It is not often that Julian “Michael Jackson” White gets sowed in local road tennis.
It is highly unlikely that he has ever received two sows in one night of a high profile tournament.
But that what his fate last night in the final of the Monarchs of the Court Road Tennis Tournament at Wildey, St Michael when the supremely fit Mark “Venom” Griffith ran him ragged in four sets, 21-13, 15-21, 21-6, 21-9 to earn bragging rights as the best in the business.
Though White had defeated Charles Griffith in their semi-finals, there were noticeable chinks in his armour; mostly that Griffith won points off a sometimes flat-footed White. Mark Griffith is as fit as they come and after winning the first game, he lost the second to the hard-working White at 15.
But there were some long rallies that would later take their toll on White as the game progressed. With the match-up level at a set apiece going into the third, the superior condition of Griffith kicked in.
There were times that Griffith was passing White on both sides of the court like a full bus speeding past a would-be commuter trying to reach a bus stop. It wasn’t pretty. Whether backarm or forearm shots, White simply had no answer for Griffith’s sizzling play. The self-titled World Boss’ errors on his returns also started to mount.
By that stage it seemed extremely remote that the game would go into the scheduled five sets and in the fourth set it turned out to be more of the same. White got slightly closer to respectability but again failed to reach double figures as Griffith wiped the court with him to deliver two sows on the trot. Griffith has now set the standard for local road tennis and his future challengers are likely to come from the up and coming younger generation. But on the night, it seemed that not even space-walking into position was likely to help ‘Michael Jackson’ or stop Griffith from pocketing the $10 000 first place prize
In the women’s final Kim Holder continued her dominance of women’s road tennis with a hard-fought 21-10, 17-21, 21-14 victory over the plucky Rachel Smith.
Holder had an easy first set win that almost ended in a sow but then had to deal with the determined play of Smith who fought hard for every point in the second set. Some might suggest Holder took her foot off the gas slightly but that would be doing Smith a disservice.
Smith set up what was anticipated to be a keenly contested final set but once again, as she has done consistently for several years, Holder’s class came to the fore. Despite the 14 points gained by Smith, Holder dominated the play in the final set and never seemed in danger of doing anything other than maintaining her reputation as the island’s best. Holder received $4 000 for her victory.