Barbadians Cumberbatch, Prow, snare Men's, Women's singles titles at Caribbean Senior Squash Champs

By August 23, 2023
Margot Prow (right) of Barbados in action against Guyana's Nicolette Fernandes during the women's singles final at the Caribbean Senior Squash Championships in Cayman Islands on Tuesday. (Inset) Male singles champion Khamal Cumberbatch also of Barbados. Margot Prow (right) of Barbados in action against Guyana's Nicolette Fernandes during the women's singles final at the Caribbean Senior Squash Championships in Cayman Islands on Tuesday. (Inset) Male singles champion Khamal Cumberbatch also of Barbados.

It was always expected to be two hard-fought encounters to decide the Men’s and Women’s Singles titles at the 28th edition of the Senior Caribbean Championships, and both lived up to billing, as the Barbados pair of Khamal Cumberbatch and Margot Prow claimed top honours in Cayman Islands on Tuesday.

Cumberbatch and Cameron Stafford of the hosts nation entered the one-week tournament as top seeds in the men’s draw and, so it was no surprise that they locked horns in a keenly contested best-of-five final, which the former won 3-2.

The ding-dong battle which lasted 47 minutes, saw Stafford winning the first game 11-6, before Cumberbatch rallied to win the second 11-3. The Cayman Islands top man again found himself in front winning the third game 11-9, but Cumberbatch asserted authority in the last two games to win 11-9, 11-3.

Predictions were that the women’s showpiece would have been an all-Guyana battle between Nicolette Fernandes and Ashley Khalil, but Prow had other ideas, as she bettered Khalil in the semi-final to set up the gold medal battle with Fernandes.

And the Bajan proved superior to her Guyanese counterpart in the Best-of-five final, registering a 3-1 win. She won the first set 11-7, before Fernandes rallied to take the second 11-9, but Prow, like her compatriot Cumberbatch, showed class at the backend to win the next two games 11-9 and 11-7.

Earlier, Julian Jervis and Stafford, handed Cayman Islands the Men’s Doubles gold medal, as they battled to a come-from-behind 11-7, 11-5 win over the Barbadian pair of Cumberbatch and Shawn Simpson in an entertaining finale. Cumberbatch and Simpson won the first set 7-11.

To get to the finals, both pairs had to endure almost hour-long battles in their respective semi-final encounters, Cumberbatch and Simpson moreso, as they had to come from behind to better the Jamaican pair of Bruce Burrowes and Julian Morrison 11-9, 11-8, after losing the first set 9-11.

While the Cayman duo’s battle against Guyana’s Daniel Ince and Jason-Ray Khalil lasted 48 minutes, they won 2-0 with scores of 11-9, 11-10.

In the Women’s Doubles, Guyana secured gold courtesy of top seeded Ashley Khalil and Ashley De Groot, who justified favouritism with a come-from-behind 11-5, 11-9 win over the second seeded Cayman Islands pair of Jade Pitcarin and Marlene West, who won the opening set 11-4.

Khalil and De Groot had earlier bettered Barbadians Karen Meakins and Margot Prow 11-5, 5-11, 11-5 in a competitive three-set battle lasting just over half-hour, while Pitcarin and West got by the Jamaican duo of Karen Anderson and Mia Todd, 11-9, 11-6.

Jamaica’s Tahjia Lumley and Jessica Davis copped the Mixed Doubles title by virtue of a walkover. The reason for such an outcome remains unclear, as the Jamaicans were expected to face the number two seeded Guyanese pair of Jason-Ray Khalil and Nicolette Fernandes in the showpiece event.

After entering the event as the number five seed, the Jamaicans registered an 11-5, 11-2 win over the Trinidad and Tobago pair of Anthony Allum and Faith Gillezeau, and later scored a two-set 11-5, 11-5 win over top seeded pair of Alex Frazer and Michaela Rensburg of the host nation, on their way to the final.

Meanwhile, Khalil and Fernandes bettered the Barbadian pair of Darien Benn and Jada Smith-Padmore 11-5, 11-8, on their way to the final.

The tournament continues with team action on Wednesday.

Sherdon Cowan

Sherdon Cowan is a five-time award-winning journalist with 10 years' experience covering sports.

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