New South Wales
Squash Open 2003
07-09 June, Grafton, Australia
Draw & Results
Draw & Results
Steve Pilley, Greg Don
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
“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
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
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 is also competing in the NSW Open and has been seeded in the number
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,
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
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
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
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
With 12 months of international competition behind her since that defeat,
tournament organisers believe Kasey has the form to claim this year’s
Ranked 47th in the world, Kasey will most likely be seeded behind former
world number 12 Robyn Cooper and current world number 35 Amelia
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
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,
09 Jun - FINALS:
Jensen Shrugs off
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
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
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
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
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.
 Dan Jensen bt Tony James
15/8, 15/8, 15/10
 Cameron Pilley bt Craig Rowland 15/13, 13/15, 15/4, 15/7
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
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
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.
 Robyn Cooper bt  Melissa Martin 0/9, 9/6, 9/6, 9/0
 Amelia Pittock bt  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
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,
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
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
Australian Commonwealth Games representative Robyn Cooper demonstrated a
clinical approach in her 9-3, 9-6, 9-7 victory over New Zealand competitor
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
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,
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.