Thursday, April 21, 2011


Club Championships 2011

Doubles C~~
Lately, there does seem to be more interest in the doubles. Certainly a terrific trend since more competition will only improve the standard. The Doubles C Club Championship draw had 10 teams enter this year, many new faces, and of the 9 matches played, only 2 of them ended up 3-0 which shows how close the contests were.

New kids on the block Sante Fratarcangeli and Jason Trombley paired up without even having played a match before. A daunting task to say the least, but when Jason injured his ankle during the Blitz Tournament in March a replacement needed to be found. Drew Creamer - who does have doubles experience - then stepped in. This proved to be valuable. Sante and Drew pulled out an upset 3-2 win over Bob Bendzinski and Mark Monaghan. Their prize? A match with the top seeded Mike Petix and Paul Flanagan. A second upset was not on the cards as they lost 3-0. Mike and Paul then went on to win their semi final 3-0 as well.

Another first time entrant into the club championship was Harold Kuhn and Mike Ryan. Harold and Mike are not new to the game, but most people in the draw didn’t know them. Early mornings in the week – 6am early that is – you may find them playing a match which is why I had their opponents asking me where they came from. Tom McCarthy and Joe Schaden found out they could hit a good ball too as they fell victim 3-1 in the first round. Harold and Mike were looking formidable and a good possibility of reaching the final but fell short in the semi finals where they lost to last year’s doubles C finalists Joe Moran and Ken Katz 3-1.

Naturally Joe and Ken were attempting to get one step further this year. However Mike and Paul were not exactly pushovers. Certainly being a younger team as well (no offence to Ken and Joe!) made it all the more difficult so tactfully, they had to be consistent and precise. Once again, though, they were pipped at the post. Going down fighting, they lost 3-1 – just like in 2010. Well done to Mike Petix and Paul Flanagan!

Doubles B~~
For the second year in a row the Ryan Bendzinski and Rich Stimson versus John Dunwoody and Chris Terry match-up would decide the final. Back in 2009, Ryan and Rich shocked just about everybody when they won the B draw (beating Al Hibbert and Kevin Parsons 15-11 in the 5th in the final) because no one really considered them a danger. They proved it wasn't a lucky run and also reached the final in 2010 against John and Chris but went down 18-13 in the 5th. Would 2011 be just as close? Before we get to the result, we’ll quickly look at how the two pairs reached the final in the first place. [Pictured right: Rich Stimson, Ryan Bendzinski, John Dunwoody, Chris Terry]

Only 7 teams entered the B draw. Rich and Ryan were given top seeds and had the bye first round so only had to win one match to reach the final. In that match, they played the Shumaker brothers – Peter and Tom. It was a tight, intense affair. The 4 games were all pretty close and Rich and Ryan just happened to end up on the correct side of 3 of them.

John and Chris were given the second seed despite winning last year. This was mainly due to the fact that both of them had been injured for a significant period over the season and were just getting back to match fitness. Despite that, they managed to beat their round 1 opponents 3-0 before tackling last year’s doubles C winners Anthony Fracchia and Andy Housey in the semis. Anthony and Andy put up a good performance but couldn’t quite be consistent enough. John and Chris won 3-1.

True to predictions, the final was close. Very close. John and Chris jumped to an early advantage winning the first two games and for a while it looked as if a comfortable victory was in the bag. But it is easy to relax when you are cruising and lose all the momentum that got you there in the first place. And that’s exactly what happened. Rich and Ryan came storming back to even the score a 2 games apiece and for a third straight year the B final would go to 5. Apart from age, body shape, and everything else you could think of, nothing separated the two teams. All the way to 15-all and one sudden-death point to decide the winners. It was Rich Stimson’s thick frame (his racquet frame that is) that caught the edge of the ball in the final rally to shank a winner just above the tin and end John’s and Chris’ dreams and hopes. 16-15 in the 5th! Well done to Rich and Ryan!

Doubles A~~
For the third year in a row, the Doubles A final had the same protagonists. Peter Logan and John Birgbauer won the event in 2009 in 5 games over Kirk Haggarty and Mike Eugenio, and then lost the final in 2010 in 4 games to the same team. Both pairs had little trouble getting this far, although Peter and John did drop one game in the first round to George Kordas and Eric Green. Edition 2011 had all the markings of a great battle… [pictured right: Peter Logan, John Birgbauer, Mike Eugenio, Kirk Haggarty]

The most surprising thing about the result was not who won because either team stood a great chance to do so, but the score line. 3-0. At least two of the games were close enough to go to the tie-breaker with the other one being all one-way traffic, however I would have thought the games would have been shared around a little. Regrettably for Mike and Kirk, their opponents were in a stingy mood and showed no desire to divide up the spoils. John and Peter took all 3 games and once again will have their names etched for all eternity on the DAC Champions board. Congratulations, fellas!

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