Festival of fun and squash as Masters show how to party
By SATYA SESHADRI – Squash Mad Reporter
ALMOST 100 players from different countries gathered for a weekend filled with squash and fun at The Barbados Squash Club.
I had the privilege to coach a group of New York squash players in the eighth Annual BCQS Jammin International Masters this past weekend.
This year players from England, Canada, Norway, USA and a number of neighboring islands participated in this amazing event.
We arrived to our Hotel on Thursday May 22nd and some matches were played that evening, with a majority of matches starting on Friday May 23rd. The entry fee for the tournament was US$100 and covered most of the expenses for the weekend.
The main sponsor was BCQS with a number of local sponsors who played a pivotal role in ensuring that the tournament was a great success.
Established in 1969, BCQS International has become the leading property and development consultancy of its kind in the Caribbean region and Latin America.
All players were provided with free accommodation, food, a boat cruise and bar nights at local watering holes.
The BCQS Masters is an age group event that consists of four Main Draws: Ladies’ main draw, Men’s 35 to 44 draw, Men’s 45 to 54 draw, Men’s 55 to 65 draw. It was truly outstanding to see a number of players give it all on the squash court and justifying another reason why our sport should be in the Olympics in the future.
The Men’s 55 plus draw was a 32 person draw, top seed John Holley was slated to meet Richard Hart in the final. However, Rudy Goodridge of Canada played spoiler and upset John Holley in the semi-finals 3-1, In the bottom end of the draw second seed Richard Hart had little trouble dispatching Leon Truss 3-0. On Sunday morning in the all-finals day Richard Hart beat Rudy Goodridge 3-1 to capture the Men’s 55 plus draw.
The Men’s 45 plus draw was also a 32 person draw, top seed Mark Sealy won most of his matches 3-0 except for the quarter-finals where he was taken the distance by Marlon White in a five game thriller, eventually Mark came out on top with the victory. In the bottom end of the draw Neville Sorrentino was upset by Gerry Pappas 3-1 in the semi-final match. However, Gerry could not continue his good run into the final where he lost to Mark Sealy 3-0 on Sunday morning.
The Men’s 35 plus draw was also a 32-person draw, top seed Richard Chin of The United States did not drop a game to claim the Men’s 35 plus draw. In the final he met second seed James Bentick of St. Vincent, Bentick also had little trouble reaching the finals, his only stiff competition was in the semi-finals where he dropped a game to Eddie Kapur of New York to win 3-1.
The Men’s 35 plus draw was one of the better draws in terms of level of play and Richard Chin was all business in the finals where he defatted James Bentick 3-0.
The Ladies Draw had nine participants from different parts of the globe, Local squash pro Karen Meakins defeated Rhea Khan 3-0 in the finals. Karen is originally from England and played competitively in the Women’s Squash Circuit back in the day, now she lives in Barbados and continues to teach squash to local Caribbean Juniors.
The Caribbean people are known for their hospitality, and Just like the BVI Meridian Maters in Tortola in November this tournament has gained a lot of momentum in the last decade, with players from all around the world gathering for a fun-filled weekend of Squash.
This tournament had several events organized throughout the weekend for players and guests: A pig roast and curry night on Friday, An excellent catered lunch and Bar Night at Blakey’s on Saturday, and to top it all off a Jammin Cruise on Sunday where everyone got a chance to swim with sea turtles on Sunday. I highly encourage squash enthusiasts to come participate in this tourney if they get a chance in the future.
A special Thank You to Natalie and Jason Small for helping organize the event and draws throughout the weekend. In addition, none of this would have been possible without the support of Sanjay Amin of BCQS, Peter Harris of Jammin Cruise, John McLeery of Concordia, Frank Jordan of Ocean Fisheries and David Foster of Roberts Manufacturing.
Pictures by Satya Seshadri