Squash team wants the winning to continue in Gibraltar

L-R: Cameron Stafford, Eilidh Bridgeman, Jake Kelly, Marlene West, Jade Pitcairn, Julian Jervis

The Cayman Islands has a track record of winning big when it comes to squash at the NatWest International Island Games. In their two previous trips to the games, 2011 in Isle of Wight and 2013 in Bermuda, Cayman’s players racked up seven medals in eight events. They’re hoping to keep that winning reputation alive this year.

The team of six left Wednesday for the 6-12 July Games in Gibraltar. Making the trip are Eilidh Bridgeman, Jade Pitcairn and Marlene West for the women’s competitions; and Jake Kelly, Julian Jervis and Cameron Stafford for the men’s competitions.

The expectations are high in the camp. “We have been working hard every day for the past four months and they are playing well, so I’m looking forward to seeing their performance at the games,” said head coach Gabriel Martinez, who took up the post in March this year.

He said while the Cayman Islands has only missed out on a few medals in prior games, he’s looking to see players on the podium in all events.

The seedings show the expectations on Team Cayman. Stafford is the top seed in the men’s draw; West is the top seed in women’s singles; and the pair is also the highest seeded duo in mixed doubles. Meantime, Kelly and Jervis are the second seed in men’s doubles and Bridgeman and Pitcairn are the third seed for women’s doubles.

Eilidh Bridgeman makes a shot during training, as Marlene West (left) and Jade Pitcairn look on.

“We’re really hoping to medal in all events but it’s difficult when you’re seeded high because there’s more pressure on you. At CAC Games, we weren’t seeded at all and we came away with a medal and that was a much better position to be in. So, while our goals are high, we can’t be too complacent,” said Bridgeman, who is representing the Cayman Islands for the second time at the Island Games.

Pitcairn will be making her Island Games debut. “The plan for Island Games is to play our best and just have some fun,” she said, adding that she was really looking forward to the women’s doubles after winning a bronze together at the CAC Games last year.

She said the pairing has become even stronger since that impressive showing in Colombia. “I think so. We’ve grown to know where each other is on court and our shots are a lot tighter.”

The squash competition opens with singles on Sunday.

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