The 20th anniversary of the St Lucia Squash Open got underway Monday evening at the St Lucia Yacht Club with round robin matches being played by all participants. Three competitors were assigned to eight boxes with round robin matches between each group of three completed by Tuesday evening. On Monday evening some players had two matches while others had only one.
At the end of the evening there were no upsets and while a few matches went to four, the results were as expected. There are eight regional participants competing. Trinidad’s number one Colin Ramasra, number one from Guadeloupe Joycelyn Martin, repeat competitor Nigel Griffith from Barbados and five players from St Vincent including number one Jules Snagg who won the OECS championship in St Lucia back in May.
Along with the regional top players there are a number of St Lucians including top local players like Charlie Sonson, Oliver Gobat, Ben Gilmore and David Piper.
In group one, Colin Ramasra of Trinidad & Tobago had an easy first round match defeating St Lucian Lindell Norville 11/1, 11/3, 11/2.
In group two Joycelyn Martin (France but representing Guadeloupe) got past defeated Norman Benfell (St Lucia) 11/7, 11/3, and 11/3.
In group three Vincentian number one and OECS number one Jules Snagg was victorious over Chris Defreitas (St Lucia) in three straight games 11/6, 11/2, and 11/8.
In group four, Vincentian and OECS number three Kevin Bailey defeated St Lucian Derek Mogal 11/1, 11/1, and 11/2.
In group five St Lucian lady Monique Devaux Lovell had no ladies to compete with and as a result entered the mens division. Her first match was against Bradley Glasgow (St Vincent). Despite a good effort, her opponent won in three games 15/13, 11/9, and 11/8.
Also in group five St Lucian number one Charles Sonson defeated Vincentian Bradley Glasgow. He was no match for Sonson losing in three 8/11, 9/11, 5/11.
In group six Nigel Griffith (Barbados) had a good match with St Lucia’s number two Oliver Gobat. The St Lucian took the first game 11/7 but Griffith took the second game 11/8, however he was unable to sustain the win losing the next two to Gobat 7/11, 10/12.
In his second match for the evening, Griffith easily defeated his young St Lucian opponent Luc Chevrier 11/6, 11/4, and 11/3.
In group seven Derek Clarke (St Lucia) took the first game off Eshwann Adams (St Vincent) 11/8 but Adams took the next three games 11/9, 11/9, 12/10.
In his second match for the evening Eshwann Adams lost to Ben Gilmore (St Lucia) 11/3, 11/1, 11/3.
In group eight David Piper lost to Andrez Bascombe (St Vincent) 11/7, 9/11, 10/12, 6/11. However in his second match against Chris Thakur Piper (St Lucia) Bascombe won in three straight games 11/4, 11/4, 11/5.
President of the St Lucia Squash Association, Cheryl Renwick, expressed the Association’s deep appreciation to the small number of sponsors they were able to attract this year. With disappointment that the 20th anniversary has been a low key celebration, she pointed out that everyone is feeling the pinch right now.
Coco Kreole is a gold sponsor this year with Harmony and Blue Hotels bronze sponsors. Other sponsors confirmed are the St Lucia Electricity Services at silver level while bronze level sponsorship has been confirmed from Bamboo
Springs Water, Consolidated Foods Limited, KFC and the Ministry of Youth Development and Sports.
The first two days of the tournament have been set up with round robin matches of nine boxes of three players each. The top two of the top eight boxes go through to the main draw from today (Wednesday) when matches will be a knock out affair to determine the top 16 players. The balance go into a plate division.
There is no entrance fee and persons are invited to come and view the tournament every afternoon this week at the St Lucia Yacht Club.