At the weekend, Ruby Turnbull and Chris Van der Salm both took out their respective women’s and men’s title in the Christchurch Casino sponsored squash tournament organised by the Christchurch Football club, the first in this year’s Tri series event along with Burnside and Christchurch clubs. Both finals were excellent matches for viewers and both 4 set encounters.
Ruby started the match showing plenty of confidence with shot selection and commanding the T position throughout the match. The first two games went her way 15/10, 15/7 with her dominance before Stephanie Chambers from Otago showed her resilience forcing many errors from Ruby to win a comfortable 15/7 game. Ruby then resorted back to being her dominant self with a mix of delicate drops and boasts enabling her to take her second tournament win in as many weeks.
The men’s encounter between Chris and Squashways clubmate Oliver Johnston both ranked 9th and 5th respectively in NZ after the 2016 Nationals and there first encounter of the season was a gut buster. The match was a top-quality affair in a massive 50-minute display of athleticism by both players with the younger man Chris virtually wearing out Oliver. The first game lasted 25 minutes with often 40 shot rallies played at tremendous pace, both players being stroked by the referee after some of these rallies with virtually nothing in it with both having opportunities but Oliver not capitalising with Chris prevailing 14/12. The second game Chris was totally dominant leading 8/3 with some superb volley drops or volley drives then Chris starting making mistakes some simple losing 12/10 that game lasting 16 minutes. The damage had been done at this stage two exhausting games by both but Chris the stronger and Oliver tiring forcing mistakes and prevailing 11/4 and 11/4 to Chris winning 3/1.
In the play-off for 3rd and 4th places Karen Walton had a very close win over fellow Master Sue Wasley winning 12/15,15/ 17,15/12,15/7,15/13 and the men’s also another close fought 5 setter with Joe Williams winning 5/11,11/5,11/8,9/11,11/8.