Squash king regains crown

GLEN DAWKINS -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:58 AM ET

Josh Struthers is the top-ranked male squash player in Manitoba. But after losing his last three matches to provincial coach Trevor Borland, Struthers' status as the king of Manitoba squash -- not to mention his standing at his local club -- was taking a bit of a beating.

Yesterday, the 28-year-old set things right by downing Borland 9-3, 9-3, 3-9, 9-1 in the men's final at the Manitoba Open A Championships at the Winnipeg Winter Club.

"It kind of felt like I was knocked off my perch a little bit," said Struthers, dripping with sweat after the match.

"I really wanted this one to shut the guys up back at the club. They've been bugging me for the last few months."

PHILOSOPHICAL

Over that time, Borland has beaten Struthers in the ADL/Rosenstock Manitoba Open men's A final, the Manitoba Closed Championships men's final and in a league final.

"You don't want to get ribbed too much," said Struthers. "I'll be one up on him for the rest of the summer."

For his part, Borland was philosophical about the end of his winning streak.

"You can't win them all," joked Borland, the head squash pro at the Winter Club.

"It was hot out there (on the court)," said Struthers, a squash teacher and University of Manitoba student due to graduate this year with a degree in psychology.

"I'm having trouble standing up right now because I'm so exhausted. It's really hot as you can see from my shirt. I went through a lot of sweat today. Trevor really made me run."

Meanwhile, Nichole Mailey captured the women's final, beating Leanne Devos 9-6, 9-5, 9-1.

The competition was the last event on the Squash Manitoba calendar before the junior nationals, April 27-30 at Niagara on the Lake, Ont., and the senior nationals, May 3-6 in Toronto.

But Struthers is skipping on this year's senior nationals for the first time in five years. It is simply too expensive for him to handle.

"Even if you stay at a hostel for five days, you have to tack on airfare and all the incidentals like the entry fee," said Struthers, who has tournaments in Minneapolis and Yellowknife to look forward to after senior nationals. "At nationals, you don't win money unless you get into the top eight and getting into the top eight in Canada is extremely difficult."

"(Going to Toronto has) got positives and negatives," said Borland. "Probably the most of the players are from out East so for the majority of the players don't have to travel or stay at hotels. But there is a significant number of players from out West and we send our fair share.

"It is fairly expensive to go but it's a cost that I know I'm going to have to spend from the beginning of the year."


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