Blitz Tournament – October 11
Not a bad showing for the first Blitz Tournament of the season. We had 20 participants which made it easy to split them into four equally sized groups, but what wasn’t so simple was - in some cases - to assign the correct handicaps. We welcome all new players with open arms and a couple of beers (or wines!) into every squash event we run. However, without knowing their standard, handicapping turns into hopeful (doubtful!) guesswork.
It’s all fun and games. I make a point to apologize before the tournament starts for any handicap that I get wrong. My aim is to have every single game end up 15-14. In my mind, the sudden-death rally proves the handicap as being correct. Unfortunately, a couple of the round-robin results deserved that apology...
|Julie VandeVusse, John and Kelly Maher|
There were a few games that did get to the 15-14 score line. New member and new player Kelly Maher had three of them. Alas, she lost all of them too! I’ll take a pat on the back for her handicaps though, since I had never even met her before, let alone know what standard she was. Her husband - John - also joined in of the fray. John is part of the DAC basketball league (and consequently was the tallest amongst us!) but he too failed to get past the round robin stage. I am sure they enjoyed the evening and camaraderie and we’ll be seeing them again very soon.
Of the four round robin groups, only one of them needed to draw straws to see who would advance to the knock out stage. With Sante Fratarcangeli winning that group with 3 victories, we had three other players tied for second with 2 wins apiece. Chip McDaniel had to win his final match of the group against one of the new squash players / members Nick Cinqeranelli to secure his finals berth, but Nick decided to play spoiler. Chip’s loss forced him to take part in the ‘lottery’ with Julie VandeVusse and Anil Kathuria, and he didn’t fare any better with his straw pulling. “Lady Luck” shined on Julie instead.
Julie’s quarter final match was against 2-time Blitz Tournament winner Josh Slominski. Taking a 10 point head-start, Julie quickly extended it to 12 before Josh got his act going. He had very little room for error, but he managed to steadily close the gap. That didn’t stop Julie from reaching 14 first and earning a hand-full of match balls. Josh had to stay error-free and he did to even it up for the sudden-death showdown in which Julie actually had the upper hand in that rally. Regrettably, her game-ending “winner” shaved the top of the tin. Josh advanced.
|Brett Torgler and Dino DeMare|
The fourth new face we had playing was Dino DeMare. Dino has practiced hard in the short time he has taken up squash and has improved quickly. In the round robin, Jason Trombley got the rough end of the pineapple when I gave Dino 6 points head-start in their match, a handicap that in hindsight should have been reversed. Dino won 15-2. Sorry Jason!
Dino finished second in his group and met up against Sante in the knock-out round. Going by his form in the first 4 games, I only handed him an 8 point head start. Even though the rallies were relatively competitive, it wasn’t quite enough, and Sante ended Dino’s run with a 15-12 victory.
Sante’s semi final was against Josh. Josh was handed 4 points for the handicap, must to the chagrin of Sante who insisted 3 was fairer. After handing out a tissue, I told Sante to play harder. He did. The entertaining game ended with Sante taking the 15-10 win, and me then wondering why I didn’t give Josh 8 points head start instead! I of course kid, Sante has made a great effort lately to develop his game and it is showing.
On the top side of the knock-out draw, the quiet spoken Phil Pitters quietly took care of Margi Scholtes before tackling Paul Ward in the semi final. It was a straight up game - that is, no handicap, start 0-0. Both of these guys run. Their retrieval abilities are not just engaging, they are often humorous too as they run themselves so far out of position but still somehow manage to reach the next ball. Phil squeezed out the game 15-13, huffing and puffing hard as he exited the court for his 2 minute rest before the final.
|Phil Pitters and|
Pitters v Fratarcangeli. Once again, I decided the handicap should be zero. Once again Sante protested, and while I once again reached for the tissue box, Sante then accepted the decision, put his head down and went to work. As tired as Phil was, he still did his darndest to cover the court as inefficiently as possible, no matter how effective he turns out to be. How he picks-up some shots when he looks dead and buried is a sight to behold! Sante though, was ready, and remained prepared for the balls to keep bouncing back. As it turned out, Sante was (half) right. I should have given a handicap - but to Phil. We didn’t get to see the dream sudden-death rally for the final, Sante denied Phil the opportunity to get to 14 as he took the game 15-12. Congratulations to my pink-shorted friend, winner of this season’s first Blitz!
The 3rd / 4th playoff had Josh take a 6 point handicap over Paul. Josh played well to win that battle 15-13 and claim 3rd prize.