In a combined effort to improve their high performance programmes, two NZ Districts have reignited a local competition that was last played for in 1993.
On 14 July, Central Squash will face Squash Eastern (formally known as Hawkes Bay) in Napier which is the second fixture of the season. The clash will see the resurrection of the Newbigin Shield which used to be played between Gisborne/Hawkes Bay and Central Squash. The Shield was donated by Jim Newbigin who was a leading light in the establishment of squash in the Hawkes Bay. It was first played for in 1971 and last played for in 1993. Central Squash lead the way with a total of ten wins to Hawkes Bays' five, while there has been one draw.
The one-day competition will be great build up to the NZ Inter-District Teams Champs, hosted by Kawaroa Park Squash Club in New Plymouth from 6-8 August. District representative teams of four mean and four women (with two reseves) for the National event will be named at the conclusion of this local derby.
Central Squash have named their team, which features a large contingent from SquashGym Palmerston North, including the formidable presence of world number 93 Kashif Shuja. Leading the women's side is Danielle Fourie who represented New Zealand at the Junior World Championships last year, along with Kaitlyn Watts who at just 11 years old, has a B2 grade. Manager Kent Darlington said "having Kashif come into the mix is fantastic and certainly strengthen us up but we will still need to be on our toes as it is a whole team effort that is required from one right through to six."
Central Squash Women's Team
Central Squash Men's Team
Coaches: Grant Watts (SquashGym Palmerston North), Kashif Shuja (SquashGym Palmerston North)
Manager: Kent Darlington (Wanganui)
Eastern Men's Team
Eastern Women's Team