By JANE BALL (Squash Mad Reporter) and DAVE WORSLEY
Top seeds Joelle King and Paul Coll stepped up their preparation for the Commonwealth Games by predictably winning the titles at the Oliver Sport New Zealand National Squash Championships in Tauranga, but not without a fight.
King, who had previously won the title on eight occasions, took on third seed and Commonwealth Games doubles partner Amanda Landers-Murphy – but found herself in a bit of a battle after previously dominating her way to the final.
Landers-Murphy, who knows King’s game inside out, stuck with her higher ranked opponent through the first game only to lose it by a narrow 11-9 margin. She then held it together to win the second by an identical margin.
However the power and strength of King, who is ranked No.5 in the world, eventually showed through as she won the third and fourth games 11-6, 11-1 to clinch victory in front of a packed crowed at the Devoy Squash Club in Tauranga.
The men’s final look set to be a clearcut win for the current world No.2 Paul Coll, when he came up against Lwamba Chileshe, ranked 92 in the world.
But the match was far from a foregone conclusion as Chileshe upped his game and took his play to Coll forcing the top seed into long rallies and eventually the odd mistake.
Chileshe, 23, held off a couple of game balls in the first game to eventually lose 12-10 in what was a commendable effort for the Waikato-based player.
Again in the second Chileshe forced Coll to focus his play and produce some of his best shots. The Greymouth-born Coll eventually won it 11-8 and then took the third 11-5 for his sixth national title.
Coll was full of praise for his Commonwealth Games team-mate Chileshe. He said: “He played well. He’s been training in England for a while and his made some improvements in his game.
“I haven’t played a lot of these guys for some time and it’s great to see them improving,” said Coll, whose next tournament is the Greymouth Open next weekend as he returns to his hometown to finally spend time with family after over three years away.
Oliver Sport New Zealand Nationals 2022, Devoy Squash & Fitness, Tauranga, New Zealand.
 Paul Coll bt  Lwamba Chileshe 12-10, 11-8, 11-5
Third place play-off:
 Temwa Chileshe bt  Chris van der Salm 11-9, 11-8, 11-4
 Paul Coll bt  Chris van der Salm 11-5, 11-7, 11-5
 Lwamba Chileshe bt  Temwa Chileshe 11-7, 11-8, 11-6
 Paul Coll bt  Anthony Lepper 11-4, 11-8, 11-2
 Chris van der Salm bt  William Donnelly 9-11, 11-7, 12-10, 11-2
 Temwa Chileshe bt Glenn Templeton 11-1, 14-12, 11-3
 Lwamba Chileshe bt  Elijah Thomas 11-7, 5-11, 11-7, 11-2
 Joelle King bt  Amanda Landers-Murphy 11-9, 9-11, 11-6, 11-1
 Joelle King bt  Lana Harrison 11-2, 11-2, 11-4
 Amanda Landers-Murphy bt  Kaitlyn Watts 3-11, 11-8 ret.
 Joelle King bt  Sophie Hodges 11-2, 11-2, 11-5
 Lana Harrison bt  Abbie Palmer 11-7, 2-11, 11-9, 12-10
 Amanda Landers-Murphy bt Winona-Jo Joyce 11-13, 11-3, 11-5, 8-11, 11-5
 Kaitlyn Watts bt  Juee Bhide 11-4, 11-4, 11-2
Pictures courtesy of Squash NZ and Simon Watts / www.bwmedia.co.nz
Full results on www.squashinfo.com