Four-member squash team competing in North America

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A four-member Guyana squash team left the country last week to participate in two prestigious tournaments in North America.

The 2019 Canadian Junior Squash Open was held from December 6-10, at White Oaks Conference Centre, Niagara, on the Lake and the 2019 US Junior Squash Open will be held from December 14-17, in Allston, Massachusetts.

The four-member team includes 2019 Junior Caribbean Under-17 champion Shomari Wiltshire, 2019 Junior Caribbean Under-15 runner-up Nicholas Verwey, 2019 Junior Caribbean Under-13 runner-up Mohryan Baksh and Joshua Verwey.

The team even though small gave a good account of themselves with spectacular performances.

Shomari Wiltshire, after finishing sixth in the Under-13 division in 2015 and ninth in the Under-15 in 2017, went even further in 2019, just losing in the final to Canadian Gabriel Yun 11-4, 4-11, 9-11, 8-11.

Shomari, seeded 13/16 going into the tournament, defeated Canadian Max Shewchenko in the first round 11-4, 11-2, 11-5 and then in the second round defeated his Caribbean counterpart Caymanian Jace Jervis 11-9, 12-10, 11-5.

In the Round of 16 he found himself matched up against the number two seed in the tournament New Zealander Jack Conder. Shomari would rise up to the challenge and after a well contested match eventually upset the favourite, winning 4-11, 11-5, 11-7, 12-10.

In the quarter-finals, he played 9/12 seed Canadian Griffin Manley and defeated him in straight games 12-10, 11-8, 11-7. In the semi-finals, Shomari encountered ¾ seed Canadian Amin Khan.

In 2015 while playing in the Under-13 division and a relatively unknown player Shomari had upset Amin Khan and then two years later in 2017 when Amin Khan was the number one seed in the Under-15 category Shomari had a two games to love lead, but could not seal the deal.

He eventually lost three games to two. Shomari won the first game 13-11, but dropped the second game 9-11.

He would win the crucial third game 12-10 and then closed out the match 11-8 to reach his first Canadian Open final.

In the final, Shomari won the first game 11-4, but then Gabriel regrouped to win the second game 11-4. The third game was vital as most times the winner of this game goes on to win the match.

Shomari was up 9-7, two points away from taking this game, but it was not to be as he would lose the game 9-11 and the fourth 8-11 to finish runner-up, a fantastic achievement.

In the Under-13 category, Mohryan Baksh finished a creditable ninth place. Mohryan, who was seeded 5/8, the highest of the Guyanese players in any of the draws had a bye in his first round match. In his Round of 32, match he defeated Canadian Beckett Yuzpe 11-3, 11-2, 11-6. In the Round of 16 match, he came up against 9/12 seed Canadian Kamran Gwadry.

Mohryan played well, but lost in three close games 10-12, 8-11, 9-11. Due to this loss he then found himself in the second consolation draw where in the quarter-finals he defeated Canadian Caleb Hickox 11-9, 11-5, 11-3.

In the semis, Mohryan defeated Canadian Kent Rawlins in a hard fought match 12-10, 11-5, 5-11, 12-10 and then in the finals, Mohryan defeated Canadian Dylan Scott three games to one. Mohryan won the first game easily 11-6, and then took the second game by a much closer margin 11-9.

He lost a little of his focus and dropped the third game 6-11, but bounced back to win the fourth game 12-10, thereby finishing in ninth position, a remarkable result.

In the Under-15 category, Nicholas Verwey who was unseeded but was coming off a good performance in the recently held Farfan and Mendes skill level tournament in Guyana, faced Canadian Danny Leigh, an unseeded opponent in the first round.

Nicholas had an easy win 11-2, 11-2, 11-4. In his Round of 32 match, Nicholas would face a tough Mexican opponent, 9/12 seed Santiago Medina.

Nicholas had chances to win the first game including a few game balls, but would lose a hard fought first game 13-15. He won the second game 11-9 to even the match at one all, but Nicholas would lose the third game 6-11 and then a close fourth game 9-11.

With this loss Nicholas would be placed in the consolation draw and in his first match he would play Barbadian Dominic Wilson winning easily 11-2, 11-4, 11-4. In his second round match he faced Canadian Vishaal Mehta. Nicholas again had another good win.

He won the first game 11-4, dropped the second game 6-11, but bounced back to win the third and fourth games 11-8 and 11-9.

In the consolation quarters, Nicholas played Canadian Jack Jones and easily won in straight games 11-8, 14-12, 11-8. In the consolation semi-finals, Nicholas’s good tournament run would come to an end when he lost to Canadian Jacob Marrison in three close games 9-11, 9-11, 8-11 to finish in position 19-20, a good result for his second Canadian Open.

The fourth member of the team Joshua Verwey played in the Under-13 division. In the first round, he defeated Bermudian William Frith 11-3, 11-0, 11-3.

In his Round of 32 match, he would end up losing to Canadian Kamran Gwadry 1-11, 1-11, 3-11. In his first match in the Consolation draw, Joshua would lose to Canadian Leo Roberge 6-11, 4-11, 2-11.

The four-member team now moves on to participate in the 2019 US Junior Squash Open in Massachusetts where in the Under-13 division Mohryan Baksh is seeded 49/64 and Joshua Verwey 65/ 96; Nicholas Verwey is seeded 33/48 in the Boys Under-15 and in the Under-17 category Shomari Wiltshire is seeded 49/64.

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