WELL PLAYED: Squash champion Laura Moloney will be jet-setting to New Zealand to represent her country in the Oceania Championships. PHOTO: MATTHEW ELKERTON
WELL PLAYED: Squash champion Laura Moloney will be jet-setting to New Zealand to represent her country in the Oceania Championships. PHOTO: MATTHEW ELKERTON

Rollercoaster in Invercargill for local squash champ

AFTER a decent showing in the Trans Tasman test match against New Zealand, Coutts Crossing teen Laura Moloney was struck down by a bout of food poisoning that cost her a major run at the Under 13 Oceania Championship crown.

Moloney travelled with her newfound friends and teammates to Invercargill in New Zealand to represent her country in the game of squash.

The Valley champion's first challenge was a battle for the Tasman as the Australian team duked it out with our relatives across the ditch, New Zealand.

In her first match-up Moloney went the distance with Kiwi Ariata Kutia, eventually faltering in the fifth set of a tough match. The two girls traded blow for blow and set for set before the Kiwi girls narrowly escaped with the win. Ariata continued on to claim the Oceania Junior Championships crown later in the week.

"It was such a tough match," Moloney said. "I thought I played really well, but Ariata just ended up being too good. It was a great match though."

Moloney then went on to vanquish Kiwi Ruby Sage in three straight sets as a small consolation for the Australian team who were out-muscled by the New Zealand side 27 matches to 9.

After the Trans Tasman wrapped up disaster struck as Moloney succumbed to food poisoning which restricted her from playing her opening match of the Oceania Championship.

"I had to forfeit one of my games which was extremely tough for me," Moloney said. "I really wanted to play, I just couldn't do it because I was too sick. The coaches didn't really want me to play for medical reasons. It was a tough decision, but the right one."

Due to the structure of the tournament a major loss removes the player from the main draw into a supplementary draw, with the player losing the chance to claim top honours.

In a valiant effort Moloney returned to the court only a day later and fought her way to a three set victory.

"I was still feeling really sick, but I really wanted to play the match," she said. "It was really hard to stay on the court but I won in three and was really happy with how I went."

Moloney returned to the court on the Sunday but lost her match, eventually placing sixth in the Under 13 Oceania Championship age group.

Despite her rollercoaster experience on her first tour overseas representing Australia, Moloney is champing at the bit to get back out there in the green and gold.

"It was so much fun going to New Zealand," she said. "The team was just awesome, they are really great people and I can't wait to be back among them. I will be straight back into training with the State Championships the next major tournament coming up."

SPORTS STAR

Laura Moloney was named Jetts Fitness Junior Sportsperson of the Month for December.

Junior and senior nominations for April close at 5pm next Thursday, April 23.

The awards recognise outstanding achievement by Clarence Valley residents.



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