November 30th, 2014
Happy Independence Barbados! An independence message from Team Barbados at the CAC Games in Mexico!
On behalf of the Caribbean Area Squash Association (CASA) I wish to offer heartiest congratulations to the eight CASA members (or countries) who participated in this year”s Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games.It is also pleasing to report that four CASA countries won medals this year: with Guyana”s two bronze medals (in the Ladies team event and the Ladies doubles) being the only medals won by that South American country this year while Jamaica”s two bronze (in the Men”s individuals and men”s team) being half of the total medals won this year by that Caribbean sports powerhouse.
Barbados also won one bronze medal in the mixed doubles event, but special mention must be made of the magnificent performance of the Cayman Islands mixed doubles pair of Marlene West (former four time Caribbean Ladies champion) and Cameron Stafford (former Caribbean U-19 champion), who together stunned the majority of the spectators at the Centro de Raqueta complex by defeating the top seeded Colombian pair in the semi-finals and then later on Wednesday evening the #2 seeded Mexican pair of Alfredo Avila and Diana Garcia with both matches going the full distance – to 10 all in the third game, sudden death, and in both matches the last rally being decided by a crunching cross court nick by the adventurous Stafford, the shot maker on the Caymanian team. Gold for Cayman in squash. This is only the second time a CASA member has claimed such a medal in our sport, the first being Nicolette Fernandes (Guyana) in 2006.
Well done to all. See you again at the Games in four years time in Barranquilla, Colombia!
Secretary – CASA
December 2nd, 2014
At the recently concluded CAC Games in Veracruz, Mexico there were several referees from the Caribbean area who made up the referee pool for the squash competition that took place from November 23rd to 30th.
Craig Archer, the Chairman of the Caribbean Area Squash Association (CASA) Referee Committee, expressed satisfaction with how the competition was held and the performance of the Caribbean referees in particular: “Two of the six referees used last Saturday for the two team finals (both Mexico vs. Colombia) were from Venezuela (Daniel Greco and Pedro Pares) and that country has a well established referee programme. Another referee for the finals, Junio Costa hails from Brasil and was recently elevated to the status of “Regional Referee” by the Pan-American Squash Federation. The other three referees in the highly charged team finals were all from the CASA region, and all three – Alwyn Callender (GUY); Orson Simpson and Marlon White (both BAR) – are graduates of the CASA Officiating Programme for Squash (COPS) that we were able to launch in Barbados in 2005 with some PASO grant funding received via the Barbados Olympic Association and with technical assistance from Squash Canada (SC) that we obtained through the kind courtesy of the then SC Executive Director, Mrs. Linda MacPhail.”
Archer went on: “In all five of the matches played in these two team finals the officiating was spot on, and I am truly proud to have played a part in establishing a solid and internationally accepted certification programme for the Caribbean that, in less than ten years, has seen some of its graduates invited to referee at the Commonweath Games (2010), CAC Games (2010 and 2014), the Pan-American Games (2007 & 2011), Men”s World Team Championships (2007 & 2011), the Women”s World Open (2012) and three consecutive BVI Squash Opens and Cayman Women”s Squash Opens.” “In this competition at the CAC Games Alwyn (Callender) was the centre referee for the highly prestigious men”s individual final, while Orson Simpson was the centre referee in the ladies individual final.”
“There are now over 100 COPS certified referees in the Caribbean, from nine different countries, from Guyana in the south to Bermuda in the north. Here in Barbados, the most senior referees Orson, Marlon and I will now have to mentor the younger, up and coming referees so that they too can gain regional and international exposure. As a referee you are always learning; none of us knows it all and as a group we try to discuss matches and situations so that we can all develop together. It is always good to be able to expose Caribbean referees to this higher level of competition and when called upon we have always delivered in a positive way. Another COPS graduate, Karen Anderson (JAM), has recently accepted an invitation to officiate at the Women”s World Team Championships that begin in Canada this coming week. I have every reason to believe she will represent the officials from the Caribbean region with distinction.”
November 28th, 2014
After the excitement of Day 5, where the Barbados ladies team scraped home 2-1 against Jamaica by the closest margin, on Day 6 Barbados was unable to overcome a solid Guyana team and failed to advance to the semi-final and medal round at the CAC Games for the first time since 2002.
After another early start at 8:00 a.m. today the brothers Cumberbatch had no answer to the power and precision of the Salazar twins as the Barbados Men”s team lost 0-3 to the top seeded Mexican team. At #1 Gavin Cumberbatch lost to the world #38 Cesar Salazar in straight games 3/11, 1/11, 4/11 while younger brother Rhett went all out against Cesar”s twin, Arturo Salazar, and got close to taking a game before going down also in straight games in a tremendously spirited effort 9/11, 3/11, 8/11.
Then after a 10:15 a.m. start there was more heartbreak for Barbados as the ladies team lost its final pool B encounter by one match to two and failed to advance to the semi-final round, losing out to perennial rivals Guyana who advanced to play the top seeded Mexican ladies team at 6:00 p.m. tonight.
First on court, the Barbados captain, Karen Meakins, started off a bit slowly as her Guyanese opponent came out firing on all cylinders and quickly established a 1-0 lead. Meakins was not fazed, however, and improved her length and began to force Khalil into the corners and waited patiently to deploy her trademark backhand drops and forehand volley kills. Khalil was never really in contention after that as Meakins won easily after that 6/11, 11/5, 11/6, 11/5. Next on court was Barbados” #3, Alex Jordan, who was competitive in her contest against her Guyanese opponent, Ashley Degroot, but after a shaky start she just couldn”t close out the final two games and lost in straight games 5/11, 9/11, 9/11 in 20 minutes. Last on court was Barbados #2, Nadia McCarthy, who could not repeat her heroics of the previous day where she got into a 0-2 hole before pulling out an impressive win against Jamaican, Tracy Binnie, in five nerve racking games. This time around she faced the losing ladies individual finalist at the Caribbean Squash Championships last August, the diminutive Mary Fung-A-Fat who was in complete command and ran out winning in straight games 11/4, 11/7, 11/5 also in 20 minutes.
Manager Craig Archer summed up the day thus. “We are all bitterly disappointed in the result, but I am not disappointed with the effort displayed by both the Barbados Men and Ladies. We supported each other, we even had athletes coming from other sports to watch us but on the day we were beaten by a better team. We really wanted another medal, but sometimes in sport this is how things go. We came here to improve our medal haul in squash and we were able to do so. The ladies team finished joint fifth and do not have to play again and the men will play tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. against the BVI and will finish either joint ninth or eleventh. We are proud to be one of only two disciplines to have medaled so far and we hope Barbados can win a few more before the end of the Games. It has been a lot of squash played over the past six days by our players, especially Gavin and Karen and we are looking forward to getting back home”.
Men”s Pool A round robin:
Barbados lost to Trinidad and Tobago 1-2
#1 – Gavin Cumberbatch lost to Colin Ramasra (TRI) 6/11, 4/11, 2/11
#2 – Rhett Cumberbatch def. Kale Wilson (TRI) 11/9, 13/11, 11/5
#3 – Nku Patrick (TRI) won by default 11/0, 11/0, 11/0
Barbados lost to #1 Mexico 0-3
#1 – Gavin Cumberbatch lost to Cesar Salazar (MEX) 3/11, 1/11, 4/11
#2 – Rhett Cumberbatch lost to Arturo Salazar (MEX) 9/11, 3/11, 8/11
#3 – Alfredo Avila (MEX) won by default 11/0, 11/0, 11/0
Ladies Pool B round robin:
Barbados lost to Colombia 0-3
#1 – Karen Meakins lost to Catalina Pelaez (COL) 8/11, 6/11, 11/6, 8/11
#2 – Nadia McCarthy lost to Laura Tovar (COL) 5/11, 7/11, 6/11
#3 – Alex Jordan lost to Karol Gonzalez (COL) 2/11, 4/11, 2/11
Barbados def. Jamaica 2-1
#1 – Karen Meakins def. Alyssa Mullings (JAM) 11/6, 11/5, 12/10
#2 – Nadia McCarthy def. Tracy Binnie (JAM) 9/11, 9/11, 11/4, 13/11, 11/8
#3 – Alex Jordan lost to Mary Mahfood (JAM) 8/11, 11/13, 11/4, 12/10, 2/11
Barbados lost to Guyana 1-2
#1 – Karen Meakins def. Ashley Khalil (GUY) 8/11, 6/11, 11/6, 8/11
#2 – Nadia McCarthy lost to Mary Fung-A-Fat (GUY) 4/11, 7/11, 3/11
#3 – Alex Jordan lost to Ashley Degroot (GUY) 5/11, 9/11, 9/11
Guyana def. Jamaica 3-0
Colombia def. Jamaica 3-0
Colombia def. Guyana 3-0
There is one more day remaining in the competition, with the team finals being held on November 29th. The closing ceremony will be on the 30th with the Barbados team flying home via Miami on American Airlines on the night of December 1st.
November 27th, 2014
Brilliant play by the Barbados mixed doubles pair of Karen Meakins and Gavin Cumberbatch on day 3 of the squash competition took Barbados past the Guatemalan pair of Nicolle Anckermann and Bryan Bonilla, the #3/4 seeds: 11/8, 11/6 and into yesterday”s semi-final against Mexico. The Barbados plan of attack in both matches was to target the weaker female player as their male opponent for both matches was the strongest player on the court. Against Guatemala the plan worked to perfection with Meakins and Anckermann rallying patiently down the forehand wall and with Cumberbatch punching crisp-cross court drives whenever the ball was played onto his side.
That 2-0 result took Barbados into the semi-finals where earlier on Wednesday Barbados played well but registered a 0-2 loss to the #2 seeds, Mexico, represented by Diana Garcia and Alfredo Avila. Barbados led for much of the first game but from 7-9 down Mexico reeled off the next four points, including a questionable stroke decision that moved them to 10-9 up. After securing the first game, the Mexican pair settled down and the speedy Avila took over the contest, winning several points in the front of the court with deft drop-shots, of both the straight and cross-court variety, as Mexico powered home 11-9, 11-2 to reach yet another squash final. Their opponents will be the Cayman Islands pair of Marlene West and Cameron Stafford who played brilliantly to defeat the heavy favourite and top seeded Colombian pair of Miguel Angel Rodriguez and Catalina Pelaez in three exiting games 10/11, 11/6, 11/10.
Manager Craig Archer expressed satisfaction with the results to date. “We came to Mexico to win at least one medal for Barbados, and so far so good. The team had to quickly adjust to the staggering loss of our Men”s captain, Shawn Simpson, who had to fly home on Monday due to unexpected work commitments. Despite this set back Gavin and Karen, although only playing together for a few days, managed to pull off a great win yesterday (Tuesday).” “This is Gavin”s third bronze medal at the CAC Games, and all three have come in doubles. Karen now has won medals in three successive CAC Games – a feat that has hardly ever been done by a Barbadian athlete – and she has now has five CAC Games medals, which moves her into 3rd place on the all time list for Barbados, just behind swimmers Nicky Neckles (7) and Bradley Ally (6). What we need now is a purpose built doubles court in Barbados, which would be the first for the Caribbean region. The sports tourism spin offs would be tremendous and our team would be better prepared for competitions like this”.
The medals ceremony for the doubles competition was held late on Wednesday night after the ladies, men”s and mixed doubles finals.
The draws for the team competition were made on Wednesday afternoon with the Barbados Ladies team being placed in Pool B with Colombia, Guyana and Jamaica. Pool A comprises Mexico, Guatemala and their perennial rivals, El Salvador.
The men”s competition will be four groups of three teams each, with Barbados being in the strong pool A with Mexico and Trinidad and Tobago. The other men”s pools are:
Pool B – Colombia; Jamaica; Venezuela
Pool C – Guatemala; El Salvador; Cayman
Pool D – Guyana; St. Vincent & the Grenadines; British Virgin Islands
Matches begin today (Thursday) from 8:00 a.m. with the Barbados Ladies taking on the #2 seed Colombia. Barbados” men start at 10:15 a.m. versus Trinidad and Tobago. Barbados ladies will then face Jamaica at 5:00 p.m. There are three days remaining in the competition, with the team finals being held on November 29th. The closing ceremony will be on the 30th with the Barbados team flying home via Miami on the night of December 1st.
November 25th, 2014
Barbados will fight for a possible two medals today in the doubles competition on Day 3 of the squash competition at the 2014 CAC Games in Veracruz, Mexico.
After a mixed first day in the individuals when Barbados lost three matches and won one match, in the only match played yesterday (Monday) Karen Meakins, the Barbados ladies captain and four time CAC Games medalist lost a competitive contest against the #2 seed, Laura Tovar (COL) in straight games 6/11, 13/15, 3/11 and failed to advance to the semi-finals. Meakins, who despite being the 2010 silver medalist in this event, was only seeded this time at #5/8 and faced an opponent ranked in the top 100 in the world. She began a little nervously and trailed 0-5 in the first game before she got her first point. Thereafter the contest was more even but the points gap was too great for Meakins to close and she dropped the first game 6/11.
The second game was key and after trading points all the way to 10-all Meakins had two game balls, at 11-10 and 13-12 to even up the match but could finish off her teenaged opponent, who closed out the second game 15-13. At 2-0 up Tovar then looked more relaxed and closed out the contest with several clinging drives on the forehand wing that Meakins could not reach. It was good competitive squash but on the day the better player won. Tovar subsequently won her semi-final to reach her first CAC Games final where she will face the #1 seed, Samantha Teran (MEX) tonight (Tuesday).
On Day 1 in the men”s individuals Barbados” first two losses were not unexpected as the brothers Cumberbatch (Gavin and Rhett) were up against higher ranked opponents from Trinidad who are seeded at #9/16 here and who play on the professional men”s circuit and have world rankings.
Nadia McCarthy”s 0-3 loss to Ashley Khalil (GUY) was a bit surprising but she was a bit nervous before her match and her opponent played well to win the first game easily for the loss of five points. In the second McCarthy was leading 7-3 and seemed in control before a few unforced errors by her, followed by good shots by her opponent, caused the Barbadian to lose the second game at 8-11. In the third game McCarthy”s opponent grabbed an early lead that she did not relinquish. Nadia was always playing catch up and eventually lost 7-11.
Full results of the Barbados matches from Days 1 and 2 are as follows:
Men”s individuals (1st round), Barbadian athletes mentioned first:
Gavin Cumberbatch lost to #9/16 Colin Ramasra (TRI) 5/11, 4/11, 6/11
Rhett Cumberbatch lost to #9/16 Kale Wilson (TRI) 2/11, 7/11, 10/12
Ladies individuals (1st round)
#5/8 Karen Meakins def. Alyssa Mullins (JAM) 11/6 11/1 11/7
#5/8 Nadia McCarthy lost to Ashley Khalil (GUY) 5/11 8/11 10/12
Ladies individuals (quarter-finals)
#5/8 Karen Meakins lost to #2 Laura Tovar (COL) 6/11 13/15 3/11
November 23rd, 2014
After attending the technical meeting for squash on Saturday evening (Nov 22nd) the Barbados Manager Craig Archer expressed satisfaction with the draw that Barbadian athletes received in the individuals and in the doubles competitions that begin today (Sunday).
The reigning CAC Games silver medalist in Ladies singles, Karen Meakins, was only given a 5/8 seeding but is in the bottom of the draw and avoids the top seeded Mexican, Samantha Teran, in the early rounds. Karen plays Jamaican junior, Alyssa Mullins, this afternoon at 5:30 p.m. while Nadia McCarthy is also seeded at 5/8 and will face Ashley Khalil (Guyana) at 11:30 a.m. In the men”s individuals, Gavin Cumberbatch will get Barbados off in the first match of the day at 9:15 a.m. versus Colin Ramasra (TRI) whom he defeated in 2007 to win the Caribbean men”s title while brother Rhett will face another Trinidadian, Kale Wilson, at 10:00 a.m.
The doubles competitions begin on Monday November 24th when te Barbados men”s pair of Gavin and Rhett Cumberbatch face Venezuela at 3:15 p.m.. The Barbados ladies doubles pair of Nadia McCarthy and Alex Jordan will take on Guyana on Nov 25th at 10:45 a.m. while in the mixed doubles, Karen Meakins and Shawn Simpson will face Guatemala on the 25th at 4:45 p.m. In all three of these match the Barbados team can feel confident of their chances of advancing.
The mood in the team is very upbeat and the team is looking forward to Day 1 of competition which begins in a few hours.
November 19th, 2014
Orson Simpson and Marlon White are the only two squash referees resident in the Caribbean who have been selected to officiate in this year”s CAC Games in Veracruz.
Both have extensive international experience with Orson having officiated at the Men”s World Team Championships in 2007 and 2011; the Commonwealth Games in 2010 in Delhi; at the WSA Cayman Squash Opens held in 2009, 2010 and 2011 and at the Women”s World Open held in 2012. He was the Tournament Referee at the past three PSA BVI Squash Opens as well (2012, 2013 & 2014).
Marlon has officiated at the Pan American Games in 2011 (Guadalajara) and in the Pan American Senior Squash Championships in 2012 and 2013 and at the Pan American Sports Festival held earlier this year in Toluca, Mexico.