A string of top line players will descend on Horsham for a Victorian Masters Squash Association tournament early next year.
VMSA president Lou Morsch announced Horsham had won the rights to host the summer tournament on February 15, 16 and 17. It is expected to attract up to 150 of Victoria’s top masters men and women players as well as contestants from Tasmania, NSW and SA.
Mr Morsch said interest in the tournament was extreme.
“Nearly everyone I have spoken to in the masters squash community plans to attend the Horsham tournament,” Mr Morsch said. “At this early stage, I know of at least five players travelling from Tasmania and there will be well over 100 Victorians. I think interest is augmented by the fact most of them have never played at Horsham or visited there.”
Mr Morsch said he had been very pleased with the response to the tournament from Horsham Squash Club and Horsham Rural City Council.
“The club has worked hard to make this tournament happen and I know they are doing everything they can to have their courts ready,” he said. “It’s a big opportunity for them and the town and we are pleased the council has also recognised that and shown its support.”
Horsham Squash Club members are busy preparing their six-court facility for the big weekend. Club president Chris Warrick said while Horsham had hosted regional tournaments in the past, this was the first time it had secured a state tournament of this size.
“It’s going to be enormous for our club and a great opportunity for the town,” Mr Warrick said. “We are investing time and money into upgrading our facility so that player and spectator comfort will be at a premium. Squash of this level has never been played here before so we are expecting good crowds.”
Mr Warrick said the tournament would provide a chance for players from the Wimmera to compete in a major event.
“There are plenty of great squash players in neighbouring towns like Nhill, Stawell, Ararat and Donald who wouldn’t normally play at these tournaments but would find the Horsham tournament ideal for them,” he said.
Horsham Rural City mayor Cr Pam Clarke said she was looking forward to welcoming athletes to the region.
“Holding national and international sporting events is something we do extremely well here,” Cr Clarke said. “I am delighted that the VMSA has chosen Horsham for such an important event.”