Best brushes aside Meakins
Just add the Barbados Independence Invitational Games squash title to the growing list which 15-year-old prodigy Meagan Best has been compiling over the past two years.
Playing with great confidence and admirable skill, Best warmed up for the upcoming Canadian and US Opens by scoring her fourth successive win over the inaugural queen Karen Meakins 11-3, 11-6, 11-5 at the Barbados Squash Club yesterday.
Best, who is the Barbados and Caribbean number one player, ensured that she maintained the status quo over the number two Meakins who had ruled women squash in Barbados for more than a decade.
Mixing deft placements with smoking line drives or wristy turnaround shots, Best controlled every set with uncanny ease. Meakins appeared to be just a passenger as she had no answer for Best’s superior fitness and form.
After a runaway win in the opening set, Best provided an encore in the second, moving to 8-3 with successive smashes into the right corner to repeatedly leave her opponent out of position. Meakins, however, found her touch to rally to 6-8 before Best accelerated to take the second set.
Meakins kept hope in the third set by taking her only leads in the match 1-0, 2-0 and 2-1. But, after Best locked the scores at two, she pounced on any high returns with sizzling smashes, or used drop shots on the low soft returns to move to championship point 10-4. Meakins delayed the end for one point before passing another one of her crowns to Best.
The men’s defending champion Rhett Cumberbatch also surrendered his title as he squandered a two-set lead to lose to St Vincent and the Grenadines’ Jason Doyle 11-9, 11-5, 9-11, 4-11, 9-11.
Cumberbatch seemed headed for a straight sets repeat before the highly skilled Doyle reeled him in and then gutted his opponent with some crisp attacking shots.
Cumberbatch had led 5-2 in the third set before the temperamental Doyle locked the scores at five and six before taking the lead for good. The fourth set was a cake walk for Doyle to bring on the decider.
In that decider, Cumberbatch surged from 0-4 to lock the scores at six and eight with some exciting counters. However, he then faltered badly and later only survived two championship points at 8-10 and 9-10 before Doyle took the match to pump his fist and scream in triumph.
Doyle had pulled off a similar comeback to win the semis from Barbados’ number one Shawn Simpson in five sets. Cumberbatch also needed five sets to defeat St Vincent’s Jules Snagg in the semis. Snagg later beat Simpson in five sets to take the third spot.
In the women’s, Best had crushed Jada Smith-Padmore to advance to the final, with Meakins doing the same to Sumairaa Suleman. Smith-Padmore claimed the third spot by defeating Suleman 3-1. (KB)