Defeat a plus for tennis
THE?DEFEAT of star player Julian ‘Michael Jackson’ White by a previously little known opponent in the highly successful Silver Hill Road Tennis Championships has given a teriffic lift to the indigenous sport.
The surprise loss to Victor ‘Earth’ Ward of Silver Sands encouraged hundreds of fans to flock to the Silver Hill courts in Christ Church in December to see and assess the new giant-killer.
White had not lost a tournament for over a decade, dismissing all comers with authoritative aplomb. His stamina and superior court craft made him appear to be the perfect example of the best.
Ward’s rumoured talent could only be defended by his neighbours from Silver Sands and fans in the Pine where he practised, since he had shied away from competitions involving the big guns. Furthermore, the elimination of crowd favourite Gary ‘Kojak’ Thomas meant that the Christ Church fans were in search of a hero.
Losing the first set to White was expected which did not prepare the spectators for Ward rebounding and inflicting a ‘sow’ on the number one seed before eliminating him with relentless ‘injections’ which had White floundering.
For the first time, players and fans saw that White was only human and that he could be beaten. Unfortunately for Ward, the St Michael supporters did not scatter when they saw the toppling of their ‘Goliath’. Instead, they rallied behind a new protagonist in Mark ‘Venom’ Griffith to right the wrong and ensure that St Michael could retain the boast of having the best road tennis players.
Griffith exploited Ward’s deficiency in smashing while showing that superior fitness can counter Ward’s deadly injections on his way to the title, but this was almost irrelevant when one saw the four and five persons deep crowd which surrounded the court for the finals.
Among the audience was Minister of Sport and Member of Parliament for the area Stephen Lashley, who would have felt deep pride in establishing the National Sports Council’s Inter-Parish Road Tennis Championship which is now in its third year.
Thousands of fans are likely to flock to Dover when those finals are played to see if White will redeem himself. Unfortunately, a rematch with Ward will have to come during the year as missing the qualifiers has kept Ward off the Christ Church team.
Even so, the reignited interest, the attraction of new fans and the unearthing of new talent augur well for a fantastic 2013 for road tennis in Barbados.