Squash ace all set to play host

LAURA Massaro will be player-turned-promoter this week when she hosts her first ever squash tournament.

The CourtCare Open takes place at the David Lloyd Centre in her home town of Chorley – and she is loving every minute of it.

“It’s been really exciting,” said the world number three. “I’ve wanted to do this for a long time and now I have finally achieved my goal.

“It has been hard work but I have loved every minute of it.”

Massaro, who lives in Hoghton, has got stuck in to the task and has been busy ferrying players about and cleaning courts ahead of the event which begins tomorrow.

“I’ve had my promoter head on this week and it’s been great,” added Massaro. “I’ve been mopping and sweeping courts and picking up players from the train station. I suppose you don’t get too many world number three players doing that!”

The competition, a $10,000 World Squash Association event, has attracted a talented field with England international Sarah Kippax seeded one while others have flown in from as far as Canada and Egypt.

Massaro hopes it will become a fixture on the squash calendar.

“It all depends on sponsorship of course but I would love to see this event grow and attract some of the top players. It would be great to play in it myself in a few years.”

The tournament has helped Massaro get over the disappointment of losing in the final British National Squash Championships where she was going for a third title in a row.

“I was disappointed to lose in the final and to have a game ball makes it a bit worse really but I don’t really dwell on defeats,” she said after losing to Alison Waters.

“I’ve really enjoyed organising this tournament and not playing for another month or so means I have been able to concentrate on organising it.”

Massaro and her brother Chris Lengthorn – head squash coach at the national centre in Manchester – have also been working hard to help create a legacy for the sport in the borough.

“The legacy side of things has gone really well and my brother has been working hard in schools across Chorley,” she said.

“We’ve held a number of road shows in primary and secondary schools and have invited children to come along to watch. So we really hope we have been able to get youngsters interested in the sport.”

Order of play: Thursday: Qualifying (12.30pm-3pm and 6.30pm-9pm); Friday: Round one and quarter finals (12.30pm-3pm and 6.30pm-9pm); Saturday: Semi finals (5.45pm); Sunday: Final (2pm).

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