White takes back crown
Julian “Michael Jackson” White is the king of Silver Hill road tennis once again.
White denied defending champion Antonio “Lil Man” Daniel and hundreds who ringed the Silver Hill court on Thursday night with an impressive 21-19, 14-21, 21-15 victory.
White, who last met and defeated the supreme shots-master Daniel in the 2016 World Championship to pocket $20 000, was bringing a stuttering Silver Hill form with challenges from Jamar “Bob” Best and Emar Edwards to battle Daniel, who lit up the court in a canter to the finals.
A surprise finals being staged on a Thursday night did not affect the crowd response; the fans anticipated a showdown of the highest order punctuated by predictable smashes and deadly injections from Daniel.
White, who previously won the title in 2014, craftily controlled the game to the extent that Daniel’s fans screamed and applauded even when one of his mishits scored.
Daniel’s lone lead in the opening game was 1-0 and he matched White at three and four before the latter kept the ball low and in Daniel’s backhand denying him ammunition to attack.
Bursting to leads of 9-6, 12-9 and 17-13, White took control before Daniel crept back to 16-17 with a cracker down the line. However, Daniel then served out the next ball, which gave White the fuel to move to 20-17.
Daniel recovered to 19-20, offering hope to his fans before an attacking error saw White taking the first game.
Daniel also needed to recover in the second game as he surged from 6-10 to lock at 10, moving to 15-10 by winning nine straight points before an errant attack gave White his next point.
Mixing attack with some of his deceptive off-speed shots, Daniel took the second game to give voice and hope to his screaming fans. That seemed to flow into the decider as White lost his footing, racket and the first point in attempting to play a ball dropped deftly behind the net.
However, White then played a smart game of denying Daniel an attack by repeatedly feeding his backhand and then enticing him with a forehand smash, which was repeatedly spoiled.
The play of the night proved to be an easy ball which sat up behind the net at 10-4 and when White pounded the “sure” point Daniel unbelievably blocked it and then put away White’s feeble return with disdain.
After that stunner, Daniel tried to regain balance but made a number of serving errors going for broke with White soaring to 17-8 before rain interrupted play for ten minutes.
After the game was restarted White grabbed two quick points for Daniel to face the ignominy of a pig at 19-8. But, Daniel showed his class to battle back to 15-19 before he clipped the top of the net with a passing shot. White then easily grabbed the game winner to hold his hand aloft for the umpteenth time in road tennis.
Earlier, Kim Holder easily captured her third successive Silver Hill title defeating Abigail Haynes 21-14, 23-21. Haynes, who had shocked Holder in last month islandwide finals, had looked like a challenge after leading 19-14 in the second game. She was reeled in by the punishing attack of Holder.
Barbados Community College student Ezekiel “Ezee” Ward retained his 17-and-Under crown by stopping Nicolas “Nik-Nik” Ellis 21-12, 22-20 in the battle of left-handers.
Ellis ensured that his night was not without glory as he captured the in-house title by defeating former two-time champion Adrian “Howlie” Walker 21-19, 19-21, 21-10. Walker seemed confounded by the officials’ calls as well as Ellis’ attacking play.
Ironically, Walker was able to take the second game when he showed his greatest frustrations with the officiating. However, it was only Ellis’ gifting two points in the decider which saw Walker averting a sow at 8-20. (KB)