Matamata is in for a treat of women's squash this week thanks to their club's most prominent player.
World No 44 Kylie Lindsay has organised a tournament at the United Matamata Squash Club which will feature about half of the world's top 20 players.
Ireland's Madeline Perry is the top-ranked player at No 5, while Hong Kong's Annie Au (6) and Australia's Rachael Grinham (9) will also be making the trip over.
New Zealand's three top players will also be competing, with Cambridge's Joelle King (13) and Auckland's Jaclyn Hawkes (19) joining Lindsay in the tournament, which is rated in the WSA (Women's Squash Association) Silver bracket and will have a total prize pool of $35,000.
Lindsay, 28, said the drive behind getting the tournament up and running was to give the country's top players a chance to play in a competitive event in their homeland.
“We haven't had an international women's tournament in New Zealand since the New Zealand Open at the Mount three years ago, which was a gold level [minimum $50,000 prize pool] tournament,” she said.
Lindsay also wanted to give back to her home club by staging a top-level competition there.
“That was one of my aims for the tournament. Because I'm from Matamata, I've played here since I began playing when I was six and I think it's one of the best clubs in New Zealand, so I wanted to try and help them out. It's going to be a very positive thing for the club.”
Along with players already mentioned, a further three Kiwis and 14 from overseas will be in action, either straight into the main draw or qualifying.
Lindsay said she didn't have to do a lot of convincing for players to come over. They simply entered through the WSA, with many of them having been in action at the Australian Open in Canberra which wrapped up yesterday.
The Matamata Open will also coincide with the Year of Women's Squash campaign in New Zealand.
Qualifying for the tournament takes place tomorrow and Wednesday, before the main draw gets under way on Thursday, with quarterfinals on Friday, semifinals on Saturday and the final on Sunday at 3pm.
Entry to the tournament is free.
Meanwhile, King will feature tonight in an exhibition match against Grinham at the Cambridge Racquets Club.
From 6pm there will be a Challenge the Pros event for the public with $1 a point on offer.
Drinks and nibbles are at 7pm, before the match starts at 7.30pm.
Afterwards there will be drinks and supper along with a question-and-answer session.
Tickets, which include a free drink, are $20 or $5 for juniors, and they are available from the Cambridge Racquets Club or by contacting Mike on (07) 827 7563 or email@example.com.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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