Monday, September 10, 2018

BY THE PAINT OF OUR SQUASH RACQUETS

 Cross Border Challenge - September 8, 2018


I felt it was a little early in the season to run this event, but every year it seems more difficult to find dates that suit both the DAC and Windsor schedules. The Saturday after Labor Day was always going to be iffy… kids are back at school, the summer is almost over, everybody is trying — grudgingly — to adjust to the hectic fall and winter that will no doubt make us wish it was already May once more.

Signups trickled in and eventually we did rustle up enough enthusiastic brave-hearts to defend our Cross Border Challenge title - a purposely beat up, trashed trophy that we have been proudly displaying in our court area for the past 2 years. Fourteen members in all, spread out over 11 singles and 3 doubles matches and as it turned out, it was the closest result between the 2 clubs ever - and we have been running this competition since 2005.
Tom MacEachern and Ryan Guthrie

The DAC got on the board early with Tom MacEachern. His opponent was a young man / lad / boy / junior / whippersnapper who we found out was 18 but seriously I thought was barely out of primary school. I guess when you get to my age, anybody under the age of 25 suddenly appears to me as a wee child that hasn’t yet graduated to the front passenger seat of their parent's car. Ryan Guthrie had a smooth technique, and was pretty darn quick. Not exactly carrying a lot of extra meat on him, I am sure that without his squash shoes on, he may have floated to the ceiling. Tom hung tough though, and was the steadier of the two, executed some rather impressive pick-ups of his own and out-lasted Ryan for a 3-0 win.

Colin Bayer, all the while, was battling it out against Ron Funkenhuaser two courts down and struggled. Appearing to be a little out of sync, Colin was a mixed bag of some accomplished squash and some… let’s say “questionable” decisions. With up and down form - sometimes in the same rally - it of course makes it awkward to gain any sort of momentum. The match went to 5, Ron proved to be the more dependable of the pair on the day and took the win to kick off Windsor’s campaign.

And so the trend for the singles matches was set. Keeping to the script, neither club could assert themselves with any authority. We would win a couple, Windsor would win a couple.

Jeff Frost and Trevor Charles
Only 2 other matches went to 5. Jeff Frost had a great start to his contest taking the first 2 games against Trevor Charles, an opponent who couldn’t decide whether he was right handed or left handed. Then the wheels fell off a little. Jeff, in his ultimate wisdom, somehow managed to smack himself in the funny bone of his left arm with his own racquet which threw him completely sideways. Maybe the numbness reached the co-ordination nodes of his brain, and the 4th game was over before he could sneeze, missing a handful of serves and looking totally dazed. Fortunately, sanity (and feeling) returned for the 5th and Jeff pulled out the 11-8 win, now able to actually laugh at his mishap.

Jay Bonahoom had the unenviable task of playing against the Windsor pro Dave Morrish. Like (just about) all pros, Dave has pretty acceptable racquet skills. If the ball is loose, if you give him time, and even if you don’t, Dave has the ability (go figure) to punish you. He has a great touch, can be awfully deceptive, knows what shot you are hitting even before you step on court for the warm-up, and has years of experience to boot. None of that perturbed Jay it seems. He did a phenomenal job. The one thing that Jay did have on Dave was movement and Jay ran his behind off, forced Dave short often, and took advantage well of open court opportunities. Stretching the veteran pro to 5 games, I did still think - even at 8-all - that Dave was in the driver’s seat based mainly on that experience. And it was the case. Some subtle holds, clever flicks, and the match was suddenly over. But Jay should be very happy with his performance.

From the 11 singles matches we had won 5 of them. It would come down to the doubles.

The first doubles match of the day featured our own veteran (non-pro) John-please-don’t-make-me-hit-a-backhand-Dunwoody and one of our newest additions to the club Max Franklin, a top flight club extraordinaire. They had a tough task against hard hitting Paul Gebrael and Dave Morrish, an imposing combination of brute force and deft touch. Dave is also a lefty, so they were dealing with 2 forehands here. John and Max had their chances. They had glory in the palm of their hands before they fumbled it and let it slip away. One sniff of that prestige was all it took for them to choke on the fumes. The opportunity came at 2-1 up and 14-all in the 4th… a solitary match-ball that was there for the taking but turned out never to be. The 5th game was close but they couldn’t recover as they went own 15-11. Oh well, nothing a beer or two couldn’t solve!
Ian "'Murica!" Edwards and Rich Routley

2 matches left - we had to win them both. First up was Ian Edwards and Bruce Shaw against Carlyle D’Souza and Trevor Charles. And this match could not have been closer. It was another tug-o-war type contest, game for us, game for them, neither team asserting themselves as dominate. Even as the 5th game stretched into the last few rallies, and Windsor held 3 match-balls at 14-12 (and in turn, Cross Border Challenge Title ball), Ian and Bruce somehow managed to frame a winner, squeak out the next point as well to set up the sudden death exchange… It was a short rally. Not an overly pretty rally. An “Oh!-I-hope-I-don’t-hit-the-tin” rally, when suddenly Carlyle hit the tin. And with that we avoided disaster.

Now it was up to Tom MacEachern and the human Nacho, David de la Torre. In their way was Ron Funkenhauser and Arnie Funkenhauser. Winner takes all. It was all on the line. And our boys stepped up big time. Both Tom and Dave have improved their doubles game considerably over the past 12 months and they made their point. Solid first game, was followed by a 15-14 win in the second - the only time in the match where they looked pressured. The third was a stream-rolling performance, it didn’t take long. A statement 3-0 win to finish the day and the DAC survived the closest Cross Border in the 13 year history.

Score? DAC - 7 matches, 27 games won. Windsor - 7 matches, 25 games won. We scraped in by 2 solitary games. Of course, many of our players claimed to be the one who pushed us over the top… Colin Bayer, Jay Bonahoom, even John Dunwoody was trying to make his case. But, as we all know, it was a team effort - every player contributed no matter how their score line ended up. I would like to thank all of our members who made the grandiose effort to play, and for the Windsor team and their pro Dave Morrish for their always extremely welcoming hospitality. We hope to get together again in April for the next episode… if our schedules can synchronize at all! For the record, this was the 21st running of the event. Overall, Windsor hold an 11 to 10 lead.
Go DAC Team!

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER


2018 Summer Leagues Breakdown

I hope you get one good last, long look of the sun. Because before you know it, it will migrate itself south for the winter to torment the lower hemisphere leaving us with only dissolving memories of what it was like. Detroit winters aren’t exactly renowned for its glorious unclouded days so justifiably a good percentage of squash players take advantage of the warmer months and get their fill of fresh air.

This summer on our courts was a mixed bag of results in regards to usage. Overall this year, it’s no secret that we haven’t been able to keep up the trend of the past 13 years, the unfortunate leaving of our assistant pro has had the expected consequence in that category. However, the summer leagues were - comparatively speaking - well attended and as I always say, for the players that kept up their squash over this time period, they have a reasonably large head-start on their counterparts for the start of the 2018-2019 season.

The Doubles League was an 11 week season (or a 10 week season for the Monday group because of the Memorial Day holiday). We one-upped ourselves from the last 2 summers on registrations this time with 48, spread over 4 categories. Like every summer, the allure of good weather, BBQ’s, playing golf, sailing, talking about golf, porch sitting, daydreaming about golf, pool floating, watching golf, and couch vegetating can take over and on occasion it was difficult to find 4 players to even turn up. Keeping that in mind, at times it was frustrating, but overall it was acceptable: 

  • 64 total matches (across all levels) were arranged. 6 of them were not played due to not being able to find enough subs. The good news is that we did not have any no-call-no-shows.
  • For the Monday A league, subs were only required 25% of the time – actually a decent stat! 1 match wasn’t played. 8 matches did not require any subs at all – also an excellent number! Only 2 subs were required in the final 3 weeks.
  • Tuesday B were not as dedicated. Only 1 match wasn’t played, but we needed to find subs 37% of the time. Every single match – except 1 – needed at least 1 sub. Matches were somewhat competitive as only 7 of the 21 matches ended up 3-0. Bruce Shaw ended up with the most points in this group, but since he played 13 matches, it would have been difficult not to!
  • The Wednesday Open group struggled a little. For some reason, the hardest level to manage is this one, the top players seem to want to enjoy their summer more than the rest of us. 3 of 11 matches did not get played, subs were needed 38% of the time, and every single match required at least one sub. In fact 8 of the 11 matches needed at least 2. Can’t argue with the competitiveness though – none of the matches that were played were 3-0.
  • The easiest group to supervise were the Wednesday C league. 1 match wasn’t played, and only 6 subs were needed for the whole season (13%)! Six of the matches didn’t need any sub at all, and just 3 results ended up as 3-0.

The singles league stretched out all the way through to Labor Day. Since all matches are self-schedule and everybody can play as much as they please, whenever they please, why not keep the thing running all summer long? Reward the dedicated I say! I really like this format and it encouraged many groups of members to consistently arrange matches on a weekly basis. Hence, we blew last year’s match record out of the water: 

  • 99 players were registered this year. I was a little disappointed with that as I was hoping to get at least 100 if not 110. Still, 9 teams of 10 and 1 team of 9 is pretty darn good for the summer.
  • We had an amazing 636 total matches completed. That’s up from last year’s 502 matches – or a 26% increase. We averaged just under 40 matches a week.
  • Team 8 played 224 matches, or, 35% or the overall total. Team 8 also played the most last year.
  • Team 8 broke all kinds of records. Amongst them, they are the first team ever in the summer league to complete a full round (45 matches) and receive the 10 point bonus. They completed 35 matches in round 2.
  • Paul Gormley and Matt Turnbull (Team 8) played each other 26 times. Matt is a glutton for punishment on this one – he only won 4 of those matches. 
  • Paul Gormley scored 322 individual points overall. He played 79 matches. Next best was Matt Turnbull with 235 and Jon Diewald right on his tale with 231.
  • 8 players on Team 8 scored over 100 points.
  • Team 3 only played 6 matches. Ugh.
  • 16 players did not play any matches. Also a big “Ugh…!” This one hurts the most.

Half of Team 8! Jon Diewald, Alex Nitsche, Paul Gormley, Sam Fogleman, Matt Turnbull


Congratulations to all the winners – and a big special mention (again) to Team 8 for their incredible performance. The results will be posted outside court 8 for a couple of weeks, so be sure to check out the numbers.

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!

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