Henry, Sealy best on court
Shaquan Henry turned up in the team decider and seized the male individual contest in straight sets for The Ellerslie School yesterday to once again sweep both titles, while Tiana Sealy emerged the female champion in an all-Lodge final during the A1 Supermarkets/Burger/KFC National Secondary Schools Road Tennis Championships at the National Sports Council.
Ellerslie secured the win 18-21, 21-9, 21-13, but not without a challenge from St George Secondary, who grabbed the first set in a showdown of two best of three.
The first game began quite evenly, with Adio Selby-Defreitas of St George and Terry Rollock of Ellerslie having some good exchanges.
After the score reached 12-12, Rollock lost his momentum, leading to Selby-Defreitas gaining four straight points. Though Rollock pulled back some points he couldn’t match the solid efforts of Selby-Defreitas, who not only scored steadily, but quickly.
After that loss, Justin Vaughan brought Ellerslie back into the game when he stalled Nicholas Ellis at nine as he gained 12 straight points to secure the win.
The early exchanges between Henry and Sheridan Cadogan were competitive, and the scores were locked at 13. However, Henry found his eight best shots, freezing his opponent at 13, while he sped to 21.
“I feel sweet because we were under pressure in the team, so it was a wonderful feeling that we pulled from behind and took the title. For the team it was a bit hard because the opposition had great players, so we had to maximise who to put in place. We sent in our weakest player first, then another player, and I went in third to wrap it up,” Henry told the Saturday Sun.
The confident Henry faced Dominic Browne of Deighton Griffith in the individual final and emerged the winner in straight sets, 21-13, 21-15.
“My game plan was for the first ten points to prolong the ball and try to be in front by five or, say, four points and from there just open up and try to win points by attacking,” Henry said.
He played some decent defensive shots which forced Browne into making unforced errors. Browne was a bit too anxious to make smashes and they went wrong several times.
The second game saw some breathtaking rallies, with Browne playing some memorable defensive shots that allowed him to pull back within a point of Henry at 16-15.
Came out on top
However, Browne lost his way and Henry came out on top.
In the girls’ final Tiana Sealy defeated her schoolmate Tai-ja Welch 22-20, 21-19 in two sets that could have gone either way.
In the first set, they were locked from five through eight until Sealy gained three straight points.
However, careful and steady scoring from Welch once again saw the two locking scores from 18 to 20. However, Welch made two errors, which gave Sealy the win. The second game ended similarly.
In the third-place individual male play-off, Mosai Williams of The Lodge School defeated Selby-Defreitas of St George 21-15, 21-7. Lodge also won the third-place team play-off, defeating Deighton Griffith 22-19, 8-21, 19-6.