The 17th Caribbean Squash Championships serve off today in Grand Cayman

The 17th Cayman Contractor Store 2009 Caribbean Squash Championships began today in at the South Sound Squash Club in Grand Cayman with the 1st round in the individual competition for both men and ladies. Top Barbadian players, Karen Meakins and Shawn Simpson, are both ranked at #2 and there are a total of five Barbadians in the top 16 Men’s seeds as well as four ladies. There will be two rounds played today (Monday) with the quarter-finals and semi-finals being held tomorrow, Tuesday and the finals on Wednesday. The defending individual champions from 2007 are Gavin Cumberbatch (B?dos) and Karen Anderson (J?ca), who has now retired from competition and is not defending her title. The top eight seeds are as follows:

#1 Dean Watson (Cayman); #2 Shawn Simpson (B?dos)
#3/4 Colin Ramasra (T&T) & Chris Binnie (J?ca)
#5/8 Patrick Foster (Ber); Gavin Cumberbatch (B?dos); Bryant Cumberbatch (B?dos) & Kristian Jeffrey (Guy)

#1 Nicolette Fernandes (Guy); #2 Karen Meakins (B?dos)
#3/4 Cheri-Ann Parris (B?dos)
& Denise Sommers (Ber)
#5/8 Kerrie Sample (T&T); Rhea Khan (T&T); Keisha Jeffrey (Guy) & Lilianna White (B?dos)

In 1st round action this morning only three Barbadians lost (see below) and all the seeded Barbadian players except one made it safely through to this evening?s 2nd round which begins at 7:30 p.m. (Barbados time). The Men’s Individual competition is a full 32 draw whereas there are only a total of 25 players entered in the Ladies individuals, so there were 7 first round byes this morning with local seeded players Karen Meakins, Cheri-Ann Parris and Lilianna White gaining easy passage to this evening?s second round. The other two Barbadian players both lost, Sherice MacDonald to Caymanian, Samantha Hennings, in straight games while #9/16 seed Lea Solomon lost in five games to Trinidad?s Karina Lutchmeesingh after holding a two game lead. Full match scores are given below (Barbadian players named first):

Men – #2 Shawn Simpson def. Tim Shave (Ber) 11-6, 11-6, 11-4
#5/8 Gavin Cumberbatch def. Gerry Wight (J?ca) 11-1, 11-7, 11-8
#5/8 Bryant Cumberbatch def. Stephen Smith (Ber) 11-3, 11-6, 11-1
#9/16 Mark Sealy def. Brian Jackson (T&T) 11-2, 11-6, 11-2
#9/16 Fabian Goodridge def. Raphael DeGroot (Guy) 11-7, 11-9, 11-4
Rhett Cumberbatch lost to #9/16 Micah Franklin (Ber) 11-7, 8-11, 8-11, 7-11

Ladies ? Sherice MacDonald lost to Samantha Hennings (Cay) 7-11, 0-11, 5-11
#9/16 Lea Solomon lost to Karina Lutchmeesingh (T&T) 11-8, 11-7, 2-11, 6-11, 8-11

For all the details, photos, the draws etc. please click on 2009 Caribbean Squash Championships on the

The team competition will begin on Wednesday and continue until the team finals on Saturday August 22nd. The six countries competing this year are Barbados; Bermuda; Cayman; Guyana; Jamaica & Trinidad and Tobago. The defending team champions from 2005 are: Men (Jamaica); Ladies (Barbados); Veterans (Barbados); Overall Team Champions (Barbados). The 2007 team championship in Jamaica was disrupted by Hurricane Dean and was never completed. From 2009 onwards this previously biennial competition will be held annually. The championships next year are expected to be held in the southern Caribbean since this year?s event was supposed to be hosted by Trinidad and Tobago but had to be shifted due to the H1N1 flu virus threat there.

Report by C. Archer