Fourie, Clifford tipped to lift squash title

Manawatu players are in with a good chance of winning titles at this weekend's Central squash doubles.

Massey University students Danielle Fourie and Rebecca Clifford are top seeds in the women's open doubles, and Fourie backs up with former Central representative-turned-administrator Grant Smith in the mixed doubles.

After Stratford hosted the inaugural Central Districts squash doubles tournament in 2002, it makes a return to the Taranaki town this weekend.

The first rounds start tonight. The finals are 5pm tomorrow on the wider doubles courts, the same standard courts as Palmerston North's SquashGym club.

In the women's open, Fourie is the top-ranked New Zealand player in action. She partners Palmerston North clubmate Clifford.

They are expected to meet second seeds Whanganui's Ngakuria Osborne and Lyn Tengahue in the final.

About 50 players will be in action from across the lower North Island including doubles pairs from Manawatu, Whanganui and Taranaki.

The New Zealand doubles championships are in Palmerston North next month.

The Central doubles this weekend is an important feeder to the NZ doubles and with gold medals at stake in this year's Commonwealth Games, the New Zealand and Australian teams are expected to compete at Palmerston North.

The men's open doubles top seeds, Rod Bannister and Josh Greenfield (Whanganui), are the star attractions. They are expected to meet SquashGym's Jason Burton-Brown and Croyden Rutherford, the New Zealand men's over-35 champs, in the final.

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