Wednesday, November 7, 2012


Doubles Select Tournament 2012

The goal was to beat the registration record of 36 players. And we did – with 40! A great achievement, but one I was not all that surprised with considering the expansion of all the leagues this season and the significant increase in court usage. I am also going to venture to guess that this year’s draw was the most competitive with 13 of the 19 matches going to 4 or 5 games.
The closest 5-setter I was aware of was the first round match-up of Mike Petix / Chato Hill versus Andy Housey / Jim Thompson. Mike has been a finalist in this event twice, but this year he wouldn’t be getting the chance to compete for the title. Housey / Thompson took the 5th 15-13 only to be cut down in the next round 3-0 by Shail Arora and Bruce Shaw. Unlike Mike, Shail has won this event twice, (he was also a finalist one year with Mike as his partner!), and he had another good opportunity to make it a triple crown if he and Bruce could get through the semi final.

It wouldn’t be an easy task. Greg Rivard hit a bump in the road even before his campaign begun when his original partner had to withdraw with an injury. I almost had to forfeit him out, but managed to convince Jason Trombley to step in at the last minute after he lost his first match 3-0. A good decision it turned out, because with Greg as partner they fought their way through each match with narrow victories. A 3-2 win over Andrew Spohn and Bob Garvey was followed up with a 3-1 victory against Jim Fair and Joe Moran. Meeting Shail and Bruce in the semi, they decided another nail-biter would be only way forward and they took a 3-2 win to advance to the final. Shail’s third title will have to wait another year.

The opposite side of the draw had a favorite emerge rather early on. When I was taking registrations for this event, a Mr. Frank Willard called me to play. I had heard the name, but had never met him and had never seen him on court. He informed me he used to play many years ago and thought this would be a great chance to get back into it again. A wise choice, Mr. Willard. I matched him up with Kevin Kennedy. Another wise choice, this time by Mr. Joint. Frank as it turns out is a very capable player. The ten year or so hiatus from the game didn’t appear to dull his on-court senses very much and it was obvious he knew the angles and had the technique. Sure, he may have been a little rusty, but nobody was going to stop this duo from running the table.
(let to right) Frank Willard, Kevin Kennedy,
Jason Trombley, Greg Rivard

They did not win every match 3-0. Patrick Petz and Ted Morris snagged a game from them in the quarter finals, and in the final itself, Greg and Jason scared them a little by pinching the first game 15-11. In fact, from the few rallies I witnessed in the final, Greg and Jason held their own pretty well. The points were well contested – Greg pounding the ball well and covering the front court with Jason digging shots out of the back with nice length designed simply to keep them in the rally. But eventually, the steadiness and consistency of Frank and Kevin would prove too much. They took the next three games 15-9; 15-11 and 15-10 and undoubtedly deserved the victory.

Congratulations to the winners – I hope Frank will continue to swing his racquet and join the league. He would be a fantastic addition to the growing program. Now that he has knocked some of that rust off, he really shouldn’t allow it to accumulate again!

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