It may have taken 19 years, but Navy quashed any hope Air Force had of making it back-to-back national squash titles by winning the final 4-0 at RAAF Base Williamtown.
Held in late August, Navy’s 18 players faced off against their Army and Air Force counterparts in the Australian Defence Force titles.
Navy got to the final after a close call against Army in the semi-finals, where they drew 2-2 at the end of play.
To decide which team would go into the final and play Air Force, a count of points scored by all players was conducted and Navy came out on top of Army by 18 points.
Team captain Chief Petty Officer Electronics Technician David White said this year Navy was able to field its strongest team ever for the finals.
“Since its inception in 1986, the Australian Defence Force interservice squash title has been shared between Air Force and Army,” Chief Petty Officer White said.
“We took our winning confidence into the final against reigning champions, Air Force, to walk away with the silverware.
“After 19 years of trying, the senior service was able to take out the title.”
Navy also added another four titles and trophies to its list of achievements.
Chief Petty Officer White defeated Able Seaman Combat Systems Operator David Bolger in a hard fought battle for the men’s open crown 3-1 while Commander Nick Barker won the men’s B grade and added the veteran’s trophy to his cabinet, and Able Seaman Electronics Technician Joshua Roney defeated Leading Seaman Electronics Technician Scott Harris 3-0 to take out the men’s C grade title.
Navy team members Chief Petty Officer White, Able Seaman Bolger, Lieutenant Vishal Bahkoo and Petty Officer Physical Trainer Alex Leahy were also selected to play in the Ashes matches against a visiting British Combined Forces side.
Chief Petty Officer White said it was a great experience playing against a team from overseas.
“They were a very good and skilful squash team,” Chief Petty Officer White said.
“There wasn’t a great deal of skill difference between their number one and their number eight player.
“I played as number 1 in the Australian Defence Force side and won my match 3-1 against British Royal Marine Dean Boys.”
Able Seaman Bolger was Navy’s other top performer during the championships putting in a great performance representing the Australian Defence Force in the Ashes.
“I was the point of contact for the British team in Australia, so I spent the week leading up to the tournament travelling and training with them,” Able Seaman Bolger said.
“My match against British Army Major Rich Green was the highlight of the tournament for me.
“It was the best I’ve played in a long time and while it was a gruelling, highly competitive match it was played in the best of spirits with plenty of humour too.
“It was amazing to have the whole tournament watching and encouraging me even though I didn’t end up winning. I lost 3-2.”
Chief Petty Officer White said the service squash committees were trying to raise the profile of squash.
“It is not just for elite level players,” he said.
“The annual national competition caters for players of all standards with everyone graded according to their ability.
“It would be fantastic to see an even stronger Navy contingent at the 2016 nationals, likely to be held around August or September.”