Congrats, parish planners!
by KENMORE?BYNOE MINISTER?of Sport Stephen Lashley and the National Sports Council (NSC)?must be commended for the successful staging of the third Inter-Parish Road Tennis Championships which climaxed last weekend in front of a capacity crowd at Dover.
The fact that St Michael proved their superior skills – winning the A Class, B Class and Veterans titles leaving only the Ladies and Juniors for St George and St James respectively –?was almost irrelevant when balanced against the raised profile of the sport.
The two nights of the finals were televised live on the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) which attracted hundreds of new converts and some of those new fans journeyed to Dover on the Saturday night to see the class of Julian “Michael Jackson” White, the fire of Antoine “Lil Man” Daniel and the entertaining antics and skills of Jeffrey “Bing Crosby” Layne.
The ambience created by the 72-foot tent which covered the entire playing and seating area was a stroke of genius.
This was seen on the Friday night when the rain came almost unnoticed ten minutes after the juniors took to the court.
The big screen set up outside of the tent next to the bar allowed hundreds to take in the game close to their selected brews.
That was the finishing product of the hard work and dedication of one individual, Philip ‘Foff’ Garner, the president of the Barbados Road Tennis Association who traversed the length and breadth of the island to pull together the tournament.
Whether it was the midday sun in St Philip or the midnight dew in St Peter, Garner went beyond the call to get the qualifiers up and running and to execute such a masterful finals.
Lashley can also take another bow for his drive to develop community sports, since the Silver Hill Tournament has proved to be a successful spin-off of the inter-parish competition.
Similar eruptions throughout Barbados should create a future where St Michael could face challenges from parishes other than Christ Church and which could make the grand finals at Dover even bigger and better.
With the possibility of Barbados hosting a World Championship in road tennis, Government, the players and the ever growing group of spectators could be in for tremendous thrills from this indigenous sport.