Football, Tennis, Cricket: 2021 Sports Year in Review, Part 2

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The Long Look Tennis and Education Center hosted four tournaments in 2021 including Jr. & Sr. Tournaments 

By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway

It was a year that the pandemic altered everything and a Men’s Football squad was the territory’s only home based team sport representatives in any international competition since the Covid-19 pandemic began. They competed in the  CONCACAF qualifying rounds of the FIFA World Cup, Qatar 2022.

The home series against Guatemala was rescheduled and they lost to Guatemala, 3-0 in Curacao and by the same score to  St. Vincent and the Grenadines. It marked the 23rd shutout in their last 32 matches and BVI fell to 0-13 in World Cup qualifiers. In regional matches of significance, the BVI has a 2-36-7 record since 2000.

U20s record historic victories

Luka Chalwell became the first BVI player to score a goal in the  Concacaf U20 Boys Championships and Jake Forbes scored the second in the next match, as  their goals helped the team to back to back 1-0 victories over St. Maarten and Dominica respectively, in matches played in the Dominican Republic. Chalwell scored in the 70th minute  in the win over St. Maarten while Forbes scored from a penalty in the 38th against Dominica.  

“The guys really dug deep tonight and did what we asked them to do,” said Coach Clinton “Tinnie” Percival after the Dominica game. “They fought really hard. Did what we asked them to do working as a team, trying to make sure what we do, it was collectively, I couldn’t ask for more tonight.”

The victories came after 7-0 and 4-0 losses to Curacao and Grenada respectively. BVI placed third in Group A with a 2-2 record.

Sugar Boys claim Super 6 title

Two second half goals propelled the Virgin Gorda Sugar Boys from a 53 minute 0-0 stalemate with Tortola’s Lion Heart, to a 2-0 victory and a sweep of the BVI Football Association’s Super 6 best of three for the title.

Sr. & Jr. Tennis Tournaments

BioSafe Mixer

Carri “Strong” Glenn changed his strategy and went on the attack instead of relying on his powerful serve, to defeat Creighton “CJ” Brewley in straight sets, 4-0, 4-0, to win the inaugural Bio Safe Tennis Mixer, at the Long Look Tennis and Education Center in February.

“To win this tournament means a lot to me. I went out running a lot, pushing a lot more ready to attack the ball, it was a much better match today,” Glenn said. “I hustled more, I was attacking the ball more, and came in for the shorter shots they normally give me, so I was really attacking more.”

Martin and Bowen tops U14 Tennis tourney

Kshwan Martin was a straight set winner over Eric Joseph while Malaika Bowen needed three sets to get past Kamaria Wheatley, in the LJD VI Block 14 and Under Tennis Tournament held at the Long Look Tennis and Education Center.  The pair won the Sablas Law Tennis Hamper at the end of November. Martin, who had a bye to the final, was a 4-0, 4-0 winner over Joseph for the Boys title.

“This is my friend so I won’t go hard on him,” Martin said. “My friends were telling me I’m going to lose the tournament but guess who won? Me.”

In the Girls match, Bowen needed three sets to overhaul Kamaria Wheatley, 4-0, 1-4 and 7-4.

Bowen said she faltered in the second set because she was popping up the ball and it was going out and also hitting the ball into the net.

“But when we had a break, my Mom told me it isn’t over till it’s over and I can still win,” she noted. “So I did what I had to do, had confidence in myself and then boom, I won.”

BVI Tennis Association crowns Jr. & Sr. Champions

Robert McKenzie and Mark Tan were crowned U14 Development Tournament champions while Kate Robeldo and Venerando Beniza, emerged as Onemart Singles champions, in a field of 34 participants in both divisions of the BVI Tennis Association competition at the Long Look Education and Tennis Center in October.  

The U14 tournament attracted a combined 13 players from the Tortola Sports Club and the Long Look Tennis and Education Center, who played in a Round Robin format.

McKenzie emerged victorious over Courtney Lindsay in the Green Dot Ball segment.  “Yes, yes, yes. I was surprised to win because I was quite nervous,” McKenzie noted. “I thought there would be a lot of people better than me and I was just nervous in general.”

Robeldo won the Onemart Women’s singles with a 6-4 victory over Donna Padilla. “To be honest, I wasn’t really expecting—I was hoping though, to win—but I really wasn’t expecting to win, it’s more like having fun,” Robeldo said. “I was very happy because this is my first women’s singles title, because I usually play doubles.”

Venerando Beniza defeated Deandrea Baijanuth, 6-3, 6-2, for the Men’s singles title.  

BVI Tennis Association President Carol Mitchell, said the Onemart Tournament was exciting. “The matches between the ladies and the men, most of them were epic matches that went to the 6 all and then tiebreaker,” she noted. “We had 12 women in singles and nine men.”

Four doubles champions crowned

Four doubles champions—including two epic male matches—saw the crowning of the doubles champions in the Biosafe Long Look Tennis and Educational Christmas Hamper in December .

Akeisha Spencer and Natasha Bennett—who began their Tennis Journey in June—downed Dionne King and Itasha George-Phillips, 4-0 and 4-2 in the green dot ball. Spencer and Bennet overcame A’Zaria Martin and Lianna Greene, 4-1, 4-3.

“It was an intense match. We both started injured and we came out on top, so we’re very proud,” Spencer said. “It was a bit challenging from the beginning to end, but we triumphed and we’re grateful.”

In the regular ball division, Monnet Burgin and Yucari Brewley, overcame Kamaria Wheatley and Malika Bowens, 6-4. Wheatley and Bowens stopped Martha Bowens and Patricia “Pat” Lettsome, 6-3.

“My friends Malika and Kamaria were throwing out talk so we had to teach them a lil lesson, but I’m not going to lie, they had us at the beginning,” Brewley said.

In the Jr. Boys Division, Eric Joseph and Kimathi Wheatley overcame Courtney Lindsay and Kishawn Martin in an epic battle, 4-0, 2-2, 3-3 (7-4). Adrian Baijnauth and Jamal Bertie overhauled Carrie Glenn and Deandrea Baijnauth, 7-5, 1-4 and 11-9.

Cricket

Cavaliers returned to the top of the pile, after flogging struggling Grenada by seven wickets for its sixth BVI Cricket Association title and first since 2017, as the league returned with a Ten10 format.

“I actually don’t have enough words to describe it,” Cavaliers Captain Gopaul Boodram told Island Sun Sports of the victory. “The bowlers were very, very impressive with the lines and the lengths. We restricted them to 69 in the 10 overs. We did a tremendous job.”

Volleyball returns

After a series of ‘All out Brawls’ Volleyball had its first season since Hurricane Irma in 2017, late in the year and will continue into 2022.

Elections

Rockel Woods, Kiah Walters, Valissa Brathwaite, Caldon “Reno” Morton and Canis Marquis, were elected as five new Virgin Island Volleyball Association Executive Committee members, during the body’s quadrennial elections, which also saw Stephen Payne as the new president taking the helm. He was nominated unopposed as well as Vice President, Marquis.

Woods garnered 13 votes to Henrietta Alexander’s 5, for the post of Assistant Secretary. Kisheba Sprauve-Callwood was returned as General Secretary unopposed. Walters amassed 11 votes to Curtis Davis’ 7, to become the Public Relations Officer. Brathwaite tallied 15 votes and Morton 13, for the posts of Player Representatives. Tylia “Tweety” Nibbs received 6 votes and Arianna Forbes, 2.  Anabelle Skelton-Malone—the former Assistant Secretary—was unopposed as Treasurer. Maria Drigo retained her post as Assistant Treasurer.

Road Racing

The Road Racing season got off to a rousing start with 67 participants in the first 5K, before the season was cut short by Covid restrictions. There was a short 10K Series and an abbreviated College Classic Series. The year ended with Julius Farley winning the 16th Deloitte-Ogier BVI Sunrise Half Marathon, on a course from Road Town to West End for the very first time.  

Track

Adajeah  Hodge won a Long Jump/200/400m Jr Olympics Treble. Jaleel Croal ran a 20.93 seconds 200m personal best and national record to place 5th in the inaugural Pan Am Jr. Games.  Ja h’Kyla Morton became the 1st BVI’s female to win an individual North American Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) Age Group Championships—formerly CAC—title in the 36 years history of the event, while Othniel Gillings joined 2003 winner Dione Blyden as an individual champion. The territory’s four athletes won the 13-14 Girls and 11-12 Boys Team Division titles in Managua, Nicaragua—a 1st in the history of the event. 

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