Emar Edwards of Combermere is the first Thunda Rhode League Inter-Secondary School Road Tennis Champion.
Wednesday morning at St Leonard’s Boys’ School Edwards won the best of three sets final 21-16, 21-18 playing against Ezekiel Ward of Deighton Griffith Secondary School.
A very familiar face in road tennis, starting eight years ago at Lawrence T Gay Primary, Edwards came into the match with lots of experience under his belt having won two Silver Hill road tennis championships, two national inter-parish competitions and is also the Monarch of the Court Under-21 king.
Edwards tossed up the first serve in the opening set and Ward currently the Under-15 inter-parish title-holder went after the ball with a powerful left-handed cross court shot showing no intimidation to take an early 4-0 lead. But Edwards, as cool as ever, brought himself back into the game from being down 7-3 to tie the scores 7-7 and went on to take control of proceedings.
The 18-year-old student got off to a much better start in the second set and was leading 20-12 when he seemed to lose concentration battling the hot sun and that allowed Ward to score six straight points to cut the deficit by two points 20-18 and put pressure on Edwards. But he managed to hold on for a well-deserved win to lift the trophy, $500 cash, and four cases of Ju-c. Ward took home $350, a trophy and a case of Ju-c while Henry earned $200, a trophy and a case of Ju-c.
Edwards completed what was his seventh unbeaten game in the competition to continue his dominance at the youth level of road tennis.
“Ward is a good player and I never underestimated him because I knew it was going to be a fight. So I just went out there, did what I had to do and so happen to come out on top. The sun was very hot and my shoes tend to burn because they are black. But I usually don’t get tired that fast nor the sun doesn’t really bother me because I am fit,” said Edwards, who will be off to the University of the West Indies in September to read for a degree in Mathematics.
In the third place clash Shaquan Henry of Ellerslie also won in straight sets 21-11, 21-11 against Sheridan Cadogan of St George Secondary.
A total of nine schools participated in the inaugural championship sponsored by Ju-c and Fairfield Foods. Organizer Roland Jones said the two-week showdown went better than he had anticipated with some wonderful upsets.
Jones said: “I love the fact that we have very young players and we had a first-former from Frederick Smith who came into the tournament and played really well and the second place person [Ward] was the person who stopped him in his tracks and if he [Ward] had not done that [who knows] how far he would have gotten.”
There were no females in this year’s competition but Jones explained that going forward they intended to have many more tournaments in order to close the gap between primary and professional road tennis by hosting several tournaments in the tertiary and secondary schools.