Monday, January 7, 2013


When I wrote an article advertising the Farris Cup a month ago, I used words such as: “annihilation”; “slaughter”; “extermination”... Well, after Saturday, here are a few more: Decimation. Cataclysm. Ruination. Butchery. Need I go on?

By now, many of you have heard about the result of the 9th Annual Farris Cup versus the Birmingham Athletic Club. Before I get into into what happened, just let me go on record saying that the event is a wonderful creation of George Haggarty and Walter Oehrlein (BAC). The concept of the competition is to foster the relationship between the DAC and the BAC with  fierce-but-friendly match-play. Matches that - in the utopian squash world - should all go the distance and be decided in a 5th game tie-break. Of course that would be impossible, but I am sure you get the point. Unfortunately, since 2010, it had been anything but utopian.

There were seventeen matches this year. Fourteen singles and three doubles. Traditionally, the DAC has not performed well in the doubles. We have no argument here. The BAC top players are simply better than our top players. Although, we almost pulled a win out of the bag this year. In the A level, Kirk Haggarty and John Birgbauer took Mike Parks and Dave Cosgrove the distance. A long, excellent 5-setter we found ourselves on the wrong end of. It is not an uncommon theme. The DAC find themselves often falling short of the finish line in 5 set matches. Why? Because we don’t play enough. We cannot expect to win under such circumstances when we step on court sporadically at best, and don’t play events outside of the DAC walls. That’s a discussion for another day, and not the reason for our Farris Cup demise. We went down 3-1 in the Doubles B and 3-0 in the Senior category.

There were two other 5-setter on the day. Eric Green in the 5.0 level lost 3-2 to Terry Barr. It seems to be par for the course for Terry who has gone to 5 games for the past three years, this being the first one he ended up the victor. Eric was disappointed to lose of course but admitted he ran out of gas in the last game. A casualty of the point made above.

Tom MacFarlane performed admirably in his 5 set loss to Alan Howard in the 2.5 level. I had a lesson with Tom a couple of days before the match and laid out a game plan for him (sorry, Alan, but you were representing the enemy!). We were honestly not expecting Tom to win any games, but sticking to the strategy paid off very well. Not enough to take the match, but the well timed drops caught Alan lagging behind often and Tom earned his games.

Let’s sprinkle this report with a little good DAC news. Sante Fratarcangeli was the first player to put a scratch on the win column for us. Playing John Kello, Sante won the first game easily but John then removed his knee brace which appeared to loosen up his body but tighten up his squash for the second to even the score. Sante came out in third with improved length and the result was instant success. He took the game comfortably but again was in a dog fight for the fourth and had to stave off a couple of game balls to eventually take the match 3-1.

DAC Club Champion Pablo Buitron was in the much anticipated bout against BAC number one Jon Uffelman. Jon is a great competitor. Awkward style with a two-handed backhand, very strong (some would say “bullish”), niggly, and doesn’t know when to quit. Pablo is very smooth, quick, has great hands, and seems impossible to fluster. Contrasting approaches and personalities, it was an interesting match. Pablo controlled much of the match and won the first two games comfortably - not easily, but not overly stressful either. For the third, Jon took advantage of a few loose shots and with his ability to hit winners generated a big enough lead to hold off Pablo’s mini comeback. It did look, however, that Jon was tiring. The fourth game went similarly like the first two and Pablo won the entertaining battle 3-1.

Of the eleven other singles matches, one went 3-1, and the remaining ten were 3-0. And we lost every single one of them. Given, a couple of our players carried injuries, but that’s no excuse. If you are on court, you are fair game. Before Sante had won his match, the DAC had already lost the first 10 results and therefore the Farris Cup. The same as last year. For 2013, we lost 2 matches to 15. In the last three years, we have won 8 matches to the BAC’s 39. Now, I don’t have an issue losing, but something is wrong with that scenario.

The Farris Cup is a tradition that should continue. It should continue to include the players from all the levels (2.5 - 5.5), but it should continue as a competitive event. Right now, it’s not. I can assure you that the DAC has no interest in being BAC’s chump year in year out in the name of tradition.

Like on all the articles on The Squash Joint, comments are welcomed and encouraged. I am sure this will generate a few. I ask you keep them civil and constructive.

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