Young players give hope for future success
Barbados’ senior squash team delivered a phenomenal performance to repeat as overall champions at the just concluded Maple Caribbean Squash Championships held in the Cayman Islands.
The home team returned home last night with gold in the veterans’, silver in the women’s team competition and fourth in the men’s.
Meanwhile three-time Caribbean queen Karen Meakins won Barbados’ lone individual gold at the championships when she defeated Bermuda-based Canadian Runa Reta 3-1 in the best of five sets showdown to repeat as champion from 2014.
Speaking with the media last night, the local squash icon Meakins said in her nine years of playing squash at that level this was one of the hardest tournaments she has ever played.
“It was actually really difficult this time around and probably one of the hardest ladies tournaments I have ever played in at the Caribbean level. Matches were tough from like the quarter-finals and I actually played the girl that I played in the finals last year in the quarter-final this year and I had a really tough semi-final,” said the 43-year-old Meakins who explained this was the fittest she has ever been in her career.
She added that it was unfortunate that the women’s team which also compromised of Meagan Best, Amanda Haywood, Alex Jordan, Nadia McCarthy and Muffin Stollmeyer were unable to dethrone a strong Guyana team who won 3-2 to defend their title once again.
“We always knew it would have been us against Guyana. We won all our matches leading up to that and we played really well. We lost the first game but we won the second and third to go up 2-1 but it was really unfortunate that we did not manage to nick one of the last two matches but Guyana were really strong,” said Meakins, who sees a very bright future for Barbados female squash team with the likes of 15-year-old Amanda Harewood who is now ranked fifth overall at the senior level in the region.
“Meagan Best played at thirteen years old and Amanda Harewood is fifteen years old and she actually finished fifth. So our future is unbelievable. We have a really positive future ahead in ladies squash,” said the 14-time national squash champion.
Another elated captain was Mark Sealy who led Barbados’ veterans’ to their fifth consecutive title. Sealy said despite playing under some pressure it was their hard work and desire to win that got them through.
“The secret is preparation before the tournament and our motto is that we want to win the tournament before we get there. We really put in a lot of hard work and when the pressure hits you that is when the work that you have done before really pays off,” Sealy said.
Meanwhile the captain of the men’s team Gavin Cumberbatch said that even though they narrowly missed out on the bronze to Guyana in a hard fought game that went down 3-2, he does not believe they fell short in any way because the opposition was just that good.
“Truthfully, I don’t think we fell down at all. I think the opposition was just that strong. It is just an extremely tough field right now which is good for Caribbean squash so I don’t see it so much as us coming up short but there is need for more work and we intend to put it in before next year’s competition in Jamaica,” said Cumberbatch, who was the men’s champion back in 2007.