Cape Town’s Gary Wheadon and Port Elizabeth’s Lizelle Goosen won the men’s and women’s titles at the Brian Bands Madibaz Open squash tournament over the weekend.
The Milnerton-based Wheadon, who is ranked in the top 20 in the country, defeated Port Elizabeth’s Rudi van Niekerk to bag his fifth consecutive title.
Goosen, who is Van Niekerk’s sister, outlasted close rival and defending champion Jacqui Ryder 3-2 in a tough women’s contest to regain the title.
The left-handed Wheadon has dominated the Madibaz Open, but was made to work for his victory against the local star.
After jumping to a 2-0 lead, he was put on the back foot by an aggressive Van Niekerk in the third game, with the PE man holding three game points at 10-7.
Wheadon closed the gap to 10-9 before Van Niekerk played a drop shot into the nick to seal the game 11-9.
However, the defending champion, who showed great patience and consistency when the pressure mounted, regained the initiative in the fourth to run out a deserving winner.
Goosen and Ryder had a ding-dong battle in the women’s final.
After conceding a tight third game 11-8 to trail 2-1, Ryder fought back to level matters. The number one seed however maintained her composure to stay on top in the deciding game.
Tournament organiser and Madibaz number one Jason le Roux, who ended in third place, said they were satisfied with another successful event.
“Our thanks must go to Brian Bands Sports and Nutritech for supporting the event. We are very happy with the way things turned out.
“We had a very nice entry, with some good strength up front and lots of close matches in the middle section,” he said.
“We also had some newcomers in the bottom half and they remarked to me how much they enjoyed watching the top players in action.”
Le Roux said their objective was to grow the field next year.