NJSA Ladder and Challenge Rules 2024

In this blog post, we’ll be giving you everything you need to know about the NJSA Ladder and how it works if a player would like to challenge another player to improve their position on the ladder.

The NJSA (Northerns Junior Squash Association) committee publishes a ladder after the first tournament of the season, the NJSA Start of Season tournament (which happens in September each year).  The ladder is then updated after each tournament and is published on the NJSA website.  You can also view the NJSA Ladder for each group HERE.

Players are ranked according to strength, with the strongest player in the age group ranked at nr 1, and the remaining players are then ranked as well.

The NJSA Ladder is important as it is used to seed players for tournaments, as well as for nominations for the IPT teams.

Key factors in determining the NJSA ladder

Here are the key aspects that we need to understand about the NJSA Ladder:

  • The purpose of the ladder is to reflect the most current position of each player affiliated with NJSA.
  • The first ladder of the season will be published after the NJSA Start of Season tournament, which happens in September each year.
  • Some players may have moved age groups, and so the ladder has to be updated to reflect the changes.
  • The ladder will be updated regularly as there are results of matches against other NJSA-ranked players.  Any of the following matches in events will be used to update the NJSA Ladder:
    • Official challenge matches (more details on how to challenge another player are below),
    • Listed squash tournaments on the relevant SA Schools Calendar.
    • Other Northerns matches or results (where the best of 5 games have been played), including head-to-head results from Northerns club leagues and all Northerns tournament matches, interschool matches (from NJSA school league or Top Schools Tournament), or other championships that have been approved by the NJSA committee.

When and who a player may challenge on the NJSA Ladder

Any player may challenge another player on the NJSA ladder.   A player can only request a challenge during official public-school terms, but if the players agree to have the challenge match during the holiday, then that is allowed.  Here are the important rules:

One open challenge per season

Any player is allowed 1 (one) open challenge per season (which commences with the NJSA Start of Season tournament in September), within their age group.

The date of the challenge is important.  A player must request the challenge to NJSA 21 days before the last day of February (7 February or 8 February for leap years).

After that, unfortunately, the open challenge falls away and a player can ONLY challenge another player who are 1 or 2 positions higher on the NJSA Ladder.

An unranked player has one free challenge

An unranked player (who therefore hasn’t played in any NJSA tournaments as an NJSA registered player) has one free challenge against any player in their age group.  This may be done, for example, for a new player who moved to Northerns or joined a school that is within the Northerns region.

If the challenger wins, the challenger takes the place of the challenge(the player who was challenged) and everyone else moves one place down.  If they lose, the challenger is then added to the bottom of the ladder.

Challenge up to 2 positions higher on the ladder

After 7 February (or 8 February for leap years) a player may only challenge one or two positions above their position on the latest published ladder.

Any player can only be challenged twice in a month

To avoid too many challenges in a month, any player may only be challenged twice in a month.  Also, the challenged player may only play one challenge match per week, unless the players agree otherwise.

If the challenged player is ill or injured

If the player who is being challenged is ill or injured and not expected to recover in time, and cannot play the challenge match, then the challenger may challenge one position higher on the ladder.

The process to challenge a player on the ladder

If a player wants to challenge another player, you can do so up to 21 days before the start of the NJSA Closed Tournament (which usually happens in May each year).  Follow the following steps to log a challenge:

  1. The challenge must be lodged on the Northerns website here: https://northerns.co.za/associations/njsa/njsa-challenge-form/ . A challenge becomes official when a challenger notifies the NJSA Ladder Convener and the player being challenged by completing the form provided.
  2. The players must agree on a mutually suitable venue and time to play the match.  The venue must as far as possible be neutral.  If the venue and time are not neutral, the committee will select the venue and time for the match.
  3. The challenger is then responsible for organising a court and paying for the lights.
  4. Each player is responsible for bringing a marker or referee for the challenge match. The marker or referee must be neutral as far as possible.
  5. The ladder convener will confirm the match, and then the match must take place within two weeks (on or before the 15th day).
  6. Once the challenge details have been finalised, a final email will be sent from NJSA to both players to confirm the date, time and all the details.
  7. If a player does not play the scheduled challenge match, he/she will forfeit the match.

The results of the challenge

Once the challenge match has been played, the result will be used to update the NJSA Ladder.

  • If the lower-ranked player won the higher-ranked player, then the lower-ranked player will be placed in the position of the higher-ranked player.  The higher-ranked player will move one position lower, and all the subsequent players will also move one position lower.
  • If the higher-ranked player won the lower-ranked player, then the ladder will remain unchanged.

No challenges 3 weeks prior to the NJSA Closed Tournament

The NJSA Closed Tournament is usually scheduled to happen in May each year.  This is the final tournament before the selection of the IPT teams.

If a player would like to challenge another player, then the official challenge request must be done 21 days before the start of the NJSA Closed Tournament.  No challenge requests will be accepted within the 21 days before the tournament.

Download the NJSA Document