Just to give you a little round up of my final events of the season over in New Zealand and a few of my thoughts on how I played. Overall I thought it was a successful trip and another stepping stone on my way to the top. A few frustrating results but I put my all in every time I stepped on court!
First event I played over there wasn’t a PSA it was a national team event ‘Cousins Shield’ a prestigious NZ event in which I represented North Shore Squash Club from Auckland. I helped my team succeed in beating its seeding of 7 and we finished 4th of 15. In the quarter final match I won the final important match to put us through the semis beating current world number 37 Declan James 3-2 which was a great result for me but a huge win for the team. We then struggled to go much further losing out in the semis and ending up 4th, but it was a great result to beat our seeding and the team seemed pretty happy. I couldn’t of asked for a better team they were amazing
Second event was Palmerston North Fitzherbert Rowe Lawyers New Zealand PSA Classic 2016 15k. I won my first round of qualifying reasonably comfortably against a South Korean 3-0 which in hindsight was a real good result to win in 3 as he went on to get a few good wins over the whole trip. Then in Qualifying Finals I beat a Pakistani who used to be top 50 in a tough 3-2 battle but came through strong in the end and I was really happy with that result as it meant it was the first time I have qualified for a 15k. In the main draw I played Ivan Yuen from Malaysia and current world number 54, I lost to Ivan 3-0 really struggling to break him down. But from that beating I felt I learnt a real lot from his class, movement and composure he was a real class act but also 5 years older than me.
Next up was Squashways Christchurch Open 2016 10k. I fortunately received a bye through the first round of quallies due to another player failing to get a visa. So in qualifying finals I played an Australian of similar age and ranking to me Rhys Dowling and this was arguable the toughest draw of quallies. But I managed to win 3-1 pretty comfortable after losing a tight first game, I got better as the match went on and played really disciplined and focussed which I was really happy with. Next in the 1st round I got a reasonably good draw to play another Aussie Josh larkin current world number 92 and good friend so I saw this as a good but tough chance. We played for just over 90minutes and I lost out 3-2 after coming back from 2-0 down which was hugely disappointing as I felt this was a chance to get a good scalp as I played really well but just ran out of steam towards the end again as I was playing a player a fair few years older than me. But I left everything out there on the court and I don’t think you can do much more other than accept the result and learn from it.
From Christchurch the next Psa was Invercargill for the ILT Community Trust NZ Southern Invercargill Open 2016. But before venturing down to the ‘Bottom of the World’ as some people call it, me and another pro took a detour through one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever seen – Queenstown. We took a couple days of down there to absorb the beauty, take some pictures and most importantly rest up and refresh for the next event. So again in Invercargill I found myself with a bye through the first round of qualifying after the same player still couldn’t get a valid visa. I beat a young local player in the final round of the qualifying 3-0 convincingly and again giving me another shot at a top class player. This time I got drawn against Rex Hedrick of Australia and current world number 62 who’s been as high as 52. This was arguably the toughest draw to get as Rex was 3 seed and made the final of the previous 15k tournament in Palmerston North. Nonetheless, I felt this was my best performance of the trip. I lost a tight 3-1, after taking the 1st game 11-5 through using shear pace and hard hitting, I then lost the next 11-7 before losing the last two games 11-9 11-9 both in which we were locked in at 9-9. So looking back and having watched my match back I felt if I could of been a little more experienced and composed on those big points like Rex was due to his experience, the result could of been mine. Similarly to playing Ivan I felt I learnt a massive amount from that chance to get to play someone like Rex and being able to watch the match back online was invaluable. I feel this is why trips like this are so important because it gives you a chance to expose yourself to players from different countries in which they play the sport in a slightly
different way and this helps your learning of the game.Overall I feel that the trip was a success, but not enough success as I wanted. But theres lots to learn from and I’ve lots of experiences fro
m it and I have a very clear idea now of what I want to focus my time and efforts on over the summer. But first it is time to put the feet up and reflect on the season rest up before the next big push