NMMU’S Jason le Roux and Lizelle Goosen of Londt Park were crowned the Crusaders Challenge squash champions with decisive victories at Crusaders yesterday.
In a repeat of last year’s women’s final, Goosen again came up against clubmate Jacqui Ryder, but this time she had her rival’s measure to win 3-1.
In an all-NMMU men’s final, Le Roux showed patience and skill to outlast younger opponent Kyle Schwarz 3-0 for his first Saders title.
Goosen and Ryder have dominated women’s squash in EP in recent years and have a friendly rivalry, but one which does not diminish their competitiveness when they clash on the court.
Goosen was quicker out the blocks this time and took a 1-0 lead when a tight backhand down the wall forced Ryder into an error to make the first game 11-8.
Ryder then lapsed into a series of unforced errors and from 3-2 in the second, Goosen sped ahead 9-2 to leave virtually no way back for her opponent in the second game.
Yet Ryder was not ready to concede anything and some excellent strokeplay and a determined attitude saw her keep the match alive by taking the third game 11-7.
Goosen, however, resumed control in the fourth to take it 11-2 for a deserved victory.
Schwarz caused the upset of the tournament when he defeated top seed Rudi van Niekerk 3-2 in Saturday’s semifinals, which followed another win in five games over the fourth-seeded Sean Bailey.
Despite his brilliant retrieving and solid strokeplay, Schwarz was not able to continue his run against as experienced a player as Le Roux.
The first game was closely contested at 11-8. But it soon became clear that Le Roux was not prepared to give much away and Schwarz was eventually overcome.
THE EP selectors named the players for next month’s Jarvis and Kaplan Cup, but must still finalise the composition of the men’s teams.
The squads are:
Men: Rudi van Niekerk, Sean Bailey, Thami Mngcete, Brinley Forbes, Shaun Viljoen, Alton Senekal, Paul Mason, Peter Ryder, Bonakele Nomkala, Garren Kent, Lonwabo Sigele.
Women: Lizelle Goosen, Anlen Murray, Lume and Elani Landman, Jacqui Ryder, Sarah O’Grady.