Junior CASA: Magnificent Guyana regains overall title
By Akeem Greene
That was the last time Guyana lifted the coveted overall title at the Caribbean Area Squash Association (CASA) Junior Championships. It was the country’s 12th in succession, and the belief was that the 13th would be accomplished on home turf in 2017.
However, it was not to be as Barbados came and conquered, and held the title up until now, albeit, no championships were staged in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
After four days of gruelling team action, the Junior CASA trophy will sleep once again in the cabinet of the Guyana Squash Association (GSA) after they regained the trophy on Saturday afternoon at the Georgetown Club Courts.
Guyana got 20 points to turn the tables on Barbados, who finished with 16 points. Trinidad and Tobago ended third with 10 points.
Bermuda (10 points), Jamaica (eight points), Cayman Islands (seven points), and British Virgin Islands (three points) rounded off the table.
Confidence was always high that the strong boys team would be able to deliver gold, and a lot of attention was placed on the girls to win the title, a feat they had not accomplished since 2014.
It nearly slipped away in the cliff-hanger final against Jamaica, had it not been for the bravery and commitment of team captain, Abosaide Cadogan.
Despite an injured ankle, Cadogan battled the pain in a match which went the distance with Savannah Thomson, who also had an apparent shoulder injury.
It was 43 minutes of exciting rallies, and cheers, and lots of grimacing faces before a serve capped the match, as the Guyanese came from behind to win 9-11, 11-8, 6-11, 13-11, 11-6.
Girls Under-19 silver medalist, Kirsten Gomes, won 11-7, 11-4, 7-11, 14-12 against Mia Todd, but her compatriots Ryle Rodrigues and Samirah Sumner both lost their matches, which meant all was left on the shoulders of Cadogan to deliver, and she did.
For the Boys, it was straightforward given the depth and quality of the team.
After Shomari Wiltshire dispatched Barbados’ best player, and the tournament’s number two seed, Darien Benn 8-11, 11-6, 11-4, 11-7, Caribbean Under-17 Champion, Nicholas Verwey defeated Alex Stewart 11-9, 11-9, 11-8. Likewise did Shiloh Asregado and Samuel Ince-Carvalhal.
In the individual segment, Guyana won three gold medals compliments of Wiltshire, Verwey and Avery Arjoon, and Guyana finished with 12 medals, seven more than second-place Trinidad and Tobago.
Next year’s Junior CASA is likely to be held in St. Vincent and the Grenadines or the Cayman Islands, while this year’s Senior CASA will be staged in Jamaica next month.