Guyana are CASA champs
AS they had done a couple weeks earlier in the junior equivalent tournament in Trinidad, Guyana completely dominated the team events of the CASA (Caribbean Area Squash Association) Championships at home just over a week ago.
The veterans’ title was the only one the hosts did not win, as they were forced to settle for the runner-up spot behind Barbados in the over-40 division.
Guyana won the women’s and men’s team titles, and were well clear in the race for overall champions.
Trinidad and Tobago never had a chance as they did not even send a women’s team, and had to default two of the five matches in every veterans’ fixture, because there were no over-40 women present either.
As a result, the veterans ended up last of the four participating teams, and the men and overall placing was exactly the same, fourth of six. The men’s team, consisting Kale Wilson, Chayse McQuan, Paul Jerome De Verteuil, Patrick brothers Mandela and Nku, and Canada-based Don Lee beat Cayman Islands and OECS (Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States), but lost to Guyana, Barbados and Jamaica.
Just three countries competed in the women’s event, and Barbados and Jamaica respectively followed Guyana home. They finished in the same order in the overall standings, followed by T&T (third), OECS (fourth) and Cayman Islands (fifth).
In the individual events, defending champs Nicolette Fernandes and Chris Binnie captured the titles for the third time in succession, and the fourth overall.
Jamaican Binnie defeated Australia-based Guyanese Sunil Seth 8-11, 11-7, 11-4, 8-11, 11-8 in an enthralling 66-minute final. For the third straight time the women’s final was between the same two players, and the result was the same again as Guyanese Fernandes, ranked 28th in the world, brushed aside 2010 champ Karen Meakins of Barbados 11-6, 11-2, 11-5.
Mandela Patrick was the best of the T&T players, as the under-19 runner-up in the recent Junior CASA, reached the quarter-finals and finished eighth after losing 11-1, 11-6, 11-8 against Jamaican Bruce Burrowes.
Patrick’s brother Nku, the Caribbean under-17 runner-up, lost to Binnie after a first-round bye, while McQuan also lost the second round after winning a match.
The Great Britain-based Wilson, who was crowned Caribbean under-19 champ two years ago, won a match after a bye and then went out in the “round of 16.”
Former national champ De Verteuil and Lee, a former top player of the 1990s, did not play in the individual event. After failing to convert two match points and losing to last year’s Caribbean under-19 champ Mary-Fung-A-Fat of Guyana in the quarters, Gylla McKenzie, the Trinidad-born Caribbean under-17 champ who represents Barbados, beat Victoria Arjoon 12-10, 11-8, 11-9 for seventh place.
The Guyanese Arjoon was beaten in the under-19 final of the recent Junior CASA by T&T’s Charlotte Knaggs after losing previous the two years in the under-17 title match to the same opponent.