Gregory Gill won a critical tiebreaker to take St Thomas to the masters finals. (Picture by Kenmore Bynoe.)
Former Barbados volleyballer Gregory “Coach” Gill and road tennis legend Deighton “Pa” Roach thrilled the fans in a gripping tie-breaker when the National Sports Council’s Inter-Parish semi-finals were staged on Thursday night at the Bush Hall courts.
Playing at a venue named after him, Roach used all of his wile and remarkable skills while tossing his 60-plus body all around the court to threaten to carry St Lucy to the masters finals by eliminating St Thomas. Roach and Gill met in a tiebreaker which ended 23-21 in Gill’s favour just after 1 a.m. yesterday.
Earlier, Anthony “Baku” Simmons had dismissed Gill in straight games 21-16, 21-16 to set up the tie-breaker after Rickey “Body Doc” Hoyte had to surge from a game down to stop Roach 17-21, 21-17, 21-12.
Hoyte, a former traffic cop who recently retired from the force, seemed in need of his bike to escape the tricks and tactics employed by the wily Roach. When tricky serves and annoying chops did not work, Roach would collapse on the court inviting sympathy for the “old man”.
A similar ploy was used in the tiebreaker against Gill, who had to fight from 0-4 to lock the scores at four. The scores were matched up to 13 before Gill held the advantage 16-13. A defiant Roach caught his opponent at 16 and from 18-18 advanced to game and match point 20-18.
With a ball sitting up just behind the net, Roach pounced to hit wide for Gill to survive to 19-20 and then locked the scores at 20 and 21. With Gill and Roach continuing to rally by bringing back some unbelievable balls, the “younger” Gill took the thriller by snatching the next two points leaving an exhausted Roach prostate on the court gasping for air.
There was hardly such drama when the defending champions St George moved into the masters finals with Terry “The Puncher” Dottin giving St Philip’s Anderson “The Chef” Smith pork options for the New Year meals 21-19, 19-21, 21-7. Chopper Kirtman Harewood sliced up a talented Francisco Lewis 16-21, 21-12, 21-15.
St George’s Kim Holder will be aiming for a perfect six titles in six competitions when she battles Abigail Haynes of St Joseph. Holder dismissed St Lucy’s Cherene Ward 21-14, 21-14, while Haynes avenged her 30 and under finals loss to Rachel Smith 22-20, 21-17.
The Under-13 boys had opened the battles with Shakeem Nurse of St Michael trouncing Tyrease Holder of St. George 21-14, 21-9. Christ Church’s Dominic Browne fought from a game down to stop St Philip’s Kajay Sealey 20-22, 21-17, 21-18. (KB)