Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Doubles Club Championships

‘A’ Draw: Kirk breaks a 10 year drought –
As dominate as Kirk Haggarty has been in the singles event, the last time he won the Doubles Club Championship was way back in the year 2000. Back then he paired up with John Birgbauer. For the last handful of years, it’s been the hard hitting Mike Eugenio but up until now, success has eluded them. Their nemesis for the past 2 years has been Peter Logan and John Birgbauer and once again they would have to get by this pair to take the title. Both teams reached the final comfortably with 3-0 victories in the semi. Very little separated the teams. The first game went to overtime with Eugenio / Haggarty coming away with the 1-0 lead. They also won the second game to take a 2-0 advantage which is a huge hurdle to overcome if you are chasing – no matter who you are. Still, Logan / Birgbauer picked up their game in the third and narrowed the gap to extend the match to a fourth. This too, went to a tie-break. At 16-17 down, the Eugenio / Haggarty team ripped off a couple of outright winners (whether they were on purpose or not depends on who you ask!) to close out the game 18-17 and claim the title of 2010 DAC Doubles Club Champions. Congratulations lads!

‘B’ Draw: Experience triumphs over youth –
Ryan Bendzinski and Rich Stimson went into the B draw as defending champions and the number one seed. They had little trouble reaching the final again, losing only one game in their first round against Mike Hayden and Jay Poplawski, and after a convincing 3-0 victory over Peter Shumaker and Paul Doherty in the semi, it appeared a repeat was on the cards. But of course nothing is a given and the John Dunwoody / Chris Terry team are experienced and play together regularly which is a huge plus for any successful doubles pair. They reached the final easily enough winning both of their encounters 3-0. The final went over an hour, took 5 games, and was decided in the tie-break. At 13-13 in the 5th, the call was made for a 5-point tie-break. I am sure the Bendzinski / Stimson team felt confident that the longer the match took the better chances they had - especially against older opponents. However, maybe it was nerves, maybe they tensed up, but whatever the reason, they failed to win one more rally. Dunwoody / Terry won the 5th game 18-13 on a 5-point tear. No mistakes, playing steady, a little more conservative: a little experience goes a long way. [Picture: The B finalists]

‘C’ Draw: New, young blood makes some noise –
Andy Housey is not new to the doubles game. But his partner – Anthony Fracchia – was. Anthony’s doubles experience was literally non-existent. He had to learn during the tournament which is a difficult thing to do. The doubles ball does not bounce or move like a singles one. I once played a pro-am at the BAC against a top 15 world ranked singles player who had never played doubles before. On the first serve he tried to receive, he whiffed completely. As the pro on his team, he was the weaker link. So, I can imagine how Anthony must have felt initially. Full credit to him though, he picked it up relatively well. Reaching the final they were up against the lot more experienced team of Joe Moran and Peter Fortune. Moran / Fortune didn’t drop a single game on the way to the final, and on paper, with their knowledge of the game, I gave them the edge. But what Anthony lacks in doubles “know-how” he makes up for it in speed and determination. Putting that together with Andy Housey’s somewhat awkward technique that can half the time bite him on the rear end or, on the other half, turn into gold, the team can be unpredictably dangerous. On this day, experience did not triumph over youth. It was close, but Housey / Fracchia earned themselves a well fought 3-1 win and the C doubles title.


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