Wed | Aug 23, 2017

Milex Eaglets soar in KPMG Squash

Published:Friday | April 14, 2017 | 4:00 AM
The Milex Eaglets, (from left) Adam Sykes, Shane Slater and Tahjia Lumley pose with the KPMG Trophy after winning the 2017 KPMG Squash League.  The Eaglets beat the Jamaica Defence Force 2-1 to win the tournament which wrapped up on Wednesday night at the Liguanea Club in Kingston.  Sharing in the moment is managing partner for KPMG in Jamaica, Tarun Handa.

KINGSTON: The Milex Eaglets ended the Cinderella run of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) when they beat the army men 2-1 to win the 2017 KPMG Squash League which wrapped up at the Liguanea Club on Wednesday night.

The Eaglets were unexpected finalists after battling through the early rounds of the competition.  In contrast, JDF blew through the field, blasting into the finals without losing a match.

Undaunted by the odds against his team, Eaglets’ captain, All Jamaica Under-19 champion Tahjia Lumley, kept a cool head to beat Gatasheu Bonner 3-1 in the first match of the finals.  After winning the first two games of the match, Lumley was stunned when Bonner rebounded to win the third game.  However, the youngster regained his form to claim a 21-19, 21-18, 5-21, 21-19 victory over Bonner. 

The win gave the Eaglets the statistical and psychological advantage and Shane Slater followed in his captain’s footsteps to defeat Darrian Barrant 21-20, 21-18, 21-18 and take the Eaglets to their first championship. 

Although the final match could not affect the ultimate result, the JDF took the opportunity to stave off a sweep, when Mark Gray beat Adam Sykes 17-21, 21-15, 21-17.

Reflecting on the Eaglet’s victory, Lumley said: “I am very happy the team pulled through. We knew it would be hard against JDF because they haven’t lost a match throughout the league; so as team captain I knew I had to play my best to win the first match and see if it would lift the confidence of my team members and it did.”

It wasn’t a total loss for the JDF as Darrian Barrant received the award for most improved player. 

Screaming Eagles placed third when they beat Goliath 2-1 in a playoff. Rajeev Venugopal put the Eagles ahead when he defeated Fritzroy Smith 21-10, 21-11, 21-23, 21-20.  Then, Goliath managed to pull even when Dave Morrison beat Shane Murray 21-13, 21-15, 17-21, 21-13. However, Goliath then had to give the Eagles a walkover which handed them the victory.

Managing partner for KPMG in Jamaica, Tarun Handa, said his company was pleased to have sponsored yet another successful tournament. 

"This tournament gets bigger and better every year and this time around the players really challenged themselves and gave us excellent squash," he said.

“I was very impressed with the JDF who played well consistently throughout the tournament but the Eaglets really came on strong in the final and played their best squash when it mattered the most,” he added.