Barbados Open quarter-finals


Craig Archer reports

Former six-time national champion Shawn Simpson,became the second local player to be upset by a talented player from Guyana as quarter-final action in the  Men’s A section of the 12thBarbados Squash Open continued at the Barbados Squash Club.

The tall and wiry Simpson, who is seeded at #3, faced the much shorter Alex Arjoon from Guyana, who is seeded at #5/8 in an eagerly anticipated clash of two left handed players and they did not disappoint. The first three games saw each player making a surge to take a decisive lead. Simpson reeled off seven straight points in the first game to move from 3-4 down to 10-4, game ball up, and won that game at five.  At 5-all in the second Arjoon, a former multiple Caribbean junior champion, won five straight points to take a commanding 10-5 lead before Simpson closed the gap but could not regain parity. He eventually lost that game at eight.  The third game followed a similar pattern.  Simpson went 7-1 up and closed out that game for the loss of six points to take a 2-1 lead.

The spectators were being entertained by these two Caribbean rivals but as the rallies continued the pace began to slow as both players began to tire.  The fourth game was the critical one as Arjoon always held an advantage and moved from 6-2 to 9-5 up when Simpson tried to mount a comeback. He pulled back to within one point and brought loud cheers from the crowd but at 9-10, game ball down, he committed an unforced error on a driven kill shot that hit the tin to the disappointment of the partisan audience who were by now fully enthralled by the efforts of both players.  The fifth game saw a weary Simpson desperately trying to hang on as the lead changed several times right up to 7-all when Arjoon made a final surge to win the final four points to win 5-11, 11-8, 6-11, 11-9, 11-7 and claim a major scalp and an unexpected berth in the semi-final versus the top seed and compatriot Richard Chin.

Former Caribbean men’s champion Chin once again made the game look easy while defeating #5/8 seed Rhett Cumberbatch 11-1, 11-7, 11-9, while Rhett’s eldest brother, the #2 seed and defending champion, Gavin Cumberbatch, had to work a bit harder to overcome the evergreen Mark Sealy 11-6, 11-7, 12-10.

In the other men’s semi-final tonight Cumberbatch will resume his rivalry against the experienced Colin Ramasra from Trinidad, who is currently ranked at #10 in the Caribbean.  Ramasra, is seeded here at #5/8, but once again looked very impressive by beating the Guyanese teenage sensation, Jason-Ray Khalil in straight games 11-1, 11-8, 12-10. Ramasra, who has played on the professional squash circuit showed his class and experience as he hit the ball crisply and persistently into the back corners and waited patiently for a loose return which he then efficiently put away for winners.

In other matches played last night, in the Men’s B quarter-final, there were only two upsets when local U-19 representative Brandon Straker defeated one of the #5/8 seeds who also happens to be his father, Dean Straker, in straight games 11-4, 11-7, 11-6.  Former BU-19 champion in 2008 and 2009, Ciaran Raymer, also outlasted #3/4 seed Craig Archer in five close games 12-10, 9-11, 10-12, 11-9, 11-4.  All the other matches went according to seeding.

Matches resume on Friday evening  from 4:45 p.m. at the BSC with the various semi-finals being played on all three courts.  All finals will be played on Saturday afternoon, starting from 1:00 p.m. with the last match, the Men’s A final scheduled to begin at 6:00 p.m.  Admission to the BSC is free.

Men’s A Quarter-finals

#1 Richard Chin (GUY) def. #5/8 Rhett Cumberbatch     (3-0) 11-1, 11-7, 11-9
#5/8 Alex Arjoon (GUY) def. #3/4 Shawn Simpson         (3-2) 5-11, 11-8, 6-11, 11-9, 11-7
#5/8 Colin Ramasra (TRI) def. Jason Ray Khalil (GUY)    (3-0) 11-1, 11-8, 12-10
#2 Gavin Cumberbatch def. #5/8 Mark Sealy                   (3-0) 11-6, 11-7, 12-10

Men’s B – Quarter finals

#1 Peter Harris def. Benjamin Griffith                               (3-1) 10-12, 11-7, 11-8, 11-7
#3/4 Terry Millar def. #5/8 David Foster                         (3-0) 11-4, 11-5, 11-7
#5/8 Ciaran Raymer def. #3/4 Craig Archer                    (3-2) 12-10, 9-11, 10-12, 11-9, 11-4
Brandon Straker def. #5/8 Dean Straker                          (3-0) 11-4, 11-7, 11-6 

Men’s A Plate – 1st Round

Bryant Cumberbatch def. Stewart St. John                         (3-0) 11-4, 11-0, 11-9
Tony Mackenzie def. Leon Truss                                        (3-0) 11-6, 11-4, 11-3
Ryan Foster def. Jonathan O’Dowd                                     (3-2) 11-9, 8-11, 9-11, 11-3, 11-5
Don Benn def. Zaki Williams                                                (3-1) 11-6, 11-2, 6-11, 11-7

Ladies Plate – 1st Round

Meagan Best def. Tammy Vamvakas                                  (3-0) 11-2, 11-3, 11-2

Men’s B Plate – 1st Round

Deepu Panjwani def. Shemane Griffith                               (3-0) 11-3, 11-7, 12-10
Sylvester Nurse def. Rithew Saywack                                 (3-0) 11-4, 11-4, 11-3
Michael Best def. Preston Parris                                         (3-0) 11-2, 13-11, 11-9
Khamal Cumberbatch def. David Leacock                          (3-0) 11-9, 11-8, 11-7

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