Monday, January 11, 2016


Farris Cup 2016

John Rogers and Ryan MacVoy
As defending champions (that has such a nice ring to it!) team DAC had high hopes going into the 12th Farris Cup. The mission at hand was anything but easy - playing the BAC on their courts - especially since we demolished them last year. Revenge would be front and center in their minds, and my initial evaluation of the match-ups had me feeling skeptical that I would be returning the Farris Cup trophy to our court center cabinet on Monday.

That skepticism gave way to some hope early in the day. John Rogers’ strength is his retrieval ability. And he is quick. And he doesn’t stop running. That’s an effective formula at the 2.5 level and the more he extended the rallies the more he frustrated his opponent, Ryan MacVoy. (Ryan is a member of the DAC as well, but he was representing the ‘enemy’ on this occasion.) Plenty of scrambling rallies, the two covered a lot of court as they used the side walls more than what they no doubt intended, and the longer the exchanges  - and match - would drag out, John slowly gained the ascendancy. He took the match 3-1, and the DAC was on the board early.

Jason Currie and John Kello
Next door, Jason Currie was also exploring deep into the four corners of his court against John Kello. A very even match, both of them were pushing themselves hard, going back and forth on games. By the end of the third, even though Jason was 1-2 down and breathing heavily, John looked a little worse off. Jason needed to keep the pressure on at the start of the fourth game, and try as he might, John found the strength to keep up and actually was awarded with the opportunity to win the match at 10-9. And we all thought he did too with a well played boast into the front backhand corner, but Jason wasn’t having any of it as he launched himself with a full dive into the shot and managed an incredible lob that John did very well to retrieve, only to set Jason up for the winner on the next hit. It was the break Jason needed, and after taking the 4th, he kept his nose in front for the 5th and took that as well 11-8. The DAC was 2-0 up.

We would notch another win shortly thereafter from the doubles court. Greg Rivard and Mike Counsman had a dominating start shooting their opponents off the court and enjoying a 2-0 lead. It unraveled a little for them in the next 2 games and suddenly they found themselves having to battle out a 5th game. Luckily for them they could get their act back together and they saved their strong work in games 1 and 2 for the win. The DAC was now 3-0 up and I could start to believe we may actually pull this off.

Silly me. It’s what I get for thinking too much... The next 2 results to come in did not go our way. Mike Rock had to contend with Rick Claar who was too experienced. Rick did well reading Mike’s game and as much as he attempted to make him move, Rick would be ready and know exactly where to place the next shot. 3-0 Rick. Chris Webber was the next to go down. He did have his opportunities against Rick Paige, but fitness would be his foe which - as we all know and have experienced - leads to more unforced errors. It was a close 1-3 score line, but the BAC had now closed the gap 2 matches to 3.

Our 4th victory was an impressive one. Dane Fossee did everything right against the solid hitting Britton Steele. Patience, good length, steady. Britton simply did not have the answers. It was a 3-0 win well deserved and with a 4-2 overall lead, we could still stay positive.

Ned Mylod and Jed Elley
And then the BAC pulled out the steamroller and threw us under it. Not that we weren’t close to winning any more matches, we just... didn’t. Win that is. Josh Slominksi got close. He won the first and third games and had his opponent, Steve Cosgrove, on the ropes. But Josh struggled to close it out, and when Steve got on a roll it proved too difficult to stop. It was certainly a 2-3 loss that Josh let slip, he knew he ‘could’ve’, ‘should’ve’, but full credit to Steve for putting up with the pressure and keeping the steadier hand.

The flood gates then opened. A handful of 3-0 and 3-1 losses came in thick and fast and before we could blink the Farris Cup was lost. Even though we had been vanquished, a couple of matches still held a lot of interest.

Vikram Chopra was - in my mind anyway - favorite against Seth Rogers. It would be however, an arduous chore for Vikram who had just returned from a 2 week vacation. Seth is no pushover by any stretch, and he is darn fast. And fit. And Seth always plays like his life depends on it, there aren’t too many balls that don’t come back. Vikram was under uncomfortable pressure, and the unforced errors proved it. Seth was relentless with his pursuit and wore Vikram down to take the merited 3-1 win.

The other match that raised everyone’s interest was the battle of the Club Champions. Jed Elley isn’t that old, but he has a significant age ‘advantage’ over the 16 year old Ned Mylod. Ned is one of the country’s top juniors in his age group and possesses excellent racquet skills, Jed would need to be at his best to have a chance. And Jed played well. He moved the ball around the court effectively, making Ned stretch into the corners deeply. At times it appeared as if Jed did hit the winner only to see that youthful speed reach the shot anyway which left Jed flatfooted. Jed’s opportunities came from Ned’s impatience when he tried to force the winners too early in the rally, but unfortunately he couldn’t keep up the pace and ultimately neither could his fitness. They were close games, they were entertaining games, but it was a 3-0 win for Ned.

The final score ended up a little ugly: 13-4. It’s not quite representative of the quality of the competition on the day, the majority of the match-ups were well balanced. It wasn’t the DAC’s day. But it was a great atmosphere at the BAC and they are the most gracious hosts, they fully earned the victory. At least my skepticism turned out to be correct... which is no consolation whatsoever.

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