Senior CASA 2011  06-13 Aug, South Sound Squash  Grand Cayman  

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TODAY in Cayman: Mon 8th, Day ONE

Individuals under way

It  was an early start (9am) to a busy day at a wet and windy (but still hot and humid)  South Sound Squash Club, with two - possibly three - rounds for the men and two rounds for the women as the individual events got under way.

After 50+ main draw matches, and a good few plate games too, we're down to the quarter-finalists - read on, or scroll down to the bottom to see who made it through ...


Session One:

Chan-a-Sue's Challenge

The first session of play didn't see any of the men's top seeds in action, they come later, but the first player through was Ramon Chan-a-Sue, who won 3/0 to set up a meeting with top seed and defending champion Richard Chin, who just happens to be his childhood friend and room-mate!

Ramon, now 38, who over the years has been a prolific SquashSite contributor, explains ...

"It's six years since I last played CASA, having played in them from 1990-2004, made the last sixteen a few times, but I really thought I'd played my last tournament in 2006 in Barbados.

"I really wanted to come and see my friend, countryman and room-mate Richard Chin defend the title so I though I might as well play in it too. To be playing Richard next is a bonus, I'm really looking forward to it.

"We grew up together, and as a ten-year-old Richard used to play my dad!

"It will be a test of my fitness, but we've been doing some training together in Princeton and last week in Boston, so we'll see how that worked.

"It was a bit nerve-wracking to go on court in this event again, but it's great to get back in the loop and see so many old faces.

Brennan beats the youngster, Kelly concedes

Match of the session had to be Frank Brennan's 18-16 in the fifth win over CASA U15 champion Nku Patrick (typically I missed virtually all of it).

"They're starting them young," declared a confident Brennan before the match as he surveyed his much smaller opponent, but he wasn't smiling for long as the 14-year-old Trinidadian pushed him all the way.

Having finally set up a next round meeting with a rather more developed junior, third seed Cameron Stafford, Brennan declared "I had to do that for the old guys!".

Unluckiest loss was for Cayman's Jake Kelly who, at 2-1 ahead and 9-all, was (slightly) ill on court and had to concede the match.

Hennings' home advantage

The first upset of the event came when Cayman's Samantha Hennings met Barbados's Lilliana White in an early meeting of the 9th and 7th seeds.

After dropping the first Hennings saved four game balls in the second, taking it 15/13 then going on to secure the win in four games.

"I've never played her before, she's always seeded higher than me,  but I know she's a really good player so I just went out to do my best.

"I don't usually play the individuals, just the teams, but with it being at home I thought I would have a go this time.

"I've got Nicolette [Fernandes] next,  I've never played her before either, but  that should be awesome!"

Session Two:

All the top seeds took to the court in the afternoon session, and so far all are through without any drama.

Richard Chin dealt his old friend Ramon a 3/0 hand although it needed extra points in the third, Cameron Stafford gave Frank a good runaround and enough points to keep his sponsorship deal intact, Bryant Cumberbatch despatched Mark Gilkes in three but also needed extra points in one of them, and Chris Binnie shrugged off a self-inflicted hand injury to beat Chris Stout, also in straight games.

Things were equally clear cut in the women's with the top four of Nicolette Fernandes, Karen Meakins, Cheri-Ann Paris and Marlene West all cruising through tom the quarter-finals.

Now we're looking forward to the men's last sixteen and the start of the plate events this evening ...



Session Three:

While some hardy souls (yes, that's you Frank) play their third match of the day as the plate events get under way, tonight's main business is the men's last sixteen as tomorrow's quarter-finalists are decided.

Burrowes in a hurry

Well, not on court as it took Jamaica's Bruce Burrowes, the fifth seed, the full five games to beat Rhett, the middle of the Cumberbatch brothers, in a tough, tough encounter.

Bruce doesn't have the most elegant of styles, but my oh my is he determined, and is he effective, his never say die attitude paying dividends as he hustled and harried Cumberbatch into errors.

After a couple of do-or-die rallies in the decider Bruce pulled clear to lead 10-8, and took it on the first attempt. He leant against the wall then, rushed straight past his opponent, straight past his supporters and found relief in a large dustbin outside the court (Jake Kelly take note). That's what you call giving it all you've got ... (video in the gallery)

"I'd never played him before but I can see he's improved so much. He has such touch at the front, give him anything loose and he'll just push it away.

"I really had to dig in and work hard, it wasn't pretty at times but a win's a win.

"That was tough, and I may get to play his brother next !"

To be honest, that was the most dramatic match of the session - Gavin Cumberbatch's 3/0 win over Alex Arjoon was just as noisy for sure, while the youngest Cumberbatch  Bryant was just as efficient in his 3./0 win over Dane Schwier, and seventh seed Joe Chapman, confusingly wearing an England shirt, beat Micah Franklin in a tough four games.

Cayman got its first quarter-finalists as Cameron Stafford and Dean Watson both won all-Cayman affairs against Noah Browne and Gaby Rabess respectively. They will meet in a pupil v student clash tomorrow, guaranteeing the hosts a semi-final showing.

Last on were the top two seeds. Chris Binnie was super-efficient in despatching Kevin Hannaway 11/2, 11/0, 11/5 (so quick I missed it entirely!), while Richard Chin, after a well-contested opening game, put away recently-crowned CASA Junior Champion Kale Wilson 11/8, 11/5, 11/4.

So, after all that, the quarter-finals are:


[1] Richard Chin (Guy) v [8] Gavin Cumberbatch (Bar)
[4] Bryant Cumberbatch (Bar) v [5] Bruce Burrowes (Jam)
[3] Cameron Stafford (Cay) v [6] Dean Watson (Cay)
[2] Chris Binnie (Jam) v [7] Joe Chapman (OECS)

[1] Nicolette Fernandes (Guy) v [9] Samantha Hennings (Cay)
[4] Marlene West (Cay) v [5] Rhea Khan (T&T)
[3] Cheri-Ann Paris (Bar) v [11] Lauren Mahfood (Jam)
[2] Karen Meakins (Bar) v [8] Alison Strobridge (Cay)


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