Monday, March 13, 2017


Farris Cup 2017

I guess I was quietly confident heading into the day, although I wasn’t too sure why. It’s generally a difficult task to predict a winner between the DAC and BAC for the Farris Cup, my knowledge of their players is somewhat limited considering we meet just once a year. Maybe the faith lies in the ability of our own players and recognizing their current form. A lot has happened between now and the finals of the May 2016 Club Championships where our team was selected from. The improvement displayed by many of them is a pay-off to their hard work.

We were not the defending champions, in fact we received virtually a criminal assault last year, the abuse we endured losing 13 matches to 4. Returning the favor, however, is not the motivating factor. Winning is for sure important to us, but I am not interested in pounding the BAC into oblivion. The tournament should be competitive, regardless of who ends up displaying the trophy for the next 12 months. If the winner was decided on the final rally of the final game of the final match, that would embody the reason we do this.

Well, it didn’t happen that way (the odds of that actually happening would be rather minuscule, although it was decided on the final match one year!), but we did end up with the closest result since 2008.

The day was a tale of 2 halves. In Part 1, the DAC came out of the gates, hell bent on complete and utter annihilation. Unmerciful in their approach, it was a blitz campaign that took the BAC players by total surprise and before they could regain any of their senses and figure out what hit them, the initial bloodbath was complete. It was like the actor Russel Crowe in the movie Gladiator walking out of the Coliseum covered in all his enemy combatant’s innards and body parts… ugh, gross.

John Mann, Rick Claar
Zac MacVoy, David Zack, Ryan MacVoy, David “Nacho Libre” de la Torre, and Colin Bayer wasted little time taking apart their opponents with 3-0 victories. John Mann had to handle slightly more resistance to secure his victory 3-1 against Rick Claar who unfortunately had to retire hurt in the 4th games with a hamstring injury. We wish Rick all the best for a full and rapid recovery.

Not forgetting the doubles court, an area where the DAC is improving, the first battle of the day had the veterans strutting their stuff. John Dunwoody and Bob Burton teamed up for the 4th straight year for us and clicked together well on this occasion and out angled Joe O’Connor and Nick Post with some wonderfully placed boasts and reverses to take the 3-1 win.

By the time the first 7 match results were in, the DAC held a commanding 7-0 lead and the extermination was on. Considering the ‘magic number’ to win the Farris Cup was 9, the outcome looked all but secure. Sarcastic cries of “will the BAC win any matches” were starting to be heard, but like a Phoenix from the ashes, the BAC started to mount their comeback. Part 2 was upon us.

John Rakolta, George Kordas, Max Franklin, Peter Schmidt
We didn’t make it easy for them mind you, it wasn’t as if we simply rolled over and ‘let’ them win anything. I’m sure our players would have been very content to take all 17 matches, but that was not about to happen. Suddenly, a handful of 1-3 results started to slap us in the face. Tom MacEachern, Jason Currie (who lost 14-12 in the 4th), Andy Adamo, Chris Van Tol, did what they could but fell just short, and then in what would have been the upset of the day, George Kordas and John “JR” Rakolta defied the odds and all logic taking the much favored doubles team of Peter Schmidt and Max Franklin to five games, again, just falling a few unforced errors short to lose 15-10 in the 5th. How George and JR manage to challenge all that come before them considering how little they play together is one of squash’s greatest enigmas. With BAC’s Warwick Stirling handing us our only 3-0 loss of the day, unexpectedly, we only held a 1 match lead. Could this get away from us?

But when in doubt, Sante Fratarcangeli (da-dada-daaaa!) to the rescue! So often I write his name on my blog it seems, it no longer sees “Fratarcangeli” as a spelling mistake. He had a tough match up in Terry Barr, and after they split the first two games I was more than optimistic that Sante had this covered. Terry looked tired, slow movements between points to try to recover, he started to fall back too far from the ’T’ during the rallies. Sante was patient and simply kept the ball long when he needed and then short when the opportunity arose. His 3-1 win temporarily stopped the bleeding and we were just 1 match victory away from closing up shop. We needed one of the final three…

The top level singles matches were under way. Peter Logan skipped to a 2-0 lead against the wily Eric Machus before things started to go a little sideways. Eric wouldn’t just lie down and picked away at the lead slowly but surely to even things up at 2-2…

Meanwhile, on the court next door, Vikram Chopra had his hands full playing the tenacious Seth Rogers, and man we would all love to be able have his athleticism, but not so much his technique! It works for Seth mind you, if I tried to copy it, I’d be looking for new vocation. Vikram, though, struggled to find his line and length. A lot of over-hitting, which many times let Seth off the hook, Vikram needed to sacrifice a little of that power with some better control. It’s great to hit the ball early and hard, but without out the precision behind it, it can - and in this case it did with Vikram - hurt you…

On the doubles court, the final match of the day was underway. Manny Tancer and Matt DiDio were toe-to-toe with Fred Conway and Jamie Moran. I of course can’t be in three places at once (still trying to figure that one out), so I didn’t see any of this match. I did know, however, it was 1 game all. I was getting nervous…

Peter Logan came off after the 4th game and got a little helpful advice from a young observer in the crowd. “use your short angles…” It was the right call. Peter started to strand Eric flat-footed as he flicked some terrific drops and boasts from the back court area, and he started to once again assert himself in the match. Eric had no answer. Peter took the 5th game and the entire DAC team took an enormous sigh of relief in unison - that was the one that pushed us over the edge.

Meanwhile, unbeknownst to the actors still on court, the squash was still ferocious. Seth and Vikram were still belting the ball back at each other as if their very lives depended on it. Seth never gives up as we have witnessed many times at the DAC Classic, entertaining to say the very least. He was, on this day, too much for Vikram to handle and he took the 3-1 win.

Finishing the day, Manny and Matt placed that bright red cherry on the cake. They too took the match 3-1,  giving us two of the three doubles matches, making sure of the victory in case my math was off. The DAC had limped over the finish line and won the Farris Cup 10-7! Overall, we now hold a 7-6 lead.

A superb event, thank you to the BAC team, they put up a great fight! Next year it will be on their turf, so we’ll need to step it up if we wish to retain. And, if you want to represent the DAC, it’s simple: get to the final of the upcoming Club Championships…!

Virginia Farris with  the Farris Cup!

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