Two junior players from Cayman came home with winners’ trophies from the Blue Mountain Caribbean Open in Kingston, Jamaica, over the past two weeks.
The juniors, who trained at the Cayman Islands Tennis Club with the coaching of Dale Avery and Rob Seward, also participated in the ITF/COTECC Regional tournament in Kingston.
The juniors who participated in the regional tournaments were: Jack Lomax, Oskar Bjuro and Sebastian Bjuro (Boys 12 and Under); Harrison Clough, Alex Claybourn, Jake Booker, Oskar and Sebastian Bjuro and Jack Lomax (Boys 14-U); Callum Theaker (Boys 18-U).
This year, nearly 70 players from Cayman, Jamaica, Guyana, Great Britain, St. Vincent and Antigua participated in the Blue Mountain Tournament, and more than 100 juniors from all over the world played in the ITF/COTECC tournament.
In the individual age groups of the Blue Mountain Championships, in the Boys 12 and Under division, Sebastian Bjuro lost a close match to the No. 2 seed from Jamaica, Jairdain Gibbs, in the quarters, but then his teammate, Jack Lomax, beat Gibbs in the semis. Oskar Bjuro, Sebastian’s older brother, beat the third seed of the tournament, Katel Casserly from Jamaica, and then defeated one of Jamaica’s best in the semis, Delano Reeves, to reach the finals against his teammate from Cayman, Jack Lomax.
In an all-Cayman final, Oskar Bjuro defeated Jack Lomax 6-2, 6-3. (Last year Lomax defeated Bjuro in the finals.)
In the 14-U division, three out of five Cayman juniors made it to the semifinals. Alex Claybourn and Jake Booker played in one, while Jamaica’s Keyondre Clarke played against Cayman’s Harrison Clough in the other semifinal. Harrison defeated the No. 2 seed from Jamaica, Daniel Azar, to face the No. 2 seed, Clarke, in the semis. Clough had to retire from the match with an injury, but Alex Claybourn defeated Jake Booker from Cayman in a two-set match to face Clarke in the finals.
Alex had a tough start in the final, a press release states, but came back strong to get the win in the third set while playing some of the best tennis of his career, giving Cayman the 14-U division as well at the Blue Mountain Championships.
Callum Theaker, coming in from the Small Island Games on the start of the tournament, made it to the Boys 18-U division semifinals, where he faced a strong player from Great Britain, Zachary Phillips. As Callum was getting used to the hard courts again after playing on Clay in Sweden, he lost a two-set match against his foe from England 7-5, 7-6.
Three of Cayman’s juniors stayed in Jamaica to participate in the ITF/COTECC events the week after the Blue Mountain championships. Callum Theaker played in the Boys 18-Under ITF Tournament against Zachary Phillips in the first round, a player he had just lost to in the previous tournament. Callum, feeling a bit more comfortable with the hard courts and the weather, according to a press release, defeated the player from Great Britain – who is in the top 50 in the U-18s – by a score of 4-6, 6-3, 6-2. Callum then won his second round match against Alex Rose of Jamaica 6-1, 6-1, eventually losing to the No. 1 seed.
Jack Lomax and Jake Booker participated in the COTECC U-14 division. Both juniors had a tough qualifying round and did not get to the main draw, but they did get some experience in the consolation division. They teamed up in the doubles as well, losing in the semifinals of the main draw against the No. 1 seeds.
All the coaches at the Cayman Islands Tennis Club said they are very proud of the juniors who competed in the two tournaments. The juniors have trained hard to put them into a position to play at a high caliber of tennis, the press release states.
“It is great to see that our juniors from Cayman are getting better and better each year, and it is also fantastic to see that our younger players from CITC are also able to go overseas and compete well against older players …. Dale and I are also very excited that for the last six years we have been able to bring more and more juniors to compete in these two tournaments. This is the one way that we can continue to improve our juniors by participating in overseas tournaments, and I would like to especially thank the parents in making this trip a possibility by funding my costs/expenses to take our top juniors to overseas tournaments,” coach Seward said in a press release.