Oban is set for a feast of squash this week as the Oban Open 2023 is set to get underway on Friday.
The tournament has gone from strength to strength, having started as a PSA Satellite event in 2022 the event has been upgraded to a PSA Challenger Tour event this year.
The hard work of organisers, and support from local businesses has helped to make the change in status possible.
Tournament organiser Jackie Kersley said: “When you do a satellite event you basically do everything yourself, but this year has been a whole lot different because the PSA take charge of everything.
“It’s brilliant for a club so far away from the big cities to be able to hold an event like this, and everyone here can’t wait – we’re so fired up about it.
“I would encourage any club considering hosting a PSA event to just go for it, because if we can do it when we’re two and a half hours from a city, then bigger clubs can definitely do it.”
With a $3,000 prize pot up for grabs, the event has attracted a top-quality field, with players from as far afield as Australia, Egypt and Zimbabwe represented in the draw.
Seven Scottish players are included in the draw, and the event will give them the opportunity to challenge themselves against new opponents at a higher level.
One of those entrants, 28-year-old Martin Ross said: “Having PSA events in Scotland is huge for us, it means that Scottish Players get exposure to play different people, which is exactly what we need to improve.
“There are lots of tournaments in Scotland where you turn up and play the same people, and maybe you learn how to beat those people.
“Having a PSA event that players form further afield will come and play, and matches against people that you haven’t played before is massive.”
Martin also feels that Scottish players will benefit from easier preparations for the event, with a simple drive for most rather than long flights required.
Joining him in the field of sixteen are Tino Antonio Mackay Palacios, John Meehan, Rory Richmond and wildcards Fraser Steven, Adam Hunter and Andrew Glen.
The 2022 event was won by Alasdair Prott, which the Inverness squash star followed up with a surge through the rankings, as he has risen from just below 200 at that time to 109.
Scottish Squash Director of Development Allan McKay said: “It is fantastic to see the growth of the competition in Oban, and it’s thanks to the great work of the organisers that it has now been upgraded to a PSA Challenger Tour event.
“Tournaments like this provide a great opportunity for young Scottish players to challenge themselves, and also generate a lot of excitement at clubs with top-level squash on display to inspire those that already love squash as well as the future generation of players.”
The Oban Open 2023 will run from Friday 27th October to Sunday 29th October at the Atlantis Community Leisure Centre. You can view the draw and follow all of the results on the PSA website.
Scottish Squash is keen to support clubs in delivering PSA events, and if this could be of interest to your club please email info@Scottishsquash.org for more information or to discuss further.