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Southland squash championships had a new look in 1983 and some of the players that had entered the tournament were:
Stephen McDonald (Invercargill), Bob Bowman (Invercargill), Warren Boniface (Makarewa), John Colhoun (Makarewa), Lester Smith (Old Boys), Rodney Williams, Eric Smail (Gore), and Phil Arnold (Blues).
Arnold and Smail were the two to watch with both peaking for the tournament. They both had good results at the Otago Open Championships and were both included in the Southern District team.
The women's champion for the past two years, Jan McAra (Makarewa), was looking to make it three in a row. Her main competitors were Jacqui James (Blues), Mary Smith (Gore), who managed a credible fourth in the Otago open. Pam Welsh (Makarewa), Val Lightgow and Margaret Meechang (Gore).
Sandy Johnson and Robyn Meikle are two that had come up the grades to this B Grade womens class.
Men's C Grade
In this grade Grant McLellan (Invercargill) was hoping to make the finals of a grade for three consecutive years. In 1980 he won the E Grade, 1981 he was runner up in the D Grade and won the D Grade in 1982
The previous year's C Grade winner Dave Johnstone of Blues, Riki Dallas (Blues), Robin Welsh (Makarewa), Bruce Cunningham (Gore), Keith Tangney (Old Boys) were all in with a chance. There was a newcomer to Central Southland squash in the way of Ross Stewart who was looking a serious challenger.
Women,s C Grade
1982 winner of the C Grade title, Margaret Keelty (Blues) was hampered by injuries most of that season and Sandy Johnston (Invercargill) was promoted to B Grade, and Joan Pankhurst had gone overseas, which left the grade wide open.
Diane Ellis and Jean McLellan both of Invercargill were strong contenders and then there was Sharon Ferguson (Invercargill) who had found form recently, and there was also Shirley Thompson (Old Boys), Georgina Ellis (Makarewa), and Judy Russell (Blues).
Men's D Grade.
This was a very competitive grade with the likes of Doug Syme, John Hawkes, Malcolm Ferguson, Pat Rewita all of Invercargill and Dave Madden (Blues), Tony McAra (Makarewa), Richard Russell (Gore), Robby Blair (Otautau) were all even contenders.
Women's D Grade.
Marjory Simpson from Blues was the runner up in 1982 but she would find strong competition from Pauline Morrison, Jenny Smith, Jean McLeay, Gail Taitoko and Sally Robertson all of Invercargill. There was also Marie Anderson (Riversdale), Lois Mitchell (Lumsden). There was also top juniors, Erena Sullivan and Carmen Orlowski who would be challenging hard.
Men's E Grade
This grade was probably the hardest one to actually pick a winner. Tony Smail had been upgraded to D Grade after winning in 1982. Willie Te Patu, Brent Surgenor, Brian Johnstone, and Owen Thwaites all of Invercargill were strong contenders. Also Geoff Young (Bluff), Aaron Smail (Makarewa), Bill Marshall (Mataura). This was the largest grade in the province so it could have gone to anyone.
Women's E Grade
It was a similar story in the women's E grade with Ellen Wright and Trish Young of Bluff, Valerie Stern (Otautau), Olive Hawkes and Joanne Raines (Invercargill).
This has traditionally been the grade for beginners which Raymond Fife won in 1982.
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