Monday, January 9, 2012


It was BAC’s turn to host this, the 8th running of the Farris Cup. They comprehensively thrashed us last year on our home turf to win the Cup for their second time so it was up to us to hand out a little of their own medicine. As it turned out, the medicine wasn’t working and in fact it appeared we accidentally drank it ourselves.

Ugly is an understatement. The DAC didn’t really have a chance. To say we got off to a poor start is putting it lightly considering that before we won our first match, we had lost the first ten. (We had already lost the event after the eighth.) Naturally, it sounds like a train wreck and looking at the score of 2 wins and 13 losses, it’s tough to think otherwise, but I am still very proud of the effort of our team. Every single player put their heart and soul into the match, and many of the game scores were extremely close.

It’s not quite correct to say we were totally outclassed – certainly the 6 matches we lost 3-0 were a little out of our reach – but we definitely had chances in the other 9. Even the three results we lost 3-1 were very tight contests. But the three matches we lost in 5th-set tie-breaks are the ones that hurt the most. And in each of those matches, the DAC were leading either 2-0 or 2-1 in games. Closing out the opponent was a recurring problem for the day. 

Robin Basil and Andrew Pritchard

Robin Basil has probably never played a racquetball match as long and as tough as this one. His unusual style catches a lot of players off guard and he often gets a jump on his opponents. This was no different as he skipped to a 2-0 lead over BAC’s Andrew Pritchard. But Andrew started to play steadier and was more patient for Robin to hit errors – for which he kindly obliged – and before Robin knew it he was in a 5th game dog fight. Down to the wire, and down for the count as Robin lost that game 14-12.

Anthony Fracchia would have probably lost sleep over 12-10 in the 5th loss to Mike Beauregard. I am not saying that he should have won, but I think he let this victory slip out of his hands. I’m going to put this one down to experience – Mike has been playing squash a lot longer than Anthony, and knowing how to perform in under pressure is paramount is these situations. I didn’t get to watch much of Anthony’s match, but from what I was told, the last 3 rallies were basically unforced errors. That’s not fitness, that’s experience.

There are three doubles matches in the Farris Cup. This was the 8th running of the event, so out of the first seven years, there have been a total of 21 doubles matches. Of those 21 matches, the DAC has won 3. Edition 2012 was no different – we simply can’t catch a break. Bob Thibodeau and Bowden Brown once again grabbed an early lead in the match. However, their opponents just wouldn’t go away. Out lads lead the whole way – except when it counted most: at the end. It was a stinging 18-15 in the 5th defeat and we then went on to lose the other two doubles matches 3-1 and 3-0.

Ironically, our two victories occurred the same way as the close losses. George Kordas tackled Terry Barr and quickly found himself 2-0 down. Terry played John Rakolta last year and found himself in this position as well only to be steamrolled in the final three games. All George needed to do was to extend the rallies a little and keep Terry on court – his fitness would work out the rest. He managed to do just that and eventually ended up with a 3-2 win.

John Rakolta also took his time to get his game going against Eric Machus and had to dig himself of the 2-0 hole he had put himself in. Fitness also came into play in this match. Eric has great hands and skills, but struggles on the long rallies. John scratched his way back into contention with better ball movement and fewer errors to take it to a decider. In a last ditch effort, Eric kept up with John virtually point-for point well into the tie-break. At this stage it’s anyone’s game, and John managed to pull it off 14-12.

Jim Johns (BAC) beat Arnaud Mangin 3-2.
Arnaud lead the match 2-1
Losing 13-2 was painful. Any loss is an exasperating experience. Tie-break losses are especially heartbreaking particularly when you held the lead during the match as well. No one is happy to lose, disappointment is a bitter pill to swallow (washed down by the medicine they drank!) but I don’t believe our spirits were dampened. Once the frustration subsided – and it’s perfectly okay to be frustrated - I am sure a hungrier motivation to do better next time set in.

The BAC must be commended not only for the hospitality, but for their squash game. They won under pressure – we didn’t. It is now up to us to reach the bar to the level they have raised it to. And we can. And we will. Work harder.

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