Friday, March 1, 2024

Mike Corren strikes gold as he mines his 50th PSA Tour title


Aussie Tour veteran gets revenge on Jan Koukal in Kalgoorlie 
By KIM SCHRAMM – Squash Mad Australian Correspondent

Mike Corren and Jan Koukal in Kalgoorlie
Mike Corren and Jan Koukal in Kalgoorlie

The marketing slogan for the City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder is “Pure Gold” and that’s exactly what it was for Aussie outback adventurer, Mike Corren.

Corren has just chalked up a wonderful milestone by winning his 50th PSA World Tour title with another gutsy performance against the #1 seed Jan Koukal.

In the process Corren picked up his 4th Golden Open, a winning cheque and a bonus nugget of gold for his victory in the City Of Kalgoorlie-Boulder PSA Challenger 5 event at the YMCA Squash Centre.

Make it mine: Kalgoorlie
Make it mine: Kalgoorlie

For those that don’t know, Kalgoorlie is a gold-mining town approximately seven hours’ drive, inland from Perth in Western Australia.

Corren was full of praise for the organizers. He said: “Peter Siebert, Di Watts and Richard Argus were all very accommodating but the whole crew there is just fantastic, there is a real community spirit and it shows.

“The tournament referee, Neil Butler, is also a massive part of things. Neil does that event solo and refs from morning till night. He is a real institution in WA Squash.”

Corren’s 11-8, 12-10, 9-11, 6-11, 11-6 battle lasted 56 minutes. It was a far cry from his first match up against Koukal when he lost in three in quick time at the 2012 Australian Open.

When asked if the result weighed on his mind as he prepared for their second encounter, the Moose explained: “No it didn’t weigh on my mind at all. There were circumstances around that period that were very challenging for me and the glass court compounded that.

“In saying that, Jan trounced me and deserved the win 100% … however, any pro who worries or gets over confident about past results is asking for trouble, so it goes both ways.

“I had a plan to cover what I thought Jan would bring to the table and luckily, I was able to execute it well enough at the right times. Next time though, who knows?”

Corren now moves on to his home State for the Maggie Beer South Australian Open in two weeks where he is the #1 seed and defending champion. Is the champ looking forward to playing in front of his home crowd?

“Of course! I can’t deny there isn’t a dash of extra pressure involved with this event but that is fine with me.

“Mind you it is just an extension of the feeling I have in general regards Australians winning titles and on home soil against the foreign invaders!

“I just wish our own crowds would share this feeling. If they knew what we copped when playing overseas they may be a little more sympathetic and raucous!”

After winning three of the four tournaments on this current trip, I asked Corren if he was playing better than ever.

“Better than ever? God knows! Some days I am good and others I am not. At times that can vary from morning to afternoon!

“Look, it is that whole mixture of age v youth in the terms of say … yes, perhaps back in the day I was fitter in a very narrow sense but I also did not know how to use that properly back then, the subtleties required or mechanics of movements, etc.

“The advantages of youth looking back were that if things were not working I would just plough on because I didn’t know any better. I wasn’t as aware as I am now of what is actually happening on court or with my body etc.

“Overall, I think I am a more complete player now and would not fear taking ‘me’ on in my so called prime!”

Finally, to celebrate his 50th Tour title Corren reflected back on some important people who have helped him along the way.

“Yes indeed. After being such a lone wolf on tour for so many years it does actually feel good to have folk to thank in no particular order: Gordon Young; Squash Australia; Rod Eyles; Vicki and Ian Cardwell; James Rogers; Squash SA; SASI; Oliver Australia; Leon Musca; my father Phil; Simone (who keeps me laughing); Lisa Camilleri; Head International (sponsored me for many years) and of course to legends like Hunty, Ditts, Kenny Hiscoe, Jonah, etc for all their inspiration.”

He left me out but here’s hoping I get a Guernsey when we next reflect on another Moose moment!

Despite not being motivated by the numbers, Corren is destined to keep breaking the record books. He is a modern day gladiator who hates losing!



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