Jamaica 6th as Barbados cop Caribbean Junior Squash Championship

Monday, July 16, 2018

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Jamaica finished sixth as emerging power Barbados triumphed in an epic showdown with former regional giants Guyana to emerge as overall champions for the second-consecutive year as the JN General Insurance Caribbean Area Squash Association's (CASA) Junior Championships wrapped up on Saturday at the Liguanea Club in New Kingston.

Having upset perennial winners Guyana last year on Guyana's home ground, Barbados came to the competition to prove that 2017 was not a fluke. With three age-group champions in the line-up, the girls' team was dominant, delivering a convincing 4-1 beating to Guyana.

Under-17 champion Meagan Best dismissed Madison Fernandes 11-2, 11-1, 11-0; Under-19 champion Amanda Haywood trounced Rebecca Low 11-3, 11-2, 11-4, Jada Smith-Padmore beat Kirsten Gomes 11-7, 5-11, 11-6, 11-2 and Under-15 champion Sumiraa Suleman prevailed 9-11, 11-7, 11-5, 10-12, 11-8 in a gripping five-game battle against Abosaide Cadogan.

However, Rebekah Nichols' 5-11, 8-11, 11-8, 2-11 loss to Georgiana Fernandes meant that the boys' team final would decide the overall winner. Predictably, Caribbean Under-17 champion Khamal Cumberbatch and Under-19 champion Josiah Griffith delivered wins for Barbados with the former beating Rithew Saywack 11-3, 11-3, 11-6 and the latter taking down Alexander Cheeks 11-2, 11-3, 11-8.

Then Chemar Burnham lost 7-11, 5-11, 5-11 to Daniel Islam and that put Barbados' fate squarely in the hands of young Aidan Parris, who faced off with Michael Alphonso, who had beaten him to in the finals to take the Under-13 title. On this occasion Parris exacted revenge, keeping his head amidst the deafening cheers from rival supporters to post a 7-11, 14-12, 11-8, 11-7 win and make it two in a row for Barbados.

In their final match-up of the team competition, the Jamaican girls rallied to end a challenging week with a win over Bermuda. All Jamaica Under-17 girls' champion Mia Mahfood put Jamaica in the lead when she held off Charlotte Toogood 11-8, 11-8, 11-6, and then Mira Handa followed on with an 11-8, 11-8, 11-6 win over Hailey Moss.

Bermuda pulled one back when Mia Lake lost 6-11, 4-11, 9-11 to Abigail Brewer and then Jamaica fielded new regional Under-13 girls' champion Savannah Thomson and that settled the matter. Thomson beat Celia Robinson 11-2, 11-3, 11-2 to take the win for Jamaica and the girls finished fifth overall.

The Jamaican boys put up a fight but did not prevail against Cayman. Team captain Jonathan Walker and the dependable Karan Dhiman both delivered wins, with Walker beating Isaiah Robinson 11-6, 12-10, 11-7 and Dhiman posting an 11-5, 11-7, 11-3 win over Pierce Terry. However, Brady Holmes lost 9-11, 8-11, 8-11 to Brodey McComb; Tobias Levy was beaten 2-11, 2-11, 6-11 by Jace Jervis; and Kyle Haddad suffered a 4-11, 2-11, 0-11 defeat to David Pitcairn and Jamaica ended up in sixth place.

President of the Jamaica Squash Association Chris Hind said, “It has been an incredible tournament overall and we've seen the best junior players in the Caribbean delivering top-quality squash, but also showing incredible camaraderie and great sportsmanship.

“Jamaica has had plenty to celebrate this week as we've crowned two new Junior Caribbean Champions with Lukas Thomson winning the boys' Under-11 title and his sister Savannah winning the Under-13 title. And although our players ran up against some very strong competition in the team event, they now have a better understanding of what it takes to be the best regionally, which will serve us well as we build for the future.”

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