The reign of Charles “McEnroe” Griffith is long past.
That of Julian “Michael Jackson” White is now at an end.
All hail the era of Mark “Venom” Griffith.
If doubting Thomases wanted confirmation that the supremely fit Griffith was the best road tennis player in the island, he provided just that by winning the final of the Silver Hill Road Tennis Championship at the Christ Church hard court on Saturday night.
Last week Griffith defeated White in four sets, inclusive of two “sows”. On Saturday night in the final he humbled his nemesis Antonio “Lil Man” Daniel in two straight sets inclusive of a 21-9 “sow” where his superior fitness and consistency outmatched the flair and attacking prowess of crowd favourite Daniel.
Daniel had earlier succumbed 21-17 in the first game but not before exciting spectators with some thrilling passing shots on both sides of the court, especially on the forearm, that at one stage saw him leading Griffith by three points at 10-7. But that was a mere aberration, as Griffith never seemed in any real danger of losing the game. And, as has become the habit, the longer a game lasts, the likelier Griffith is to emerge the winner. For his sweat Griffith pocketed $5,000 in prize money.
In women’s action, Kim Holder continued to show she has no equal on the road tennis court, easily defeating Rachel Smith 21-8, 21-14. To her credit, Smith who started very cold in the first set and paid for it with a “sow”, stepped up her play in the second set which she lost at 14. Holder’s fans, though, might suggest she took her foot off the gas to lengthen the entertainment with Smith.
In the Under-21 final fans got to feast on a sizzling contest when Darius “Barracus” Gaskin defeated Dario Hinds 22-20, 18-21, 21-17. It was a game punctuated with some excellent rallies as the two young players gave it their all.
Gaskin has twice taken sets off Mark Griffith in losing causes in recent tournaments, including the Silver Hill Championships, and his star continues to rise rapidly. But on Saturday night the only real venom on the court came from Mark Griffith.