At the 2011 Caribbean Squash Championships in Grand Cayman, the Virgin Island’s Joe Faragher-Kneipp and Joe Chapman, both unbeaten and without dropping a game, led the OECS to victory with a 3-2 win over Jamaica in the final.
On the path to their first ever championship in more than 30 years, the OECS beat Guyana and Jamaica in the qualifying round and Cayman in the semifinal.
In the next round, Jamaica put up a challenge with its individual champion Chris Binnie. The OECS lost the first two matches then stormed back with Messrs. Faragher-Kneipp and Chapman to win the tie and advance to the semifinal. They received help from Shane Slater of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
The OECS proved too strong for Cayman and won all five matches to earn its spot in the finals. All the OECS players were on top of their game, with Mr. Faragher-Kneipp taking revenge for his 2010 loss to Cameron Stafford when he retired injured. Mr. Chapman beat the Caribbean individual number three and former professional player Dean Watson, both in straight sets — 12-10, 11-6, 11-7.
With Jamaica winning the other semifinal against Barbados, the fourth seeded OECS were looking for a repeat of the earlier match against tournament favourites Jamaica, but sides knew the final would be much tougher than the qualifier. Again, the OECS lost the first two ties to trail 0-2, so wins from Messrs. Faragher-Kneipp, Slater and Chapman were needed to take the title.
Though injured, Mr. Faragher-Kneipp took care of Mr. Binnie in clinical fashion in three sets without looking troubled.
Mr. Slater was up next against Joey Levy who had beaten him in the individuals. He worked hard throughout the match for a well-earned victory to take the tie to two matches apiece.
In the final match, Mr. Chapman would face Jamaican Bruce Burrows. The match featured lengthy rallies and close points throughout as Mr. Chapman worked his opponent around the court looking for an opportunity to strike and win the championship title for the OECS. In the end, he would take the series in three games, 11-4, 11-9, 11-8.
The win gave the OECS its first Caribbean title since the tournament started in 1977.
VI players Messers. Faragher-Kneipp and Chapman went unbeaten throughout the tournament.
Mr. Chapman, 21, plans to join the pro-circuit next May on completing his economics degree.