Top play by Lwamba Chileshe and Emma Millar at the National Squash Centre Invitational PSA Satellite tournament has given both players a boost as they target their first national senior squash titles.
Chielshe ranked at 148 in the world and Millar 115 in the women’s world rankings have been starved of PSA squash tournaments with the shutdown of sport around the globe. However Squash New Zealand was able to quickly put together a PSA tournament at the National Squash Centre in Auckland for eight of New Zealand’s best domestic male and eight female players with ranking points and prizemoney on the line.
For Chileshe, 21 it was an opportunity to showcase his skills in his first tournament in New Zealand for a number of months after being based in the UK.
In the final he defeated 20-year-old Joel Arscott ranked 233rd by a score of 11-7, 11-7, 11-6. The difference in the match being limited loose points from Chileshe and a certain calmness when rallies got tight.
Chileshe didn’t have the tournament all his own way having a tough battle against Leo Fatialofa in his first match in four games and then having to stay focused against another teenager in the form of Elijah Thomas. His finals opponent, Arscott has a five game battle in his first match over Glenn Templeton and then over Temwa Chileshe as well.
The extra top level tournament play and practice which Lwamba Chileshe had gained while overseas looking to be a telling factor in the final and making him one of the favourites for the national title alongside Wellington’s Evan Williams.
In the women’s final there was plenty of winners throughout with both Abbie Palmer ranked 113th and Millar not renown for sticking around for long rallies, preferring to cut points off as quickly as possible.
Millar ranked two places lower than Palmer was able to take the match in quick fashion 13-11, 11-3, 11-6 although the angles of left-handed Palmer were always a threat. Waikato-based Millar showed plenty of tactics throughout the tournament to vary the speed of play and question her opponents.
Third place in the women’s was won by Lana Harrison of Auckland over Lauren Clarke from Bay of Plenty while Thomas defeated Temwa Chileshe in five games in the men’s draw for third place.
All eight of the men’s entrants had PSA world rankings, with three of the competitors were still 17-years-old
A number of players now take part in the National Junior Championships in Christchurch starting on Friday, while the National Senior Championships start in Auckland at the end of October and will be without regular winners, Paul Coll and Joelle King meaning the draw is wide open for a new champion.
Placings Men: winner, Lwamba Chileshe, runner-up, Joel Arscott, third, Elijah Thomas, fourth, Temway Chileshe, fifth, Sion Wiggin, sixth Leo Fatialofa, seventh, Glenn Templeton, eighth, Joe Smythe.
Placings Women: winner, Emma Millar, runner-up, Abbie Palmer, third, Lana Harrison, fourth, Lauren Clarke, fifth, Ashlee Pepper, sixth Natalie Sayes, seventh, Ella Lash, eighth, Katie Templeton.