Squash fraternity backs youngster
Marlborough's leading squash exponents will be playing for more than titles at the Harvest Open tournament this weekend.
Their entry fees will help a rising star on the local scene make his way up the national ladder.
Thirteen-year-old Paul Moran has been chosen to attend several Squash NZ Junior Development squad camps in Auckland, with funds raised from the Harvest Open event going towards his travel costs.
The Junior Development Squad is aimed at developing and recognising Squash NZ's most talented young players, setting them on a pathway to a future career as professional squash players.
Moran is one of 15 players nationwide who were named earlier this year. He follows in the footsteps of other Marlborough juniors, notably Megan Craig, Quinn Udy, Kiriana Andrew and Amelia Wadsworth, who have benefited from attending four training camps in Auckland under the leadership of coach Robbie Wyatt.
Locally, Paul and his older brother Henry are coached by Paul Roughan who runs the Marlborough Hub for juniors identified as requiring high performance coaching. This year the High Performance Hub has four members, Leonie and Tom Marshall, plus the Moran brothers.
Coaching is also provided for other juniors with potential, with around 20 youngsters in these squads coached by Udy, Andrew Marshall and Nic Dann.
The Moran brothers have made the step up to the premier division of Marlborough interclub this season, both winning their opening matches. The only other juniors playing in the premier grade are Wadsworth and Udy.
Paul and Henry have been busy this month, attending Oceania Juniors in Auckland, the NZ Junior Open in Cambridge, the Waimea Open in Nelson, the Kaikoura Open and last weekend's College Open. The Marshall siblings also attended those tournament, apart from the NZ Junior Open.
All four generally bettered their seedings with Tom Marshall having particular success in the College Open. He was seeded eighth in men's division one and finished runner-up. Paul Moran held his third seeding in the same division.
There is no shortage of squash talent in the Moran family, with younger siblings, Jethro and Victoria, also playing the game.
Megan Craig is top seed for the Harvest Open, which begins at 6pm Friday and concludes on Saturday. Her father Grant is ranked second, followed by Liam Kennedy and Ben Roughan respectively.
Several Marlborough players picked up top placings at the Canterbury age group champs, played in conjunction with the College Open last weekend.
Results. Boys under-17: 2nd Henry Moran. Boys under-15: 2nd Paul Moran. Boys under-15 division 2: 2nd Ben Rush, plate Kieran Charles, consolation plate Jonty Rush. Boys under-13: 1st Tom Marshall. Plate Jethro Moran. Boys under-11: 2nd Jack Frisken, 3rd Alex Craig. Girls under-19: 1st Amelia Wadsworth. Girls under-17: 1st Sophie Whittall. Girls under-15: 1st Leonie Marshall. Girls under-11: 1st Victoria Moran, 2nd Carly Craig.
Marlborough junior players feature prominently in the latest national junior rankings.
Jack Frisken is fourth in U11 boys section, Tom Marshall fifth in the U13 boys, Paul Moran 15th in U15 boys, Leonie Marshall 12th in U15 girls, Udy fifth among the U19 boys, Andrew and Wadsworth seventh and 14th respectively in the U19 girls.