Monday, April 22, 2024

Cumberbatch still squash king


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Khamal Cumberbatch is still the junior king of squash in Barbados.
Cumberbatch successfully defended both his Under-13 and Under-15 titles last weekend when the curtains came down on the 34th annual Sagicor General Junior National Squash Championships.
Playing at the Barbados Squash Club, the reigning Caribbean Under-13 champion recorded contrasting victories over Zechariah Naitram and Shemane Griffith to capture the coveted titles.
While the top ranked Cumberbatch easily defeated the second seeded Naitram 11-4, 11-0, 11-1 to claim his third successive Under-13 title, he had to did deep before repelling Griffith’s spirited challenge in the Under-15 final, eventually winning 11-1, 6-11, 11-7, 5-11, 11-9 in a thrilling five setter.
In a repeat of the 2013 finals, Griffith, who has improved enormously since then, initially looked nervous and dropped the first game at one before claiming two of the next three games to take the contest into a fifth and decisive set.
And he looked set on creating a huge upset after jumping out to a 8-4 lead over Cumberbatch.
But the defending champion held his nerve to rattle off six consecutive points to transform a four point deficit into a two point advantage (10-8).
Griffith managed to save one match point, but could go no further as Cumberbatch finished off the game, punching the air in delight after winning his eighth national junior title.
Griffith then suffered his second disappointment of the championships when he was beaten by Stewart St John in the Under-19 final, 11-6, 4-11, 7-11, 11-8, 7-11.
All the other finals finished as expected. Darien Benn defeated Alex Stewart 3-0 in the Boys’ Under-11 final to claim his first national junior title, nine year-old Sumairaa Suleman defeated Chelsie Samuel in five close games 2-11, 11-6, 11-9, 6-11, 11-6 to claim her first girls Under-11 title.
The reigning Caribbean girls’ Under-13 champion Meagan Best played unbeaten without even dropping a game to clinch the age group round robin event from Jada Smith-Padmore.
In the girls’ Under-15 round robin Amanda Haywood, the top seed, defeated Meagan Best 3-0 to claim her fifth national title.
Haywood then faced the reigning Caribbean Under-17 champion, Gylla Mackenzie in the Under-17 final with Mackenzie winning in three close games to claim her record 13th national junior title.
The Richard Walcott Trophy for Best Sportsmanship was won by Darien Benn while the Most Improved trophy was presented to Shemane Griffith.


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