On fire White takes tenth crown
JULIAN “Michael Jackson” White captured the Republic Bank Racquets of Fire “Shotgun” Road Tennis Championship for the tenth time with a 2-1 victory over Curtis Jones in a compelling final at the Belfield Courts on Saturday night.
Had the one game format been maintained throughout White may have been on the losing end as he was outplayed by Jones throughout the first game and well into the second before a late surge helped him recover to win 9-21, 22-20, 21-17.
Jones dominated the opening game, holding significant leads at 11-4 and 14-6. The intensity picked up in the second game which started with a rally lasting close to two minutes before Jones drew first blood.
The less fancied Jones maintained the momentum and was still ahead and looking good for the title at 9-6 and 11-8. White then made two brilliant defensive returns from firmly-struck high balls.
Having survived the powerful forehand attacking strokes from Jones, White then meekly pushed into the net to concede the point.
Despite losing the point the rally seemed to energize the favourite and he quickly drew level at 16.
By this time, Jones seemed to be losing focus and frowned over White’s frequent breaks for towelling and refreshment. As the drama intensified Jones delayed his return to the court despite a couple of calls from the chief match official.
White was the first to 20 but Jones saved two game points to bring the game to deuce. He could not sustain the fight back and White levelled the match 1-1.
Neither player could establish a significant advantage in the decisive game as the scores locked at 14, 16 and 17.
A controversial call put White ahead 18-17 with the service advantage and when he took a two point lead at 19-17, it seemed clear Jones had nothing left to stage a rearguard action and White went on to win 21-17.
Earlier, White dismissed Marson Johnson 21-9 in the quarter-final and Shamon Weekes 21-10 in the semis.
Jones took out Julien “Snake” Quimby 21-14 at the quarter-final stage and overcame a sterling challenge from Michael Jean in the semi-final before getting home 21-18.