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New South Wales
Squash Open 2003
07-09 June, Grafton, Australia


Draw & Results


Draw & Results


Tournament Organisers
Steve Pilley, Greg Don


Coming up:

Aussie Super Series
10-12 July


Event Previews

Kiwis Come Out
Swinging for the Open

New Zealand National Squash Coach Dave Clarke smiled contently as he shuffled between the eight Big River Squash courts yesterday. Along with Two Assistant coaches, Mr Clarke has brought a 16-member National Development squad to compete at the 2003 NSW Squash Open, which begins at the Big River Centre today.

The pre-tournament hit-up between members of the Kiwi squad and players from the NSW Squash Academy was proving to be more competitive than any ordinary training session. It was just they type of situation that he had hoped for.

“The main decision for this trip to Grafton is for the experience,” said Mr Clarke. “Through tournaments such as the NSW Open, the players will begin to understand the demands involved with travelling and playing top-international squash.”

The Development Squad consists of New Zealand’s elite U/21 junior players. They represent the new generation of Kiwi talent about to tackle the World Open Tours in the near future.

This weekend, the squad will experience a high level of international squash when the leading Japanese, New Guinea and Australian players converge on the Big River venue for the State Titles.

“ Each of our players are relatively young but they are on a very steep learning curve,” said Mr Clarke. “This tournament will provide them with exposure to a different style of game and it fits perfectly with Squash New Zealand’s development strategy.”

As part of that development strategy, New Zealand squash also sent 60 players to compete in a series of junior tournaments in Melbourne recently. Such a large squad included not just elite players but also many second and third tier competitors. It is part of an attempt by New Zealand squash to develop the overall standard of junior players in their country.

“The Melbourne trip and this trip to Grafton is also about forging relationships with our Trans-Tasman colleagues,” continued Mr Clarke. “We hope that experiences such as this will occur more frequently for our tope players and that Australian teams will travel to New Zealand for tournaments also.”

Although primarily a development squad, Mr Clarke pointed out that there are one or two Kiwi players who could go all the way in the main draw of the NSW Open.

In particular, he referred to the squad’s geriatric members, a pair of 20-year olds, Callum O’Brien and Jackie Hawkes.

O’Brien, the Men’s number 6 seed, has been in top form recently with two semi-final appearances at Satellite tournaments in Western Australia late last month. On both occasions, O’Brien battled through the Qualifying draw before earning his place in the main draw. He then went on to defeat several seeded players, including Victorian Institute of Sport player Tony James.

James is also competing in the NSW Open and has been seeded in the number four position.

Major contenders for the Men’s Open title include Dan Jensen, ranked 29th in the world, Cameron Pilley, the 66th world ranked player and former Top-Ten player Craig Rowland.

Likewise, The Kiwi’s top female player, Jackie Hawkes, has been in tremendous from lately and is on the verge of gaining a top-100 world ranking. Her road to the Championship final will be difficult though, with a Quarter Final encounter looming against the Tournaments number 1 seed, Robyn Cooper.

In the lower grades, several Clarence Valley players figure prominently as possible Championship contenders. In the Women’s 'C' Grade, Big River player’s Alisha Crispin and Gemma Mclymont are seeded 1 and 2 respectively. Either player has a very strong chance to take out this event.

In the Men's draw, local player Danny Wall will be extremely difficult to beat in the Men’s 'C’ Grade as will be club team-mate Rick Duff who is competing in the Men’s 'D’ Grade division.

The Championships get under way with many first round Open matches scheduled for a 9am start. The Finals are set down for Monday afternoon at 3pm. Everyone is welcome to visit the Big River Venue and enjoy some spectacular squash.

Hometown Support for Pilley
Pat Gillett reports

Former Yamba player and AIS Scholarship holder, Cameron Pilley, has emerged as a strong prospect to take out the NSW Open Men’s Squash Title, which begins at the Big River Squash Centre this coming weekend.

Currently ranked number 63 in the world, Pilley will have the hometown advantage in his bid to take out the coveted State Title.

Standing in Pilley’s way is AIS compatriot Dan Jensen, ranked number 29 in the world.

Jensen returns to the Big River venue where he played out a memorable Semi-final battle with the eventual 2002 Champion Paul Price. In that encounter, Jensen pushed his stronger opponent all the way, narrowly going down 17/16 in the fifth game.

Memories of the good form that he was able to produce at the Grafton venue last year may spur Jensen on to claim the 2003 title.

Joining Jensen and Pilley as the likely top-three seeded players is former world number ten, Craig Rowland. Now retired from the international scene but still playing competitive Open squash in Brisbane, many believe Rowland has the ability to overcome the full-time players.

Working against Rowland however is the incredibly strong depth of talent that this year’s tournament has collected. Should Rowland have to battle through several tough early round matches, he may not have the legs to produce his best squash for the Semi-final and Final stages of the event.

As an example of the strong depth in the Men’s draw, the likely number-8 seeded player, South Australia’s Luke Margan, is currently ranked at number 144 on the World Tour.

Young-Gun Favourite for Open

Port Macquarie junior squash sensation, Kasey Brown, has emerged as the strong favourite to take out the 2003 Women’s Open Squash Title.

The 17 year old narrowly missed out on reaching the Final of the 2002 event, going down to eventual Champion Heidi Mather, in a five-set semi-final thriller.

With 12 months of international competition behind her since that defeat, tournament organisers believe Kasey has the form to claim this year’s title.

Ranked 47th in the world, Kasey will most likely be seeded behind former world number 12 Robyn Cooper and current world number 35 Amelia Pittock.

A possible semi-final encounter between Kasey and Pittock will be a replay of the 2003 Yamba Open Final in which Kasey came back from two sets down to defeat her AIS colleague.

Overcoming the experience of Cooper will be an even more difficult task for the talented Australian under 19 Champion.

Cooper was a member of the Manchester Commonwealth Games team in which she claimed a Bronze medal in the mixed doubles event. She is also a member of the victorious Australian Open team that currently hold the World Teams Championship trophy.

Joining these players in the top seeded positions will be Melissa Martin, ranked 49th in the world, Japan's Mami Nishio, ranked 77th and AIS Scholarship holder Lisa Camilleri, ranked 79th.

Dan Jenson09 Jun - FINALS:
Jensen Shrugs off
Pilley’s Challenge

AIS Scholarship holder Dan Jensen held off a determined Cameron Pilley to claim the 2003 NSW Open Squash Championship Final. The top seeded player produced the form that only a few years ago saw the likeable South Australian reach as high as number 5 in the world.

Played before a packed audience at Grafton’s Big River venue, Jensen demonstrated a cool head to out manoeuvre and out play his younger AIS colleague.

The 15-9, 15-2, 15-11 may reflect Jensen’s domination of the event, but not the intensity and commitment that Pilley put in over the 50-minute match.

From the very first point Pilley started quickly and strongly. It appeared that he was intent on trying to dominate the front position rather than allow Jensen the opportunity to dictate the pace of the game. Jensen however, has a cool head to match his technically adept game. With patience and deft little deceptive shots at the right time, he was able to subdue Pilley’s early energetic burst.

Jensen’s strong form continued into the second game as he raced to an 11-0 lead. During this time Pilley played some great squash with no reward. Consistently, the end result of many long rallies involved a tiring Pilley hitting the ball into the tin or watching from out of position as Jensen put the ball way for a winner.

“I was a little frustrated in that second game,” said Pilley. “Dan’s consistency was so difficult to deal with. I seemed to spend every minute off balance reaching for shots that were clinging to the walls.”

The pressure created by Jensen proved difficult to counter. In particular, his front-court game was deadly accurate. Deft touch drop shots were mixed with volley drops from the half-court position which speed hastily into the nick.

Asked what he though of his performance, an up-beat Pilley responded positively about his game.

“I thought that I played pretty well throughout the match. It’s just that Dan was in awesome form today. There was very little I could do. “

Joining Pilley in the losing finalist club are several local players. Anthony Don went down narrowly in the C’ Grade final 15-13, 11-15, 13-15, 15-13, 13-15. Club team-mate Rick Duff also fell one victory short of a State Title, losing his D’ Grade final three games to zero.

Cooper Cruises to Victory
Top seed Robyn Cooper captured her maiden NSW Open title at the Big River Centre with a tight three-game victory over AIS Scholarship holder Amelia Pittock.

Ranked as high as number 12 in the world during her career, Cooper is also a member of the victorious Australian side that captured the World Team Championship in Denmark last year.

Both players took to the Big River court looking fresh and determined after scoring convincing Semi-Final victories on the previous night.

There was no easing into the match for either player. From the very first point both stepped on the gas with powerful drives and a willingness to reach the ball as it left their opponents racket.

While each player had their share of opportunities in a tight opening game, it was Cooper that emerged as the winner, albeit by the narrowest of margins 10-9.

The second game began just as close and just as fast with both players unable to open an early lead. Although sticking to Cooper for the first half of the game, Pittock began to struggle with an apparent ankle injury. At 6-all she was still in with a chance but the problem with her ankle persisted and she was unable to continue with the pace of the game. Her strong retrieving ability, which had been such a pivotal aspect of her game in the first, began to suffer.

As Pittock was hampered by her restricted mobility, Cooper kept up the pace to clinch the second game 9-6.

From that point on it was going to be a difficult task for Pittock, with or without the injury. Although trying to stick with her game plan, Pittock’s court movement was so severely hampered that she could do little but stand and fire away for a nick or two. Cooper had little trouble though in keeping the ball away from her reach.

The 9-0 third game scoreline was unfortunate for Pittock, given that she had stuck with the top seed so well for the first two games.

The defeat for Pittock marks the second successive year in which she has lost out in the Championship Final. In 2002, she was upset in four games by AIS colleague Heidi Mather.

Local player Aleesha Crispin provided some joy for the Big River crowd with a popular win in the C’ grade division. Crispin claimed her State Title with a comfortable three-nil victory over Glenn Innes player Jan Spenser, 15-3, 15-8, 15-6.

08-Jun, Semi-finals:
[1] Dan Jensen bt Tony James  15/8, 15/8, 15/10
[2] Cameron Pilley bt Craig Rowland  15/13, 13/15, 15/4, 15/7

Local Support
for Pilley

Pat Gillett reports from Grafton
Yamba squash player Cameron Pilley will be relying heavily upon hometown support in his bid to take out the 2003 NSW Men’s Open Squash Championship. His task will be a difficult one as he steps into the Final against the tournaments top seed and AIS colleague Dan Jensen.

Pilley, ranked 63 in the world, showed glimpses of his tremendous talent as he overcame former Top-Ten player Craig Rowland in an entertaining four-game Semi-Final victory.

A large crowd of Big River spectators were entertained not only by the talents of both players but also by the ‘talkative’ antics employed by Rowland.

From the first point it was apparent that Pilley was a physically stronger player. If Rowland was to be a chance he would need to find a way of breaking Pilley’s concentration and rhythm. Although trying his best to rattle Pilley, to the amusement of all spectators, Pilley was not about to be sucked into any mind games and held off for a 15-13, 13-15, 15-4, 15-7 victory.

Asked what his chances were of upsetting the top seed in today’s Championship Final, Pilley responded in a typically respectful fashion.

“Dan’s number 29 in the world,” Pilley replied with a grin. “I’m around the 60-mark so there’s a big step between our two rankings. But, if I play my best squash, then sure, I’m capable of taking out the match.”

In six previous encounters Pilley is yet to gain a victory against Jensen, who is a former World Number five ranked player. Their most recent encounter occurred last weekend in the Kalgoorlie Open. On that occasion Jensen took the match 3 games to one.

Women's semi-finals:
[1] Robyn Cooper bt [4] Melissa Martin  0/9, 9/6, 9/6, 9/0
[2] Amelia Pittock bt [4] Kasey Brown  9/0, 9/4, 9/2

Pittock Charges into Final
AIS Scholarship holder Amelia Pittock easily shrugged off the challenge of Australian Junior Champion Kasey Brown to reach her second consecutive NSW Open Squash Championship final.

Played before a large crowd of enthusiastic spectators at the Big River venue, Pittock demonstrated a strong sense of composure and determination in her 3 games to nil victory.

The 9-0, 9-4, 9-2, win proved to be sweet revenge for Pittock, who lost to the Junior Champion in the Final of the Yamba Open last Easter. In that encounter, Pittock held a comfortable 2 games to nil lead before dropping all concentration, along with the next three games.

Lasting memories of that encounter may have provided the extra motivation for Pittock to maintain focus throughout the entire match. While her game suffered from more than a reasonable number of unforced errors, overall she placed enough pressure on Brown to open the court up for some easy winners.

Pittock’s opponent in the Final will be Commonwealth Games representative and former Top-Ten player Robyn Cooper.

By contrast with the earlier Semi-Final, Coopers match against World number 49, Australian Melissa Martin, could have gone either way.

In a lethargic start, Cooper dropped the first 12 points before she was able to get on the board. The 0-9, 9-6, 9-6, 9-0 score could easily have looked more embarrassing for the tournaments number one seed.

Martin’s deceptive, twisting style of game wrong-footed Cooper on numerous occasions early in the encounter. Each time, Cooper was unable to recover and found herself out of position watching as Martin neatly placed the ball away for an easy winner.

Cooper regrouped somewhat in the second to level the match with a 9-6 victory. Her win however, came mainly from a regular supply of unforced errors creeping into Martin’s game.

At 6-all in the third, the match was still evenly balanced. Frustrated supporters of Martin grimaced at the sight of her serve sailing high and out of court. The anguish continued as she ended the next two rallies with similar shots sailing above the red line. From this position Cooper fully accepted the opportunity, neatly ending the game with a forehand volley nick, before romping home 9-0 in the fourth.

Jensen and Pilley
Breeze into Semis
Pat Gillett reports from Grafton

Top seeds Dan Jensen and Cameron Pilley have both progressed comfortably through to the Semi-Final stage of the 2003 NSW Men’s Open Squash Championships.

Jensen scored a comfortable win over AIS colleague, Aaron Frankcombe, in the morning’s first Quarterfinal. The encounter proved to be little more than a light training session for the tournaments top seed and crowd favourite of the Big River venue. Jensen cantered through the match 15-0, 15-5, 15-8.

Jensen will now meet the tournaments number 4 seeded player, Tony James, in the first Semi-Final match-up. James, who recently joined the Victorian Institute squash unit, held off a determined Paul Davis in their Quarterfinal encounter. Although winning in three games, James was required to fight hard for his 17-15, 15-13, 15-6 victory.

On the bottom half of the draw, local Yamba player Cameron Pilley struggled to find his early rhythm against Over 35’s World Champion Derek Hunter. Pilley lost the first game of their Quarterfinal encounter 15-11. The AIS Scholarship holder was able to bounce back convincingly though, taking out the next three games 15-7, 15-11, 15-3.

Pilley will now face former Top-Ten player Craig Rowland in the second Semi- Final.

Like Pilley, Rowland struggled with poor rhythm early in his Quarterfinal match against Queensland youngster Brad Freeme. Rowland looked completely out of sorts as he put up little fight, dropping the first game 15-7.

The next two games went Rowland’s way as he settled down to a more consistent length, taking each game 15-6. The fourth game was always under Rowland’s control, however he made just enough errors to allow Freeme a sniff of taking the match into extra-time. Rowland held on though to claim the game 17-15.

Top Four Ladies
Storm into Semis
Pat Gillett reports from Grafton
The 2002 NSW Open Squash Championships is set for an exciting Semi-Final showdown with each of the top-four seeded players recording comfortable Quarterfinal victories.

Australian Commonwealth Games representative Robyn Cooper demonstrated a clinical approach in her 9-3, 9-6, 9-7 victory over New Zealand competitor Jackie Hawkes.

Cooper will now meet the tournaments fourth seed Mellisa Martin, in the first Semi-final match-up. Martin scored an equally impressive 9-5, 9-1, 9-5 victory over Australian Junior representative Georgina Davis. While Davis is known for her impressive shot-making capabilities, the Alstonville youngster was unable to flaunt her natural talent against the composed game of Martin.

Against Cooper however, Martin can not expect as many free points and will need to produce her best squash if she is any chance of upsetting the top seed.

Under 19 Australian Junior Champion, Kasey Brown, also moved into the Semi-Final stage with a comfortable victory over Japan’s Mami Nishio, 9-3, 9-6, 9-1.

Brown so far has demonstrated a meticulous quality to her game. Her rhythm and concentration has been at maximum levels.

In the remaining Semi-final encounter against second seed Amelia Pittock, it will be interesting to see if the young player can maintain her intensity against a stronger, more experience opponent.



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