Skeete sends Mitchell packing
ANTHONY “EARS” MITCHELL won’t be heading back to the finals of the SJ Health and Bakery Punches In Bunches road tennis competition this time around.
Mitchell, last year’s losing finalist, was shockingly eliminated from the tournament by Adrian “Dan” Skeete, when the “A” Class division got under way at the Belfield court on Tuesday night.
Before a large crowd, Skeete defeated Mitchell 21-18, 10-20, 21-11 in three sets of high-class and exciting tennis to book a date with Mark “Venom” Griffith in the next round.
Playing in the last match of the night, Skeete and Mitchell thrilled those on hand with some dazzling tennis, which included some spectacular rallies.
It was Mitchell who actually rushed out to an early lead in the opening set, as two consecutive unforced errors from Skeete pushed the score to 7-2.
However, Skeete would orchestrate a courageous fightback to level the score at 9-9, before going on to take a 14-11 lead.
Mitchell wasn’t done just yet, playing two powerful and exquisite forehand shots that left Skeete with no chance, and levelling the scores once again at 16.
But Skeete would respond with some shots of his own, first blazing a ferocious forehand down the line, before following that up with a magnificent cross court winner on his way to winning the first set.
Mitchell was dominant from the onset of the second set, turning a 5-0 advantage into a 15-4 rout.
He was clinical, ripping forehand winners from seemingly nowhere, as Skeete failed to find a counter for his more aggressive opponent.
After playing a brilliant forehand down the line which saw him escape the “sow”, Skeete immediately surrendered.
Mitchell initially took control of the third and decisive set, winning the first three points. But realizing his opponent’s aggressive intent, Skeete adopted a more defensive approach.
It paid off immediately, as several unforced errors from Mitchell saw his opponent take a 9-5 lead.
They switched sides with Skeete holding a slender one-point advantage (10-9), but from there on he took control.
With Mitchell continuing to commit unforced errors, Skeete built a comfortable 17-10 lead, as spectators watched on in surprise.
The next point proved to be the rally of the match, with the two veterans rallying 36 balls, only ending when Skeete’s attempted backhand down the line was just out.
It would be Mitchell’s last point, however, as Skeete subsequently closed out the match.
Defending champion Julian “Michael Jackson” White easily advanced to the next round, downing Kerry “TC” Francis 21-15, 21-13; Mark “Venom” Griffith disposed of Lloyd “Dickman” Burke 21-9, 21-11; and Michael Jean steamrolled Edwin “Darkman” Ward 21-8, 21-11.
Victor “Earth” Ward had a hard fought 21-16, 24-22 win over Stig Merritt.
In the “B” Class division, Winston “Ballies” Padmore defeated Leroy Best 20-22, 21-15, 21-11, Deighton “Pa” Roach beat Jefferson “Scant” Scantlebury 21-18, 21-13 and Trevor “Fox” King won 21-14, 21-15 over Anderson Smith.