Friday, May 4, 2018

BEST SOLO PERFORMANCES OF 2018


2018 DAC Singles Club Championships

Age. They say it’s just a number. I like to remind my wife that she is older than I am. Unfortunately, appearances contradict that seemingly irrelevant fact and virtually anyone who has functioning eye-balls would never think it were true. They also say you are as old as you feel. That would explain the desperate urges I have at the end of the work week to drive my car home at walking speed, play bingo, eat dinner at 5pm, and search for retirement flats in Florida.

Looking over the list of singles finalist this year, this “age” thing haunts me. In 2005 – my first year at the DAC for the club championships – I was younger than all the finalists except for 2… this year, I am older than all the finalists except for just one! Makes me want to hoist my pants up to my armpits, yell cranky insults to my neighbors, and join an aqua-aerobics class.

2.5 – The Young Guns
There used to be a time when I could get up at 5.30am, go for a run, play some squash, go to school, head to the courts, play more squash, play a league match, then go to bed late and repeat the curriculum the following day. Now, I’d be lucky to get through the above list in a calendar year. The young up and comers of the club grudgingly remind me of days past as now I am one of those geezers that can only spit out the snide remarks of, “back when I was your age…” or, “I remember one time many, many years ago…” The 2.5 category is getting crowded with baby-faces, and this year they were not bowing down to their elders in respect.

This wasn’t the biggest draw, but 25 players is still a decent amount. Let’s skip to the quarter finals where all four match-ups featured one aforementioned “up and comer” versus a more seasoned… ‘veteran’ of the game. Pacing one’s self is overrated, and the more inexperienced players will tend to blindly run after any and every ball regardless of their physical status at the time. Mark Montgomery was a perfect example. Mark would be on the ‘veterans’ side of the equation here, and he wasn’t complaining but more stating a fact, that he would be winning the games against Andrew Peleman but simply couldn’t close them out and he’d fade away as Andrew continued motoring through. If only the games were to 8 instead of 11, right? I didn’t get the run down from all the quarter finalsJust , but it would be a pretty safe bet that similar story lines would have come out. In all the matches, the younger player got through.

My secret hope would be for Julie Vande Vusse to reach the final. It would be terrific to have the first woman represent us for next year’s Farris Cup. Unfortunately that scenario is now unlikely and we can all thank Colin Casey for that! Colin of course only thought about himself in this situation, no consideration for the good of the sport as a whole, and he selfishly won his semifinal against Julie 3-1. Maybe we can make him wear a skirt…? Colin actually did extremely well to get to the final. He certainly wasn’t seeded to, and he was probably just as surprised as everyone else!

His opponent would be Andrew Peleman. At least I think its Andrew. His brother Matt could turn up for all we know and we’d be none the wiser… maybe they tag-teamed in the middle of matches and swapped out after each game to keep fresh…? Andrew had an all-out battle royale with Henry Gembis in his semi, a bone-breaking, lung-smashing, brain-exploding, gut-spilling 12-10 in the 5th blood-bath.

Strangely, although Andrew and Colin share the same club ranking they have actually never played each other. Were we in for more carnage? Depends on who you ask. Colin would say it was an annihilation of sorts, a slaughterhouse that would match the infamous movie “House of a 1000 Corpses”. Andrew, on the other hand, may describe it as “just a normal Thursday”. In his nonchalant manner, Andrew, in passing, politely reported his 3-0 win, clearly an over the top outburst for just becoming a club champion!

3.0 – More Young Guns
This was the largest of the draws for the club championships with 27, and once again we were witnessing the barely out of teenage years spring chickens run roughshod over their cherished seniors. There was no easy path to the final, no favorite that was making a statement, 17 of the 25 matches played (that does not include the final) went either 3-1 or 3-2.

Shout out here to Han Peng. Han won the 2.5 category last year and has continued to steadily improve. His first round was against none other than Boo-Super-Bat-Captain-Steffen-America-Man-Yah-Dude… and it was a rip-roaring 5-set 12-10 in the 5th donnybrook with Han defeating the humbled Dewey who then decided wining a title on the racquetball court would be an easier task as he headed off towards court 3, glove in hand. Han then took down the second seeded Mike Ottaway 3-1, a victory that Han admitted surprised even himself.

Heading into the quarter finals, Han would have to clash with one of his new nemeses in Mario Ferrini. Mario is relatively new to the game and is another one of those “young” people. He is learning quickly, and has already proved himself to be a force to be reckoned with for this event, as he brushed aside a couple of other “young” members in rounds one and two with 3-1 wins. This score line was also 3-1, but by the looks on their faces between games, it probably felt like they played 15 games instead of just 4. Mario pulled through, and continued that momentum in the semifinal as well with his fourth 3-1 victory, this time over Mike Parker.

Meeting Mario in the final would be Mack Gembis. Mack’s journey to this point was even more treacherous than Mario’s. His quarter final was tough enough against the number one seeded Jeff Frost and he scraped past that 3-2, his younger legs getting him over the finish line. Those young legs wouldn’t be much of an advantage in his semifinal since Brandon Tasco owns a similar model of them. The two tested them out to their full capacity, Mack taking a 2-0 lead before Brandon fought back to 2-all, only to have Mack close it out in the 5th.

The final Mack v Mario would potentially be another barn-leg-burner, and another final between two members that haven’t met on a squash court before. The potential never materialized. Mack probably figured it was easier to win 3-0 rather than to drag it out into some romper-stomper 5-set brouhaha. Mario didn’t quite know what hit him, and before he could absorb the assault, Mack was shaking his hand for the 3-0 win. In Mario’s own words: “I got killed!

3.5 – Semi-Young Guns
But no less competitive. Let’s start with Rich Stimson. Rich has been a staple item in the DAC squash world since I started here, but he has yet to win a singles club champs title. The closest he has come was losing the final of the 3.5 in 2009 to George Kordas. Always a fiery contender, Rich will not go down without a fight, a stubbornness that it a very helpful virtue to own. No easy victories for Rich on his path to the final, a 3-1 win in the first round was followed up with his scariest moment against Scott Beals who almost knocked him out in 5, and then a solid 3-1 shake down against the second seeded Jay Poplawski in the semis.

His opponent would be Brian Ellison. A season of comebacks of sorts, Brian struggled with an injury last summer but has managed to return with almost no ill-effects and has put up some decent results as proven with this event. That being said, he did almost stumble in round 1, almost crashing out in 5 to Patrick Petz who no doubt drove him half way to the nut house with his backhand drops. That constant ball placement into the front corners undoubtedly prepared Brian for his next opponent – Paul Van Tol – who is also no stranger to taking the ball in short every chance he gets, and sometimes every chance he doesn’t get. Since Brian was half way to the looney bin already, Paul did everything he could to send him the rest of the journey. He almost succeeded but Brian saved himself from being committed with another 3-2 victory. That experience perhaps made the semifinal match against Joey Gaylord seem like a Sunday morning stroll, a more conventional style that still made Brian work hard enough to overcome, but didn’t twist his brain into somersaults. Brian 3-1.

Stimson v Ellison… there haven’t been any recorded results between these two players either. Rich took control of the match early. And Brian struggled. He couldn’t find his timing, he couldn’t find his length, he couldn’t find any answers. Rich was not letting him off the hook – at least for the first 2 and half games and he raced to a 2-0, 8-4 lead in the third. Three points from the end, the tables, for some unknown reason, turned. Maybe it was because Brian had nothing left to lose, and threw caution to the wind. Who knows? Rich certainly couldn’t place his finger on it. But the comeback was in the works and before Rich knew what was happening the roles reversed. Then tiredness set in the longer the match lasted. By the 5th game Brian had all the control and it was just a matter of finishing the job. Rich was so close, but it was Brian getting away with the 3-2 victory!

4.0 – At Last… A Veteran!
Thank you, John Roarty! Defying the odds, going against all the trends, John Roarty has given all of us “old” players some whisper of hope that all is not doom and gloom. I was certainly skeptical of John reaching the final even though I had him seeded second, seeing that he would have to beat John Rogers in the semifinal to get there. I figured John Rogers would out-run him, just keep him on court too long. However, underestimation is a dangerous ploy and he may have forgotten that John Roarty can actually put the ball away if you hand him the opportunity to do so. Keeping the ball in play is one thing, but you still have to hit tight. John Rogers will take this 3-1 loss as a learning experience no doubt, but at least he can take some comfort that he did beat John Roarty in the Doubles B final a month ago.

David de la Torre and John Roarty
On the other side of the draw we have the man of a thousand nicknames – the buzz-saw in David de la Torre. The hard hitting Rico Suave – I mean David – tore through the top half with a strong 3-1 win over Mike Petix and then a convincing 3-0 mauling of Brian Bartes. Nacho Libre has been progressing consistently this season, he loves to hit the ball hard and low, and if he could eventually incorporate an effective short game, he could be challenging the higher levels very quickly and effectively too. He would need to be careful with John though, the wily veteran would have learnt plenty about his game in their recent box ladder encounter that El Chapo won 3-2. It’s the only time they have played each other.

El Macho was ready. Straight away, he applied the pressure to John, ready to jump on any and all of his drops, any and all of his tricky angles, and any and all of his beers he had sitting outside the court. There wasn’t a lot John could do, and even though he couldn’t match the form he displayed in his semifinal, credit must also be given to El Guapo for not allowing him to either. He wasn’t taking any prisoners and it was a quick 3-0 victory to the Ecuadorian!
 
4.5 – Young-ish Guns
I’ll start off here by tipping my hat to Dane Fossee. Dane may be a little insulted, but based on his performances this season – which have been erratic at best – I wasn’t overly convinced on his ability to reach the final. He proved me wrong. I am sure though, Dane had every bit of confidence in himself to win, which of course is the more important factor. What I think is inconsequential. In my (poor) defense, Dane didn’t exactly breeze through his half of the draw. His first match was a 3-2 win over Brien Baker and his semifinal win was another 3-2 win, this time against Chuck Hamill. Hitting form at the right time is what it’s all about, clearly Dane was using his Boasters League matches as a simple tune-up and adjustment period for the big time tournaments. This would be Dane’s first time in reaching a club championship final.

Standing in his way to the title was JC Tibbitts. JC hasn’t won a club championship title either, but he was a finalist in 2014. There he lost the 2.5 final to John Mann, a result I am sure John has never let JC forget. JC had very little trouble reaching the final here, not losing any games. His 3-0 win in the semifinal against Jay Bonahoom made a compelling argument that JC should head into the final against Dane as the favorite. Jay had been playing rather well and prior to the semifinal had beaten JC 3 out of last 5 times they had played.

Dane Fossee and JC Tibbitts
Dane and JC had also never played each other… oh hang on, check that. They play each other all the time… In fact, they have 21 recorded results with JC holding a 12-9 margin. In reality, this could go either way. In arguably the best match of the evening, the two put on a show that kept many viewers away from the Open final which was being played at the same time. Dane skipped to a 2-0 lead and it looked like he was about to pull off an unlikely 3-0 whitewash. But JC wasn’t done. He couldn’t possibly allow Dane to get away with such an easy victory – he had only lost to Dane 3-0 once before and was almost 2 years ago - and he scratched his way back into the contest. Slowly but surely, JC narrowed the margin, then evened it up at 2 games each, applying the pressure directly back onto Dane’s shoulders. Pushing through the exhaustion, Dane responded in a last ditch effort for the 5th and stepped up to the task. A fully deserved victory, Dane claimed his first DAC club champ title!

5.0 – Younger Guns Again
If I had a second hat, I would tip this one to Chris Van Tol. Chris won the 4.5 club championships last year with a superb 3-2 win in the final over Mark Gregory. Definitely earning his card into the 5.0, I knew he could be competitive, but I truly didn’t think he would reach the final.

His first round was tough enough, Colin Bayer can be an awkward customer but Chris is somewhat of a bugaboo for Colin since he has never lost to him. He almost did here, but almost doesn’t get you the win. Chris’s 3-2 win then had him up against the number 1 seed Andy Adamo who lost the final 11-9 in the 5th last year to Blake Ellis and was certainly looking to go one better this year. Regrettably for Andy, he fell ill at the wrong time (when is there a right time to get sick…?) and Chris took advantage. For the record, Chris has beaten Andy before, so it wasn’t as if this was a freak upset anyway.

The semifinal was then against Steve Brown which mentally would have been the more difficult challenge. In the 3 previous meetings, Chris has never beaten Steve, in fact he had only won 1 game total. Steve took out the dark horse of the event Tom MacEachern 3-2 in the quarter final, showing that his new svelte figure is paying dividends. Except Chris wasn’t intimidated and he was ready. Ready for pay-back. In what must have been an awfully satisfying performance, he sliced and diced himself to a 3-0 victory and a spot in the final. I doubt the performance was as satisfying for Steve.

Riley English and Chris Van Tol
Riley English is the new(ish) kid on the block in this division, Fast runner, hard hitter, he is another player that could well use an active short game to seriously advance his game – a short game I know he is working on since I see him regularly on the coaching court! Riley’s track to the final was not easy either. His first round win was in 5 tough games against Mark Gregory before taking care of Paul Ward 3-1 in the semifinal. Paul eliminated the other dark horse of the category – Jason Currie – in three straight games – a result that raised the eye-brows of most of us based on the hot form Jason carried with him into this tournament.

Riley and Chris have played 3 times with Riley winning twice. On paper, again I have to lean towards Riley, but Chris keeps on defying me so I’m leaning towards Riley only slightly. More an uncertain head tilt. The first game took 4 hours… or it seemed to. We were wondering in the crowd if they had actually played the first game already and decided to continue without rest for the second, but no, the first game was ongoing. Riley was demonstrating just how fast he can be, reaching some drop shots he had no business being anywhere near, extending some rallies that should have ended multiple shots prior. Chris ended up winning that game 18-16, but at what price? In a classic example of “losing the battle, but winning the war”, the effort Chris had to exert for game 1, cost him dearly in games 2, 3 and 4. Riley didn’t slow down much – and I actually witnessed a couple of drop shots from him (!) – he could see Chris was tiring. He still put up a grand effort, but he couldn’t stop the freight train that was Riley English. 3-1 to the speedster!

Open – The Same Ol’ Guns
It’s no surprise that the Open final will once again – for the 4th consecutive year – be between Vikram Chopra and Jed Elley. These two have certainly been our standouts over the years, and so far Jed has slight edge winning two club championship titles to Vikram’s one. Of course they have alternated wins over the years and if that is anything to go by, Vikram should have the upper hand this time.

Jed Elley and Vikram Chopra
There were no upsets in this category, although there were a couple of very close almost upsets. Life may be treating him spectacularly in Montana these days, but maybe his squash has taken a fraction of a dive, Peter Logan was close to bowing out in his first match but he survived the huge scare against George Kordas escaping with a 3-2 victory. The other ‘shocker’ would have changed the final. Jed Elley was cruising against Robin Basil in the semifinal, 2-0 up and sniffing distance from victory in the 3rd before it all came crumbling down for the next two games. Robin found inspiration somehow, Jed forgot how to win for a while and before either knew what was happening, it was 2 games all. Luckily for Jed, he found his sanity in the 5th and made sure he finished out the match in proper fashion.

There are 8 recorded results between Jed and Vikram. And it stands 4 wins apiece. Predictions? Reluctantly, I’ll put my neck out and forecast an Elley win… which may have just condemned him. The first game we saw Jed in control. Sharp movements into the front corner, enough patience to keep the ball tight, making sure of the ‘winning’ shots when the opportunity presented itself. Vikram on the other hand seemed to have a little trouble keeping it close to the walls, and was taking the ball in short too early in the rallies. Jed looked in command at 1 game to zero.

From the second game onwards, the style of the squash changed. Not really from Vikram’s point of view – he continued to play his hard hitting ways, but more from Jed’s perspective. For some reason, he was sucked into the fatal trap of trying to out-hit his opponent. Not too many players in this club – if any, and including myself – hit the ball harder than what Vikram can. But Jed sure did try. Unfortunately, his length and tightness suffered terribly and what was thoughtful squash one game ago turned into a slugfest now. You simply cannot leave the ball loose for someone of Vikram’s power – he will put it away. And he did.

It was a spiral downwards and Jed could not stop the rot. Vikram pounced on all the loose shots, Jed was left with little option but watch the ball rip past him for winners. The last 2 games were not very close, Vikram was in charge the whole way, and he was the better player on this occasion, fully earning the 3-1 win. Congratulations to Vik for claiming his second DAC Club Championship title!



An outstanding night of finals squash! Well done to all the winners and finalists – and remember, your job isn’t yet complete. You all get to represent the DAC at next year’s Farris Cup where we need you all to step it up even more to beat those challengers from the BAC. Keep swinging your racquets over the summer!

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

THE BEST COMBOS OF 2018


2018 DAC Doubles Club Championships

Doubles activity is up. Not exactly a news-flash to those who are playing since the experience of attempting to arrange a convenient match time with 3 others is made difficult enough when coordinating everyone’s most important schedules, but then discovering the time you have decided on is already booked… it can test the patience of the most mild-mannered Dalai Lama. (I’m sure that’s why he doesn’t play.) It also tests the limit of my in-box and delete button as I am privy to most of the e-mail chains that bounce around endlessly. Do we need a second doubles court…? A record breaking 36 teams entered this year’s doubles club championships and with that we could expand the event into 4 categories. Let’s see who picked their partners wisely…

Doubles C
Joe Moran and Ken Katz. Need I say more? What would the Doubles C draw be without them? It may drop the average age somewhat, but you would be hard pressed to find a pairing in this category that knew the angles better, knew all the tricks in the book better, and knew all the catch phrases to “Howdy-Doody”. The first time the Moran / Katz team graced the C final was way back in 2010 where they lost to Andy Housey and Anthony Fracchia. Another loss in the 2011 final, and then a reversal of fortune in 2012 when they finally picked up their first title. Four years later they repeated the win, and now once again in 2018, they were vying for their third. To reach the final this year, Moran / Katz won the 2 matches 3-0 and 3-1. On paper (at least), it certainly appeared the trifecta was well within reach.

Trying desperately to deny the veterans would be first time finalists Justin Winkelman and Tom Bejin. I’m not sure how well versed Justin and Tom are with Howdy-Doody, but luckily it wasn’t a skill that was needed against Curt Pedersen and Bruce Shaw in their first match. I think Curt and Bruce may have had the edge on that anyway. It was a royal shoot-out between the teams with Justin and Tom re-holstering their smoking racquets as the last team standing 3-2. It must have given them a boost in confidence, since the semifinal against Steve Murphy and David Pontes was – I am told – tough, but Winkelman / Bejin held strong to take all 3 games.

After a 753 e-mail train, a time was set for the final. Katz / Moran would have to rely heavily on their experience although both have be known to hustle down the ball pretty well too. It was surely the tactic that Winkelman / Bejin wanted to employ – Make. Them. Move. But as it turned out, Ken and Joe held the upper hand from the get go. Nothing was going to stop them from grabbing their third title and they swept the match 3-0!

(Just a quick side note. We didn’t get Howdy-Doody in Australia when I was growing up. We did have “Skippy the Bush Kangaroo” which was our version of “Lassie”. An outback Australian family adopted a kangaroo for a pet and apparently could understand it perfectly. It saved Timmy from drowning in the well every other week.)


Doubles B
Where Ken Katz and Joe Moran have all the squash experience that mere mortals only can imagine, Jeff Rogers and brother John have virtually none. What they do have is very quick feet. And an endless lung capacity which can be attributed to their days as hot-shot soccer players not too long ago. If the DAC had ‘soccer club champions” Jeff and John would be legends. So, there is only one way to get experience and that is by actually playing, and what better place to start than the B division of the club championships.

Based on their speed and athleticism, I seeded them second. Turns out I wasn’t far off. Doubles is a big court to cover and knowledge of angles is of paramount importance. I thought Jeff and John may struggle against the older, more experienced teams but it was not to be. Without dropping a game, the Rogers boys skipped all the way to the final, looking like they were just going for a relaxing stroll through the park.

The other half of the draw was more hotly contested. The Ted Morris and Jon Walton team were in my opinion the team to beat. They had racked up some decent wins over the season and their confidence should have been high. A dangerous first round had them up against last year’s doubles C winners – Jim Stroh and Sean Moran. Jim and Sean are one tournament wonders – the doubles club championships is the only time the pair dust off their squash racquets. They may have wished they dusted them off a little sooner this year. Almost pulling out the upset, but falling few deep breaths short, they couldn’t see the match through the 5th game as Ted and Jon scraped in with a 3-2 victory.

In my mind, I was pretty sure they were going to win the next round too against Al Iafrate and John Roarty - both of whom are relatively new to the doubles court. And in reality, they should have done so. But Al and John ‘stole’ a victory that no doubt left the Morris / Walton team questioning their sanity. Ted and John won the first game, and were up in games 2, 3 and 4 each time by 5-6 points until they reached 13, only to lose each of them 15-14. A tough pill to swallow.

Al and John were unlikely finalists, not the Rogers team cared. It was all the same to them. Jeff and John continued on their merry way and took another matter-of-fact 3-0 win to the bank, cashing it in for a club champion title!

Doubles A
The biggest of the draws, 12 teams were competing for the honors. And being the biggest, it was also the most competitive. Neither of the teams that reached the final had it straightforward, it very easily could been a completely different foursome in the end.

The first finals pair – David “Nacho Libre” - “El Chapo” – “El Guapo” de la Torre / Zac MacVoy trashed talked their way through a 3-1 win over Dane Fossee and Scott Beals in round 1; somehow managed to work out a 3-2 victory over the number one seeded pairing of Paul Ward and Mike Petix; and I can’t imagine the verbal back and forth that was going on and even if I did I surely wouldn’t be able to print it, during the semifinal against John Mann and Colin Bayer. John and Colin got the early jump and had a 2 games to love lead before the lefty-righty combo of de la Nacho-Chapo-Guapo Torre / MacVoy came storming back to shanghai the next three. Could they win one more and go all the way?

Their opponents would be Joey Gaylord and Kevin Thomas. Joey and Kevin are a decent team but can be vulnerable depending on their motivation levels. That level maybe wasn’t at maximum in their first match against Manny Tancer and Dave Walker – who are by no means pushovers and have a ton of experience between them – and Joey and Kevin were extremely fortunate no to be kissing their club championship aspirations bye-bye then and there. No doubt they were squirming at the end, but a 15-13 in the 5th win saw them skulk past and into the semifinals. The kick in the pantaloons pepped them up for that encounter and they were not taking any chances. Shail Arora and Charles Roby could not repeat their quarter final 3-2 performance over JC Tibbitts and Mike LoVasco and were dispatched in 3 straight games.

A fascinating finals match-up: Gaylord / Thomas v de la Torre / MacVoy. There is one recorded result between the two teams and the mental edge goes to Joey and Kevin who won that 3-0 just over 1 month ago. But luckily Dave and Zac have short memories. Or maybe they don’t and they were using it as motivation? Or, maybe a couple of post-match beers were on the line which would spur on the most passive of individual to greater heights? Whatever the inspiration was, Dave and Zac were extremely driven to get their names into the DAC record books. They succeeded in their quest and took the match 3-1, creating the biggest upset of this year’s club championships!

Doubles Open
This rivalry is not that old, but it seems to have morphed into a life of its own. Once again we were left with 2 teams standing that have both won this prestigious sports title and clearly (in their minds at least) is equivalent - if not greater – than Wimbledon, the Stanley Cup, the World Soccer Cup, and the Fossee summer annual back garden ‘bags tournament’ combined.

Jed Elley and Ryan Covell (who have nicknamed themselves “Jed-Co”, a lovely couple’s combo on par with “Brangalina”, or “Kimye”, or “TomKat”) are the current defending club champions but probably still can taste the sourness of their 2016 finals loss that catapulted their opponents into unlikely stardom and kicked off the now dastardly tug-of-war between them.

The two teams staring each other down...
Those opponents? George Kordas and John (JR) Rakolta. (Who have nicknamed themselves the “Blue Chips” for reasons I still can’t understand.) The Blue Chips took down Jed-Co in the infamous final of 2016 where JR literally sacrificed life and limb for the victory and was lucky to escape without having to visit the ER for multiple incidents. Jed-Co handed out some revenge last year when they beat the Blue Chips 3-1 on the way to their title, but it was only in the semifinal. A finals victory would make it all the sweeter.

Both teams dropped just 1 game to reach the final. Reports and comments were coming in from both teams prior to the big match…
Snippets overheard from Vikram Chopra after their semifinal loss to the Blue Chips are pure hearsay and relayed to me from George, so there is probably some self-aggrandizing editing going on, but who am I to judge?: "Happy (tears) because of what Peter and I did coming to the Final Four," Chopra said "playing on a world class stage against Kordas and Rakolta— reppin' our community and the city of Detroit, Sad (tears) because I know this was it.  The Chips have dismantled us, similar to what they did to Haggarty and Eugenio in 16’ before the Legendary Blue Chip championship.... just thinking about what we could have done better, but sometime you just have to tip your hat to the champs.” Peter Logan’s (Vik’s partner) comments to me didn’t exactly echo the same sentiments. Just sayin’.
Ryan Covell on the other hand was more focused in the upcoming contest rather focusing on past successes. Recognizing that the death-defying tactic of planting yourself on court as a human-obstacle paid huge dividends for JR in 2016, Ryan has called upon the same approach for himself this time around (and I am quoting directly with a slight edit): “My prediction is a JedCo victory and somebody will get tagged with an full swing overhand and the ball hits them right in the behind*. It’ll probably be me, but that’s the price of victory. So go ahead fellas. Hit me right in the behind*. I’m ready!!” Ummm.. yeah, Ryan. Whatever rocks your boat I suppose. I did reply to that stating that we will have a spare ball on standby in case we cannot retrieve the first one. (* word edited).


The Champs! Jed-Co all smiles!

It was on. The buildup was complete, now it was to be seen which team could step up and match their rhetoric. In front of a decent crowd itching for fireworks, the two teams put up what we all expected them do – a high quality doubles display, and hearty discussions on the rules of doubles squash. On this day though, Jed and Ryan were clearly on a seek and destroy mission. A tight first game that fell Jed-Co’s way was all that team needed. The rest was waiting for the inevitable. At no time in the next 2 were the Blue Chips threatening any sort of comeback, they were on the receiving end of a good ol’ fashioned whoopin’. The constant pressure applied to them was too great to overcome with Jed-Co’s court coverage and clever angles. The 3-0 win ended their misery somewhat and gave the reigning champs, Jed and Ryan an awfully satisfying victory. Congrats guys! I am happy to report that the spare ball was not needed, although Ryan – it was reported – was practicing hard the day before and was getting a ‘feel’ the possible future pain...
(Photos courtesy of George Kordas facebook account).

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