Early demise of a titan
The titans have already begun to fall at the car park of the Wildey Gymnasium.
Talented youngster Emar Edwards and national table tennis player Aaron Barker both recorded huge upsets when the United Insurance Clash Of The Titans Road Tennis Competition served off on Monday night.
Before an appreciative crowd, Edwards, a 16-year-old student of Combermere, stunned Victor “Earth” Ward in straight sets 21-14, 21-17, while the stylish Barker defeated veteran Jefferey “Borah” Best, 21-10, 21-19 to book their spots in the quarter-finals.
Marson Johnson, too, almost joined the list of big names to be eliminated in the first round, with the No. 5 ranked player having to save seven match points against David “Jah Paul” Phillips before eventually closing out the match 14-21, 21-10, 24-22.
There were no such alarms for the top-seeded Julian “Michael Jackson” White or fourth ranked Curtis Jones, with Jones handing Gary “Kojak” Thomas a 21-19, 21-8 whipping, while Jones dispatched junior Darius “Baraccus” Gaskin 21-16, 21-10.
There were also wins for Dario Hinds, who ousted Ivor Lashley 21-15, 17-21, 21-14, Kerry “TC” Francis who beat Junior “Big Arms” Boucher 21-13, 19-21, 21-16 and Shamon Weekes, who emerged victorious against Junior “Snake” Quimby 21-6, 16-21, 21-12.
But the night belonged to the teenaged Edwards, who showcased a high level of skill and maturity in his victory over the dangerous Ward.
On the slow surface which many spectators felt perfectly suited Ward’s “chops” and drop shots, Edwards never took his foot off the gas pedal.
He raced out to a 4-1 lead in the first set, which grew to 10-5 after Ward sent a backhand into the net.
Edwards maintained that five-point lead as the score climbed to 17-12, with Ward uncharacteristically committing numerous unforced errors, before comfortably closing out the set.
The fifth form student didn’t ease up in the second set either, transforming a close 11-9 score into a 17-12 lead, courtesy of some exhilarating forehand smashes on both sides of the court.
Ward did fight back courageously to get within three at 16-19, but two backhand shots into the net brought about his demise, with Edwards throwing both his hands in the air in celebration.
Barker then showed his aggressive intentions from early against Best, who struggled to come to grips with the court’s slow nature.
In fact, he was quite lucky not to be “sowed” in the first game, as Barker intentionally served the ball into the net with the score at 20-9.
A better showing by the veteran allowed him to build a 10-5 advantage in the second set, and a third set seemed likely with him holding a mammoth 19-11 lead.
But unbelievably, Best wouldn’t win another point, while Barker rattled off 10 straight to claim an unlikely victory.
Johnson was then forced to display nerves of steel, as he stared elimination, trailing 15-20 to Phillips in the third and decisive set.
But the dreadlocked player crumbled under the pressure, and despite leading 21-20 and 22-21, he was unable to secure that all-important winning point.