Strong play at Cayman Junior National Squash Championships

From left, Coach Mark Chaloner poses with some of the tournament winners, Jace Jervis, Pierce Terry, Jade Pitcairn, David Pitcairn, Emma Turnbull and Nathan Maclean.

Last weekend saw the Cayman Islands National Squash Association in partnership with Scotts Equipment host the 2018 Scotts Equipment Cayman National Junior Squash Championships at the South Sound Squash Club. The annual event provides an opportunity for junior squash players in every age category from under 11 years to under 19 years to test their skills.

National Squash Coach Mark Chaloner said, “It was so great to witness the pleasure on the participants’ faces when they put themselves into a competitive situation. It was refreshing to see the level of concentration and commitment from all the players who took part this year.”

The first finals were for the Under 11 age bracket. The Girls Under 11 was won by Sasha Hardie, who overcame a gritty and spirited Cate Lee 3-1. The Boys Under 11 was also a close match, with Cassian Marshall managing to gain the win against David Hughes also 3-1.

The Boys Under 13 final saw two brothers dueling it out for the win. Brodey and Neil McComb seesawed back and forth with great determination, alternating wins until it was 2-2 and the final game. There was nothing in it until 9-all, when Brodey finally got a break and hit some incredible shots, keeping Neil scrambling and digging the balls out of the corners. Eventually Neil made a mistake, and Brodey gained match ball which he converted with a brilliant kill shot on his first attempt.

The Girls Under 15 event was won by Shaelah Henry, who beat both Jade Barnard and Olivia Kluyver to claim her first national title.

The Boys Under 15 was a best-friend battle and a repeat of last years final between Jace Jervis and Pierce Terry. This year Jace claimed the first game 11-2, but Pierce bounced back and forced some errors out of Jace to level the scores 1-1. Jace then got back in his stride and took the next game 11-3 and followed it up with an 11-8 scoreline to claim the title.

The Girls Under 17 final was between Jade Pitcairn and Bella Grieff. Jade was the favorite and Number 1 seed, but Bella gave her a run for her money. However, Jade was too strong and claimed her first national title.

The Boys Under 17 finalists were David Pitcairn and Under 15 winner Jace Jervis. Jace had only had a short rest following his Under 15 Title, but he started brilliantly and took David by surprise with some very skillful squash, winning the first game 11-9. David realized he had to tighten things up and work Jace more and more, which he managed to do, taking the next game 11-4. David followed this up with a closer game, 11-6, and kept increasing the pressure, dominating the fourth 11-1 to take his first title.

The girls Under 19 final saw Jade Pitcairn playing Emma Turnbull, Jade started off in decisive fashion, while Emma seemed to take a little while to get going. Jade took the first game 11-3. The second game started in a more balanced manner with Emma playing more confidently, with the points falling evenly until 5-all, when Jade found a hot streak and played immaculate squash for the rest on the game, winning it 11-5. The third game was similar to the second but Jade had a firm grip on the match and confirmed this with an 11-4 win and her second title.

The Boys Under 19 final was between David Pitcairn and Nathan Maclean. David started off strong and claimed the first game 11-3. The second game saw Nathan battling hard, keeping the scores very close until 9-all, when David played two irretrievable shots to go 2-0 up. The third game was a one-sided one, and David claimed his second title of the day.

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