ADRIAN “DAN” SKEETE just couldn’t find the antidote for Mark “Venom” Griffith, and Curtis Jones punched Jeffery “Borah” Best out of the “A” class division when the SJ Health and Bakery Limited Punches in Bunches Road Tennis Competition continued Sunday night at the Belfield court.
Before a large crowd which gathered in anticipation of competitive and exciting tennis, Griffith showcased his newfound attacking game in disposing of Skeete 21-14, 21-15, while Jones showed tremendous form on his way to steamrolling Best 21-8, 21-15.
On a night when none of the five “A” class matches went to three sets, defending champion Julian “Michael Jackson” White defeated Shamon Weekes 21-17, 21-11; Chester “Boy Boy” Brewster beat Michael Jean 21-15, 21-16 and Victor “Earth” Ward won from Shibbir Greenidge 21-10, 21-18.
The victories for Griffith and White guaranteed them semi-final spots, while Jones will play Ward in the next round, with the winner advancing to meet Griffith.
Brewster, on the other hand, will have to get past Marson Johnson, with the winner of that match knowing that a semi-final date with White looms.
From all accounts, though, either Griffith or Jones can to put an end to White’s reign, especially after both players gave dominating displays against highly ranked opponents.
Griffith was clinical against Skeete, who appeared to be suffering from cramp in his left leg from as early as the first set.
Known primarily for his defensive play, Griffith established himself as the aggressor early on, regularly running around his backhand to play powerful passing forehand shots cross court and down the line.
Skeete looked like a mere shadow of the man who eliminated the No. 2 seed Anthony “Ears” Mitchell in the opening round, committing several unforced errors while digging himself into a 3-8 hole.
He never got any closer than four points in the rest of the first set, as Griffith continued to control the game with his forearm.
Skeete did improve marginally in the second set, fighting back from a slow 0-3 start to lock the scores at 8-8.
But with the cramp taking its toll, he would commit four consecutive unforced errors to allow Griffith to take control of the set, and subsequently the match.
Jones played like a man possessed in his game against Best, jumping out to an early 10-1 lead on his way to giving his opponent a “sow” in the opening game.
Best then seemed headed for a similar humiliation in the second game, as Jones took a 9-3 lead courtesy of some scintillating shots. But the veteran transformed an 8-12 deficit into a 13-12 lead, winning all five of Jones’ service points to open the possibility of a third and decisive set.
Jones had other ideas, though, winning both a 37-stroke and a 31-stroke rally, which brought rapturous applause from the crowd, on the way to closing out the game.
In the “B” class division, top seed Junior “Big Arms” Boucher recovered from losing the first set to down Kyle King 15-21, 21-19, 21-12; Darius “Barracus” Gaskin beat Duane Hope 21-8, 21-19; the evergreen Deighton “Pa” Roach waltzed past Wayne Johnson 21-18, 21-9 and showman Philip “Foff” Garner fell to Winston “Ballies” Padmore 12-21, 19-21.