If Errol Edwards has his way road tennis could soon be added to the list of club sports in the island.
Edwards of A S Auto Stop, organiser and chief sponsor of the successful Village Camp Road Tennis Championships that concluded last night at the Deighton ‘Pa’ Roach Tennis Court at Bush Hall Yard Gap, told Barbados TODAY that the island’s indigenous sport could go even further with the development of road tennis clubs across Barbados in much the same way as was done in cricket, football and other sports.
The week-long championship was formatted along a team concept with ten teams involved which were made up of some of the island’s best players. Each of the teams had a junior and veteran player in the line-up and consisted of seven players inclusive of a captain.†Edwards said the team concept came out of players moving around from community to community to play each other and developing not only keen rivalries but friendships among themselves He said he wanted to make a thrust for more road tennis clubs to develop and by so doing bring even greater structure to the way the sport was played in the island.
“Road tennis is ours and I believe it can go very far, as long as we have proper organisation and structure in place,” he said.
Edwards indicated that there were other tournaments in the pipeline within the team concept but added there was a need to concentrate more on junior players. He said the majority of the top players in Barbados averaged about 40 years and there was a need to target younger players.
On the actual tournament which started on May Day, Edwards said it had been well received by both players and supporters and was well attended. He said the standard was very high.On the court the All Whites Team emerged victorious after defeating Belfield 4-2 in the best-of-seven “shotgun’ finals.
The All Whites were captained by Mark ‘Venom’ Griffith and consisted of Adrian Best (veteran), Darius Gaskin (junior), Aaron Barker, Julian White, Michael Jean and Shabbir Greenidge. Belfield were led by veteran Sylvan Barnett and included Louis Daniel (veteran), Keon Murrell (junior), Curtis Jones, Chester Brewster, Stigg Merritt and Andrew Holder.†Jones and Barker were involved in the most exciting match of the night with the former winning 23-21. They basically traded points throughout the match but Jones held his nerve better during the closing stages of the game, and committed fewer errors against the more attack-minded Barker.
Julian Michael Jackson White had a relatively easy 21-13 victory over Brewster with the former’s usual chopping returns being unerringly accurate throughout.
Gaskin, a promising junior player, easily disposed of Keon Murrell 21-11, while veteran Daniel got the better of Best 21-17 in another of the night’s top match-ups.
Jean defeated Merritt 21-15 and Greenidge got the better of Holder 21-13.
With the championships already decided at 4-2 the game between the captains Griffith and Barnett was not played.
Jones and Griffith had been the best players on court over the duration of the tournament but Griffith pipped Jones for the Most Valuable Player award.
Kyle King of the Green Flower team which won the third-place play-off, was named Most Improved Player. (WG)††