Without an import player this year, the SquashGym Palmerston North women's team were unable to defend their Mitchell Cup title at the national club squash championships in Christchurch at the weekend.
SquashGym finished third in the tournament, beating Remuera 3-2 in the third-fourth playoff yesterday.
After winning the title last year for the first time in 45 years, the team was weaker this year because new rules meant teams weren't allowed an import.
Last year SquashGym had world No 4 Joelle King as an import and next year the rules may be changed so import players are allowed again.
On Friday, SquashGym lost 3-2 to North Shore, with No 1 Rebecca Barnett and No 2 Danielle Fourie winning their matches, but No 4 Emily Nash and No 5 Rebecca Clifford lost theirs.
It came down to No 3 Jackie Tapp to win her match, but she just missed out and lost the fifth set 11-9.
Against Eden Epsom SquashGym lost 4-1 with Barnett having a good win over Ellie Epke, but her team-mates couldn't get the job done. In their other match they beat Cambridge 5-0.
They were also missing promising youngster Kaitlyn Watts who is at the Malaysian Junior Open.
The SquashGym men's team couldn't improve on last year's third place and finished fifth this year.
On Friday they beat Eden Epsom 5-0 and were resting No 1 Kashif Shuja, but then lost 3-2 to a strong Henderson team, who SquashGym would usually beat.
Henderson had world No 76 Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi from Qatar and New Zealand player Lance Beddoes, who beat SquashGym's Josh Greenfield and Shuja respectively.
Luke Jones and Rod Bannister had wins and it came down to Tom Nash to try and get them the win but he lost a close game. SquashGym beat Christchurch Football 5-0, then beat North Shore 3-2 for fifth place, where Bannister, Greenfield and Nash won their games.
North Shore won the Mitchell Cup, beating Eden Epsom 3-2 in the final. Host club Squashways of Christchurch beat Herne Bay 3-1 in the men's final to take the Cousins Shield.
- Manawatu Standard
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