Rachel Barnes continued her dominance of the domestic squash scene by retaining her AXA Bermuda Squash Racquets Association Club Championship crown for a fourth successive year.
Heading into the tournament as the defending champion always brings extra pressure, but Barnes proved exactly why she is ranked as the island’s No 1 women’s player by remaining unbeaten, winning her three matches in straight sets.
Having beaten Izzy White 11-4, 11-2, 11-4 in her opening match, Barnes then overcame Juliette Ferrari-McComb 11-6, 11-5, 11-1 to secure her passage through to the final where she met Denise Kyme.
Despite a spirited display from her opponent, Barnes ultimately prevailed, winning 11-3, 11-2 11-1 much to her delight and relief in equal measures.
“I’m mostly just excited to have the title for another year, but there is also a small sense of relief to have the event behind me now,” said Barnes on dealing with the pressure of being the tournament favourite.
“I was very excited leading up to this tournament. Club Championship is my favourite tournament because the club is full of our members and the event brings people together to watch and celebrate.
“You never know how a squash game is going to go until you’re on the court and there is always a bit of pressure playing in club events because I train a lot and I want to do well.
“The club is a close community with a strong group of female players and often our matches can go either way.
“My opponent in the final, Denise Kyme, had such an amazing week. She came back from being down 2-0 in both of her first round and semi-final matches, and fought to win 3-2 in both, as well as making it to both the women’s main and vets finals, She’s a beast.
“I was definitely relieved to win the match and finish my game with her.”
Barnes will be hoping to build on the momentum of defending her club title when she aims to retain another title, at the National Championships in February, a tournament she has won in the past two years.
“I’m going to try and continue training as much as I was before the club championship,” she added.
“Hopefully, I will be able to keep up my fitness levels over the festive period and heading into the National Championships.”