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16-Mar-08:
Three more greats into
Aussie Hall of Fame

Andrew Dent reports

Two players from the golden era of Australian squash and a more recent champion were inducted into the Squash Australia Hall of Fame on Saturday night.

Cam Nancarrow, the late Kevin Shawcross and Rodney Eyles joined an honour role of some of the most famous names in world squash.

Nancarrow, born in Sydney in 1945, won the World Amateur Championship in 1973 to add to the Australian and British amateur titles he won in 1972.

He was a member of the four world championship winning men’s teams from 1967-1973 and was runner-up to fellow Hall of Famer Geoff Hunt in two world championship and two British Open finals.

Lithgow’s Kevin Shawcross, (1948-87), took out the 1976 World Amateur title and won the Australian and British amateur titles in 1975.

He played extensively around the world, winning tournaments in Europe, the US and New Zealand, reaching a career-high world ranking of four.

Rodney Eyles was born in Brisbane in 1967 and reached a career-high ranking of two, playing in the era of the great Pakistani Jansher Khan.

He won the 1997 World Open and was a member of the Australian team that won the 1991 World Men’s Teams Championship.

His other highlights include the 1997 Australian Open and the 1996 US Open.

The trio were inducted into the Hall of Fame in a ceremony on Saturday evening. Other awards included David Palmer as athlete of the year and Tamika Saxby as junior athlete of the year.
 


Cam Nancarrow (right)
receives his award


Squash Oz Hall of Fame

 
CAM NANCARROW

Born                           09 April 1945
Place of Birth:           Sydney
Highest WR:               2
World title                 1973


Cam Nancarrow came to the sport that made him world champion almost by accident.

When in 1961 a squash centre was built near where he was living in the southern Sydney suburb of Rockdale , Cam’s father won a raffle held to celebrate the courts’ opening, taking home a racket, some balls and a pair of shoes.

But after playing the game a few times, Cam’s father decided it was too much like hard work and so gave the gear to his son, then a golf loving 16-year-old.

Cam gave it a shot and soon discovered he had a flair for the game, quickly developing into a top class junior, winning his first event when he took out the Combined High Schools championship in Sydney.

Success followed as Cam won a number of junior tournaments and made his way up the extremely powerful New South Wales ranks.
Cam won the Australian Amateur Championship in 1972 and followed that win with the British Amateur and New Zealand Open titles.

He reached the peak the following year when he won the World Amateur title in South Africa, beating England’s Bryan Patterson in the final in straight games 9-2, 9-5, 9-3.

The 1973 championship was Cam’s third appearance in a World Championship final – he had gone down to fellow Hall of Famer Geoff Hunt 1967 and 1971.

Geoff also denied Cam the 1969 and 1977 British Open titles.
Cam turned professional after winning the 1973 title and toured extensively until he retired.

He won a range of tournaments in Europe, Australasia, North American and South Africa as both an amateur and a professional.

He said winning the Canadian Open as an amateur in 1972 was one of his career highlights, as the North Americans played under different rules and used different balls and the Australians weren’t expected to get past the first round.

Cam also won four World Team Championships in a golden era for Australian squash.

“We had the strongest 2, 3 and 4 players in world squash,” he said. “So if someone, like Jonah Barrington, beat our number 1, they still couldn’t beat us because our 2, 3, and 4 were so strong. In that period I can’t remember our 2s, 3s, and 4s losing a match.”

Cam, stepfather of former top Australian player Tristan, moved to Queensland in 1982, where he established a furniture restoration business. He doesn’t play squash any more – in fact he’s gone full circle and if he’s not at home, odds are that you’ll find him on a golf course.

Career Highlights
1973 World Amateur Champion
1973 World Teams Champion
1971 World Teams Champion
1969 World Teams Champion
1967 World Teams Champion
1972 Australian Amateur Champion
1972 British Amateur Champion
1972 Canadian Open
1972 New Zealand Open
 
KEVIN SHAWCROSS

Born                   03 December 1948
Died                   03 June 1987
Place of Birth:    Lithgow (NSW)
Highest WR:       4
World Title:       1976

When Kevin Shawcross beat South Africa’s Dave Scott to win the 1976 World Amateur Championship, the larger than life character had fulfilled all the promise he had shown learning the game on his parents’ squash courts in the New South Wales town of Lithgow.

Kevin was 28 at the time and had already carved a reputation as one of the true characters of the game.

With a playing weight of 101 kilograms (16 stone), Kevin was built more like a footballer than a squash player, but his amazing natural ability more than compensated for his size.

The Pakistan players with whom he was great friends used to refer to him as a God because they couldn’t believe someone that big could play so well.

Kevin’s brother Denis says Kevin did everything wrong on the court.

“He had no backswing, no follow through – it was all in the wrist,” he said. “I think he was one of the first players in the world to develop a fan shot – he just had a real natural ability.”

Kevin loved to live life to the full and was enormously popular in England and Ireland, where he gave free exhibitions and mingled with fans well after a tournament.

He was a renowned socialiser and although he remained based in Lithgow, he loved to travel the world playing the sport he loved.

Kevin found it hard to settle down once he left the tour behind as he missed the life of a touring professional.

While the highlight of his career was his 1976 World title, Kevin also won a string of other tournaments, including the Swiss and New Zealand Opens in 1976 (he turned professional after his world amateur win that year), and the 1975 Australian, British and New South Wales amateur titles. He also won the Scandinavian Open in 1975.

Kevin played on New South Wales and Australian teams from 1964-76, his last appearance for Australia being the 1976 Men’s World Team Championships.

Coincidentally, current Australian great David Palmer learned his squash on the same courts that Kevin’s father built in Lithgow in 1960.

Both Kevin and David have also been inducted into the city of Lithgow’s own sports Hall of Fame

Career Highlights
1976 World Amateur Champion
1976 Swiss Open
1976 NZ Open
1975 Australian Amateur Champion
1975 British Amateur Champion
1975 NSW Amateur Champion
1975 Scandinavian Open
1965 Australian Junior Champion
 
RODNEY EYLES

Born:                        15 Sep 1967
Place of Birth:          Brisbane
Resides:                   Gold Coast
Highest WR:             2
World Title:             1997


Rodney Eyles reached the pinnacle of his career in 1997 when he comprehensively defeated England’s Peter Nicol in straight games in Kuala Lumpur to take out his only World Open title.

It was a sweet victory for Eyles, who went down fighting in the previous year’s World Open final to the great Pakistani, Jansher Khan, in four games. This was a golden period for the then world No.2 Eyles who reeled in several major titles and was one of the dominant forces on the world tour.

The Queenslander clinched four tournaments in 1996 – the US Open in Minneapolis, which followed his US Open success two years earlier; the French Open in Paris; the Hong Kong Open; and the Hungarian Open in Budapest. He also reached the finals of the British Open, the Tournament of Champions, the Qatar Open and the Pakistan Open in the same year. And he added the Australian Open title the following year as well as being crowned world champion.

Eyles’ other tournament victories included the Mahindra Open in Bombay, the Italian Open in Florence, the North American Open in Denver, Colorado and the Tournament of Champions in New York. He was also a member of Australia’s 1991 world title winning squad in Helsinki, Finland, and captained the Aussies from 1994-97.

Squash was introduced to the Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur in 1998 and Eyles teamed up with Byron Davis to claim a silver medal for Australia in the men’s doubles.

His presence on the world tour was also felt off the court when he held the prestigious position of Professional Squash Association (PSA) president from 1996-98. Eyles eventually retired from the World Tour in November, 2000 after a highly successful career.

Career highlights

1997 World Open Champion
1991 World Men’s Teams Champion
1997 Australian Open
1996 US Open
1997 Australian Open Champion
1985 Australian Junior Champion
1986 Australian Junior Champion
1998 Commonwealth Games men’s doubles silver medal
  

Squash Oz
Hall of Fame:

LEGENDS:

Ken Hiscoe
Geoff Hunt
Heather McKay

MEMBERS:

Vicki Cardwell
Chris Dittmar
Sarah Fitz-Gerald
Michelle MartinRhonda Clayton
Rodney Martin

 

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