The organizers of De Village Camp road tennis shotgun ournament which saw nine teams battling for monetary and other prizes for two days at the Bush Hall courts deserve full praise for a well thought out and executed event.
The fact that Belfield All Whites took the first crown with the likes of Julian “Michael Jackson” White, MVP Mark “Venom” Griffith, Adrian “Adee” Best, young talent Darius “Barracus” Gaskin, Shabbir Greenidge and Michael Jean was predictable.
But the fight and top class tennis from the other teams and players provided tremendous entertainment for the hundreds of fans who journeyed to Bush Hall.
The novelty of captain playing captain, junior meeting junior and veteran battling veteran was interesting.
Similarly, using the computer to select the match-ups between the other eight team members added intrigue. Winning the toss also gave the captain the right to determine the first clash.
The one-set shotgun format meant that players could not relax and had to battle for every point. In addition, tremendous strategies had to be employed by the captains after losing a set, in making a call for the next match-up.
The exposure of junior players like Gaskin, Keon Murrell, Emar Edwards and Kyle King, along with Curtis Quimby and national table tennis player Aaron Baker, and the recall of class acts Edward “Dabo” Carrington, Sylvan “Lama” Barnett, Jeffrey “Borah” Best, Louis “Louis Dog” Daniel and Anthony “Baku” Simmons proved to be great entertainment.
The showdowns between the top players like Julian White, Curtis Jones, Terry “TC” Francis, Antoine Daniel, Victor “Earth” Ward, Julian “Snake” Quimby, Griffith, Adrian “Dan” Skeete, Andrew “Drax Hall” Goodrige, Greenidge, Jean and Chesterfield “Boy Boy” Brewster proved fascinating.
Although chief organizers Tito Ellis and Errol Edwards expressed the hope that more sponsors would come on board, significant help from A&S Auto Stop and Secure One Security Inc. allowed the group to provide food and refreshment for the players over the two days of competition.
“The vision is to create teams throughout the various districts so that down the road we can not only have a competitive league but we would also have different divisions and matches being played on a home-and-away basis,” said Ellis.
Edwards added that the response of the players and the support of the fans had been tremendous.
“We are looking for greater sponsorship and the greatest achievement will be when road tennis gets a covered home so that game would not be affected by the weather,” he said.
“We look forward to that day as we believe that road tennis has reached the stage where spectators can generate a gate receipt.”
Some of the few negatives from the tournament would have been the old complaint of the archaic method of officiating where the two officials sit across the centre line and rule on calls along the base line which cause the most controversy.
Thankfully, such calls did not significantly affect the outcome of the matches.
The late response of some of the teams also created structuring headaches and saw Progressive and then the Lions being allowed back from the losing pool to form the quarter-finalists and then the semi-finalists respective make-ups. With the exception of Kim Holder, the women did not take the chance to show off their skills.
In addition, the poor response by Christ Church, who featured prominently in the three parish competitions to date, did not speak well of their talent with just one “brand name” player turning out and that was after his village mates had to return home and beg him to play for the Texas Rangers. Perhaps that will be corrected for the second edition.