Entries open for squash championships at Maffra

Maffra Squash and Racquetball Club members Col Merlo and Hayden, Bec and Jess Vanbaalen.
Maffra Squash and Racquetball Club members Col Merlo and Hayden, Bec and Jess Vanbaalen.

ENTRIES are now open for the Maffra Squash and Racquetball Club's annual Gippsland Open Squash Championships to be held in March.

Around 100 people are expected to converge on the Maffra squash courts for the tournament, with players coming from across Gippsland and outer areas to compete.

As one of the few remaining squash and racquetball clubs in Gippsland, Maffra's enviable sporting culture has enabled country players in the Wellington district wishing to play the two somewhat niche sports an opportunity to do so.

The tournament is open to all ages and levels, although players must be registered with Squash and Racquetball Victoria to take part.

To ensure competitive balance, players will be ranked on a matrix system and pitted against opponents at the discretion of tournament directors.

Maffra boasts four squash/racquetball courts and lays claim to being the only member-run club in Victoria.

Part of the clubs two most recent courts were installed by former squash five time world champion and Commonwealth Games gold medalist Sara Fitz-Gerald.

The sports of squash and racquetball involve players scurry around a confined space, aiming to gain points over an opponent by hitting a small rubber ball in such a way to make it harder for a valid return to be made.

Desirable skills include agility, timing and hand eye coordination, which can also be transferred to other sports.

Former England cricket great Kevin Pietersen credited time spent playing squash in his youth to helping his hands and wrists develop speed and flexibility.

Because of this, he was able to develop the power necessary to play shots such as revere sweeps and switch hits with ease.

The Gippsland Open Squash Championships will be held March 13 to 15.

In the weeks prior to the tournament, the club will hold a come and try day on Monday, January 27.

For more information, phone club president Colin Merlo on 0408 567 081.

Maffra Squash and Racquetball Club is located in Little Johnson St, in the Woolworths car park.