Shuja takes Central Open for 5th Time

The Whanganui Squash Club buzzed with excitement as it played host to the annual Central Open Squash Tournament. This year’s event was nothing short of extraordinary, drawing 112 participants from almost every district in the North Island.

The tournament saw a record number of entries, with more women than men stepping onto the courts, a testament to the growing popularity of squash among women. The 32 C grade ladies showcased incredible talent, while the competition in the A grade categories promised thrilling matches. The highlight of the tournament was undoubtedly the finals, which captivated the audience with high-stakes action and unforgettable moments. In the women’s final, Jena Gregory from Eastern faced off against Danielle Cooley from Central. Danielle who is making a comeback to competitive squash after taking a break to start a family showed the skills were still there, Cooley mounted a significant fightback after a challenging start. However, Jena’s skill and composure under pressure shone through, allowing her to clinch the victory in four intense games and taking the title for a second time.

The men’s final was a nail-biter, drawing spectators to the edge of their seats. Kashif Shuja from Bay of Plenty went head-to-head with local favorite Matt Nation from Central. The match was a masterclass in squash, with both players displaying extraordinary athleticism and strategy. Despite the support from the home crowd for Matt, Kashif’s relentless determination saw him triumph in a grueling five-game showdown.

The success of the Central Open was made possible by the generous support of its sponsors, whose contributions ensured a smooth and memorable event. A heartfelt thank you went out to PKF Doyles and Associates, The Dentists, Liquorland Whanganui, Fleet Line Markers, Juffermans Surveyors Limited, Dave Hoskins Carriers, Carters, and Echtra BizServices. Their commitment to the community and the sport of squash was deeply appreciated by all involved.

As the tournament drew to a close, the Whanganui Squash Club basked in the afterglow of an event that had not only celebrated competitive squash but also was a testament to the spirit of squash and the vibrant community that surrounds it.

Our full winners list:

Mens Open Division
🥇Winner – Kashif Shuja
🥈Runner Up – Matt Nation
🥉Special Plate – Allan Bailey
🏆Plate – Paul Tuffin
🏆Consolation Plate – Cody Paul
Womens Open Division
🥇Winner – Jena Gregory
🥈Runner Up – Danielle Cooley
🥉Special Plate – Holly Shuja
🏆Plate – Hannah Grimmett
🏆Consolation Plate – Rebecca Bennett

Mens Division 1

🥇Winner – Matt Ratcliffe
🥈Runner Up – Stephen Bennett
🥉Special Plate – Max Mathews
🏆Plate – Mark Seager
🏆Consolation Plate – Liam Burnard
Womens Division 1
🥇Winner – Nicki Gibbs
🥈Runner Up – Anna Saunders
🥉Special Plate – Emma Rowe
🏆Plate – Emma Foreman
🏆Consolation Plate – Isla Sweeney
Mens Division 2
🥇Winner – Joseph Snowden
🥈Runner Up – Treye Eriksen
🏆Plate – Peter Peeti
Womens Division 2
🥇Winner – Sophie Sweeney
🥈Runner Up – Charlotte Haxton
🥉Special Plate – Laurie Hill
🏆Plate – Michelle Habib
🏆Consolation Plate – Sarina Budge
Mens Division 3
🥇Winner – Isaac Greer
🥈Runner Up – Toby Freyria
🏆Plate – Curtis Fatiaki
Womens Division 3
🥇Winner – Anna Stokes
🥈Runner Up – Amy Hughes
🏆Plate – Arnika Watson
Mens Division 4
🥇Winner – Jesse Perkins
🥈Runner Up – Archie Mills
🏆Plate – Jake Laws
Womens Division 4
🥇Winner – Kirsty Osborne
🥈Runner Up – Alice Hollows
Mens Division 5
🥇Winner – Caleb Gray
🥈Runner Up – Darius Mathews
🥉Special Plate – Sean Edmonds
🏆Plate – Scott Adam
🏆Consolation Plate –Nick Laws
Womens Division 5
🥇Winner – Tahlia Kean
🥈Runner Up – Grace Rowe
🥉Special Plate – Maraea Buckingham
🏆Plate – Amanda Te Huia
🏆Consolation Plate – Hayley Morice
Mens Division 6
🥇Winner – Kaleb Grant
🥈Runner Up – Hone Buckingham
🏆Plate – Daniel Holly
Womens Division 6
🥇Winner – Pauline Chapman
🥈Runner Up – Stephanie Durning
🏆Plate – Heather Plank
Mens Division 7
🥇Winner – Ziek Hudson
🥈Runner Up – Shaun Miles
🏆Plate – Brad Mathews
Womens Division 7
🥇Winner – Brontie Arthur
🥈Runner Up – Shontae Arthur
Junior Division 1
🥇Winner – James Tuffin
🥈Runner Up – Cleeve O’Connor
🏆Plate – Ari Shuja