Milex Eagles, Eaglets suffer shock losses in KPMG Squash quarter-finals

Saturday, March 17, 2018

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Defending champions, the Milex Eaglets and three-time winners, the Milex Eagles both suffered upset losses in the quarter-finals of KPMG Squash League at Liguanea Club on Thursday night.

Highly favoured for a repeat win, the Eaglets were toppled by the Saints in the quarters. Seasoned campaigner Shane Slater got things off to a winning start when he beat Adam Lee 21/20, 9/21, 21/18, 6/21, 21/18 to put the Eaglets ahead. However, senior national team player Nathlee Boreland beat Aman Dhiman 18/21, 21/18, 15/21, 21/16, 21/16 to pull the Saints even. Then Andre Wright beat All Jamaica Under-19 champion Tahjia Lumley, ending any hope of a repeat win for the Eaglets.

The bad news continued for Milex when the Eagles also suffered a shock defeat as their wily opponents, the Game Changers, lived up to their name. Things looked dicey for the Eagles when former Caribbean Junior champion Akelia Wiltshire lost 21/18, 15/21, 21/16, 21/11 to Emir Crowne in the opening match. Then an epic battle was waged between 13-time All Jamaica Ladies champion Karen Anderson and the crafty Jordan Dawson. The game was tied at 14/21, 21/14, 21/16, 14/21 when Anderson suffered an injury and the game went to Dawson.

While the past champions struggled, fortune favoured the young as the fresh-faced junior team the Cereal Killers sailed into the semi-finals after beating the Screaming Eagles. Noah Ho-Tai gave the Cereal Killers the lead when he beat Shane Murray 21/19, 18/21, 21/5, 21/16 and then Karan Chatani sealed the deal by defeating Rajeev Venugopal 21/11, 21/18, 16/21, 21/20. Tobias Levy lost 21/11, 21/18, 12/21, 21/20 to Stuart Murray, but the Cereal Killers already had the win in the bag.

Another surprise came when Stoneleigh Coffee beat Three+1. Veteran Patrick Chin did his part by convincingly beating Chris Hind 21/14, 21/19, 21/17. However, Stoneleigh stormed back when Stephen Jones defeated O'Neil Johnson 21/13, 21/13, 16/21, 19/21, 21/13 to draw level. Then, Stephen Shirley beat Richard Lee 21/14, 21/18, 21/20 to book Stoneleigh's spot in the semi-finals.

President of the Jamaica Squash Association Chris Hind said, “The KPMG League will keep you guessing right up until the end, and in these quarter-finals we got to experience the thrill that comes from the unpredictable nature of handicap squash in the knockout rounds. Both tournament favourites lost but our junior players and some of the lower-ranked teams have gone through, and we expect the same kind of excitement in the semi-finals.”

The semi-finals of the 2018 KPMG Squash League will be played next Thursday at the Liguanea Club. Explosive action is anticipated as Game Changers go head to head with Cereal Killers and the Saints face off with Stoneleigh Coffee. The quarter-finals of the consolation round will be played next Tuesday at the same venue.

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