Copying the management approach of Stewie Griffin from “Family Guy”, I will do this report in the style of a ‘compliment sandwich’. That’s when I start out with some praise, follow up with a topic to work on, then finish up with some more flattery. For a 1-year old, Stewie is wise beyond his infancy.
So, let’s start out with a positive note. We had 16 members sign up for the Cross Border Challenge in Windsor which is a pretty good number. I was pleased with that and when we do receive that level of support, organizing matches becomes a lot easier.
Something we can enhance. The disappointing aspect, however, was the fact that we only had one match above a 4.0 level. Windsor put forward some higher standard opponents that we simply could not match-up - that includes the doubles where I had to step in to make up the numbers. The Cross Border Challenge is the perfect opportunity for everybody - of all levels - to get some irreplaceable match experience. Windsor is close, social, and they have a deep pool of tough opponents - of all levels. Everybody should be taking advantage.
The top slice of the sandwich. This will take a little longer since the event itself needs to be covered, and it was all good. Getting things started for the DAC was Tom Fabbri who had been floundering with his form of late. I gave him a simple 3-word advice: Back to basics. He came off the court a 3-1 victor and was a lot more satisfied with his performance (winning can do that!).
Windsor came back strongly in the next 2 singles matches with Rich Routley taking out David Devine in 3 close games and Stephen Allen beating a nervous Kevin Prather also 3-0. For the red-face award of the afternoon, Paul Ward turned up 40 minutes late as he realized when he was 5 minutes from the tunnel that he had forgotten his passport and he had to go back home to pick it up. His patient opponent - Anis Khan - took it all in stride and then took Paul on a 4-corner tour of the court as he beat him 3-1.
|Buddy "Superman" Ranchuk and Joey Gaylord|
Joey Gaylord then proved than wearing a Superman t-shirt doesn’t actually make you a Super Hero as be handed a 3-0 lashing out to his ‘big S’ bearing opponent, and Sante Fratracangeli just keeps on finding ways to win when he muscled through the only 5-set singles match of the day with a 3-2 triumph.
The DAC then scored 3 more victories when Jim Stroh showed no mercy for the fairer sex with a 3-0 win over Cathy Corchis, Brian Bartes handling Colin Bateman after they split the first two games before Brian ran away with the 3rd and 4th, and Greg Rivard tasting sweet revenge on Adam Pole with a convincing 3-0 clobbering when Adam beat Greg in 5 at the previous Cross Border. But those 3 matches were nullified when Windsor took control of the final 3 singles matches of the day, taking two of them 3-0 and one 3-1.
|Jim Stroh and Cathy Corchis|
Onto the doubles. History would suggest that Windsor has the upper hand here, but recently we have been having a little more success. We would need it on this occasion. For the comeback of the day, Patrick Petz and Greg Rivard found themselves quickly 2-0 down against Dave Hornby and Herb Funkenhauser. Luckily, they managed to turn things around in the 3rd and from there they refused to give up the momentum. The 5-set win was invaluable.
Next on the doubles court was John Dunwoody and myself. We were up against Tom Porter and Dean Lansens and we had our work cut out for us. It was a match of one game on, one game off. We took the first, lost the second, won the third, and lost the fourth. It was our turn for the fifth, but the Windsor lads were not sticking to the plan. Dean’s low forehand volley kill proved a little too much for us, and Tom’s low forehand half ‘drop shots’ from the back corner (he’s a leftie) had us flatfooted a couple of times too often. We lost 3-2.
|James Konrad, Rich Routley, Tom MacEachern, Shail Arora|
When the final doubles match was on, it was an exciting scenario. For Windsor to take the Cross Border trophy, they had to win 3-1. The DAC team needed 2 games. (If we lost 3-2, both clubs would have been tied with 8 match victories, and 30 games won. We would have kept the Trophy as reigning champs...). The poor four souls that had to suffer the pressure: Tom MacEachern and Shail Arora against Windsor’s Rich Routley and James Konrad. This is what it is all about. Rich and James started strongly and they were looking very good with a 2-1 lead. The atmosphere was ramped up, the cheering increased 10-fold, and the anticipation could be felt all the way through the club. Of the 4 players on the doublers court, Shail was by far the most experienced and in such situation, that can be invaluable. It equates to a steadier hand, less errors, a calmer mind. Plus, it can have a soothing effect on the partner (if needed!). It was a difference maker. Shail and Tom fed off their opponents mistakes as the pressure built and they won the deciding 4th game as well as the 5th for the icing on the cake (or the olive on the sandwich!)
The DAC retains the Cross Border Trophy for a 4th consecutive win with 9 matches to 7. Kudos to Windsor for being the wonderful hosts we are accustomed to. The next one is scheduled for April at the DAC... can we make it 5-peat???
|Most of the players and supporters - Thank you for a great event!|