Plan to get more junior squash players on court

Squash and Racquetball Victoria has established a new ranking and tour system for junior players. (Sven Mieke via Unsplash) 243591_01

By Oliver Lees

Squash and Racquetball Victoria has designed a new structure to improve competition and motivate participation among junior players.

Last week the sporting body announced the Victorian Junior Squash Tour (VJST) and its associated ranking system, which aims to match players in appropriate divisions.

VJST events will also enable a more direct means of forming representative sides, as the top two ranked boys and girls in each age group will represent the State Junior Team.

Macedon Ranges Squash Club president George Hennessy said the new system will be good for the game.

“Anything the governing body can do to raise the profile of squash for juniors and attract them to squash, is a good thing,” Hennessy said.

“Macedon Ranges Squash Club does and will support this initiative as much as we are able to, though being a small Club, we can only do so much.”

The VJST will complement the introduction of Bronze Level Junior Tournaments.

These tournaments allow entries of intermediate and beginner players to get more new players to compete.

Hume City Squash Club president Leigh Evans said the first event held in April was a smash hit.

“All of our players from Hume City Squash had a ball at the first Junior Bronze Event,” Evans said.

“Our squash club at Hume were very proud to be a part of this and looking forward to the next event.”

Squash and Racquetball Victoria president and five time World Open Champion Sarah Fitz-Gerald said the changes would help accommodate a growing number of players in the sport.

“Even allowing for COVID-19 and our four lockdowns, junior participation numbers have virtually quadrupled over the past six months,” Fitz-Gerald said.

“Two Bronze events have already been conducted at Squash Melbourne and Mulgrave CC with resounding success, each attracting many players to experience their first ever tournament.”

But Hennessy said the Macedon Ranges Squash Club had been dealt a blow through the pandemic.

“COVID-19 has taken its toll on playing numbers in this district,” Hennessy said.

“Having the large amount of forced time away from the courts over the last 18 months, has seen many members not returning to Squash.”

Hennessy said the timetable for the winter mixed competition at the Kyneton Sports & Aquatic Centre will be released soon.

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