Thursday, December 15, 2011


I think above all else, I was most surprised that the keg wasn’t emptied! I don’t think I saw the thing without a member or two attached to the lever all evening – which of course was the point. The Beer Challenge managed 29 players, plus a handful of spectators that just came down to enjoy the show. That ‘show’ being the Brien Baker and Matt Jarboe loser-pays-for-the-keg confrontation. But first we’ll cover the other lead up matches. 
Mike Counsman and Eric Green
post match

 Anyone who has been a squash playing member of the DAC for more than a couple of years would have remembered Mike Counsman. A very enthusiastic player and the type of person that gets others involved. Well – I’m extremely pleased to say he’s back. And he’s hardly skipped a beat. Or beer. Or meal. And he still hits a decent ball. My welcome back gift to him was for him play Eric Green. Those two are the perfect match off the court – and as it turned out – on the court as well. Eric won the match 12-10 in the fifth.
Uncle Fester

We had two other 5-setters for the evening. Jeff Jardine squeaked past Frank Giglio and Andy Housey kept his nose just in front of Anil Kathuria. Anil in fact took on double duty which he may have wished he hadn’t signed up for after his first match, but he immediately tackled Mark Monaghan afterwards. He went down 3-0 in that one. Another six matches ended up 3-1, including the one doubles match.

All was set up perfectly for the main attraction. All the other matches were done, the crowd had full cups (were they ever empty?), my camera was ready, all that was left was the action. It is important to note, that it was also Matt Jarboe’s birthday and I’m sure there was nothing more Brien wanted to give him than a gift wrapped bill for the keg.

Brien Baker and Matt Jarboe
 The first game was almost over before the spectators were settled. I don’t think Matt was settled either as many of his shots ended up in the middle just inviting Brien to put the ball away. The 11-4 score was not very surprising. The second however, was a complete reversal. Maybe the first game was too easy and Brien relaxed, but Matt came out as we are accustomed to seeing  him – running every shot down like his life depended on it, almost trying to look as awkward as possible to throw his opponent off their game. It apparently worked and he ran away with the game 11-4.

Now I didn’t see either of the players swig a beer between games (which of course is not part of rules, despite the nature of the event) and in hindsight it was probably a good idea. I cannot imagine what would happen if Matt was anything but sober while Tasmanian-deviling around a squash court like he does. He’d probably end up embedded into a wall.

Despite walking into the third game with all the momentum, Matt found himself once again at odds and ends. Struggling with length and regularly getting trapped behind Brien who was starting to dominate the ‘T’, Matt could only rely on his Houdini-like escapes with death-defying court coverage. All Brien really had to do was keep the ball out of the tin and simply let Matt sprint, dive, scramble, clamber, stampede, charge, plunge, lurch, and hurtle himself from shot to shot. In addition it appeared Matt was becoming frustrated and tenser with every rally. For the most part, Brien was successful just enough and helped along by Matt’s three over-the-back-wall shots in the fourth game alone, took the next two sets 11-8 and 11-7. Just to rub salt into Matt’s wounds a little more, it was Brien’s first win over him in their last 6 matches.  

Not that matters, nor would it be any comfort to Matt, but his team did end up winning overall 8 matches to 6. It was a competition played in the best of spirits, just as all squash events should. A big thank you to the protagonists for putting on a compelling exhibition, and to all the other members for making the atmosphere the reason we do this.
Say "Cheers!"

Search This Blog