The National Masters was hosted this year by the Whangarei Squash Club during 16-20 October. This club has space to burn and was a great venue. Whangarei is a great place – small enough to move around easily, well laid out and of course a wonderful environment.
The BOP team had two virgins this year - Korina and Rachel. New blood was great to have and they gelled really well into the team. The team stayed in one big beautiful house, the Regent Residential Villa, and this created a wonderful team interaction and atmosphere.
BOP featured strongly in the Individuals. Eight players contested age group finals and four National age group titles were won:
Jo Shanks W35+
Kashif Shuja, M40+,
Kathryn McKay W55+,
Bernie Dawson M65+.
Jo won, playing on legs that were only just returning from serious injury. She was very determined winning against a brave Karen Roberts.
For all of us privileged to see Kashif play Neil in the M40+ final, we witnessed the expression of true character, guts and grit that in a very high quality, high drama match in which both players were at the very end of their endurance.
Kathryn vanquished all even with her dubious knee. And Bernie jubilantly claimed his maiden title.
In the Teams, three of our four title holders could not play due to injury related causes. The Teams event was a nine draw with BOP seeded fourth. We dispatched Central first and then fought to a 6 matches-all, 23-22 games victory over Canterbury in a very nervous and exciting rubber where all team members gave everything. The team was happy to pip Canterbury to put us into the top playoff group with Waikato and Auckland. We beat Waikato 7-5. On the day, Auckland were too strong beating BOP 9-3 but a second placing was an excellent result for BOP.
This year the men achieved more victories than the women, reversing the trend of the last few years. Aaron Kopittke won all his matches anchoring the team with high quality squash. Team members experienced both brilliant victories and heart-breaking defeats in tight matches and supported by the team’s nurturing culture.
This year’s top performances have not been an accident. Kashif has been leading us with workshops to formulate our own goals and share them with him and the team. He asked as well for us to identify an extra 10% which we can call on in tight matches.
All socials were held at the club. We had prize givings, karaoke, dinners, watched the Bledisloe, and good times. Their kitchen was exceptionally good and we all appreciated the fine food.
On Monday night the dinner hosted by Slick and Jo at our house was most enjoyable with really good food. We now know the secret to a good crumble is the toss immediately before serving!!
Bernie Dawson - BOP Masters Manager