Still the White stuff
If Julian “Michael Jackson” White wants to acquire a loan from any financial institution in Barbados and is asked to provide collateral, he just has to say “I am playing in the next BNB Racquets of Fire”. He would be guaranteed an immediate grant of at least $5 000.
Since 2002 White has been pocketing $5 000 from that tournament every year except 2006, and Monday night was another big payout.
The seemingly invincible player dismissed Anthony “Ears” Mitchell 21-19, 21-8, 21-19 in the final at Belfield to capture his eighth crown and earn a total of $5 200.
The rain delayed the finals from Sunday night but did not affect the large crowd that ringed the court or the riveting shots by the combatants.
The entertainment provided by the inimitable MC Mac Fingall provided lots of mirth and there were giveaways of cash and BNB paraphenalia. The spectators welcomed the breaks in order to exhale and blink following some lengthy rallies on court.
Neither White nor Mitchell seemed to need the breaks, as the only indications that they were battling hard for over an hour were their sweat-drenched clothes.
Mitchell had defeated White in one of the preliminary matches and he desperately wanted to take the first set to hold the advantage. The scores were locked up to nine before White began to edge away.
Mitchell lost the plot when White shockingly gave him a ball which sat up at the net begging to be slammed. But Mitchell mishit it and White galloped for home.
Although Mitchell fought back in the first set, he was edged 19-21.
The challenger leapt to a 5-0 lead in the second set but White then showed his form, fitness and class by scoring 15 points to Mitchell’s one.
The 21-8 sow suggested that the champion would once again prove unbeatable on the night.
In the third set, Mitchell responded with some classy plays, “injections” and smashes that left White standing. And the challenger did well to surge from 6-12 to lock the scores at 15, with White uncharacteristically making successive errors.
However, in the end Mitchell and the fans were left wondering if anyone in Barbados would ever beat White.
Mitchell said he brought a mixed game to offset his opponent but was not too happy with the officiating.
“Playing against someone like Jackson is tough enough without having to worry about the calls from the officials,” he said.
White was elated to win his eighth crown but he was concerned about his fitness since a knee injury had prevented him from putting in the running that he normally does before big tournaments.
“Even so, I came out here almost every night to play eight to ten games to make up for the lack of running,” he said.
White plans to keep on winning titles in the near future. He is also doing his bit to help secure the sport’s future as he is training a group of yougsters.
“I want to win at least ten titles, but I will be 44 in the next two years and I want that if Barbados has to take part in an international tournament, that we have some youngsters to send to represent the country,” he said.
In the women’s final, Kim Holder predictably claimed her fourth crown, turning back Suzanne Scantlebury 21-14, 21-18, to pick up $1 000 and a crystal trophy.
Scantlebury’s defensive style kept her in the match but could not score enough points against the aggressive Holder.
Terry Duncan easily captured the junior crown, $300 and a crystal plaque, as he disposed of Tre Stanford 21-10, 21-13.