Whites capture road tennis’ Village crown
The Biblical saying “a child shall lead them” proved true as The Belfield All Whites captured the inaugural De Village Camp Road Tennis Championship when the finals climaxed in Bush Hall on Sunday night.
Playing in front of a large crowd of excited fans, All Whites defeated Belfield Lions 4-2, with teenager Darius “Barracus” Gaskin starting the title drive after captain Mark “Venom” Griffith won the toss and opted to begin with his youngest weapon.
Gaskin reeled off some awesome shots to which his opponent Keon Murrell could not respond and took the first game 21-11.
One game down, the Lions used their choice of match-ups to summon point man Curtis Jones to deal with what was expected to be a straightforward defeat of Aaron Barker, a national table tennis player.
Barker almost stunned the highly ranked Jones as he played close to the net and with wristy table tennis chops and cuts drove fear into the Lions with a 16-12 jump. The unflappable Jones responded to lock the scores at 17 before taking the advantage 20-19.
Barker locked the scores at 20 and went up 21-20 before committing an error that would have denied him any sleep on Sunday night. Going for broke, he served out wide which gave Jones the chance to tie the scores and then take the match 23-21 to even the contest.
Looking to regain the edge, All Whites brought out their biggest gun, the No. 1-rated Julian “Michael Jackson” White, to face Chesterfield “Boy Boy” Brewster.
A slow start from White saw Brewster taking a lead 8-2 and whipping up the crowd. However, after White warmed up, Brewster was converted into a mere spectator. The king ruled with some breathtaking shots, including two line drives at 18-12 and 19-12 which saw White sticking the pose for almost a minute before going on to win 21-12.
Desperate to even the contest, the Lions opted for the entertaining veteran Louis “Louis Dog” Daniel to take out the inconsistent Adrian “Adee” Best. The wily Daniel taunted his opponents and spectators; challenged calls by the officials and relied on top shots to recover from 11-14 to beat Best 21-17.
All Whites then went ahead with a resolute Michael Jean defeating the hyperactive Stig Merritt 21-15.
Merritt tried to outgun his opponent, which proved an error as Jean played deep and used long reach and a very large-looking racquet to return every shot.
At that stage, the crowd became even more excited expecting captain of the Lions, Sylvan “Lama” Barnett, to choose to come and face his counterpart Griffith.
Instead Andrew “Cripple” Holder was sent to face the music and with Shabbir Greenidge calling the tune, he totally outplayed Holder 21-12 for the All Whites to take the crown.
Griffith was voted MVP of the tournament while junior Kyle King was selected as the Most Improved Player.
Earlier in the night Vietnam Green Flowers took the third spot by defeating the Bush Hall Strikers 3-2.