Two pull off big upsets
?JULIAN “JU-JU” COLLYMORE and former Islandwide champion Charles “McEnroe” Griffith scored two big upsets when the Silver Hill Road Tennis Championship reached the final 16 with some exciting matches Sunday night.
?Griffith, who was returning to the arena after an absence of almost two decades, showed his class and nifty footwork in dismantling the experienced Marson Johnson 21-18, 21-14. With the steps of a ballroom dancer and a deadly forehand and backhand swing, Griffith eliminated the solid but overly defensive Johnson.
However, the game of the night was Collymore’s shocker over the cocky Damien “Force Ripe” Taylor.
Collymore played the part of a wall, doing little with the ball other than rebounding. The normally aggressive Taylor took the first game 21-14 before his attacking style cost him the second 21-17.
With his best friend and defending champion Mark “Venom” Griffith in his corner, Taylor stared down a 1-7 deficit in the decider as the massive crowd spilt its support for the combatants evenly. Taylor battled back to 9-13, but then could not suppress his aggression, smashing the next three balls into the net in a match marred by controversial calls.
Sticking to his strategy of just trying to return every drop shot and smash, Collymore crept to game and match point (20-16). Taylor fought back to 18-20 and should have moved to 19-20 after he hit a scorcher past Collymore, whose only response was to appeal.
One of the officials called the ball out, and the other called it in and so the point was replayed.
Taylor then won the 19th point, adding to the tension, but his attacking instinct took over as he smashed the next ball long, after which many spectators ran onto the court to hail their conquering hero, Collymore.
Earlier, the entertaining Jeffrey “Bing Crosby” Layne played a similar rebounding game as he returned at times 25 rallies and more to wear down and embarrass Anthony “Baku” Simmons 21-9, 21-7. Simmons had the unenviable distinction of taking home the first double “sow” of the tournament.
The fans hardly noticed that the top-ranked Julian “Michael Jackson” White made his first appearance as he calmly dispatched the competitive Trevor Callender 21-12, 21-10.
White will face Jerry Harris in the round of 16 after Harris defeated Andrew “Cripple” Holder 21-18, 21-16.
Dwayne Hope stopped Simon Bayne 21-15, 22-20; Peter “Lover Boy” Moore defeated Sylvanus Doyle 21-12, 21-16 and the unflappable Gary “Kojak” Thomas defeated the confident Anderson “St George” Sealy 22-24, 21-8, 21-19.
The B Class games also excited the crowd, with Pierre Nurse defeating Henry Rollins 21-19, 19-21, 21-14; Damien Harewood stopping Bill Went 21-18, 16-21, 21-16, and Roger Daniel outplaying Jeff Browne 21-14, 21-18.