Monday, October 31, 2011


Doubles Select – 2011

Thirty-four. That’s the largest amount of entries we have had into the Doubles Select Tournament since 2006 when we had thirty-six. It’s an interesting event where we pair up the top ranked player with the lowest, the second ranked player with the second-lowest and so forth. So far, in the 6 years of the event, we have not had one repeat winner. This year, however, the tradition was broken.

With the hardest and longest path to travel, Shail Arora and Bob Garvey unluckily were one of two pairs drawn to play a feed-in match. Since the bracket is completed by me randomly pulling teams out of a hat, it is literally luck of the draw. Shail and Bob were not deterred as they won their first two matches 3-0, then gutted out a ball-belting 3-2 victory against Sean Moran and Sante Fratarcangeli, and then repeated the feat with another 5-set win the semi final over Joe Moran and Tom McCarthy to reach the final. Both Bob and Shail have won this tournament before – albeit with different partners.

Meeting them there was Al and Al. That is, Al Rutledge and Alan Howard. The ‘Al’s’ had a somewhat easier time getting to the final dropping only 1 game in their first two matches and then getting helped along by an unfortunate forfeit in the semi final due to an injury to one of the opposing players. With Al R’s experience and Al H’s power, they looked to be a strong team to overcome in the final.

It was a close match although the game score doesn’t indicate it as such. The ‘Al’s’ had their chances too. A close first game had Shail and Bob taking it 15-12, but it was losing the second game that was the real kick in the stomach. The ‘Al’s’ were 2-0 in the tie-break – playing to 3 – and could not manage to seal the deal and instead of being 1-1 in games were suddenly 2-0 down with an enormous mountain to climb. It proved to be insurmountable, and Shail who is renowned for his speed around the court was not slowing down at all and continued to put pressure on his opponents in the front part of the court with his quick coverage. Of course, when you have a partner like Bob, who pushed them into the back court first with good length, it did make for effective team work.

Congratulations to Bob and Shail, and if they are so inclined, since they play so well together, the Doubles 100 tournament is coming up in January and they would qualify for that event too. Winning both hasn’t been done before…

Al Rutledge, Shail Arora, Alan Howard, Bob Gavey

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