ALMOST 100 squash players were pencilled in to compete at the Vic Masters Squash Association Championships at Horsham across the weekend.
The tournament was returning to Horsham for the first time since 2019 and the postponement due to Victoria's snap-lockdown is "devastating" news according to tournament organiser Darren O'Neill.
The Horsham Squash Club had done a lot of work in preparation for the event, while the arrival of ninety people to Horsham for a three-day event would have provided a significant cash injection of thousands of dollars to the local economy.
"When you consider a quick example of one little squash tournament; we've got ninety players coming to Horsham, just in our group alone where we were staying. 30 of us was nearly $6000 for the accommodation," O'Neill said.
"That's only 30 people. So you've got 90 people looking for accommodation so let's take it as a round figure of 15k that Horsham won't get in accommodation."
As well as accommodation, a significant amount of food and alcohol had already been prepared by Horsham businesses for the event.
"They bought all the food, they bought all the alcohol, prizes, so a lot of that's going to go to waste," O'Neill said.
"93 people at Sylvania Park, they'd already prepared 80 per cent of the food, so some of that is going to go to waste. They can't get any money for that because we're not going.
"We've given them a good little financial gesture so they can pay for some of the food that they'd already outlaid for. We'll do a deal with them next time as we're coming back between the 10th and 12th of September.
"We had fifty people booked in at the Exchange Hotel on the Sunday night for a meal. The Exchange Hotel had 410 meals booked in for the weekend, so they've outlaid the food for 410 meals, they won't get any of that unless they do takeaway."
The event will now be held between September 10-12 and despite the postponement, O'Neill is trying to look on the bright side.
"Health and safety from COVID, you can't challenge it, it is what it is," he said.
"We've rescheduled and we've done a group SMS on a system that we use and we've had 90% of people reply yes.
"We'll reopen the tournament and hopefully we get some more people to come."
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