Strong results for Timaru at awards

Top prize . . . Timaru Squash Club president Linda Kenny addresses the crowd as the club receives the 2023 Midlands Club of the Year award. PHOTOS: SUPPLIED

Timaru Squash Club has swept through the Midlands Squash Awards this year, picking up several major awards and adding to an already stellar year for the club.

The Midlands District covers Rakaia to Oamaru and inland to Fairlie.

Taking place at the Landing Services Building, the region’s best were celebrated with Hayden Shaw , a Black Sticks player from 2002-2011, making a guest speaking appearance.

Most notably, Timaru Squash Club picked up the 2023 Midlands Club of the Year Award.

The recipient of the award is selected by a judging panel comprising district representatives.

Members nominate their clubs and provide a description of the club’s achievements regarding the delivery of community squash.

The winner is decided by how successful the club has been through five key areas; participation growth, player/ club performance, welcoming facilities, financial health and unified delivery.

Squash Midlands project and coaching co-ordinator Vicki Rae said the Timaru club was selected based on the recent renovations to its facilities, the fact that it has a growing membership, their new initiatives like the women’s night and the competition success the club had had this year.

A big part of that success was the Timaru Men’s team taking out the C grade Superchamps competition this year.

By doing so, they became the first club team from the South Island to win that title grade, and only the fifth Midlands team to take a national title in any of the Superchamps competitions in history.

This achievement led to the side receiving the Midlands Team of the Year award.

To win the award they beat the Midlands quadrangular team that won the South Island Trophy.

Another big win was for Timaru Squash Club member Lily Rae, who received the award for Midlands Female Player of the Year.

Big win . . . Lily Rae celebrates her female player of the year win alongside Hayden Shaw.

This year she finished 13th at the New Zealand National Championships and was runner-up at the Trident Homes South Island Open PSA.

She was the Midlands district A grade champion and a team member of Midlands district team who finished fifth at nationals.

She is currently ranked first in the district and was a member of the winning quadrangular team, winning all three matches.

Timaru Squash Club player Macgregor Rae, 17, also capped off a successful year and was named the Midlands Junior of the Year.

Up-and-comer . . . Macgregor Rae, 17, is congratulated by Hayden Shaw after winning the Midlands Junior of the Year award.

To win the award he finished 17th at both the New Zealand Junior Open and the New Zealand Junior Nationals under-19 grade; he was the topfinishing Midlands player in both.

He was a member of the winning quadrangular team, winning all three of his matches, and was named the No 1 team member of the Midlands junior boy’s team at Juniors National teams event.

Wrapping up the haul for Timaru was Jaimee Thomas , who took home the Foundation Coach of the Year award.

Top coach . . . Having her hard work recognised is Jaimee Thomas (left), who is congratulated for her foundation coach of the year win by Midlands project and coaching co-ordinator Vicki Rae.

She coaches the Small Nix programme at the Timaru Squash Club, working with 4-8 year olds, encouraging and teaching them a lot of fundamental skills.

Her work was noted to have seen an increase in participation and membership in the junior area of the club.

There were also some great wins across South Canterbury when it came to the most improved players.

The junior boys’ most improved was won by Riley Slade from Mackenzie, the junior girls’ was won by Danni Smith from Timaru, the senior men’s was won by Max Taylor from Timaru, the masters men’s was won by Regan Thompson from Timaru and the masters women’s was won by Hinemoa Greenaway from Pleasant Point.