MEAKINS AND MACKENZIE TO MEET AGAIN. CHIN FACES RAMASRA IN SQUASH FINAL SHOWDOWN
Local squash queen Karen Meakins will face top local junior Gylla Mackenzie in the Ladies final after contrasting semi-final victories as action continued in the 12th Barbados Squash Open on Friday night at the Barbados Squash Club (BSC).
The top seeded Meakins, who is ranked at #2 in the Caribbean, has reached the final of all eleven of the previous Barbados Opens she has played in since 2002 and has ten titles to her credit to date. She moved smoothly into her twelfth final is as many years with an efficient victory over the energetic Alex Jordan, who tried hard but was overcome in straight games 11-7, 11-7, 11-3. The second ladies semi-final was more competitive with former national and Caribbean junior champion, Nadia McCarthy looking impressive for the first two games against the current U-17 and U-19 national champion, Gylla Mackenzie and powered to a two games to love lead for the loss of only seven points.
Mackenzie was able to regroup, however, and by the start of the third game it was clear that the 16-year old school girl had the decisive advantage in fitness over her older opponent and made that advantage as she continually hit powerful drives to both back corners and ruthlessly dispatched any weak returns from her opponent with a combination of volley winner and attacking boasts that often caught the tiring McCarthy wrong footed. After Mackenzie easily won the third game for the loss of three points the spectators waited for a fight back but it never came as Mackenzie stormed away in the final two games to win 4-11, 3-11, 11-3, 11-5, 11-6 to set up a repeat of the Ladies national final against Meakins.
In the eagerly anticipated Men’s A semi-finals the partisan crowd cheered on local national champion and the #2 seed Gavin Cumberbatch but he had few answers to the efficient squash that Trinidadian Colin Ramasra, who was seeded at #5/8, had on display. Powerful and tight low straight drives to a good length and accurate drops and volleys flowed from Ramasra’s racket as he efficiently dispatched the Barbadian in first game for the loss of two points. Cumberbatch tried to regroup in the second game but after leading 9-6 and then 10-9 game ball his challenge floundered as Ramasra claimed the last three points to take a commanding 2-0 lead. After his exertions in that game there was nothing left from Cumberbatch who was blown away in the third by Ramasra who reeled off nine straight points to win in straight games 11-2, 12-10, 11-2 in 27 minutes. The second Men’s A semi-final was a complete contrast with the top two Guyanese players in action.
The top seed and Caribbean #3 Richard Chin has played in this event for five of the last six years and always reached the final each time and had something to prove after being beaten last year in the final. The up and coming Alex Arjoon is left handed so as the match developed there were more cross-court shots than usual as the players two players attached each other’s backhand wing. Chin made a number of uncharacteristic errors in the first game on the volley and the dropshot and Arjoon powered away to win at six. Chin settled into his rhythm after that and treated the spectators to display of squash rarely seen on local courts. He used the crosscourt lob to telling effect especially to the right hand back corner and remorselessly attached Arjoon with shots to his backhand side. Anything loose was punished with straight drops and Chin’s trademark volley drop into the two front corners.
Chin took the second game at two to even the match and the looked like he had a decisive 5-0 lead in the important third game before Arjoon came back to even the score at 6-all and 7-all, 8-all and 9-all. It was very tense as it seemed that the winner of the third game would probably go on to claim the match.. And so it proved. Chin snatched the final two points to win it 11-9 and then accelerated away from the tiring Arjoon to win in four games 6-11, 11-2, 11-9, 11-3.
In other matches played last night, in the Men’s B semi-finals, the top seeded Peter Harris was fully extended by a resurgent Terry Millar who combined powerful drives with softly played dropshots to pull back to two games all and then go up 9-6 and then 10-9 match ball up in the fifth game before Harris managed to recover his composure to win in five close games 10-12, 12-10, 11-5, 4-11, 12-10. In the Men’s B final Harris will face local U-19 representative Brandon Straker who comfortably defeated former BU-19 champion in 2008 and 2009, Ciaran Raymer, in straight games 11-2, 11-3, 11-7.
The tournament will conclude this afternoon (Saturday), starting at noon with the Ladies final. The last match, the Men’s A final has been re-scheduled to begin at 5:45 p.m. Admission to the BSC is free.
Full results from Day 4:
#1 Karen Meakins def. #3/4 Alex Jordan (3-0) 11-7, 11-7, 11-3
#3/4 Gylla Mackenzie def. #2 Nadia McCarthy (3-2) 4-11, 3-11, 11-3, 11-5, 11-6
Men’s A Semi-finals
#1 Richard Chin (GUY) def. #5/8 Alex Arjoon (GUY) (3-1) 6-11, 11-2, 11-9, 11-3 (38 mins.)
#5/8 Colin Ramasra (TRI) def. #2 Gavin Cumberbatch (3-0) 11-2, 12-10, 11-2 (27 mins.)
Men’s B – Semi-finals
#1 Peter Harris def. #3/4 Terry Millar (3-2) 10-12, 12-10, 11-5, 4-11, 12-10
Brandon Straker def. #5/8 Ciaran Raymer (3-0) 11-2, 11-3, 11-7
Men’s A Classic Plate Semi-finals
#3/4 Shawn Simpson def. #5/8 Mark Sealy (3-0) 11-8, 12-10, 11-4 (19 mins.)
Jason Ray Khalil (GUY) def. #5/8 Rhett Cumberbatch (3-1) 8-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-9 (40 mins.)
Men’s B Classic Plate – Semi-finals
#3/4 Craig Archer def. #5/8 David Foster (3-1) 7-11, 11-8, 11-4, 11-5
Benjamin Griffith def. #5/8 Dean Straker (3-0) 11-9, 12-10, 11-6
Ladies Plate Semi-finals
Meagan Best def. Lynn deCambra-McLeod (3-0) 11-7, 11-6, 11-8
Ayoni Bradshaw def. Cilla Seale
Men’s A Plate Semi-finals
#3/4 Bryant Cumberbatch def. Tony Mackenzie (3-0) 14-12, 11-8, 11-9
Don Benn def. Ryan Foster
Men’s A Consolation Plate Semi-finals
Zaki Williams def. Leon Truss
Jonathan O’Dowd def. Stewart St. John (3-2) 11-7, 11-7, 9-11, 4-11, 11-8
Men’s B Plate – Semi-finals
Deepu Panjwani def. Sylvester Nurse
Khamal Cumberbatch def. Michael Best (3-1) 11-8, 8-11, 11-8, 11-5
The schedule for Saturday is as follows:
12 noon CT1 Ladies Final Karen Meakins vs. Gylla Mackenzie
1:00 p.m. CT1 Men’s A Cons. Plate Final Jonathan O’Dowd vs. Zaki Williams
1:00 p.m. CT2 Men’s B Classic Plate Final Craig Archer vs. Benjamin Griffith
1:30 p.m. CT1 Men’s A Plate Final Bryant Cumberbatch vs. Don Benn
1:30 p.m. CT2 Men’s B Plate Final Deepu Panjwani vs. Khamal Cumberbatch
2:00 p.m. CT1 Men’s A 7/8th Place Mark Sealy vs. Rhett Cumberbatch
2:00 p.m. CT2 Ladies Plate Final (5/6th) Ayoni Bradshaw vs. Meagan Best
2:30 p.m. CT1 Men’s A Classic Plate Final Shawn Simpson vs. Jason-Ray Khalil (GUY)
2:30 p.m. CT2 Ladies 3/4th Place
3:15 p.m. CT1 Men’s B 3/4th Place Terry Millar vs. Ciaran Raymer
3:15 p.m. CT2 Men’s B 7/8th Place Dean Straker vs. David Foster
4:00 p.m. CT1 Men’s B Final
4:00 p.m. CT2 Ladies 7/8th Place Lynn deCambra-McLeod vs. Cilla Seale
4:45 p.m. CT1 Men’s A 3/4th Place Gavin Cumberbatch vs. Alex Arjoon (GUY)
5:45 p.m. CT1 Men’s A Final Richard Chin (GUY) vs. Colin Ramasra (TRI)