Twelve year-old Anthony Islam survived another night of intense competition in the main draw on Wednesday night during the 2014 Bounty Farm Mash Handicap Tournament organised by the Guyana Squash Association (GSA) in collaboration with its number one corporate sponsor Digicel Guyana at the Georgetown Club Squash Courts.
After relegating Jamaal Douglas to the Classic Plate on opening night, Islam managed to hold his advantage and take out another older competitor, Pablio Mundini in a three-game thriller. Islam’s 12-point advantage gave him a five-point head start on Mundini (7) to compensate for the difference in skill level.
After Islam won the first game 15-11, Mundini tightened up and leveled the match with a clinical 15-12 victory in the second game. Islam managed to withstand the pressure in the third and final game to prevail 15-13 and eliminate Mundini from the competition.
The other half of the Islam twin, Daniel (11), had his work cut out for him against former national champion Regan Pollard. Playing with a -16 handicap, Pollard managed to win the match and progress to the next round, but not before Islam took steps toward completing the improbable.
Islam left it all on the court and even managed to win the first game of the encounter 15-9, before Pollard worked him out with strategic and surgical shot placement. Defending champion Jason Ray Khalil managed another straight-game win in his second encounter in spite of his -22 point handicap.
Khalil’s superior skill overshadowed the impressive effort and performance exhibited by Matthew Phang. In spite of Phang’s best efforts Khalil prevailed 15-12, 15-11, going on ruthless scoring streaks of 25 and 18 unanswered point in his respective games.
Two-time Caribbean champion Benjamin Mekdeci, on the other hand, was not that consistent but managed to overcome his -10 handicap to defeat Stephen Fernandes in three games. In one of the night’s most entertaining encounters, Fernandes won the first game 16-14 by playing quality shots early that seemed beyond his seven-point advantage.
But as the match progressed fatigue undermined his game play forcing him to resort to plan B. Fernandes injected much comic relief and excitement into the tournament since plan B included engaging the referee, tying his laces, and even examining the match ball in an effort to catch his breath between points.
Last year’s runner-up Nicholas Narain was also among winners on night two after defeating Ashley Khalil in three games. Narain overcame his -8 handicap to eliminate Khalil (-3), in what was an uncharacteristic showing from the former junior Girls champion.
Action will continue this evening following last evening’s encounters before concluding tomorrow when the GSA will also be hosting the tournament bar-b-que. All are invited to support this activity.
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