Former Barbados and Paradise footballer, Anthony ‘Charlie’ Chase, took home the top prize when the 2017 Ralph Thorne Christ Church South Road Tennis Tournament climaxed Sunday night at the Dover hardcourt.
The 56-year-old veteran Chase won 3-1 against an opponent half his age in Trevor ‘Taz Duffy’ Mayers to secure the trophy and $750 cash prize.
The final score ended 21-16, 21-16, 14-21 and 21-19 in the best of five sets showdown to close out the second edition for the tournament with players from the constituency of Christ Church South namely Carters Gap, Pegwell, Maxwell, Oistins, Scarborough, Bourne’s Land, Enterprise and Dover being able to showcase their road tennis skills in the presence of several road tennis enthusiasts and tourist liming the St Lawrence Gap area.
There were some questionable moments during the match when referee Ryan Prescod announced the incorrect scores which had the players on edge. Eventually, Prescod got it right to the relief of anxious spectators and the crowd focused their attention on rooting for the two men.
Having taken a 1-0 lead in the game, Chase was on course for match point at 20-15 when Mayers, who showed remarkable determination to reach yesterday’s final having suffered a broken leg earlier this year playing for Paradise in the Barbados Football Association premier league season, kept his hope alive in the second set when he pounced on a short ball to break Chase’s serve and cut the deficit by four at 16-20. But Chase executed a forearm shot to close out the set and put Mayers under pressure with a 2-0 advantage heading into the third set.
Being quite aware it was do-or-die in the third set, Mayers came up with a game plan to slow down Chase who noticeable loves the game at a fast pace and it worked out well in Mayers’ favour as he bagged the set and trailed his man 1-2 with the hope of winning the fourth set and forcing the decider.
The scores were tied 16-16 and Mayers with the perfect opportunity to kill a short ball gifted by Chase made a meal of it going for a big smash and ended up hitting the board. With that break in service, Chase went on to score the next four points and lead 20-16 and even decided to sit for a minute and catch his breath knowing the grand prize was one shot away.
Perhaps it was too long of a break for Chase as Mayers smash three straight points past him to cut the deficit by one, 19-20, and threatened to deny the ‘old man’ the victory but Chase wiped off his sweaty palms, gripped his racket firmly and secured the championship point.
Having been playing road tennis for the past four years, Chase said he was confident of defeating his training partner Mayers but complimented him for putting up a good fight.
“I had a game plan for this final and exploited Taz [Mayers] weaknesses. I decided not to play the ball where he likes it which is the back arm because he doesn’t like the forearm and that is where I win my points against him when we are practising.”
He also encouraged youngsters to take up a racquet and play the sport which he said has lots of benefits. “Road tennis has in a lot more money than football, I played football for Barbados, scored a lot of goals and used to get a hundred dollars a trip, so road tennis is the thing, not football,” Chase said.
The plate finals trophy went to Lavar Chase with a 3-2 success against Paul McDowall 17-21, 21-15, 21-15, 19-21 and 21-18.