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Trans-Tasman finals shared at Auckland and Oceania Open

Monday 22 May 2023, 6:57PM

By dave worsley

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The trans-Tasman finals at the Barfoot & Thomson Auckland/Oceania Open were shared after two tightly contested title deciders.

In the women’s final top seed and 88th ranked Alex Haydon from Australia faced unseeded, but defending champion Lana Harrison from Auckland.

For 21-year-old Australian Commonwealth Games player, Haydon it was the chance to win her first Challenger title. However Harrison who now devotes her time between working and being a mother along with domestic squash had other ideas.

Haydon won the first two games 11-4, 11-4, but then Harrison refocussed her game and edged back into the contest with 11-8 in the third. The top seed then came back to have a match ball at 10-8 only for Harrison to against show fight and cling to a 15-13 win to take the game to five.

In the fifth and final set the pair traded points as Harrison managed to take the lead, however it was Haydon who had a match point at 12-10 only for Harrison to take the match 14-12 in the final in just on an hours play.

In the men’s match Joseph White the third seed from Australia beat second Chileshe brother within 24 hours for the title.

He defeated top seed Lwamba Chilshe in the semifinals then second seed and younger brother Temwa Chileshe for the title. It was White’s second title in New Zealand after a win over Lwamba at the Howick Open in 2021.

For Temwa it was his third runners-up finish at the tournament in a row. In 2021 he lost to Kiwi Evan Williams in five games and to brother Lwamba in four games last year.

On this occasion White was too tight and compact winning the first two game after some long rallies before Chileshe came back in the third with a dominant effort and then eventually White proved too strong in the fourth.

Women’s final:

Lana Harrison (New Zealand) bt (1) Alex Haydon (Australia) 4-11, 4-11, 11-8, 15-13, 14-12,

Men’s final:

(3) Joseph White (Australia) bt (2) Temwa Chileshe (New Zealand) 11-9, 11-7, 3-11, 118