Mark “Venom” Griffith proved Sunday night that he is undoubtedly the king of the hill at the Silver Hill Youth Development Road Tennis Championship.
The supremely fit player repeated as champion in front of a massive crowd, including Minister of Sports Stephen Lashley who conceived the tournament, with a come from behind victory over Barbados’ number one player, Julian “Michael Jackson” White, with an ignominious “sow”, 21-5, in the deciding set.
Last year, Griffith had taken his first national title with an impressive win over favourite Victor “Earth” Ward who had created shockwaves by beating the seemingly invincible White.
In spite of taking that crown, Griffith had to live with the comments that he needed Victor Ward to dispose of White to take the vacant title.
However, on Sunday night Griffith silenced all critics after taking out the island’s number two player, Anthony “Ears” Mitchell in the semis in three bruising sets the night before to then push aside White with little respect 18-21, 21-14, 21-5.
Although White showed his class to take the first set while playing on the most feared end of the court, Griffith set the tone for what the fans were anticipating from the showdown.
The first point of the match was won after White blasted four successive smashes which Griffth returned with aplomb.
Griffith later retrieved balls from several feet off of the court and then awed the crowd by getting back to centre court to play some drop shots from White.
After wearing down White in the second set, Griffith dominated in the decider, rushing to a 10-2 switch as White lumbered around the court a defeated champion.
The support crew of Damian “Forced Ripe” Taylor and dad, Mark Griffith Sr., saw the script in advance as they began to parade a big bottle of champagne and held up filled glasses while White’s fans unbelievably still held hope of a miraculous recovery.
Many spectators would have seen a similar scene on National Geographic television in which the once feared and respected lion was tossed aside by a younger opponent.
At, 48, White has vowed to return to tame the “demons” of Silver Hill. With two decades of youth on his side, Griffith is keen on overtaking all of White’s road tennis records in Barbados.
With such drama unfolding, Minister Lashley seized the moment by announcing that there would be a Silver Hill 2013 Part 2 between October and November to precede the highly anticipated islandwide road tennis championship.