Bega Open expands to Merimbula on growth

The first wave: Competitors in the opening round of the PSA international tournament held in conjunction with the Bega Open last year.
The first wave: Competitors in the opening round of the PSA international tournament held in conjunction with the Bega Open last year.

An international squash tournament has been growing momentum in the Bega Valley. 

The Bega squash courts became home to a leg of the Professional Squash Association (PSA) invitational tour. 

It was well-received and this year, the Merimbula Squash Club has been asked to lend a hand in running the international in conjunction with the Tarra Motors Bega Open. 

The competition has grown and Merimbula club president Matt Fanning said the group were happy to put their support behind the event. 

“Following on from the recent success of the NSW Masters tournament, where around 20 ‘overflow’ matches were hosted at the Merimbula Courts, Bega Squash Club will be scheduling some exhibition matches at the Merimbula Courts,” Fanning said. 

Fanning said the exhibition games will feature some of the PSA players that are top level Australians and some quality internationals. 

“it’s a real credit that the Bega Club – and the Bega Valley more generally  – can attract such quality players from around the world and help promote the region.”

Bega president John Stylianou was instrumental in getting the Bega Valley on the national tour map and said he was delighted to see growth in the event. 

He said the Open attracts a full field of local players from Eden to Cooma as well as luring entries from Victoria and Sydney with entries capped at 80 players.  

However, in conjunction with the PSA event that will see a 16-player knockout draw alongside exhibition rounds, the club needed six courts to cover off the full docket of games.

Fanning notes the Merimbula Club, which re-opened in early 2016, is now going strongly and is pleased to have attracted a good number of younger players, who should enjoy watching some of the very best squash players from around the world.

While the future of the old Library building that houses the two courts remains uncertain, the Merimbula club continues to build momentum with usage of the courts.

Beyond supporting Masters and now Open tournament events, the club also plays host to three 11-week competitions a year and various social events. 

The revitalised courts also provide a facility for many visitors who also use the courts for squash and racquetball.

The Bega Open runs from August 31 September 3. 

The exhibition matches will be held at the Merimbula Squash Courts on August 31 between 6pm and 7.30pm.

The Courts are located opposite the new Waves restaurant (nee Zanzibar) and inquiries can be made to Matt Fanning on 0429952220.

Both Fanning and Stylianou encouraged spectators to head along, entry is free and the two presidents agreed it is the best opportunity to see some top level competition on a local stage.