Cross Border Challenge - September 12, 2015
With the excitement buzzing around the start of this season (much of that due to the eagerness of experiencing the new court center), I was expecting a healthy amount of registrations for the Cross Border Challenge in Windsor. Eighteen is not a bad effort, but it was less than anticipated.
Maybe it was the lack of patriotism this time around that failed to push us that little bit extra, the red, white and blue colors were noticeably absent in everybody’s kit (except for a couple of members). Neither John Mann or Sante made the trip (probably something to do with Sante’s recent wedding no doubt, although squash should still take priority, right?) and since they are the ones who push the stars and stripes stylings down our throats, a smidgen more of that needed team bonding wouldn’t have gone astray. Of course, though, bonding over a few brewskis doesn’t go astray either.
If was a rough start for the lads. Ryan MacVoy is relatively new to squash and this was his first time playing a competitive match outside of our own leagues and ladders, and against a non-DAC member. It is a different animal playing a with a ‘friendly’ member than with an unknown quantity, somebody that doesn’t care who you are and only wants to kick your rear end back through the tunnel. He understandably struggled, and was disappointed with the 3-0 loss, but it was a great learning experience and he will only improve because of it.
Josh Gershonowicz also had a few issues finding his rhythm against Carlyle D’Souza who can be tough to beat anyway. Josh pushed himself diligently but fell short 3-1, not a bad result in the end. Our other Josh - Josh Slominski - was up against a very steady player in Steve Allen. Steve looked rather smooth and relaxed in his approach, hit consistent length and kept a lot of pressure on Josh who ran and tried hard, but couldn’t quite keep up. 3-0 to Steve.
|Jay Bonahoom and Adam Pole. Happy it's over!|
Our first win of the day came at the hands of Jay Bonahoom. He played Adam Pole and they really could not have been more evenly matched. Both ran themselves into the floorboards, long rallies, impressive retrievals... for 5 long games it was point for point. 11-9; 8-11; 11-13; 14-12. The 5th game was a battle of who wouldn’t collapse. Jay and Adam were exhausted, the mind willing, the body barely responding. Jay’s cruel short balls eventually ended to torture for them as he took it 11-9. They then suddenly found the energy to race to the bar for a beer, the fastest they had moved since game 1.
After Kevin Prather went down 3-0 - each game being 10-12 - and we had lost the first doubles match of the day 3-0 as well, it was not looking good for the DAC. We were 5 matches to 1 down. Manny Tancer was in prime position to pull one back as he headed into the 3rd game against Anis Khan with a 2 game to love lead, but he suddenly got sucked into playing a hard hitting power game and he lost control of the ‘T’. Anis is very accomplished with moving his opponent around the court, especially from the middle (!), and Manny found himself chasing too much. Still, he almost pulled out the 5th but ended up on the wrong side of the 11-8 score.
Now we had virtually no room for error. Windsor need 8 matches to secure the trophy, they only needed 2 more. I was confident we could take the second doubles match, but that didn’t go as planned either. Good news, though, was the return of Greg Rivard to the court who had been out injured for the past 12 months with a horrific ankle injury suffered at the Old Club Outing in 2014. Greg was rusty to say the least, and his partner Joey Gaylord was much the same, and the pair labored through the 3-0 loss. At least Greg survived the return and felt strong.
|Josh Slominski and Steve Allen|
Ian Edwards almost saved us - for at least another match. He too went to 5 and certainly had his chances to win the match against Colin Bateman. A few untimely unforced errors never bodes well and he’ll be pondering the ‘what-ifs’ after the 11-9 in the 5th loss.
The next 2 singles matches we lost 3-0 anyway, and the Cross Border trophy was out of our reach. And then we started to win. Too little too late of course, but a fine ending to the rough start and the score board looked a lot more respectable in the end.
Jon Walton and Shail Arora saved face on the doubles court - just - with a 3-2 victory over Marge Holman and Carlyle D’Souza. Doubles is a funny game. On paper I thought Shail and Jon would take the result 3-0, but Shail said after the match they were all they could handle, it’s all about finding the right angles.
|Doug Fields and Paul Ward|
I also thought Paul Ward would have a tough time against Doug Fields. He did, but in a successful way. Paul lost the first game but then was too steady the following 3 games as he made Doug cover a lot more court then he was willing or capable of. It was an impressive 3-1 win. Tom MacEachern then stepped up and was too strong for the athleticism of Kathy Corchis taking the match 3-1 as well.
|Vikram Chopra and Paul Gebrael|
The final 2 encounters had a couple of our top club players on display and they didn’t disappoint. Vikram Chopra had a shaky start against the hard hitting Paul Gebrael losing the first game, but steadied the ship and used his wristy swing and deception with effectiveness to roll the next 3 games off. Peter Logan then finished the day off for us with a convincing 3-0 triumph, showing his experience over the speedy Jody Brown.
We had lost the day 10 matches to 6. You could say that if we had won those two close 5-setters earlier in the day, it would have been 8 matches apiece, but we can’t lay blame on those poor souls. We would not have won on games anyway.
Once again, Windsor and their pro Graeme Williams, were fantastic hosts. More beer than we could drink, many of the DAC players were there until the end and stuck around for a couple of after squash refreshments. And that’s what it is all about. Until the next one which is scheduled in April at the DAC!
|The Cross Border Players!|