Thursday, May 9, 2013


2013 Club Championships Doubles

With the A division already decided, the C and B categories have felt a little disconnected. I feel it is important to showcase the top players in any tournament, but not at the expense of the rest. They aren’t trying any less, and in fact make up most of the entries! Thankfully, the numbers didn’t suffer this year for the C’s and B’s – they were exactly the same as last year.

Doubles C~~
I am going to make a special mention here because outside of Renee McDuffee (who sadly is no longer a member), we don’t (or didn’t) have any women doubles players at all. But we do now – Brittany Paquette. She took the plunge – straight into the frigid waters of the deep end – and decided to enter having never played doubles before. Partnering up with Steve Murphy, they took on another couple of greenhorns to the game, Elliot Shafer and Joey Gaylord. Brittany and Steve lost 3-0, but it was encouraging to see a female out there. And she must have enjoyed herself because not only has she joined in the summer doubles league, she has convinced Margi Scholtes to try it out too!
Elliot and Joey then had a tough task ahead of them in their second match taking on the experienced duo of Ken Katz and Joe Moran. Ken and Joe are the 2012 C champions and had a very good chance at repeating. And maybe they took it a little easy knowing their young opponents weren’t very familiar with the doubles court, because before they knew what hit them, they were 2 games to 0 down. The veterans fought their way back into the match but it could have slipped away from them very easily. They knew they had “gotten away with one” after winning in 5: 12-15; 14-16; 15-9; 18-16; 15-11. Advancing to the semi final, they then played Andrew Spohn and Paul Flanagan. Paul has also won the C title before – back in 2011 with then partner Mike Petix. A ‘scrappy’ player (and I mean that in the nicest possible way!), Paul hustles around the court with deceptive swiftness, keeps the ball in play, and makes life awkward for his opponents. And Andrew is a leftie, so the team has two forehands! They took good care of Ken and Joe beating them in 4 games to make the final.

On the other side of the draw, the number one seed also had a leftie – Craig Hupp. His team mate was Bob Garvey, and the two had little issues reaching the semi final, where another rightie-leftie combination waited for them in Tom MacFarlane and Tom McCarthy. This tournament must have had the least amount of backhand shots ever played. The two Tom’s put up decent resistance, but not quite enough. Craig and Bob claimed the 3-1 victory and moved on to play the Spohn / Flanagan team.

The final battle of forehands was an entertaining affair. Both teams had a similar style of extending the rallies, chasing down anything and everything. It was a little like watching a pinball machine where the ball just bounces off everywhere at every angle, except you had four bodies running after it. If you think you can’t get a work-out playing doubles, these teams would have proved you wrong. The court is big, and there is plenty of room to get a full head of steam! The result could have gone either way, but in the end it was Paul Flanagan picking up a second title and Andrew Spohn his first as they collected a court-sprint filled 3-1 triumph!

Doubles B~~
Last year I mentioned that ‘familiarity breeds success’. Only one team in last year’s B draw stayed the same this year: Patrick Petz and Rich Stimson. Even the long standing couple of John Dunwoody and Chris Terry split up for new partners which was strange considering they won last year together and they had been joined at the hip for many years. John paired up with Mark Hayduk this year – another vet – and after a 3-0 round 1 win, went down in four games to Patrick and Rich. The Petz / Stimson duo then had to tackle Chris Terry and his new partner – Greg Rivard. An effective combination with the left-handed Chris playing the role of “steady-Eddie” and Greg being the enforcer- he can certainly belt the rubber off the ball. Patrick and Rich needed to be sharp. And for the most part, they were. A back-and-forth contest as the two teams traded games. In the 5th, Chris and Greg seized the early momentum and wouldn’t let up as the powered through for the victory and a place in the final.
On the other side of the draw, I had my eye on Shail Arora and Eric Green to reach the final too. Winning their first match 3-0, their semi final had them up against the experienced Peter Shumaker and his new-to-doubles partner Sean Fossee. Peter and Sean were up against it, Sean would need to be a quick learner and Peter would need to be consistently accurate and use his ‘tennis’ volleys to maximum effect. Regrettably, this match never eventuated as an injury forced the Shumaker / Fossee team to withdraw.

The final was played at 7.30 in the morning so I wasn’t witness to the match. I am going to presume it was a blockbuster battle, gut-wrenching rallies with dazzling winners, played with the most gentlemanly sportsmanship. I’m probably not far off, and once the dust had settled, it was Greg Rivard and Chris Terry walking off 3-1 winners.

Even though we still mostly had the more experienced doubles players take the titles this year, we are seeing more and more intermediates takes to the court. They learn fast. How long will it be before they catch up to their practiced counterparts?

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