DIGICEL Caribbean Junior Squash championships
Wiltshire, Fernandes take individual titlesIN her final year at the Junior Caribbean Squash Championships, Guyana’s Taylor Fernandes ensured she did not come away empty-handed. She collected her first Caribbean junior title after overpowering four-time junior Caribbean champion Amanda Haywood in the Girls’ Under-19 finals at the courts of the Georgetown Club.As the individual category of the Digicel Junior Caribbean Squash Championships came toShomari Wiltshirean end yesterday, Fernandes, and Shomari Wiltshire, who clinched his first Boys Under-15 title, were the only Guyanese title-winners.Guyana had made it into six of the ten finals yesterday, with a particularly intense final going down between Guyana’s Benjamin Mekdeci and Barbados Josiah Griffith, as they battled for the Boys’ Under-19 title.Griffith, an overseas-based Guyanese, was searching for his fourth consecutive title, while Mekdeci, who has not won a title since 2013, was hoping to break his bad luck and finally grab another.Griffith was a player that Mekdeci had his eye on since the tournament commenced last Sunday, and let it be known that he was hopeful of meeting Griffith in the final. However, fate was not in his favour, and in a reiteration of the 2015 Boys’ Under-17 final, Mekdeci went under in a four-set loss, in the last match of the day.Despite spending the last few months upping his game training at Drexel University, Mekdeci still was not ready for the level of play that Griffith brought, though he by no means went out without a fight.Mekdeci let it be known early on that he meant business and dealt the first blow, of the first game. He allowed Griffit only four points for the game. But it was Griffith who came out charging for the second game, and landed three points before Mekdeci could get one in.Guyana’s Taylor Fernandes goes after a drop shot in the Girls’ Under-19 final against Amanda Haywood.Mekdeci retaliated with force and the two traded points, until it was 6-all, before Griffith created a three-point lead.Mekdeci scored only two more points before Griffith claimed the win. For the next two games, Griffith restricted Mekdeci to six and four points, respectively, before he claimed the ultimate win.In the penultimate match of the day, Fernandes denied Haywood a fifth Caribbean junior title, as the two pulled out all the stops in a fierce five-game fight – the only final to go five games.Each player dug deep into their years of experience, as the pair traded games, and Taylor emerged the winner 11-8, 8-11, 12-10, 5-11, 11-8.Earlier that morning Wiltshire gave the home crowd something to celebrate, as he took his first Boys’ Under-15 title, defeating Trinidad’s Christopher Anthony 11-1, 9-11, 11-1, 11-2.In the Girls Under-13 final, for the fourth consecutive year Kirsten Gomes was stopped in her tracks by Barbados’ Sumaira Suleman, in her hunt her first title. For the third consecutive year the pair battled for the title, but again it was Suleman who prevailed as the stronger of the two registering 11-3, 11-4, 11-2 over Gomes.Guyana missed out on another title, when Abosaide Cadogan, was overpowered by Barbados’ Chelsie Samuel, in a swift three-game ending 11-2, 11-5, 11-2.Mohryan Baksh just didn’t have the skills to match Trinidad’s Seth Thong and he lost 0-11, 2-11, 9-11 in the Boys Under-11 final.Fernandes, Mekdeci, and Wiltshire among others, will now forge forward towards Guyana’s hunt for a 13th consecutive team title, when the team competition of the Championships starts today at the courts of the Georgetown Club and National Racquet Centre.