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
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
He played extensively around the world, winning tournaments in
Europe, the US and New Zealand, reaching a career-high world ranking
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
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
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
Cam Nancarrow (right)
receives his award
Squash Oz Hall of Fame
09 April 1945
Place of Birth:
Nancarrow came to the sport that made him world champion almost by
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
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
“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
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
03 December 1948
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
Kevin played on New South Wales and Australian teams from 1964-76,
his last appearance for Australia being the 1976 Men’s World Team
Coincidentally, current Australian great David Palmer learned his
squash on the same courts that Kevin’s father built in Lithgow in
Both Kevin and David have also been inducted into the city of
Lithgow’s own sports Hall of Fame
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
15 Sep 1967
Place of Birth:
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.
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
Hall of Fame:
Michelle MartinRhonda Clayton