Saturday, April 20, 2024

St Thomas vets triumph


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HE MAY HAVE BEEN OFF-DUTY, but Ricky “Body Doc” Hoyte handcuffed, arrested and charged Peter Moore on Friday night to lead St Thomas to their first ever veterans title when the National Sports Council (NSC) Inter-Parish Road Tennis Championships finals served off at the Springer Memorial School.
After watching his partner Charles Taylor labour to a hard-fought 21-23, 21-18, 21-18 win over Christ Church’s Ian “Chicken” Yearwood, Hoyte a police officer, manhandled Moore in a 21-16, 21-14 whipping to bring the curtain down on an enjoyable night of tennis.
Ezekial Ward had earlier given Christ Church their first title of the championships, when he steamrolled pre-tournament favourite Justin Hinds of St Michael, 21-11, 21-14 to win the 15-and-Under division.
St George’s Kim Holder also confirmed her status as the island’s best female player, when she stopped veteran Sandra Bailey of St Michael in straight sets, 21-13, 21-16, to capture a third successive title.
But the night belonged to Hoyte, who entertained the appreciative crowd on hand which included Minister of Sport Stephen Lashley, Deputy Director of the NSC, Neil Murrell and Assistant Director of Sport at the NSC, Mona Alleyne, along with thousands who watched the event live on CBC TV Channel 8.
Hoyte regularly evoked rapturous applause and laughter from those present, with his stylish play and theatrics, comically posing after blasting several balls past a hapless Moore.
He was in control from the opening serve, winning the first four points of the game off his opponent’s service.
The first pose came with the score at 11-6, after Hoyte whizzed a powerful backhand drag past a stationary Moore.
An identical shot followed soon after, as he extended his lead to 14-7, as shouts of “pig him!, pig him!” echoed around the court.
Hoyte was on stage now, literally, and Moore could only look on as another ferocious backhand drag rocketed past him to carry the score to 17-9.
In fact, the final scores did no justification to Hoyte’s dominance, as he committed numerous unforced errors as he tried to finish off his opponent in style with the outcome a foregone conclusion.
It allowed Moore’s scores to reach some measure of respectability despite being outplayed and outclassed.
The second set was much the same, with the robust Hoyte rushing out to a 8-4 lead, mainly through the use of some cheeky serves which Moore struggled to return.
This time it was his forehand doing the executing, as he regularly pounded past his opponent at will to open up a seven-point lead (15-8), before predictably wrapping up the contest in straight sets.
“Everything went according to plan, although to be honest I didn’t expect it to be this easy,” a smiling Hoyte told SUNDAY SPORT.
“We always thought that Peter [Moore] was the easier of the two players, so I always had confidence that Ricky would pull us through,” his elated, but tired looking partner Taylor pointed out.
The winners walked away with a trophy, $1 200 and two cell phones, while the runners-up won a trophy and $950.
Ward, a 12-year-old student of the Deighton Griffith School, wrote his name in the history books by becoming the first winner of the newly-formed division.
His victory over Hinds may have come as a surprise to some, but not to the slim left-hander.
“I told myself I just had to figure out what his weakness was, and when I realized it was his backhand, I just kept the ball there all the time,” he explained.
He never relinquished his 10-2 lead in the opening set, and although Hinds mounted a brief comeback in the second, Ward kept his composure to emerge victorious.
He won a trophy, a $200 gift voucher and a cell phone for his efforts, while the 15-year-old Hinds took home a trophy and a $100 gift voucher.
It was another predictable win for Holder, despite a valiant effort from Bailey, a former women’s champion.
“I had really planned to give her two sows and send her into retirement, but it didn’t go to plan so I just played for the win,” a beaming Holder revealed, while posing with her trophy, $1 000 and tablet.
Bailey received a cell phone for her second-place finish.

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