Christine Palmer (left) and Susan O'Çonnell of the Waimea Squash Club play against each during the Nelson Squash Open on Saturday. Photo: Barry Whittnall/Shuttersport.

Defending champs deliver in Nelson


Defending champions Megan Craig and Chris van der Salm retained their Nelson Squash titles over the weekend, however it was not smooth sailing for either of them.

Chris, from Canterbury, came back from losing the first set to Scott Galloway in a gripping five-set final 9-11, 12-10, 12-10, 11-13, 11-6.

Chris even replayed match point after initially winning it on a rally, which he described as “a crap way to end a final”.

Both men are ranked in the top 12 squash players in New Zealand but Chris proved too strong during the crucial points.

Meanwhile, Megan, who is ranked 75th in the world, downed the up-and-coming Kaitlyn Watts in three sets in the women’s decider, but confessed she was nervous.

“Kaitlyn came out firing in the first few points and I think my mum was sitting there thinking I was going to lose, but the first four points aren’t always the best indication.

“I knew (Kaitlyn) had been working hard on her fitness during the off-season and I’ve been focused on other things like my business, so she certainly kept me on my toes.”

The Marlburian will compete in her hometown Open in three weeks before her world tour campaign starts in May.

Megan praised organisers of the Nelson tournament, which had more than 100 entries as the event continued its resurgence of recent years.

Megan says she will be back to defend her title next year.
“I think the Nelson Club deserves a lot of credit for the standard.”