Murray Lilley

A Pioneering NZ Professional

Murray Lilley was a shooting star of New Zealand squash. The Taranaki man was never a top junior, but when he applied himself, he rocketed through the amateur ranks and became one of the world’s leading players.
He shot to national prominence in 1975, playing a tough, uncompromising brand of squash that relied heavily on his fitness and grit.

In 1976 he beat Englishman Barry O’Connor 10-8 in the fifth in the quarter-finals of the British Amateur championship. The 2h 35min match was the longest played to that time.

Lilley was part of a high-performing quartet of New Zealand men - with Bruce Brownlee, Howard Broun and Neven Barbour - who went desperately close to winning the world title in Canada in 1977. The following year he lost the national championship final to Brownlee.

He and Brownlee turned professional and played exhibition series in New Zealand with Torsam Khan and Hiddy Jahan, and Gogi Alauddin and Mohibullah Khan. Within two years, Lilley was ranked in the top 10 in the world.

He didn’t play for much longer, opting to settle in North America as a coach. But his influence at a formative time for New Zealand professional squash was significant and helped inspire rising players like Ross Norman and Stuart Davenport.

New Zealand Squash Hall of Fame
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