White out to stop ‘Venom’
It will be youth versus experience when the SJ Health and Bakery Limited Punches in Bunches Road Tennis Competition climaxes this evening at the Belfield court with both the “A” and “B” class finals.
In what is expected to be a pulsating “A” class final, defending champion and the top-ranked Julian “Michael Jackson” White will try to do what no one has been able to – find an antidote for the fast rising Mark “Venom” Griffith.
The “B class final will then feature one of the next generation’s tennis stars in 15-year-old Keon Murrell, against the solid and wily veteran, Junior “Big Arms” Boucher.
This could be one of the most important tournaments in White’s long and distinguished career as never before has he been under such scrutiny.
After more than ten years of being undoubtedly the country’s best player, back-to-back losses in the Youth Development Programme Silver Hill Road Tennis Championships and Last Man Standing competitions respectively, have left many questioning whether White’s reign has come to an end.
He will be looking for some measure of revenge against the man who spurred on the doubters after a dominant performance over White in Silver Hill, which included a third set sow.
At 45 years old, White’s best days are behind him, and the 28-year-old Griffith sees himself as the heir to the throne.
Despite having played the sport for only five years, he is one of the most complete players in the game, capable of frustrating opponents with his ability to defend most attacks, while also being able to attack when the opportunity presents itself.
His superior fitness level could very well come into play if the final, which will be three-best-of-five sets, goes the distance.
In the “B” class, Murrell will look to punch his way past Boucher, much as he did against Emar Edwards in the semi-finals.
It won’t be by any means an easy task though, as the dreadlocked Boucher, who placed second in last year’s tournament, is an experienced campaigner.
Murrell has dropped only one set for the entire competition, and although still a teenager, the fourth form student at Lester Vaughan has shown much maturity and will be a handful for his older opponent.
Boucher is a fighter though, as was evident in his come-from-behind victory over Gary “Kojak” Thomas in the semis, where he trailed 16-19 in the final set before fighting back to win the next five points.