A breeze for ‘Venom’ and ‘MJ’
Top seeds Mark “Venom” Griffith and Julian “Michael Jackson” White predictably strolled into the top 16 but it was a player who did not advance, Jim Haynes, who rocked The Villages in Coverley when the Massy United Insurance Clash Of The Titans road tennis competition continued on Wednesday night.
Number one seed Griffith scored a dull and one sided victory over the normally aggressive Allan Davidson 21-8, 21-13 to bring the curtain down seconds before midnight.
With Griffith showing total focus to send a message to his challengers, the fans started to stream out of the Village as Davidson never looked capable of challenging Griffith.
Prior to that anticlimax, the fans were treated to a road tennis tutorial as White, who is ranked number four, easily stopped 29th seed Ryan Hall 21-14, 21-13. After rushing to a 9-1 lead in the first game White opted to treat the match as a practice session as the top 16 start their clashes from Sunday.
Young Dario Hinds was expected to defend the honour of the Sauna against the new darling of the sport Jim Haynes who had humiliated the “Sauna Master”, Anthony “Baku” Simmons.
Haynes with his trademark leaping smash and line shots had the large crowd jumping and screaming as he unreeled those plays to lead 4-1.
However, the aggressive Hinds countered with his own punches to lock the scores at 10 and 15 before losing the first game 18-21. Hinds came alive as Haynes started to lose his composure and form to take game two 21-10.
With Haynes moving to an 8-6 lead in the third game, the fans became excited once again, as Simmons shouted instructions to his young student and Andrew Hinds ignored a warning from officials as he invaded the playing area to give instructions to his son. Simmons faltered and Hinds took charge of the match to win the decider with relative ease 21-12 and set up a battle with Kerry “TC” Francis.
The 21st ranked Francis set the stage for the night by dismissing the inconsistent Kyle King 21-10, 22-20. One of the most talented juniors, Emar Edwards, who is ranked at eight, then wasted little time in dismissing Abbie “Play Boy” Clarke 21-15, 21-10 before the inscrutable Shibbir Greenidge stopped southpaw Edwin “Darkman” Ward 22-29, 21-17.
The grudge match between the equally loquacious Davian “Force Ripe” Taylor and Chesterfield “Boy Boy” Brewster proved to be one of the hottest for the night as Brewster was deemed a renegade for turning his back on the Sauna. However, Brewster ignored the taunts from the Sauna men to take the first game 21-18.
An obviously rattled Brewster slipped from 9-6 to 9-10 in the second game at which point he left the court and took up his bag and towel to switch ends believing that he was playing the deciding third set. Taylor added more salt to Brewster’s wounds with an injection at 19-18 which the rotund Brewster could not reach.
With Taylor, who was almost 60 pounds lighter than his opponent pointing to his own flat stomach, the dreadlocked player continued to use the short ball to edge home 24-22 and brought on the decider.
However, that decider was almost one- sided as Brewster took the contest 21-18, 22-24, 21-15 and declared that he was going to close down the Sauna.
Brewster, who is ranked ninth, will meet Edwards, Griffith will battle Gaskin, White will play Greenidge and Hinds will meet Francis. Greenidge, Gaskin and Francis are the only players in that group of eight who are not ranked in single digits.