BVI Junior Squash players pick up trophies.

By BVI Squash Rackets Association

Junior BVI Squash team competed in the 2016 OECS Junior Squash tournament hosted in the BVI April 15 - 17. Photo: BVISRA

Junior BVI Squash team competed in the 2016 OECS Junior Squash tournament hosted in the BVI April 15 – 17. Photo: BVISRA

Some thrilling Junior squash was played over the weekend at the Tortola Sports Club. Juniors from Tortola battled it out with arch rival players from St. Vincent for OECS (Organization of Eastern Caribbean States) honors and also for prestigious places on the OECS Junior squash team which will head to Cayman in late July for the week-long Caribbean-wide Junior Squash Championships.

Games were fast and furious and provided fans with thrills and spills (literally in some matches) throughout the two day event.

Head coach and previous #10 Men’s Squash Player in the world, Joe Faragher-Kneipp was pleased with the results of BVI’s 12-strong team. He specifically mentioned his rookies, RJ Wong, Tai Thomas, Jake Hallet, Gethin Jones, Stephan Weyers and Lawton Green who played well throughout – “these kids continue to improve and I look forward to seeing them next year during this tournament with a full year of training in hand,” said Joe.

Kirstin Gordon lost a close match that went the full distance to 5 games against Jada Ross of St. Vincent in the U19 Girls Finals. “Her deft drop shot abandoned her in the final. Otherwise it could have just as easily been a 3 game victory sweep for Kirstin,” remarked one young fan.

Brooms were out in the U11 girls category as Darci Reich managed to defend her U11 title against new-comer, Nadira Morgan of St. Vincent in a 3-game sweep. “Her service game was solid and as consistent as a Steph Curry 3 pointer,” remarked one official. “If she was nervous, she did not show it!” Both girls displayed great sportsmanship with smiles throughout the final and, unsurprisingly, it was the St. Vincentian who managed to grab the Sportsmanship award for the tournament – an award that Darci had proudly won in St. Vincent in 2015.

The U11 boys bracket was a close affair also between two Cedar students with 2nd year squash player, Alex Fountain out-pacing Tai Thomas in a tough match that also left supporters talking about a strong future pipeline of squash players.

The U13 boys bracket saw fans torn between fan favorites, Luca Reich (defending champion) and Jasper Forte. The two Cedar boys are both part of the Squash Elective program at Cedar and managed to put on a terrific show for the fans with terrific shot making. Rallies consistently featured electrifying shots and left the fans gasping and cheering on several occasions. Games were close and saw both players displaying early nerves (perhaps as a result of the huge crowd on hand). It was veteran, Luca with steely nerves who managed to squeak out a much deserved win.

Prior to the tournament Luca spoke to sports journalists about Jasper’s continued improvement since last year’s tournament. “He is an up and coming player who will no doubt be a contender for future titles,” remarked Luca. “Without a doubt he is the most improved player in the BVI.”

Tournament officials agreed with his sentiments and awarded Jasper with the ‘Most Improved Squash Player’ award beating out several deserving contenders from both teams. It was Stephan Weyers that would bring home the third place trophy in this tough age group.

Leo Forte brought home a much deserved 3rd place trophy in the U17 boys bracket. His third place showing in the tournament a reflection of the tough competition and high standard of play in that bracket by the St. Vincent team. One of his competitors, Kai Bentick is seeded #2 in the Caribbean and won the U17 bracket.

One fan noted that “It is a function of the fact that Kai focuses his attention mainly on squash while Leo spends considerable time also playing his much loved football”.

Places for the OECS team were not announced at time of this press release. For anyone interested in learning the game of squash please contact Joe Kneipp at the Tortola Sports Club.