Westlake Boys High School retained their New Zealand Secondary Schools Squash national title for the third consecutive year. This year’s championship held in Palmerston North was attended by 32 boys teams and 19 teams of girls, making it the biggest secondary schools squash event in the country.
The earlier rounds saw the team consisting of Matthew Lucente, Gabe Yam, Akil Afghan, Jien Lim, Tom Taylor, Zonal Ali and Jono Beazley comfortably defeat Hawera High School, Wairarapa College, Hutt International Boys School and Tauranga Boys College.
In a repeat of last year’s finals, Westlake faced Waikato’s St. Pauls Collegiate A for the title. The scenario this time around was different as the team had to fight their way back from a 0-2 deficit and complete a remarkable comeback through sheer determination and focus.
The finals did not start well for the reigning champions when the first two matches did not go Westlake’s way. It meant that St. Pauls needed just one more win to wrest the title away whilst Westlake was put in a high pressure situation of having to win all three remaining matches.
In his debut as team captain, Matthew Lucente was however in total control and unfazed with the huge task of putting Westlake on the comeback trail. Matthew lived up to his New Zealand No.1 ranking and powered his way to a straight set win over his opponent. Matthew’s emphatic win proved to be the much needed rallying point and the shift of momentum for the rest of the team.
Next on court was Tom Taylor who fittingly played the game of his life in his last Nationals, staying calm and composed through tense moments in his match. Showing grit and tenacity, Tom stunningly bounced back after losing the second game to take the much needed win in four games and put the finalists deadlocked at two wins each.
Westlake’s shot at achieving a hat-trick then depended on New Zealand’s current U17 No.1 Gabe Yam. It was all business for Gabe from the onset and he was never really in trouble during the match, taking out a clinical 3-0 win and along with it the national title for Westlake for the third year in a row.
The team looks forward to defending their title and make it four in a row for Westlake next year.
Squash Team: (Captain) Matthew Lucente, Gabe Yam, Akil Afghan, Jien Lim, Zonal Ali and Jono Beazley,
(Coach/Manager) Manu Yam
Westlake Boys Retain their Auckland Title
The Premier Squash team have retained their Auckland Team Championships title for the fourth consecutive year after defeating Auckland Grammar School in the finals, 5 matches to nil. Prior to the finals, the formidable Westlake team reached the finals without dropping a game in all the rounds against Pukekohe College, Rangitoto College and Takapuna Grammar School.
The team hopes to carry on this strong performance as they aim to defend their 2-year reign at the National Secondary Schools Championships, to be held in Palmerston North this August.
Team members: Matthew Lucente (Captain), Gabe Yam, Akil Afghan, Tom Taylor, Jien Lim & Zonal Ali
1st XI v Rosmini College – June 21st 2017
On Wednesday 21 June the 1st XI faced North Shore rivals, Rosmini College 1st XI in the Supercity round-robin. Rosmini had been the victors earlier in the season and claimed the North Harbour title, so the boys knew they had to be clinical if they were to upset the league leaders. Westlake started strongly and were awarded a stroke in the first minute, but a close miss let the pressure off Rosmini, who found the net from distance ten minutes later. Charl Ulrich responded with a goal to even the match, but a defensive lapse saw Rosmini regain the lead before the end of the half.
Rosmini never relinquished their lead and, despite several chances with the wind behind Westlake, it was the opposition who closed out the match better. The final result was a disappointing 1-4 loss. Next week the 1st XI play Auckland champions Auckland Grammar at home.
WBHS 1st XIII vs Manurewa 1st XIII – June 21st 2017
This week’s Rugby League fixture took place on Westlake’s home turf as the 1st XIII went to battle against Manurewa High School. Westlake got off to a slow start, conceding two tries in the first 10 minutes. However, they managed to fight back into the back end of the first half with a great try by Jayden Atkinson-Dagg out of dummy half. Manurewa then struck back to lead the scoreboard 18 points to 6 at the half. Westlake seemed enthused from their half-time chat and came out firing in the second half, when they appeared to dominate the middle. A try to David Toia and a double to Lotu Inisi had the team back in the hunt. Westlake seemed to carry all the momentum but were unfortunately beaten by the clock with a narrow defeat 22-18. The team look to regroup for another big clash against Avondale at home next week.
Two combined teams of Westlake Boys and Girls travelled to Rotorua to compete in a 6 hour Adventure Racing Hillary Challenge on 17th – 18th June. This competition was extremely important, as the top 4 teams (out of 21 schools) qualify for Nationals in May 2018.
The following Westlake Boys’ students competed in Westlake RED and came in 2nd place behind Trident College:
- Brahm Erdmann
- Ryan Zent
- Andreas Hamschmidt
- Taylor Haynes
Westlake GREEN came in 6th. Although they didn’t qualify for Nationals, they had an outstanding result as they were one of the last teams to come in on their first run leg but made up for it hugely in the mountain biking. The Westlake Boys in the team were:
As is typical with winter adventure races it was wet, muddy and cold but very picturesque and adventurous, with events in Redwoods Forest and alongside the Blue Lake. The effort and determination of the students to qualify for the 2018 Nationals was evident in their performance. The training now begins for the big event which is a five-day competition held in Tongariro National Park next year. Well done to all of those that competed.
1st XI v Mt Albert Grammar School – June 20th 2017
On Tuesday the 1st X1 played Mt Albert Grammar School in the knockout cup. Westlake entered the game with a number of players unavailable and MAGS capitalised on this and went ahead early in the game to a penalty. Soon afterwards Westlake was awarded a penalty but unfortunately missed it. Despite some very good attacking play the equalising goal was not there and MAGs went 2-0 up after a quick break. Westlake were very quickly back in the game with a successful penalty from Matt Conroy but this was soon cancelled out by a third from MAGS, who ended up with a 3-1 win.
Matthew Lucente and Gabe Yam were Champion and Runner-up respectively in the boys U17 division of the Oceania Junior Championships. Their thrilling final saw Matthew taking the win in four close games over Gabe and showcased both players’ speed and accuracy inside the court. Matthew, who recently attained a rare and hard to achieve A1 grading at just 16 years old, was also the boys U15 champion in 2015.
After the Oceania Championships, Matthew and Gabe put aside their healthy rivalry and teamed up for the Trans-Tasman Test series to help New Zealand defeat Australia 26-10, winning all their matches against the Australians. The two-day test involved 18 of the best U13 to U19 players from NZ and Australia battling each other in their relevant age divisions.
The two international events were held on 14-19 April at the Henderson Squash Club, with players from Australia, Singapore, New Caledonia, China, Hong Kong and French Polynesia participating in the Oceania Championships.
The Premier Squash team remain as New Zealand champions as they successfully defended their title from last year at the Secondary Schools Squash Nationals held at Palmerston North from 5-7 August. Defeating St. Paul’s Collegiate in the finals with a comfortable 4-1 win, Westlake proved that they were indeed a cut above the rest. The event is easily one of the biggest in the squash calendar with more than 600 matches played over the weekend amongst 33 boys teams and 21 girls teams.
No school came close to wrestling the title away from Westlake who simply were unstoppable throughout the games. In the finals with St. Paul’s Collegiate, David Matthews, who is playing his last game for the school, made short work of his opponent to easily win 3-0. Next to follow on court was team captain Rafa Yam who is in his fifth and last year with the team. In his farewell game, Rafa fittingly gave a solid performance to also win 3-0. Matthew Lucente narrowly missed out on a win with a hard-fought 2-3 result with his opponent. Akil Afghan clinched the title for Westlake in a memorable debut for the Premier team winning 3-1. Akil’s win gave Westlake an insurmountable lead of 3 matches won to 1 with just one more match remaining. Last on court was Gabe Yam who delivered another straight set win to seal the finals and formally give Westlake a 4-1 victory over St. Paul’s Collegiate. Newest addition to the Premier team Tom Taylor, helped the team with two strong wins in the first round and quarter-finals.
The depth and strength of Westlake squash was proven by our courageous Premier 2 team who finished in 5th place overall. They were seeded ninth coming into the tournament and threw this seeding out of the window by carving out upset wins over eighth seed Whangarei Boys High School, fourth seed Takapuna Grammar School and seventh seed Tauranga Boys College. Amazingly, all these matches were won through com- fro- behind wins. There were several instances throughout the games when the gutsy Premier 2 team were on the brink of defeat but their “never say die” attitude carried them through to their commendable 5th place finish. Premier 2 members are Jien Lim, Zonal Ali, Jono Beazley, Matt Peagram, Sean Kim and Soo-Myoung Jang (captain).
At the conclusion of the tournament, Matthew Lucente and Gabe Yam were selected in the Trans Tasman team who will compete against players from Queensland and New South Wales in Palmerston North in mid-August.
The team would like to extend their appreciation to Teacher-in-Charge Mr Calver and Coach/Manager Mr Manu Yam for all their help with the team.
- 1st Round defeated New Plymouth Boys HS: 5-0
- Quarterfinals defeated Westlake Boys Premier 2 : 5-0
- Semifinals defeated Palmerston North Boys HS: 5-0
- Finals defeated St. Pauls Collegiate: 4-1
Premier 2 Team:
- 1st Round defeated Orewa College: 5-0
- 2nd Round defeated Whangarei Boys HS: 3-2
- Quarterfinals lost to Westlake Boys Premier 1: 0-5
- Playoffs for 7-8th place defeated Takapuna Grammar School: 3-2
- Playoffs for 5th place defeated Tauranga Boys College: 3-2