Tuesday, November 24, 2015


2015 Doubles Select Tournament

Well, we just finished our biggest Doubles Select Tournament ever. The previous record for entries was blown out of the water this year with 56 participants, a terrific showing. Of the 27 matches that were scheduled to play there was only 1 default, which for a doubles event is pretty darn good. As usual, deadlines were stretched to “dead-when-evers” but in the end the draw was completed just 6 days past the scheduled date. I can live with that.

We had zero chance of a back-to-back winner this year since, strangely, neither of the two players who won the 2014 tournament registered. Matching up 56 players into 28 “perfectly equal” teams did take me a little more time than usual, and when I looked over the final list, there were not any pairings that stood out to me as a favorite. A good sign. In fact, even as the tournament progressed, there was not a team dominate enough that could earn that status either.

The first 5 results that came in all went to 5 games. None closer than the Greg Rivard and Jim Fair v Paul Flanagan and John Conway. Any match that comes down to the sudden death rally in the 5th game can’t be half bad, and at that stage it really is a roll of the dice to determine the winner. Greg and Jim were fortunate enough to get through with the 15-14 win, and then also scrape by in the next match by the skin of the teeth 3-2 against Peter Shumaker and Ian Edwards. By then, I think Jim and Greg probably decided that winning in 5 games does not do much good for their health and nerves, so they took care of business in the quarter final over Joe Moran and Andy Housey 3-0.

Moving down the draw to the following quarter, the next couple of 5-setters were coming in. Dane Fossee and Jason Trombley did what they could fend off the more experienced pair of Dave Walker and Bob Garvey. Young legs and brave swinging carried them over the line but that is where it ended abruptly for them. Peter Logan stood firmly in their way and together with Jim Thompson, they were too strong. Peter of course has all the experience and although his legs aren’t as young as Dane and Jason’s, they are still just as active! In the quarter final however, Peter and Jim didn’t have quite enough in the arsenal to counter the Jason Currie and Terry Lang team. Jason and Terry survived a first round scare against 2009 and 2011 winner Shail Arora and his partner Bruce Shaw squeaking by in 5, won round two in 4, then conquered Logan / Thompson 3-1.

In the next quarter, there were close matches all round. Ken Katz and Craig Hupp were the ‘veterans’ of the group and as is customary for Ken, he always comes to talk to me worried that he is in over his head, these young guys are too fast, too fit… Ken is of course selling himself short and he proved to himself that he in fact can hang and compete with them. He and Craig won their first match 3-1 and then withstood and very close 5 set match against Curt Pedersen and Josh Slominski, before steamrolling their quarter final 3-0 over Rich Stimson and Adam Pabarcus, the only 3-0 result of the group.

The last quarter of the draw was a mixed bag of results. Colin Bayer and Steve Murphy somehow figured out how to beat Patrick Petz and Mike Rock, but it took them 5 games to do it. They couldn’t figure out how to beat Frank Willard and Andrus McDonald though, and despite the fact that this was Andrus’ first time on the doubles court he seemed to pick up the angles fairly quickly and he and Frank took the match 3-0. In the quarter final, Andrus may have needed a little more experience than 1 match under his belt to triumph over Eric Green and Drew Creamer. Eric and Drew dropped only one game to win their first 2 matches and need only 3 games to win this one.

Drew Creamer, Eric Green, Terry Lang, Jason Currie
As I said earlier, even at this stage of the draw, I could not pick a clear stand out to win the tournament. There were 4 teams left and to me all of them had a decent chance. Rivard / Fair took on Currie / Lang. Jason would be the runner of this foursome, but Greg had the power for his team. Jim and Terry would hopefully provide the steadiness. Like many other matches no doubt, it would be a matter of which team would be more reliable, keep it off the tin. Jason and Terry accomplished the mission better on this day and were victorious 3-1 to move into the final.

The second semi-final was Katz / Hupp v Green / Creamer. Once again the veteran pair were up for the challenge and most certainly had a set tactic in mind. Nevertheless, having a set strategy in your head is not the same as executing it once you have stepped on court. Eric is also quick to cover the court and knows where to put the ball. Drew can also place the ball smartly. Ken and Craig held their own admirably, pushed their opponents all match but just ended up short going down in four tough games.

The final had a very similar feel as the semis. No clear cut favorite, I’m sure both teams went in believing they could definitely walk off as champions. Both teams had won 4 matches to get there, the Green / Creamer team had lost less games though, so if that was any indication…? It was a tight match. Hard fought. It was also played at a time that was impossible for me to witness any of it, so what I say here is all speculation, but I’m sure it’s no exaggeration when I report that all 4 players played an exceptionally competitive match in the best spirit of the game, diving from corner to corner, cracking magnificent winners and flabbergasting all onlookers with their sublime skill and sportsmanship… and by the time the last rally was finished and the ball came to a dead stop, it was Eric Green and Drew Creamer that would take the honors of a 3-1 memorable victory that will be forever marked up in The Squash Joint results page of the this blog and on the shirts that will be personalized for them... What a privilege!

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