Take a bow, Village crew
The organiSers of the Village Camp Road Tennis Tournament must be complimented for organising and executing another exciting tournament.
For the second year, the tourney was held at the Deighton Pa Roach Tennis Centre in Bush Hall.
Defending champions The All Whites were taken to the wire before repeating as kings in their final encounter against last year’s losing finalists The Belfield Lions.
That was after the Lions’ Sylvan “Llama” Barnett, Chesterfield “Boy Boy” Brewster and Andrew “Cripple” Holder had scored respective wins over Shabbir Greenidge, Aaron Barker and Junior “Big Arms” Boucher to even the battle.
Earlier, Dungeon queen Rachel Smith, Mark “Venom” Griffith and Julian “Michael Jackson” White had put the All Whites on the brink of repeating.
The shot-filled decider between Dungeon champion Darius “Baraccus” Gaskin and Keon Murrell provided a great climax, with Gaskin taking the match and the MVP title for the All Whites.
Earlier, the Bush Hall Strikers took the third spot with a one-sided victory over SuperCentre 21, with only Kim Holder maintaining her invincibility for SuperCentre 21. Julian “Snake” Quimby’s ruthless 21-6 dismissal of Gary “Kojak” Thomas set the tone for the exciting finals.
The organisation of the Village Camp has been admirable and the participation of such teams as the Bush Hall Dungeon, De Sauna and Barbarees Monastery maintained the current high which road tennis is enjoying.
The performance of Gaskin, Emar Edwards, Murrell and Ezekiel Ward as well as Smith, veteran Sandra Bailey, Carolyn “The Model” Haynes and Holder strongly suggests that the youth and female factors in road tennis will play a key role in the sport in future.
However, the organisers will have to look at some adjustments to ensure that the sport does not end up being a one-sided battle between Belfield’s “A” and “B” teams. Furthermore, greater effort must be made to get even more of the island’s top players to compete in the next edition.
The finals almost saw a situation where the fans would have been deprived of seeing Gaskin and White on the night.
The toss determines which team calls the first match-up and the losing team then makes the subsequent calls. With the Whites winning and leading, the Lions were avoiding calling the Gaskin/Murrell and White/Kerry “TC” Francis matchups.
Thus, in future, the organisers should look at stipulating that for developmental purposes the teams have to play their women’s and juniors’ games, and, to satisfy the large crowd of spectators, the games involving the number one players must also be staged. The teams would then make choices between the veteran or the other A Class player to score the fourth win to take a clash.
Similarly, the organisers should explore the possibility of having open bids to set up the teams and specify that teams can only keep two players from the previous year.
Currently a team needs four wins to take a face-off and without any changes, and with White, Griffith, Gaskin and the vastly promising Smith turning out again for the All Whites, the Village Camp could end up being just a battle for the second spot.