of the 2017 National Senior Squash titles in Hawkes Bay over the weekend but with different takes on the title.
King’s was a relatively straightforward win, but it was a different story for Coll in the men’s final.
Twenty-five-year-old Coll, who hails from Greymouth has risen rapidly in the world rankings to No.12 and was aiming for his third consecutive national title. In the semis he accounted for the fourth seed Lance Beddoes in straight games, however he was given a real hurry up in the final.
Coll played New York based Aucklander Campbell Grayson, 31 the tournament second seed for the title. Grayson who is ranked 39 in the world took the match to the defending champ and won the first game 11-8 in the second game Coll clawed his way back to win 11-7 and then gained the fourth 11-8 and the fourth 11-2. The entire match took 72 minutes in total.
Grayson had earlier defeated Waikato player and third seed Evan Williams in four games in his semifinal.
In the women’s final King proved too strong for Blenheim’s Megan Craig winning in three games.
“It was great to win, especially in three. I knew whoever won out of Megan and Amanda’s semi was going to give me a tough match. I started playing well in the final and carried on from there. I just got told it’s my sixth title,” explained King
King also praised her semifinal opponent Kaitlyn Watts who is still a teenager. “She’s only 16 and she’s New Zealand’s best junior. I didn’t take her lightly at all, she’s a good talent.”
King’s last national title was in 2015 where she beat Craig in the final and it took her a moment to recall her first. “it’s was in 2010 I think at….Whakatane…a little while ago.”
For 24-year-old Craig it had been a tough battle to get to the final. She played second seed Amanda Landers-Murphy for the fourth time in six weeks. Landers-Murphy having won their three previous matches. It took four games but Craig was eventually the winner.
Despite winning her sixth national title King still has a way to go equal the record holder, Dame Susan Devoy who has a record 10 national titles.
Coll and King and the remainder of the New Zealand team will now train in Auckland before travelling to the world doubles tournament in Manchester in early August.
(1) Joelle King (Cambridge) bt (4) Kaitlyn Watts (Palmerston North) 11-2, 11-2, 11-1, (3) Megan Craig (Blenheim) bt (2) Amanda Landers-Murphy (Rotorua) – 11-5, 9-11, 11-9, 13-11.
Final: King bt Craig 11-4 11-6 12-10.
(1)Paul Coll (Greymouth) bt (4) Lance Beddoes (Auckland) – 11-7, 11-5, 11-7, (2) Campbell Grayson (Auckland) bt (3) Evan Williams (Waikato) 11-4, 12-14, 11-9, 11-8
Coll bt Grayson 8-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-2