BVI sees largest participation in World Squash Day in 2 years

A record number of players participated in World Squash Day 2019 in the BVI

The BVI Squash Rackets Association saw a record turnout of players for World Squash Day on October 12.

The event, which is celebrated internationally each year, was open to players of all ages and abilities. 36 players participated in a big team competition at the Tortola Sports Club, the largest number to take part in the BVI in 2 years.

The winning team comprised Joe Chapman, Jonathan Addo, Alex Lower, Neville Wyllie, Decoy Mactavious, Jake Hallet, Darci Reich, Lisa Adamson and Ksenia Shvalova.

“There were fantastic matches between the federation’s top players which was inspiring for the new comers, and I definitely saw some great squash being played by all who joined in,” said Adam Murrills, Squash coach and organizer of the event

“The increase in interest and the progress of squash players in the BVI over the last 12 months has been very encouraging for the continued development of the sport,” said Mark Chapman, President, BVI Squash Rackets Association. “While we want to appeal to the wider community to give squash a go, we’re specifically targeting young potential players by engaging with organisations such as YEP and schools.”

Coach Murrills runs after school clubs during the week as well as group sessions on Saturdays. The squash pro currently has a roster of 35 young players from Elmore Stoutt High School, YEP, First impressions, Cedar, Francis Lettsome, Joyce Samuels, and Ebenezer Thomas Primary Schools – the majority of players are new to squash. Coach Murrills continues to meet with principals and PE teachers to raise awareness of the sport and to invite youngster to learn.

“Coach Murrills is doing an excellent job of introducing squash at a grassroots level and the BVISRA is hopeful that these continued efforts will result in a pool of future contenders for the big international competitions such as the Pan American Games and the Commonwealth Games,” said Chapman.

A BBQ and baked treats for sale at World Squash Day helped to raise funds for the federation’s junior players who will compete in the Barbados Junior Open, November 28 – December 1, 2019.

The federation acknowledged the donations made by Conyers, Dill and Pearman and Capriccios and Jonathan Addo.

3 podium finishes for VI at first national representation at Caribbean Senior Squash Tournament

Joe Chapman (Men’s Individual), Neville Sorrentino (Men’s Over 50), Mike Adamson (Men’s Over 40) each placed 3rd at 2019 CASA Championships

The Virgin Islands Senior National Squash Team competed in the Senior Caribbean Area Squash Association (CASA) Championships held in Guyana from August 18 – 24. This was the first time that the VI was able to compete as a nation as previously the territory had to join forces with other Eastern Caribbean Nations to form an OECS Team. VI finished 5th out of the 8 competing Caribbean Nations with Joe Chapman, Mike Adamson, and Neville Sorrentino placing third in their individual events.

National VI Squash Team at CASA Championships 2019

The Women’s team comprised Zoe Sorrentino, and CASA debutants Natalie Fay and Nicole Toppin.

Chapman, Dion Anselm, Jonathan Addo and Tony Campbell made up the Men’s team with Addo and Campbell competing in their first CASA event.

Adamson (Men’s Over 40), Sorrentino (Men’s Over 50) and Winston Findlay (Men’s Over 60) formed the Veteran team. Adamson and Sorrentino finished 3rd in their respective events with Findlay narrowly missing out on a top 3 finish after a 3-2 loss in his final match.

CASA Individual Event:
Chapman, Anselm, Addo, Zoe Sorrentino, Fay and Toppin, who all participated in the Individual event, fought well against strong opponents but only Chapman managed to progress past the 1st round.

Chapman, winner of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Men’s Plate, played some focused and professional squash to navigate his way through to the semi final of the main draw where he faced 8-times CASA champion, Chris Binnie. Chapman played well and pushed Binnie hard but the Jamaican team player eventually proved too strong an opponent and ran out a 3-0 winner. Binnie impressively went on to win the event without dropping a single game. Chapman was awarded 3rd place due to the withdrawal of his opponent (who Chapman beat in the team event).

Sorrentino put together a great run in the plate event in which she narrowly lost out in the semis to the eventual plate winner.

Men’s Doubles Event:
Adamson and Anselm lost out to the 1 seeds from the Cayman Islands 11-7, 11-7 (the doubles is played as best of 3). Both men played excellent squash in a fast and furious match, and were very close to stealing a game. It was only a few unforced errors at the end of the games that prevented a win becoming a reality.

“Overall it was a great performance against a very accomplished pairing,” said Murrills.

Mixed Doubles Event:
Neville Sorrentino and Zoe Sorrentino caused a stir as the only father/daughter pairing in the event and also due to having the biggest age differential between teammates!

Playing against Trinidad’s male and female no.1 players was always going to be a tough match. With Doubles being an exceedingly fast game, the Sorrentino duo lacked a little composure in the 1st game but played a much better 2nd. Unfortunately, at 7-7, Zoe got hit exceedingly hard by a drive by the opponents’ male player which halted the momentum that the Sorrentinos had. The two however went on to string together several solid points and closed out the match 3-0.

Points gained in the 6 events – Men’s Doubles, Women’s Doubles, Mixed Doubles, VETS Team, Men’s Team, Women’s Team – provide an overall standing at the end of the tournament.

“All our players can be proud of some fantastic performances and for the effort and team spirit they showed throughout,” said Murrills. “This year has really helped show us all the level that we’re aspiring to and I’m confident that the standard on island will improve and that we will bridge the gap to the strongest nations (Guyana and Barbados) over the coming years. With youngsters coming through our junior programmes who are improving very quickly, this again only serves to strengthen our future teams.”

Chapman retains BVI Men’s Squash title

(l-r) Joe Chapman beat Dion Anselm 11-5, 11-0, 11-2 to take the title in the 2019 Club Championships retain his number 1 spot in the BVI squash rankings.

In the Tortola Sports Club Squash Championships played May 16 – 18, 2019, Joe Chapman beat Dion Anselm 11-5, 11-0, 11-2 to take the title and to hold on to his number 1 spot in the BVI squash rankings.

Chapman played the three rounds against Anselm noted to be an “all around sportsman and athlete”. On top of being on the squash courts throughout the week hitting with anyone and everyone, Anselm can also regularly be seen playing on the tennis courts. He’s undoubtedly one of the Tortola Sports Club’s leading rackets players but was up against Chapman, 4 x Commonwealth Games player and Plate winner at the Gold Coast 2018 Games. Chapman has recently been ranked inside the top 100 in the squash world rankings.

Nonetheless, Anselm took up the challenge though and he ran down every ball making it as competitive as he possibly could. Chapman’s class showed though and he sealed another Club Championship title.

Prior to playing in the finals, Chapman beat Rory Thornton (3-0) and Anselm beat Luca Reich (3-1). Reich is 16 years old and is currently the leading junior in the VI. He came out playing some great squash against an experienced opponent who maybe made a few more errors than usual, and stormed through to take the first game.

Anselm responded well and gradually found his length. In doing so he managed to control the T and gave Reich far less opportunities to attack. Anselm grew in confidence and gradually the hard work he was putting in to the legs of Reich took its toll and tiredness began to creep in. Once on top, Anselm showed his supreme athleticism and never let his foot off the gas and managed to close out the match in 4 games.

Rory Thornton (r) bt Luca Reich 13-15, 11-9, 12-10, 13-11 in the Club Championship 3/4 Play Offs

In the ¾ Play-Off Thornton beat Reich 13-15, 11-9, 12-10, 13-11. Reich started the better of the two and held a small advantage throughout the game. After some nervy rallies at the end of the game he managed to convert his fifth game ball for a 1-0 lead.

Thornton responded well and opened up a lead of 8-3 in the 2nd. Reich fought well to peg him back but to no avail. Both players were working hard and it was certainly a physical affair. The next two games were neck and neck throughout but Rory’s experience showed as he managed to play the big points well and close out the 3rd and 4th 12-10 and 13-11.


Stefanoni wins Harneys BVI Open Squash Championships

(l-r) Marina Stefanoni (USA) bt Laura Tovar (Colombia) 7-11, 7-11, 11-4, 11-4, 11-5 in the Harneys BVI Women’s Squash Open 2019 Final – a PSA Challenger Tour 5 event.

16-year old Marina Stefanoni (USA) came in to the 2019 Harneys BVI Squash Open tournament hosted by the BVI Squash Rackets Association at the Tortola Sports Club, Tortola, Virgin Islands from May 16 – 18, with her confidence sky high having won her previous 2 Professional Squash Association (PSA) Events.

Stefanoni had looked very impressive in her semi final victory over Daniela Schumann and appeared the favourite going in to the final. Laura Tovar (Colombia) had other ideas though and she came out playing very aggressive, purposeful squash.

As soon as Tovar worked the opening she was quick on to the ball and then clinical in her attacks. There were some big points at the end of the 2nd which in this heat can eat in to the reserves of the players. Tovar played them well to open up a 2-0 lead

Squash is a game of small margins though and these margins seemed to tip slightly in Stefanoni’s favour from the 3rd onwards. Tovar’s quality and intensity maybe dropped ever so slightly and Stefanoni (who remained level headed throughout) began to start dominating proceedings. It was her now who was slightly on top in the points and who was then finishing the points off confidently.

The 3rd and 4th went in Stefanoni’s favour quite quickly. With it tied at 2-2 we now had a 1 game shoot out for the title. Some high quality squash ensued and at 6-5 to Stefanoni the match was anyone’s. Over the next few minutes Stefanoni held her nerve really well (possibly due to the confidence that her previous two titles had given her) and unfortunately for Tovar she made a few mistakes.

Stefanoni managed to close it out 11-5 and in doing so become the first ever winner of a female PSA Event in the BVI!

Participants came from Canada, America, Egypt, Colombia, Brazil, Germany, Guyana and England as well as players representing the Virgin Islands. The international contingent included players ranked in the PSA world’s top 80.

In the Women’s Club Championships Final, Zoe Sorrentino beat Jane Wyllie 11-0, 11-2, 11-4. Sorrentino really displayed her dominance and stranglehold on the women’s title in this match. Wyllie is a clever player and has several tricky shots. Sorrentino though was hitting the corners well and she used her youth and impressive movement to never allow Wyllie a look in. Sorrentino is a far better player than she gives herself credit for.

Zoe Sorrentino beat Jane Wyllie 11-0, 11-2, 11-4 to take the 2019 Women’s Club Championships title

In the Exhibition Mixed Doubles, Daniela Schumann and Joe Chapman bt Maria Tovar and Adam Murrills 11-9, 6-11, 11-7

Singles squash is one of the fastest sports in the world… doubles takes it to another level though. Four people sharing a small space looking to attack at every opportunity. Wherever you hit it there is somebody there. This means that you have to hit an incredible shot to achieve a winner. Yesterday the winners seemed to be flowing more frequently from our opponents rackets. Both Joe and Daniela hit some outrageous shots to eventually take the spoils!

In an Exhibition Mixed Doubles, Daniela Schumann and Joe Chapman bt Maria Tovar and Adam Murrills 11-9, 6-11, 11-7

BVISRA to host VI’s first ever Women’s Professional Squash Association Challenger Tour 5

BVISRA PSA Challanger Tour 5 2019
BVISRA to host first Women’s PSA Challenger Tour 5

The BVI Squash Rackets Association (BVISRA) will be hosting its first ever Women’s Professional Squash Association (PSA) Challenger Tour 5 event. The Harneys BVI Squash Open tournament will take place May 16 – 18, 2019 at the Tortola Sports Club (TSC), Virgin Islands.

“This is a landmark event for squash in the BVI and I am particularly excited that the BVI Squash Rackets Association made the decision to host the event to complement the annual Men’s PSA BVI Open Championships which has been held here since 2014,” said Adam Murrills, Head Squash Coach, TSC.

Organisers are expecting squash players from all over the world with title contenders coming in from Canada, America, Egypt, Colombia, Brazil, Germany, Guyana and England as well as players representing the Virgin Islands. The international contingent includes players ranked in the PSA world’s top 80.

The tournament will be played in a knockout format meaning there will be no room for error. The first round of matches will be played on Thursday, May 16th starting at 5.30pm. The Quarter Finals will take place on the morning of Friday, May 17th from 10.30am and will be followed by the Semi Finals at 6.45pm and 7.30pm. there will be an exhibition match played at 4.00pm on Saturday, May 18th and the Finals of the tournament will be played at 5.00pm.

The public is encouraged to attend the matches and to support all the players. “This is the first time that a squash event in the BVI will feature an all female cast and it would be great to create an atmosphere which the women deserve and also to witness some fantastic squash!” said Murrills. “Hosting an event like this requires external support and I would just like to say a massive thank you to Harneys, Deloitte, Commercial Dive Services (BVI), AZUR Consulting, International Motors and 305 Squash who have helped make this tournament a reality – it’s much appreciated!”

The Club House at the Tortola Sports Club is open to the public and will be serving food and refreshments.

Four VI players compete at Pan Am Squash Championships

By BVI Squash Rackets Association

The VI National Squash Team at the 2018 Pan American Squash Championships, August 26 – September 1. Photo: PanAm Squash

Friday 24th August saw the Virgin Islands National Men’s Squash Team head to the Cayman Islands to compete in the Pan American Squash Championships. The team consisted of four members : Joe Chapman, Mike Adamson, Neville Sorrentino and Dion Anselm. The 4 team members were accompanied by Head Squash Coach, Adam Murrills.

First up was the individual event. With the majority of the players here being full time professional squash players, there were going to be some tough match ups.

Adamson, Sorrentino and Anselm all competed valiantly but fell to highly World Ranked players from Canada, Cayman Islands and Bermuda.

Chapman however reached the last 32 of the draw after convincingly winning his first match 3-0. He then faced no.1 seed and World No.11, Diego Elias. Chapman fought well but Elias’s extreme class proved too much for him. Elias then went on to win the gold medal with relative ease.

The doubles event followed with Chapman and Sorrentino representing the VI. They were pitted against Bermuda who had 2 players ranked inside the top 150 in the world as their doubles’ pair. It was a fast paced affair with lots of winners and attacking flair. With 2 current full time professionals they had the extra consistency and quality required to win the important points at the back end of the games. A close match finished 2-0 to Bermuda.

The climax of the week was the team event in which countries were competing to gain qualification for the huge multi sport event that is the Pan American Games to be held in Lima, Peru in 2019.

The team event was played in a 3 man team format. The team is ordered 1-3 who then play off against the opposing team’s matching number. The VI came up against Colombia, Bermuda, Paraguay and Guyana. While the VI did not produce a team win, Chapman managed to get 2 wins against the opposing no.1s from both Paraguay and Guyana. Despite the loss, the VI team players performed very well and showed great improvement after a short training camp in the run up to the event.

“The event as a whole was hugely enjoyable and a massive learning experience for all of us involved,” said Adam Murrills, Head Squash Coach, BVISRA. “Being exposed to some of the very best squash players in the world was a real eye opener and getting to not only watch but compete against them has definitely opened our players’ minds as to different styles of play and what is really possible on the court!”

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.

BVI brings home Junior OECS Squash Championship trophies and makes Junior OECS Team

JR OECS trophiesThe St Lucia Squash Association hosted the 2014 annual Junior OECS Squash Championships at the St Lucia Yacht Club, April 24 – 27, 2014. Approximately 35 competitors from St Vincent, the BVI, and St Lucia played matches in male and female categories in U11, U13, U15, U17, and U19 age groups.  All matches were played on a round robin basis with the U15 category being the most competitive in both boys and girls.

In the U11 category there were only two girls who both played their first OECS.  In second place was Brianna Findlay of BVI and in first place was St Lucia’s, Isabella Segovia.

In the U11 boys also playing their first OECS, were Joshua Devaux of St Lucia who placed third, second place went to Jlan McMaster of St Vincent and first place went to Luca Reich of the BVI.

In the girls U13, third place went to St Lucian, Isabella Segovia who played two divisions.  Second place went to Natalie Fay of the BVI and in first place was Giovanna Miller Alexander of St Vincent.

In the boys U13, third place went to Samuel Childs of the BVI, second place went to Rashid Constance of St Vincent and in first place was Kai Bentick also of St Vincent.

In the girls U15 there was a clear winner however, the technical team had to break the game results down to select a second and third place winner since three girls tied in both matches won and points won for the next few positions. Third place went to Lauryn Doyle of St Vincent, second place went to Emily Abrehart of the BVI, and first place went to Thandi Myers of St Vincent.

In boys U15, third place went to Tyler Segovia of St Lucia, second place went to Leo Forte of the BVI, and first place went to 12 year old, Kai Bentick of St Vincent, who not only played two divisions but won both divisions.

In U17 girls there was also a tie for third place but the eventual winner was Abayomi Maddox of the BVI.  Second place went to Derai Myers of St Vincent and first place went to Thandi Myers who not only played two divisions but also won both divisions.

The boys U17 was an all Vincentian winning slate with third place going to Akeem Constance, second place going to Geronimo Ross and first place to Jason Doyle.

There were no U19 female participants and in the male U19, third place went to Vincentian, Omari Wilson, second place to St Lucian Andre Segovia and first place went to 16 year old, Jason Doyle who played two divisions and won both.

The Junior OECS team is selected from the participants of the Junior OECS squash tournament.  This year the team will play in the Caribbean Squash Championships in Bermuda in July.

David Piper, President of the OECS Squash Association announced the team.  The boys will be represented by Vincentians, kai Bentick and Jason Doyle, Leo Forte of the BVI and Andre Segovia of St Lucia.  The girls will be represented by Vincentian sisters, Thandi and Derai Myers, and Abayomi Maddox and Kirsten Gordon of the BVI.

Following the matches on Sunday morning, the Association closed with a prize giving ceremony which started with a moment of silence in remembrance of the Association’s Vice President, Oliver Gobat who went missing over the weekend and is presumed to have died tragically. Gobat was also the island’s #2 player and was in intense training for a number of tournaments coming up over the next few months including OECS to be held in May in St Vincent and culminating with the Commonwealth Games this summer.

Exhibition highlights VI’s sports for Sochi 2014 and Glasgow 2014

BVI's half-pipe skier for Winter Olympic Fames Sochi 2014, Peter Adam Crook answers questions at the BVIOC's multi sport exhibition

BVI’s half-pipe skier for Winter Olympic Fames Sochi 2014, Peter Adam Crook answers questions at the BVIOC’s multi sport exhibition

The BVI Ski Association, the BVI Athletics Association, the BVI Swimming Association, and the BVI Squash Rackets Association presented their respective sports to a rapt audience at an interactive exhibition hosted by the BVI Olympic Committee at the Tortola Sports Club last Saturday. The morning event highlighted the upcoming Winter Olympic Games Sochi 2014, and the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games in which qualified athletes will represent the Virgin Islands.

Peter Adam Crook (Adam), who earlier last week was officially presented as the territory’s half-pipe skier for Sochi 2014, and Joe Chapman, squash player for the VI in Glasgow 2014 presented their respective sports in the glass-fronted squash courts to a public that previously had very little exposure to either half-pipe skiing or squash.
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