MATE V MATE
By TONY WHITE
YAMBA squash star Cameron Pilley and former world ranked No.4 player Stewart Boswell are close mates and training partners at the Australian Institute of Sport in Brisbane.
If all goes according to plan the pair, the No.1 and 2 seeds, will meet in the men's final of this weekend's much-anticipated Yamba Squash Open.
The Yamba Open has built a reputation for attracting world-class players and this year is no different.
Twenty-two-year-old Pilley, the current world No.33, is shooting for his third consecutive title. Boswell, 26, is on the comeback trail after a lengthy spell on the sidelines following a major back injury.
Mateship however, will be forgotten if the two stars progress to the title decider.
"Yeah, we're good mates and train together at the AIS," Pilley said from his Brisbane base. "If I get to the final, fingers crossed, I assume I'll be playing Stewart.
"It should be a very competitive match.
"Stewart hurt his back a couple of years ago and hasn't played many major tournaments since coming back. When he was the world No.4 though, he was capable of beating the best and if he kept injury free, probably could have been the number one player.
"He's a good yardstick for me. Playing against him, someone who has been there (against the world's best) is a totally new level.
"Those blokes can really move you around the court.
"We've been practising together quite a bit. We're pretty even at the moment."
Since returning in February from the Tournament of Champions in New York, Pilley has knuckled down to training in readiness for the Yamba Open and future world squash events.
"I've been back training in Brisbane for three weeks, putting in the hard yards trying to get my fitness and strength up," he said. "I played well in January and February and I'm hitting the ball well at training.
"I'm really looking forward to coming back home for the Open and especially having a week off after it to catch up with family and friends.
"The next world tour event is in Adelaide in July then I'm heading to Papua New Guinea for a tournament I made the final in last year.
"I'm really enjoying it at the AIS. My focus and aims are to go higher up the world rankings."
There are 16 players in the Yamba Open division.
Following Pilley and Boswell in the rankings, devised after discussion with AIS coaches Geoff Hunt and Byron Davis, are former AIS member Aaron Frankomb and Brisbane's Steve Finitsis, who replaced injured AIS player Scott Arnold.
Former runner-up Amelia Pittock heads the ladies open seedings.
After playing numerous overseas tournaments, Pittock has built her world ranking to 29.
Melissa Martin, the world No.30 and married to Brett Martin, a former top-five world ranked player, is No.2 seed after some impressive performances over the past six months in America.
Kasey Brown is the No.3 seed pushing last year's winner, Robyn Cooper to No.4.
Lisa Camilleri of Brisbane is the No.5 seed.
Past winners of the Open include Anthony Ricketts, the recent Tournament of Champions winner in New York and current world No.6, dual winner Brett Martin, Tristan Nancarrow, a former world top 10 player and former world No.5, Dan Jensen.
There is no entry charge for spectators with plenty of food and refreshments available.
Matches start at 8am on Saturday and Sunday. The finals begin at lunch time Sunday with the women's and men's open scheduled for 2pm.