Club Championships 2013~~
The Club Championship finals pretty much indicate the conclusion of the 2012-2013 season. And it’s been a ripsnorter. More players, higher usage, better competition, unparalleled camaraderie… every year just gets better and better. Momentum is building, and we should all do our dandiest not to slow it down. We even had an increase in numbers for the May box ladders which is awesome! We crowned seven club champions on May 2, some repeat, some first timers, but all now with the right to brag.
2.5 – Right Said Ted
I don’t expect Ted Morris to be prancing around the corridors singing “I’m too sexy for my forehand”, but he can strut about with his head held high as this year’s 2.5 champion. It was not an easy path to victory either and we could very easily be talking about someone else. But he escaped by the skin of his teeth in his second match against the quickly improving Jay Bonahoom 13-11 in the 5th. These types of wins can commonly be attributed to luck when they are that close and it was all Ted needed to make sure the next couple of results were more clear-cut. A semi final 3-0 victory over Jeff Huebner (who also won his second round 3-2 over Bruce Shaw) had him in the final against Jason Trombley.
Jason’s run was even a little tougher than Ted’s. He had to endure another 5-gamer in his second round against Josh Gershonowicz before tackling the top seeded Chris Moyer. Chris has been another quick learner this season but couldn’t get past Jason and he went down 3-1.
Even though the final was just 3 games, it was a lot closer than that. Tight scores, only a couple of points separated the two through each game, Ted made sure that luck played no part in it, though. He took all 3 games.
3.0 –Wreckin’ MacEachern
To make myself sound like a broken record, Tom MacEachern is one more squashie on the fast progression track. Not even 3 months ago, he bulldozed his way to victory in the 2.5 category of the DAC Classic and he’s not just ‘stepping up’ to the 3.0, he’s literally bludgeoning passed it. Apart from his first round match that went to 4 games against Anil Kathuria, he has not been spending too much time on court dispatching opponent after opponent. Two 3-0 victories in his next matches had him in the final where he met up with the speedy Shail Arora.
Shail also had been wasting little time dispatching his challengers. All of his victories on the way to the final were 3-0 – and that included a win against Tom’s father Len. I’m not sure if spanking one’s Dad is motivation for revenge or just tasty fuel for in-family fun-poking but either way, Tom would have to win to make use of it. Shail could not nullify the Tom MacEachern freight train as he ploughed through with another 3-0 scalp. Not only can Tom boast about his win at the club, but also at home.
3.5 – Sante Fun-day
On any given day. That’s another line I’ll probably repeat later on in the article. Many results in the 3.5 category could have gone the other way, with tight 4 and 5-set matches littered throughout. Because of that, it’s difficult to label any of the results as ‘upsets’. Tom Healy produced the first (non)-upset of the division with a 3-2 victory over David Devine only to be bumped out the next round against Josh Slominski also in 5 games after coming back from a 2-0 deficit. Josh then went on to lose in the semi final against Paul van Tol 11-9 in the 4th after he was 1 game up and leading the second. Ahh, the “what-ifs” and “could-have-beens”…
The other side of the draw only had one 3-0 result. The closest match of the half was between two rivals that have no shortage of trash talking and are not shy about it either: Sante Fratarcangeli and Elliot Shafer. It was a battle they’ll be telling their grandkids about. Elliot certainly had his chances, he was leading 2 games to 1 and had match ball in the fourth, but Sante is nothing if not stubborn. Coming back to win that game 12-10, he also fought back from 9-6 down in the fifth to extend it into a long tie break. Desperation squash, Sante pulled it out 15-13. Now he had to step up to tackle Paul. And he did so using his speed well towards the front of the court where Paul likes to use sharp angles. Sante took the final 3-1. On a side note, 12 months ago, Sante won the 3.0 division, and 12 months before that was a finalist in the 2.5. His development has been steady. Will we see him in the 4.0 final next year? Sante is thinking bigger. He’s aiming for the 4.5.
4.0 – Adlhoch Rocks
It was a much anticipated match-up. Phil Pitters and Scott Adlhoch must have played each other hundreds of times over the past number of years. They know each other’s game like the inside of their own shorts, can read each other’s mind like an old married couple, and trash talk each other like… well like an old married couple. Believe it not, not one single match of theirs has meant anything (other than pride), meaning they have never played each other in league, box, or a tournament before. Until now. Here they meet in the final of the 4.0. Expectations were ripe for a typical, epic encounter. Scrambling rallies, absolutely, positively no ‘let’ calls, and there was no doubt it would end up as a tie-break in the 5th to decide the winner… Alas, no. It simply was not Phil’s day. Scott took immediate control of the match and kept it. It was a 3-0 victory. Phil was understandably disappointed, but he can take solace that it won’t be the last time they’ll be on court together.
4.5 – Ex-Stroh-dinary
There was one 3-0 result in the 4.5 draw. The rest were either 3-1 or 3-2. On any given day. This was probably one of the harder brackets to predict (not that any of them were easy). I didn’t foresee either of the two finalists getting so far and both of them did so by getting through challenging 4 and 5 set matches. Andy Adamo can be a dangerous opponent. A lot of his success comes down to his mood. And when his mood is right, he moves well, has great touch and is an even nicer fellow about it. He beat Bill Oddo (great to see him back into the event!) 3-1 in round one, and then snuck past Paul Ward 3-2 in the semi. His finals opponent was Jim Stroh. Jim is just starting to come back from a ‘semi’ hiatus and is getting back to his pre-break form quickly. He bumped John Roarty in round one 3-2 and took care of Brien Baker 3-1 in the semi. From looking at past results, Jim certainly had (has) a mental edge over Andy since of all the times they have played, Jim has won them all. That trend continued for the final as Andy could not jump the Jim hurdle. Jim won the match 3-1 and takes away his second Club Championship title – he won the 3.0 back in 2007.
5.0 – RUD – Racquet Up, Derek!
On any given day. (Yes, I said it again!). Here we had another draw that only had one 3-0 result. Robin Basil won the 4.5 last year and was rather skeptical about moving up this year, but I wouldn’t let him repeat. He proved he can hold his own in this level. He didn’t take the title, but he did win round one in 5, then took out the big fella Mike Counsman 11-9 in the 5th in round 2. He then lost 3-1 to Derek Aguirre in the semi final. Derek has been working on his game lately and his consistency is improving. As is Anthony Fracchia. Anthony reached the final with a 3-1 victory over veteran Peter Shumaker, and then knocked out Ryan Bendzinski in 5 in his semi. For the final, Derek had the upper hand. He moved Anthony around the court well and Anthony obliged. And not without effectiveness. Derek won the first 2 games, but Anthony’s hustle got him the third. It may have cost him too much energy because he faded in the 4th. Derek claimed his first club championship title.
Open – Olé Pablo!
For the first time in what I believe must be at least 30 years, we did not have someone in the Open final named “Logan” or “Haggarty” Last year’s champion Pablo Buitron once again eased his way into the final with comfortable 3-0 victories and was to meet a new challenger to vie for DAC history. Peter Logan is still going strong at the ripe ol’ age of 72 (ha ha! just kidding…). It’s remarkable and demands respect that Peter can still fight seriously to win this event. But the competitors are getting closer. George Kordas snagged a game off him in round one and in the semi final he came up against the dogged South African Jed Elley. I knew it would be a close contest, Jed was very keen for a good showing, and Peter was prepared for solid resistance. A very tight, long match ensued and in the end Jed walked off the winner 16-14 in the 4th after almost an hour.
For the final, we had the honor (again!) of having squash legend David Palmer fly in before the PST World Championship to referee the lads. We had a great international flavor – An Ecuadorian v a South African reefed by an Aussie! In one the best Open squash finals we’ve had, Pablo got off to his normal steady start. Few errors, tight rails, and he simply kept Jed on the back foot and in constant catch-up mode. Jed pushed hard but fell short in the first 2 games 11-7. For the third a last-ditch effort paid off for the South African as he started to shoot with more authority. He was tired, but also had nothing to lose which can be a dangerous situation. Jed took the third game 11-9 and his momentum continued into the fourth as he led 9-5. Just as we thought a fifth game was on the cards, Pablo mounted his irreversible comeback. He rolled off the next 6 points, Jed simply could not stop the rally. We congratulate Pablo as he is crowned once again DAC Club Champion!
Another year in the books. What a season it was and what a season we have to look forward too. Make sure you are a part of ever-growing squash movement of the DAC! Cheers!