Guyana’s Men’s Team upset the number one seed Barbados in Friday’s semifinal match, while the ladies were through to their finals which were scheduled for yesterday at the Caribbean Squash Championships in Trinidad and Tobago.
There was no shortage of suspense in the hotly contested match up. The first match saw Guyana’s number 5 Deje Dias up against Mark Gilkes. Young Dias played excellent squash but was outplayed by the more experienced Gilkes who claimed first blood for Barbados 11/8, 11/8, 11/6.
Next up was the much anticipated match between national champion Alex Arjoon and five-time Barbados National Champ Shawn Simpson. Simpson has been a top regional player for many years and on paper was expected to beat Arjoon. However, young Arjoon, now playing college squash in the US prepared a different script for the match and took the opening game despite the fast and furious pace that Simpson is known for in Caribbean squash. Simpson is considered the hardest hitter on the regional scene. Simpson bounced back to take the second but Arjoon maintained his composure to take the third. He played the most intelligent squash of his tournament, forcing the aggressive Simpson to make many uncharacteristic mistakes. With a 2-1 lead Arjoon did not ease up and kept pace with his opponent until 7-7 when Simpson pulled a hamstring and could not finish the game. That gave Arjoon the match 11/6, 5/11, 11/4, 11/7.
Guyana’s number one Richard Chin then took to the court to face current Barbados national champion Gavin Cumberbatch who beat him in the finals of the Barbados last month. Chin avenged his recent loss with a systematic dismantling of his opponent who had few answers for one of the most intelligent players ever to come out of the Caribbean. Chin made short work of the match and won 11/3, 11/6, 11/4 to give Guyana a 2-1lead in the tie.
Barbados now needed to win the fourth to force a fifth match tiebreaker so the pressure was now on Guyana’s overseas based player Jamal Callender to deny them that opportunity. The rallies were long and hard fought with both players putting everything on the line. The experienced Rhett Cumberbatch raced to a two games to one lead but Callender composed himself, played steady and won the fourth game to take the match to a final fifth game. After the lead changed hands a few times, the Bajan established a 7-5 lead and the gallery was buzzing with excitement as it looked like the Barbadian was about to force a fifth match winner take all. At this point Callender seem to enter a no mistake zone and rattled off six consecutive points to take the game and match giving Guyana an unassailable 3-1 lead.
The final match was between Julian Chin and Barbados 2011 national champ Bryant Cumberbatch-one of three brothers on the Bajan team. Chin lost the dead rubber 11/8, 2/11, 8/11, 8/11.
The Guyanese Ladies had the day off but had already advanced to the finals. They were to play Barbados, while the Men were to face host nation Trinidad and Tobago yesterday.
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