Two-time Bega Squash Open champion Josh Larkin was pipped by a Swiss entrant on Sunday.
It was Dimitri Steinmann’s maiden victory on the PSA circuit with the Switzerland resident downing Australian favourite Larkin in three close games.
However, Larkin had won the two lead-up PSA tournaments in recent weeks.
Officials said the final was a highlight in an exciting that had grown from last year’s iteration and drew in players from even further abroad. The growth of the Open also meant the Bega round was now a promising prospect for highly ranked players, including some strong guests.
“On hand to present trophies was Australian squash legend, Geoff Hunt, MBE who is widely considered to be one of the greatest squash players in history,” a spokeswoman for the club said.
“He was ranked the world’s number one squash player from 1975 to 1980 and he won the World Open title four times.”
Gudrun Stylianou said the tournament was blessed with great weather and the level of competition was even higher than last year.
“These guys play literally all across the world and here they were in Bega,” she said. “It was a fantastic event and it was great to watch some of the games.”
A number of Bega Squash Club members billeted the players in their homes for the tournament, which Gudrun said made the players like members of the community for the week.
Exhibition matches were also held at the Merimbula courts on Thursday – club president Matt Fanning said four of the internationals opened with some rotating singles play, then some really fast and entertaining doubles.
Club junior Ben Becker also got the chance to match shots with one of Australia’s best in Rohan Toole on the course.
Fanning said the night prior, the Club hosted a well-attended Calcutta handicap night, with some 30 players and many spectators in attendance. It was an enjoyable and friendly night, with Tony Curtis, from Bega, taking out first prize as he clawed his way back against Bailey Smith, who had been given a decent head-start on their march to 21 points.
A grade was where the locals really started to shine with Luke Donnelly finishing runner-up to Canberran Riley Ellis.
Third went to Clint Jamieson with young gun Alexander Eadie claiming the plate.
Another Canberra visitor featured in the top women’s draw with Hannah Smith heading up the ladies competition.
The Merimbula club will now host a social and grading on the next two Wednesday nights, before their Spring competition gets underway on September 18.
For interest in the next comp or the upcoming social nights contact Matt Fanning 0429 952 220 or Alex Wakeford 0401 544 671.