No. 1 seeds Cameron Stafford and Eilidh Bridgeman won their respective divisions in the 2017 Scott’s Equipment Cayman National Squash Championships on May 29 to June 3.
The matches featured more than 50 entries across men’s and women’s events.
Hugo Janse van Rensburg of South Africa was drawn against the current Cayman No. 4 Alex Frazer in the Men’s Open first round, which went the full distance, only for Alex to make a couple of mistakes at the crucial stage of the fifth and final game which handed Hugo the fifth game and match 12-10. This led to a face-off with Cayman’s No. 1 seed, Cameron Stafford. Cameron dominated the first two games, conceding only one point in the first game and three in the second game. In the third game, Hugo “literally threw himself around the court to recover as many shots as possible. This lead to some movement clashes between the guys and a little more controversial style of play,” organizers said in a press release. But Cameron managed to hold on and kept two points ahead, eventually claiming the third and final game 11-9.
In the bottom half of the Men’s draw was the much-improved and crowd favorite, Julian Jervis, the press release states. Julian is recently back from his second year at university in the U.S., “where his squash game has come on [in] leaps and bounds,” organizers said.
Julian took out Jake Kelly in the semifinal, three games to love in just under 45 minutes.
The final match between Cameron and Julian began with a frenzied tempo, which suited Cameron more so than Julian, although Julian’s retrieving was remarkable, the press release states.
The first game was almost 20 minutes long and rallies went on for 40 or 50 shots. Cameron was able to squeeze a couple of extra errors out of Julian to take the first game 11-8. The second games started at a more composed pace than the first, and Cameron handily won 11-8.
In the third game, Cameron was able to win a handful of points in a row to give him a 7-3 lead. Julian scrambled to win back the deficit, leveling the score at 7-all. The final 4 points all went in Cameron’s favor and with that the Cayman National Championships for 2017.
The Women’s championships final was a close battle between the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds, Eilidh Bridgeman and Samantha Hennings.
In the first game, the longest game of the whole tournament, Eilidh and Samantha traded points while trying to settle into their own rhythm. After reaching 10 points each, a player has to win by two clear points to take the game. They both had game balls, but it was at 14-all when Samantha played two blistering rallies, hammering the ball on both her backhand and forehand sides, making it impossible for Eilidh to successfully return the shots. Samantha won 16-14.
In the second game, Eilidh got off to a great start, going up 5-1, and she maintained this lead to take the game 11-7. Eilidh also won the third game 11-7.
In the fourth game, Samantha fought for every rally, and the points went back and forth, eventually leading to a standoff at 9-all. Then Samantha put two great rallies together and smashed the ball deep into the back of the court to take the win 11-9 and even up the games at 2-2.
Both Eilidh and Samantha hit fantastic shots into all corners of the court in the fifth game. Samantha pulled ahead midway through the game, but Eilidh fought back to level the score at 7-all. Then a couple of points were traded and it became 8-all. Samantha won the next two rallies, giving her two match balls. Samantha had a good opportunity to finish off the match, only to make an error and even up the score 10-all. Eilidh served and the return was strong, the players rallied for 25 shots, the last shot being played by Eilidh deep into the back corner and out of reach of Samantha, giving her match ball. The pace was furious and pressure too, which led to Samantha making an error and Eilidh claiming the Cayman National Title for 2017.
The Men’s B event saw David Pitcairn carry on his great form from this year’s Junior Under-17 and U-19 titles only to be beaten in the final by a very experienced player, Jeff Danter, 3 games to 1.
The Women’s B event was claimed by Kali Maclean, the youngest player in this category and a Cayman Junior Team representative for this year’s Caribbean Squash Championships in Guyana.
The Men’s C event was claimed by 12-year-old Jace Jervis against Keith Higgins 3 games to 1. The Men’s 40+ event was won by Dean Watson against Jeff Danter, 3-1. The Women’s 40+ event was won by Cathryn Hindess 3-0 against Cathy Maclean. The Men’s 50+ event saw Ashley Gunning beat Ken Moore 3-0, and the Women’s 50+ event was won by Delia Slater against Helen Cronier 3-0.