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Sando wins Interclub Knockout title
San Fernando ‘A’ was crowned National Interclub knockout champions this past weekend as the curtains came down on ten months of competition. Playing against the Arima Tennis Masters in the final, San Fernando ‘A’ won two rubbers to one. The rubbers entail three sets of matches including doubles and singles.
Both finalists cruised in the semis. San Fernando ‘A’ completed a 2-0 sweep of Anglez Tennis Academy while Arima Tennis Masters battled to a 2-1 victory over UWI ‘A’. In the second round of matches, San Fernando ‘A’ progressed through a default as not enough players from St Augustine Club showed up.
San Fernando ‘A’ consisted of national players Akiel Duke, Jovani Lewis and Shenelle Mohammed. Kristian Valentine, Randy Bailey, Rafeek Mohammed, Shakeel Bernard, Kino Francis and Clif Meade made up the rest of the team.
Overall, eight teams ended the knockout on the final weekend. While first and second places belonged to San Fernando ‘A’ and Arima Tennis Masters respectively, Anglez Tennis Academy placed third. Bailey, who is the chairman of the National Interclub tournament, and a part of the San Fernando ‘A’ team, was both happy and relieved to get to the end of the season. Until this year, interclub tennis in T&T had been almost non-existent for many years. When the tournament was launched back in February, it was hailed as a way for local tennis players to be involved competitively in the sport week in, week out throughout the year. It did just that.
Speaking to Guardian Media Sports on the penultimate day of the competition, Bailey said, “I think it has reignited tennis. We were struggling for a while to get tennis back outside, but this tournament has certainly reignited tennis here in T&T at the club level.”
For Bailey and his team, putting on this tournament has been a logistical headache at times, sorting out fixtures and finding venues, but it was well received by local players, who are now looking for more next year. Bailey further stated, “There have been some hiccups along the way, and some learnings we will take into next year but by and large, it was a really excellent experience bringing the clubs back together.
We were able to get a lot of comradery again so I think going into next year, we will have an even better interclub.”