Big medal haul for Cayman squash

In most sports Cayman is like a grunt in the sea of Caribbean countries.

The Cayman womens team

The Cayman womens team alongside Joel Francis from the Ministry of Sports. Photo: Submitted

Normally big fish like Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad are well out in front of Cayman.

However the sport of squash limits the gap as Cayman is right there among the elite countries.

Last weekend proved that point as Cayman hosted the 2009 Caribbean Squash Championships and won four medals.

The veteran’s team took the gold medal, the women’s team nabbed silver and the men’s team earned bronze. All those performances would reap a silver trophy as Cayman came second in the overall team rankings.

Heather Penzhorn, Janet Sairsingh, John Macrury, Richard Hew and Ian Patrick formed the veteran’s team.

Chantelle Day, Melissa Evans, Caroline Heal, Samantha Hennings and Marlene West represented for the Cayman women.

Jake Cameron, Dan Kneipp, David Finch, Cameron Stafford and Dean Watson were on the men’s team.

The men’s squad was actually the first to compete and had some tough games. Cayman made it to the bronze medal game and faced off with Jamaica.

The squad needed to see at least three team members prevail to claim a medal. However those expectations would be exceeded as Cameron, Kneipp, Finch and Stafford won their matches in long four and five set affairs.

Cayman national coach Dean Watson was the only squad member to stumble as he lost to men’s champion Chris Binnie.

The veterans were up next to take centre stage. Cayman would face Barbados in the final as both teams went through the competition undefeated. Things started well for Cayman as the Bajans conceded victory to Penzhorn.

Patrick lost the momentum from there and things looked gloomy after Sairsingh tasted defeat. However Cayman got on a roll as its strongest vet Macrury (a former Caribbean champion in his youth) won in four sets and Hew capped off Cayman’s gold medal with an empathic three set victory.

The women came next and Cayman had its hands full with Trinidad and Tobago. The action seemed one-sided from the get-go as Hennings and Evans lost a pair of four set games.

However Cayman showed its determination with two passionate victories by West and Heal. Pressure would then fall squarely on Day to win and secure the gold (and the overall tournament title). Young Chantelle would fight the whole way but lost out in four sets.

When all the games were done and the teams celebrated into Monday the overwhelming feeling was of contentment.

From the dozens of fans who watched the matches (including sports personalities like Perry Anglin and Courtney Wisdom) to the visiting players, everyone had positive words about the tournament.

Tournament organizer and Cayman member Dan Kneipp echoed those encouraging feelings.

‘The overwhelming feeling we’ve had is it the best Caribbean Championship ever. The participating countries had nothing but praise. That really speaks to our ability to pull off such a great tournament with only eight weeks notice.

‘A huge thank you to the volunteers and numerous people behind the scenes because without their time and effort we could not have hosted this event. Thanks too to the sponsors who supported this event on such short notice.’