Navy’s title hopes squashed

This article has photo gallery Published on WO2 Andrew Hetherington (author), CPL Drew Riessbeck (author), CPL Nicci Freeman (photographer)

Location(s): Williamtown, NSW

Topic(s): Squash

Participants of the 2017 Australian Defence Force Squash Nationals in the RAAF Base Williamtown Gymnasium. (photo: CPL Nicci Freeman)
Participants of the 2017 Australian Defence Force Squash Nationals in the RAAF Base Williamtown Gymnasium.

Navy’s squash players were unable to repeat the success they had last year at this year’s Australian Defence Force National Squash Carnival held at Williamtown in late August.

A loss to Army in the first round put the Navy side on the back foot from the beginning.

However, Navy managed to bring home some trophy ware with strong performances by Warrant Officer Electronics Technician David White, of the Maritime Acquisition Branch, and Leading Seaman Electronics Technician Nicholas Evans, of HMAS Stirling.

Warrant Officer White reached the men’s open final but lost, and Leading Seaman Evans won the men’s open doubles.

Leading Seaman Evans said it was the second time he had competed in the Australian Defence Force national carnival.

“I only found out about the Australian Defence Force squash carnival a few years ago, but being posted on seagoing vessels had prevented me from competing in previous years,” Leading Seaman Evans said.

He won the doubles title 3-0 with Air Force Sargent Craig Baldwin and came eighth in the men’s open grade singles.

Leading Seaman Evans said he was surprised to win the doubles title. 

“Including the game, we played earlier to put us into the finals, the final was the second time I had ever played a game of doubles,” he said.

“Where I am based in Western Australia, doubles is more of a novelty form of squash and not usually played.

“I’d seen it played at nationals last year and this year I decided to enter, as it definitely appealed to me.”

An equipment malfunction almost prevented him from taking to the court.

“We comfortably won the first match, however, sometime after, I realised I had broken my spare racquet during the match, my first having been broken during previous matches,” Leading Seaman Evans said. 

“So with a loan racquet from one of the other members, we played the final.

“I played terribly, but my partner managed to carry us over the line.”

In the A-grade doubles, Leading Seaman Marine Technician David Cutler, of Stirling, and Corporal Darren Bisson were defeated by Captain Dean Eamer and Corporal Steven Gill in a fast-paced match.

Petty Officer Electronics Technician Benjamin Smith, of Stirling, lost the final of the men’s A-grade singles to Army’s Corporal Steven Gill.

Leading Seaman Communication and Information Systems Casey Smith played well in the D-grade categories, seeing her efforts rewarded at the end of the competition by being named the most outstanding player of the carnival. 

It was her first Australian Defence Force squash carnival and she was happy with the way she performed.

“I played in the mixed D-grade pool and out of five games, I managed to win two, so it was a good start to base my level of skills at, especially with how irregularly I’ve been playing,” Leading Seaman Smith said.

“As this was my first Australian Defence Force carnival, I was pretty happy to finish at number 64 out of 67 players.” 

Navy finished the carnival third behind Army. Warrant Officer White and Leading Seaman Combat System Operator David Bolger were selected to represent Navy in the Australian Defence Force Australian team, which will play in a tournament later in the year.