Road show a smash
What do?“Michael Jackson’s” perfect form, “Bing Crosby’s” jumping forehand, and women’s champion Kim Holder’s steady backhand all have in common?
They all helped to make this year’s National Sports Council’s Inter Parish Road Tennis Competition a smashing success.
And according to tournament organizer Philip “Foff” Garner, the just-ended competition also helped to reinvigorate interest in road tennis in Barbados, especially in the rural communities.
He was speaking to MIDWEEK SPORT in an exclusive interview on Sunday night at the Dover Courts, the final night of the islandwide competition.
Garner revealed that one of the main reasons behind the increased interest in the tournament was the expansion of the “B” category to include all of the competing parishes.
As a result, St Michael’s usual dominance had been restricted, as shown by their defeat in both the “B”’ and veteran categories at the semi-final stage, he said.
“Last year we limited the ‘B’ category to St Michael only, but this year we thought we would give some of those other players who aren’t ‘A’ class calibre more exposure.
“It has really helped to generate a lot of interest, because there are a lot of good players out there who would not have had the opportunity to represent their parish had this category not been implemented,” he said.
Garner noted that the move had come in for high praise from spectators and players.
He said that it had also helped to reveal some of the hidden talents within the communities, such as the likes of Gary Thomas, who represented Christ Church in the “B” finals.
“I have been around road tennis for a lot of years, and I’ve played on courts all around the island, and I had never heard about or seen this guy until this tournament.
“For someone who has been under the radar for so long, he is very, very good, and with a little more training he can become one of our top players,” he said.
The veteran player maintained that the only negative feedback he had received was with regard to the new tiebreaking system, which he also agreed needed to be rethought.
“Almost everyone seems to prefer the old tiebreaking system where if the games were tied, a sudden death match would be played to decide the winner.
“There seems to be the widespread feeling that the new system of adjudging the team with the most points as the winner if the scores are locked is anti-climatic and takes away from the excitement.”
St Michael won the “A” Class while St George captured the women’s and junior boys’ title, with the “B” Class title going to St Lucy and the veterans’ to Christ Church.
Veteran Jeffrey “Bing Crosby” Layne played well, but lost to Peter “Lover Boy” Moore.