A talented and competitive group of seven men and eight women took to the courts at the Liguanea Club for the Jamaica Squash Association’s four-day national senior trials, which ended on Sunday with two surprise winners in Tahjia Lumley and Alyssa Mullings for the men and women respectively.
Lumley was the default winner by way of walk over after the number one seeded player Chris Binnie, who had defeated him in the preliminary round had to leave the island due to work commitments abroad and could not play the final on Sunday.
“It was very hard. It was difficult. I thought I was probably in one of the hardest groups playing against Chris (Binnie) and Bruce (Burrowes) in the group stages. I lost out to Chris and I knew that the match against Bruce was very important for me to come out on top in order for me to make it into the top four. So I was a little bit edgy and a little bit nervous in that match but I was glad I was able to come out 3-1 the victor. My body aches, my body hurts but I think my hard work paid off” said Lumley. He defeated Julian Morrison, the All Jamaica National Champion seeded at number two, three games to one to get to the final against Chris Binnie.
At the end of the trials, the top four men were Lumley, Binnie, Morrison and Dane Schwier.
Mullings on the other hand came into the trials unseeded but was able to win her three preliminary round matches, defeat the number one seed Mia Todd to get to the semi final and then beat the number three seed Savannah Thompson three games to one to be crowned the ladies winner.
“It was a really tough match. I actually knew of Savannah before coming here and all the other girls. They played really well and I am really proud of what women’s squash is becoming. So its really great to come back out here and play and get a win.”
“I came in unseeded because I really hadn’t been playing for a very long time. The last competitive tournament was maybe seven years ago so I really had to fight and kinda get ready for this so it felt good coming back and doing so well.”
Mullings said that in the final Thompson “played extremely well and she is quite fit. It was hard. It showed, her fitness is a bit above mine. I really have to work on that. I am really at a loss for words. I am really proud of what I was able to come out and do.”
The top four ladies were Mullings, Thompson, Todd and Melissa Lue Yen.
According to Joey Levy, chairman of the selection committee “We had good groups of seven men and eight women and we saw some really tough squash over a compressed time, overall it was just four days in all so most people were playing two games a day (and) it wears on you but really, really competitive stuff, (and) a couple of surprises. We are very happy, the association, we are very with what we have seen.”
“Alyssa won the All Jamaica Championships, the Senior All Jamaica Championships at fourteen about ten years ago. She stopped playing squash. She hasn’t played for a while and has now come back. This is her first tournament since coming back so she came in unseeded. She beat Savannah in the final. She beat Mia Todd who was our number one at the Caribbean Championships last year in the semi final so she faced the best of the ladies here and she did very well. She was very impressive.”
Jamaica’s teams to the PanAm Games in June and the Senior Caribbean Squash Championship in August will be selected shortly now that the trials are complete.