White, Griffith heat up court
Defending champion Mark “Venom” Griffith and Barbados’ No. 1 road tennis player Julian “Michael Jackson” White warmed up the Silver Hill court and advanced to the Top 16s when the big guns came out for Sunday night’s leg of the Silver Hill Championship.
For White, it was a triumphant return to Silver Hill after his shocking elimination by then unknown Victor “Earth” Ward in the first edition last year.
Most of the hundreds of fans stayed on for White’s match, which started after midnight, with the theatrics of Jeffrey “Bing Crosby” Layne providing lots of entertainment.
However, leading 6-1 and posing and dramatically tumbling to the court after playing some top-level smashes, Layne was caught at 11, with a focused White taking charge to end the Monday morning clash 21-18, 21-13.
On a cold night when rain delayed the action, upsets seemed on the cards as Edwin Ward started the rumble, ousting Peter Moore 22-20, 21-19. Julian Collymore crushed Jamal Best 21-8, 21-13.
The rains doused a potential threat that Neil Greaves was posing for the highly rated Jeffrey “Borah” Best.
The emotionless Greaves from St Lucy had led Best 20-19 and after the half-hour disruption, Greaves committed an error on a sure winning point to collapse 22-20, 21-18.
All coldness and dampness were then dispelled by the rasping shots from a new-look Griffith and David “Jah Paul” Phillips, who apparently brought along lots of support from The Pine.
With an evolving attacking style to complement an already strong defence, Griffith handed a “sow” to Phillips in the first set, winning 21-9 while toppling the tam off the player’s dreadlocks.
After discarding his headwear and wrapping his flowing locks, Phillips thrilled the fans with a devastating forehand, which he used to full effect by counter smashing what had looked like winning hits from Griffith.
Unfortunately, two controversial calls in Griffith’s favour disturbed the crowd as the champion showed superior depth in taking the contest 21-9, 14-21, 21-12.
The battle between Adrian “Dan” Skeete and Michael Jean was just as bruising, with southpaw Skeete getting the better of the resolute Jean 21-19, 24-26, 21-16. (KB)