Quarters & Semis
All the talk on the news is the shape of the recession - it is a
"V", a "U", are we flatlining along the bottom or starting out
on the upward slope. Squash tournaments usually follow a
straight line, going down as the matches reduce day by day, but
this one is more like a "W" shape, with today being the quietest
day before the teams get added to the mix tomorrow.
Day one threw up few surprises (but a lot of noise) as the
seeding committee got it spot on, but today it would be a
surprise if there were no surprises ...
 Karen Meakins (Bar) bt
[3/4] Denise Sommers (Ber)
11/2, 11/1, 11/5
Mighty Meakins makes another final
She's ranked #2 in the Caribbean, and has appeared in the last
two CASA finals, and tonight Karen Meakins fully lived up to
that billing as she swept past CASA debutante Denise Sommers to
reach a third successive final.
Dominant from the start, the Barbados #1 was moving the ball
from corner to corner, catching her opponent out with drops and
boasts time after time. Added to that, nothing was going right
from the Bermuda National coach, everything she tried hit the
tin, just adding to her frustration.
The first two games slipped by quickly, and though a determined
"C'MON" from Denise heralded a competitive opening to the third,
it was short-lived as Karen reasserted from 3-4 down to take an
ultimately comfortable win ... and boy was she delighted ...
felt great. I went out hard to make sure I won the first few
points and just kept it going from there. I've been watching
Denise play and thought that moving the ball around would be the
best tactic, and it worked well.
"It's great to be able to execute what I've been training to do
really, and of course to make another final is wonderful."
"That was ****," commented
Denise, enjoying a beer after the match. "I remember why I
stopped playing competitively !"
[3/4] Colin Ramasra (T&T) bt  Dean Watson (Cay)
13/15, 11/9, 11/9, 11/6
Ramasra takes out top seed
Quite how local favourite Dean Watson survived his semi-final
this morning was a mystery to many - especially Patrick Foster -
and the top seed threatened to defy the odds again as he fought
back time and again against T&T's Colin Ramasra in tonight's
The first game was as close as close can be, nothing between
them, Watson edging ahead 10-8 before finally taking it 15-13.
Giving away more than a few years to his opponent, the pace had
to start telling, surely.
Colin forged ahead from the middle of the second, reaching 10-5.
Dean hung in there, saving four game balls before finally
tinning the fifth. Same story in the third, Colin eases ahead
8-3 then 10-7 on a loooong rally where Dean stays in the back
corner, shaking his head as Colin puts away an easy drop at the
That's it, you thought, he's gone. But no, he's still capable of
chopping in those winners from anywhere on court, saves two game
balls then agonisingly puts the third in the tin to concede the
But he really was gone in the fourth. He looked knackered at
3-all, declined to run for a couple of rallies as Colin reached
10-5, and this time he could only save one match ball as Colin
reached a second consecutive CASA final.
knew he'd had a hard match at lunchtime, so I wanted to make the
first game last as long as possible. Even though I lost it, that
game was perfect for me.
"I was up in all the other games, but he just kept coming back.
he can hit lots of winners and goes for it regardless, when he's
down he can get points back very quickly. That's experience for
you, but I knew that if I kept going he's have to start tinning
"I lost to him 3-0 here in the Cayman Open, so I'm really
pleased with that result, and I'm really looking forward to the
 Nicolette Fernandes (Guy) bt [3/4] Cheri-Ann Parris (Bar)
11/7, 11/5, 11/3
Fernandes fires into final
The hot favourite for the women's title duly moved to within one
match of regaining the title she won in 2005 with a solid enough
win over the CASA Junior champion.
Cheri-Ann competed well in the first two games, but a few too
many tins didn't help her cause, and the third ran away from her
quickly as Nicolette showed sign of the form that took her into
the world's top thirty before an 18-month injury layoff
interrupted her progress.
She's back now though, looking in good form and looking forward
to a rematch with Karen, who she beat in the final of the
Southern Caribbean Championships earlier this year.
puts some good pace on the ball and made it difficult in the
first two games, but I was pleased with how I was playing at the
"I feel like a completely different person from four years ago,
I was a kid then but I'm a woman now, and when I look at all the
youngsters here this week it makes me feel almost old!"
[3/4] Chris Binnie (Jam) bt  Shawn Simpson (Bar)
Binnie bins second seed Simpson
You wait for two days for an upset and all of a sudden along
come two at once. After the demise of the top seed in the first
men's semi-final, Jamacia's Chris Binnie produced another
surprise as he took out second seed Shawn Simpson.
Binnie, the 20-year-old four-time CASA junior champion, got the
better of two tight, tense, tough opening games. Both were
cracking the ball fearsomely, fighting for everything, as the
score rose point by point. The end of the first featured several
brutal rallies, mostly ending with an error forced out of one or
the other of them.
Chris held his nerve the better to sneak into the lead, almost
lost his nerve as he let a 10-6 lead slip in the second,
eventually taking it too on extra points.
The Jamaican got off to a good start in the third, 4-1, Shawn
battled back but 6-7 was as close as he got, Chris taking his
passage into the final on his second match ball.
was tough. The first two were really close, but I thought I was
going to blow that lead in the second. I think he got tired in
the third, I was trying to keep it deep on his backhand as much
as I could, anything I put short, especially on his forehand, he
"I came third last time, so this is definitely my best so far,
I'm very excited about being in the final, but Colin's going to
be tough, very tough ..."
Top seed survives in quarters
Well, the quarter-finals went according to plan, in that seven
of the eight seeded players went through in straight games, but
men's top seed Dean Watson gave left South Sound home
faithful with more than a few bitten fingernails as he squeezed
home in the fifth against Bermuda's Patrick Foster.
The women's quarters started with two youth v experience
clashes, and although Keisha Jeffrey and Rhea Khan
gave good accounts of themselves, the experience of Denise
Sommers and Karen Meakins proved too much in each
case. Sommers won 11/5, 11/5, 113, Meakins 11/5, 11/1, 11/6. The
two coaches meet tonight for a place in tonight's final.
In the third match it was youth's turn to prevail as
Cheri-Ann Parris, just out of the junior ranks, put
out Liliana White, appearing in her 16th consecutive CASA
championships. Liliana had chances to extend the match before
Cheri-Ann closed the third out in extra points, winning 11/6,
final match saw favourite Nicolette Feranndes overwhelm
another youngster, Kerrie Sample, dropping just five
points in the process of an 11/1, 11/4, 11/0 win. She meets
Cheri-Ann tonight as she continues her bid to retain the title
she won in 2005.
In the first men's match of the day Chris Binnie's extra
weight of shot made the difference the Jamaican eased past
Kristian Jeffrey in three, 11/5, 11/6, 11/5.
Next up was a rematch of the 2007 final, with a different result
this time as newly re-crowned T&T champion Colin Ramasra
turned in a sparkling performance to oust Gavin Cumberbatch
in straight games, 11/6, 11/4, 11/2. The Barbadian was playing a
slow-paced game, but found the tin too many times with attempted
winners - but then he had to go for them as Ramasra was hunting
down everything too high.
felt really good on court today," said Colin. "I was hitting the
crisply and playing my best squash of the tournament so far. I
feel I'm getting better and really looking forward to the
In an all-Barbados matchup second seed Shawn Simpson made
it a bad day for the Cumberbatch clan as he beat Gavin's younger
brother Bryant 11/9, 11/9, 11/9.
That left the best for last as Watson, with the home crowd
behind him, took on Foster in a battle of the ex-pats, both
having been over here from different parts of the UK for five or
six years now.
The early stages were very much cat and mouse, a slow=paced game
where Dean was assuming the feline role more often than not.
There was a flurry of decisions at the end of the second, all
going against Patrick much to his non-amusement, as Dean opened
up a two-game advantage.
The discussions with the ref may have fired up Patrick, he
certainly came out with a different intent in the third, and
quickly built up a lead that Dean showed no intention of chasing
The fourth was a nail-biter. Close all the way, the cheers of
the crow raised as Dean earned match-ball at 10-9, and turned
into groans as he served out. Patrick showed him the correct
grip for the serve, took the next two points and we had a
And it was Patrick who held the advantage for much of the fifth,
leading 7-3 and 9-6. But, as Dean said afterwards, "it comes
down to who wants it most in the end." Five points in a row saw
the top seed off the hook, 11/8, 11/6, 2/11, 10/12, 11/9 the
home crowd and the seeding committee still happy.
never served out on match ball before, that's a first! Maybe
it's because I'm getting towards 40, not long to go now ...
"The first two games were slow, I could control it, but he came
out blasting in the third and once you're a few points down
there's no point, you might as well save yourself for the next.
"He tired towards the end of the fourth, I could feel a change,
and although he took that and got a lead in the fifth, it
allowed me to go back to how were were playing in the early
"It comes down to who wants it most in the end ..."