Daniel moves on in road tennis
Antonio Daniel won the right to represent St Michael in the Parish Road Tennis Competition with a blazing display of skill at the Weston court, St James, on Wednesday night.
Daniel, who won both the junior and senior national road tennis crowns in 1991, will join the formidable Junior “Michael Jackson” White as the two representatives for St Michael in the ‘A’ class division.
The large crowd at Weston, got rather close to the smoking racquets of Daniel, Curtis Jones and the inimitable Andy Lashley in the held over St Michael playoffs of the competition, which is under the auspices of the National Sports Council.
The fans, who stayed until after midnight hardly noticed that the night was actually supposed to be the qualifier for St James – with Lloyd Dean and Darwin Riley advancing in the ‘B’ class and Dario Hinds beating Rasheed Agard 21-7, 21-10 to take the schoolboy spot.
Dean defeated Anderson Blackman 21-11, 21-10, and Riley stopped southpaw Edwin Ward, 26-24, 21-17. Dean then qualifed by stopping Didier King 21-19, 21-19.
The fans who travelled from all over the island had come to witness the renaissance of Daniel who did not disappoint as he quickly disposed of Junior “Snake” Quimby while refusing to “sow” his friend.
Daniel then had to wait almost two hours to face Jones as the man from Cave Hill was taunted and pushed by Lashley who engaged in a John McEnroe-style taunting of his opponent, harrying the spectators and challenging the officials.
Such tactics almost unsettled the unflappable Jones with Lashley using all kinds of antics to celebrate or challenge a point.
After receiving a “sow” in the first set, Lashley showed what a class player he was with some entertaining shots.
Locking the scores at 14-14 saw Lashley dropping his racquet and running down Highway 1 which angered the officials.
In the end Jones won the marathon 21-8, 21-23, 26-24 with Lashley complimenting his “student” for playing good tennis.
Unfortunately, good tennis was no match for Daniel who unfurled back hand and forearm smashes which destroyed Jones.
Daniel also displayed his versatility with “injections” at 18-17 and match point 20-18, which almost left Jones flat on his face.
A combination of Daniel and White could do just that to the other parishes.