Cayman’s best squash players have left for the Caribbean Junior Championships in Barbados and expectations are high despite their best player being injured.
They have 11 players taking part this year, with perhaps one of the best male line ups in the hope of a boy’s team winning.
The boys are led by Cameron Stafford in the Under-19s, Alex Frazer U17, Josh Myren U17, Nicholas Cameron U17, Matthew Mudeen U15, Cody Stafford U15, Iain McCallum U13 and Tom Mann U15.
Alain Mudeen, 17, was favourite to win the U19 title and possibly the seniors and although he is still going with his family to root on brother Cody and the team, will not be fit enough to play.
Alain was hurt in a car crash recently in Cairo, Egypt where he is studying for a degree and playing squash full-time in the hope of climbing up the pro rankings.
The girls’ team comprises of Courtney Stafford U19, Kristina Myren U17 and Eilidh Bridgeman U17.
Last year, Cayman came fifth overall, but youth development coach Dean Watson hopes for better, despite Alain’s absence. ‘We are hoping to improve on this, although we don’t have a full girl’s team which will impact the final placing,’ Watson said.
In the individual event all players take part in their respective age groups from U13s to U19s.
Cameron Stafford having won the U17s last year in Bermuda and been voted Most Improved Male Player and now in the oldest age bracket, will be a strong contender.
Frazer although recently back from injury is keen to make his mark this time.
‘Josh Myren and Nicholas Cameron both excelled to new levels and will cause many upsets along the way,’ said Watson.
‘Alain missing can make a difference but I’m optimistic. Alex Frazer still has a troublesome knee and I hope it doesn’t give way.
‘Despite all that, I think we’ve got a very evenly balanced side and I think we’ll at least get in the top three of nine teams.
‘Courtney didn’t get back from the Island Games in Aland until Sunday, playing tennis. At least she’ll have a week to relax and sharpen up by the time she plays her first game in Barbados.
‘She is now working full-time but may still be fresh for squash because she hasn’t been playing as much.’
Matthew Mudeen and Iain McCallum heading the U15 and U13s will also prove to be strong contenders.
Cody Stafford is the only left hander. He’s sure to confuse his opponents with some tactical squash.
The girls will be keen to prove their participation and demonstrate their ability to make their mark.
Courtney Stafford is a veteran of these championships and just makes this year’s event by a few days as her 19th birthday falls at the end of July.
Cheri-Anne Parris from Barbados will be one of her strongest opponents and both have played recently here in the Cayman Open.
Kristina Myren and Bridgeman have the potential to cause upsets too.
‘This year has been a testing time to raise funds for our athletes, however, Stuart Walker Hersant and Maples & Calder have both shown that supporting the junior programme in these difficult times must continue to allow our youth the same opportunities,’ added Watson.
‘We cannot thank our sponsors enough and sticking by in this economic downturn.’