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Whites tame Lions

Randy Bennett

Whites tame Lions

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The lions may be king of the jungle, but the Belfield All Whites are undoubtedly kings of the court.
For the second year running, the All Whites tamed their archrivals Belfield Lions to once again walk away with the top prize of $1 000 in the Village Camp Shotgun Road Tennis competition in a pulsating final at the Deighton “Pa” Roach Tennis Centre on Saturday night.
Led by impressive performances from Julian “Michael Jackson” White and Mark “Venom” Griffith, and capped off with a gutsy win by Most Valuable Player, Darius “Baraccus” Gaskin, the defending champions edged their archrivals 4-3 in the seven-man team tournament before a jam-packed audience.
By the time Gaskin and the Lions’ Keon Murrell faced off in the night’s final and decisive match, with the scores tied at 3-3, there was a loud buzz around the Bush Hall venue.
And it only heightened when Murrell blazed two powerful forehands past his opponent to take an early 4-1 advantage.
However, with Murrell holding a slim two point lead (8-6), Gaskin embarked on a game-changing run, which turned the contest squarely in his favour.
He would win the next eight points, punctuated with some beautiful cross-court forehand winners, and ably assisted by Murrell’s unforced errors to take a 14-8 lead.
Two more thunderous forehand shots by Gaskin helped the lead balloon up to eight (18-10), setting off celebrations among the All Whites’ camp.
Murrell did fight back, pulling within two points at 17-19, to send a hush around the court, before Gaskin won the next two points to seal the victory for his side.
The Lions received $700 for their second placed finish. Earlier in a close opening women’s game, the All Whites’ Rachel Smith squeezed past Carolyn “The Model” Haynes 22-20 setting the tone for the games to follow.
Lions’ captain Sylvan “Llama” Barnett then levelled the score at 1-1, as he used his usual taunts and theatrics to overcome Shabbir Greenidge 21-17.
Stig Merritt started convincingly in his game against Griffith, during which he led 9-8 at one point.
But cramp in his feet hindered his movement, allowing Griffith to run away with an easy 21-14 win and put the defending champs ahead once again.
Chester “Boy Boy” Brewster pulled things back for the Lions with a hard-fought come from behind 21-17 victory over Aaron Barker, before White took centre stage in a dominant 21-7 dismissal of Kerry “TC” Francis.
Aided by several unforced errors from Francis, White rushed out to a 7-1 lead, with a sizzling forehand down the line extending it to nine (13-4).
He continued to play shots all around the ground, emphatically ending the contest with a beautifully played forehand, which even brought a smile from the face of Francis. The Lions’ Andrew “Cripple” Holder then forced the decisive game when he beat Junior “Big Arms” Boucher 21-18 in an exciting veterans game.
The Bush Hall Strikers copped third place and $500 when they downed SuperCentre 21 4-1 in the third placed playoff.
Kim Holder was the lone winner for SuperCentre when she defeated Sandra Bailey 21-15.
From thereon it was one way traffic as Emar Edwards whipped Ezekial Ward 21-11, Charles Taylor outplayed Glen “Chicken” Harris 21-12, Julian “Snake” Quimby demolished Gary “Kojak” Thomas 21-6 and Lloyd “Dickman” Burke turned back Simon Bayne 21-15.