Christ Church are definitely making their presence felt in this year’s National Sports Council’s Inter-Parish Road Tennis Championships.
The rain may be continuing to wreak havoc on the annual competition, but it certainly didn’t stop Christ Church from marching into the finals of the three categories which were played at the Deighton “Pa” Roach Centre, Bush Hall last night.
Despite four stoppages due to rain, they still managed to book spots in the finals of the 15 and Under, Ladies and “B” class divisions.
Defending champion in the 15 and Under category, Ezekial Ward, started the ball rolling with a predictable straight sets 21-13, 21-12 win over St Philip’s Kadario Seale.
While Seale showed moments of brilliance, which included one rally that saw him return five consecutive smashes from Ward, he regularly committed unforced errors, allowing his opponent to stroll to an easy victory.
Rachel Smith then came from a set down to defeat Suzanne Scantlebury of St Michael 19-21, 21-16, 21-18 in a thriller, and set up a grudge match against ladies’ champion Kim Holder.
After snatching defeat from the jaws of victory against Holder in the Clash of the Titans competition, she almost did the same against Scantlebury.
Seemingly in sight of victory in the opening set with a commanding 18-13 lead, Smith literally self imploded, allowing her opponent back into the match.
She smashed four successive forehands out of the court, and followed that up with a backhand into the net.
Scantlebury took full advantage too, locking the scores at 19, before pulling away to pull off a shocking victory.
That loss didn’t stop Smith from playing her usual attacking style, as she opened up the second set with some powerful and stylish forehand winners, which whizzed past her bemused opponent.
It allowed her to maintain a five-point lead almost throughout the entire set, and from 16-11 and 18-13, she easilycruised home to force a third and decisive game.
But from another comfortable lead of 13-8 and in full control against her defensive-minded opponent, she once more fell apart, allowing Scantlebury to draw even at 13.
This time, though, Smith held her nerve, throwing her racquet into the air after blazing another forehand crosscourt winner past Scantlebury to end the match.
Christ Church’s “B” class team of Randy “Cat” Yearwood and Victor “Earth” Yearwood then eased into the finals with a dominant showing over St John.
Yearwood was solid in his 21-15, 21-13 victory over Fredrickson Gill, which set the stage for Ward’s sublime performance. Needing to win just one set in his game against Winston “Ballies” Padmore, Ward wowed the crowd on hand with an impressive showing in which he purposely let Padmore out of the sow.
From a score of 16-9, Ward played a perfect injection on his opponent which left him scrambling and ignited cheers from the crowd which included Opposition Leader, Mia Mottley and compatriot Wilfred Abrahams.
With the score at 20-9 however, Ward deliberately blasted the ball out of the court, at which point his opponent submitted, knowing that defeat was imminent.
In the 21 and Under division, rain brought an abrupt end to the contest between St James’ Kyle King and Emar Edwards of St George, with the latter leading 11-5 in the first set.
The persistent showers meant that neither the “A” class nor the veterans’ matches were played.
They will now be played tonight at the venue, with Christ Church taking on St John in the “A” class, while Christ Church and St Thomas will do battle in the veterans.