International squash returns to New Zealand with the Barfoot & Thompson Panmure Open PSA men’s and women’s tournament to be played this weekend 13-15 May after a few draw alterations thanks to Covid-19.
The focus will be on top-ranked players, Lwamba Chileshe and young brother Temwa taking centre stage as they look move up the world rankings.
Lwamba ranked 104 in the world was a beaten finalist to Evan Williams last year at Panmure, while the previous year he beat Williams in the final.
Both Lwamba and Temwa ranked 125 have spent around six months based in England training, playing club competition as well as PSA tournaments and even the World Doubles Championships together.
If they meet in the final it will be a worthy contest as the last time they played in a PSA tournament it was Temwa, 21 beating Lwamba, 23 in five games in France.
Lwamba will face Australian Damon MacMillian in the first round while Temwa has perhaps the toughest of the first round matches when he faces another young Kiwi, Elijah Thomas who has also been based in the Northern Hemisphere of late.
There are four Malaysian players in the men’s entries as well as several Australians who add plenty to the draw.
In another feature match eighth seed, Nicholas Calvert from Brisbane ranked 216 will play 17-year-old Auckland leftie Mason Smales in his first round match. Smales from the Henderson club is recovering from an injury after also being away overseas.
New Zealand’s sixth seed Anthony Lepper plays another regular Australian visitor, Benjamin Ratcliffe and seventh seed Sion Wiggin takes on Amir Amirul (Malaysia).
New Zealand international Abbie Palmer leads the women’s Satellite draw ranked at 163 and is seeded to meet another left-hander in teenage Ella Lash in the final. However there is the unknown presence of a few Malaysian players in the draw to create some variety.
The tournament starts of Friday evening with semifinals on Saturday evening followed by women’s final on Sunday from 1.15pm and men’s at 2pm. The tournament is livestreamed of Panmure Squash Club facebook page.