Parkes squash players return from Australian Junior Open

CLIMBING NATIONAL LADDER: Parkes junior squash players Lockie Miller (15) and Henry Kross (9) improved on their rankings going into their first Australian Junior Open titles, placing 13th and seventh respectively. Photo: Christine Little
CLIMBING NATIONAL LADDER: Parkes junior squash players Lockie Miller (15) and Henry Kross (9) improved on their rankings going into their first Australian Junior Open titles, placing 13th and seventh respectively. Photo: Christine Little

Upon their debut at the Australian Junior Open titles, Lockie Miller and Henry Kross have cemented their place among some of the best squash players in the country.

The Parkes duo has returned from the titles, held in Thornleigh at the end of April, improving on their rankings going into the tournament.

The Australian Junior Open is classed as a platinum tournament and only two are held per year in the country.

The competition is open to players around the world, with 15-year-old Lockie and nine-year-old Henry up against opponents from New Zealand, USA, Malaysia, Pakistan and India.

Hundreds of kids took to the courts over the four days, playing one match a day in a round robin format.

Lockie competed in the under 17s, seeding at 18th and finishing 13th in the country and equal first in NSW.

He won his first round, which placed him into the first to 16th rankings but his second round loss had him fighting it out for a place between ninth and 16th.

"I've already played at two platinum tournaments so I knew what to expect going into this," Lockie said.

"I played three matches, I was confident in the first match but was nervous to face James Lloyd who's number two in Australia.

"Every game was close and they were long games."

The teenager still has another full 18 months in this age group and is excited for what lies ahead.

He's since attended the ACT championships on May 25, winning his first state title in the 17s.

Henry represented Parkes and NSW as the youngest player in the under 11s, going into the competition seeded eighth and finished one better in seventh.

He finished second in NSW and at just nine, he too has 18 months in this division.

Henry said he was nervous to play but was proud of his efforts.

"I played five matches [and my highlight] would have to be the play-off between a New Zealand player for seventh and eighth position," he said.

"I won 3-0."

Parkes squash coach Jay Kross said the boys have done their town, coach and their families proud.

"It's good to see them improving," he said.

"They came home quite motivated and started training harder.

"They were quite nervous at the start but played better as the tournament progressed. Now they just need to get a handle on their nerves at tournaments."

The boys were invited to train with the New Zealand side prior to the national tournament, which Jay said was a good and enjoyable experience for the pair.

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