Nick Gough is lunging for victory at Tri-Series competition

Ready to give those Kiwis a serve: Nick Gough is ecstatic at the chance to represent NSW in the Combined High Schools Trans-Tasman Interchange
Ready to give those Kiwis a serve: Nick Gough is ecstatic at the chance to represent NSW in the Combined High Schools Trans-Tasman Interchange

The North Coast has lobbed some international stars into the world of squash, like Yamba boy Cameron Pilley, who holds the record for the fastest hit at 287 kph, and won the World Doubles Championship at the Gold Coast last month with partner, Ryan Cuskelly.

But give him a couple of years, and you might start clocking another local too.

Nick Gough was just selected to compete in New Zealand at the Combined High Schools Trans-Tasman Squash Interchange.

At 14 years old, the Macksville High student has only been competing in tournaments for the past two years, although he admits to swinging a squash racquet as soon as he could hold one.

In his first year of competition, Nick was crowned Sub-Junior Club Champion at Nambucca and last year won the Junior club title too.

And he comes from a great pedigree, with Dad - Grant Gough - serving as an elite level junior squash coach for many years.

Nick was so advanced for his age that, prior to his state selection, he seeded second on the North Coast in the open category, beating other players with years on him.

Then last week he absolutely smashed it at the State carnival in Thornleigh and earned his place in the New Zealand Tri-Series.

"I was initially very worried, and it's hard to play when you've got that anxiety in your gut," he said.

"But I was ecstatic to make the team."

The five chosen in each category to represent NSW in Tauranga will each play individuals and doubles matches, although Nick said his focus will be squarely on his individuals form.

"I'm hoping to put my name out there and perhaps be noticed by sponsors. I just want to leave as big an impact as I can," he said.

He also has a more long-term goal to have a crack at Pilley's world record.

"I'd really like to hit harder than anyone else in the world," Nick said.

Cameron Pilley once hit the ball into his brother's back so hard it's left an imprint to this day. And there's a video of him cracking a watermelon in half with one of his shots.

But squash is not necessarily about brute force; Nick said it's a game in which technique is key.

And he knows he owes a great deal to his Dad's expertise: "He's got me to this level by pushing technique."

"And I'd like to thank my brother Lachlan for always being someone I can play against," he said.

Both Nick and Grant are grateful to the Island Golf Club for supporting junior players by minimising costs for court time, especially considering travel costs can be inhibitive once you play at representative level.

Nick is currently selling raffle tickets to fundraise his passage to New Zealand, and would openly welcome local sponsorship.

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