Friday, March 16, 2018


Boasters League semifinals~~

I really enjoy controversy-free league nights. Especially when it’s the semifinals. I can calmly drive home, sing along in the car to my 1980’s rock music silently wishing I still had my long hair, relax in front of the idiot box for a while and savor my Ben and Jerry’s ice-cream dessert that little bit more. Ahhhh… peace….

By the time I got into work the following morning, all but 1 match had been completed (that’s 33 of 34!) and the winning teams had already been decided. No mess, no fuss, the score board spoke for itself, there wasn’t anything anyone could complain about. I hope I haven’t spoken too soon!

Vivio’s v Mongoose
Considering both teams required 2 subs for this match-up, there was no potential bonus point advantage to speak of here. However, as has been Mongoose’s M.O. this season, their captain Paul Huth was on the warpath ready to dish out whatever horrible punishment he could conjure up to any of his remaining players that didn’t turn up. And it must have been something utterly despicable as all 15 of them made the effort. That endeavor paid off as Vivio’s only saw 12 of their players make a showing. At this stage of the season, every point is important.

We start off with one of the best matches of not only the evening, but arguably the season including perhaps the best rally of the year as well. Kevin Thomas (Vivio’s) and Tom Fabbri had a unimpressive first game as Tom was still finding his way, but the next two games was when the excitement was at its maximum level. Literally nothing between them, at 14-all in the second game, Tom was in clear control of the rally. There was nothing Kevin could do but try to survive. Each desperate retrieval putting him in even more trouble. Bring out the dive! Not one – but two! Full body, head first, royal blue cape flying high behind him. And still the rally continued, until Tom… hit the tin. The yelp of despair resonated through the fitness room, but Tom was able to regain his senses after the two minute rest and kept the pressure up for the third and final game. Another down to the wire contest, Tom had the 14-13 lead, Kevin once again forced to do anything and everything just to stay in the hunt. And déjà vu all over again. (Minus the super-hero moves.) Kevin’s brick-wall method saved his skin anew, Tom clipping the top of the tin at the worst possible time. The 3-0 result was Kevin’s, his sigh of relief could be heard in the carpark.

More noticeable results were chalked up through the evening, each team picking up some solid wins. Paul Huth (Mongoose) pulled one out of the hat when it counted the most with his first win over Paul Van Tol in 4 tries and since May of 2017. Mike Hanchett (Vivio’s) reserved his round 3 loss to Andrew Peleman with a 2-1 victory here, and Mike Petix (Mongoose) continues his hoodoo voodoo powers over Rich Stimson winning 2-1 and keeping his perfect record against the Vivio’s captain intact.

Through the night, Mongoose kept its nose in front. That lead fluctuated from as high as 14 points early on to as low as 6 later on in the evening. The nail in the coffin for Vivio’s came when most were already out of the building (and I was probably drooling over my ice-cream spoon) when Mongoose’s David DeCew and Ian Edwards both completed 3-0 wins. Mongoose advance by ten points - 44-34.

Butter Nutz v Over Served
This was closer. Although for most of the night it did appear as if Butter Nutz didn’t have much of a shot. They fell behind early, and by a significant margin. Five of the matches were played before the scheduled Wednesday and Over Served had won four of them – all 3-0. So before the semifinal officially got underway, Butter Nutz were already losing 13 to 2.

The bonus point count wasn’t much of a factor for this match-up and I was a little surprised more of effort wasn’t made by both teams. Over Served picked up just 11, and Butter Nutz 12. Butter Nutz could have changed the outcome had more turned up.

As the evening wore on, Over Served was increasing their lead. The early results were not looking good for Butter Nutz as the scores came in. A couple more 3-0 losses and it was potentially turning into a total wipeout.

Is was up to Butter Nutz captain JC Tibbitts to lead by example and try to stop the rot against Jeff Gembis. Not an easy task as Jeff has beaten JC the last two times they played. These two are not too dissimilar with their styles, both can pound strong length, but both can also falter when it comes to ‘ending’ the rallies with their short game. Splitting games one and two, the third was no easy path for either player. However, JC started to exploit the front corners more often with clever use of the boast and often leaving Jeff a little stranded. It was catch-up time for Jeff and he did manage to scrape a few points back but it wasn’t enough. JC took the 2-1 and hopefully some of them momentum back for his team.

John Perkins (Over Served), though, was having none of it. Playing Brendan Fossee, it must have been in the back of his mind that Brendan took him to task in round 1 with a 3-0 drubbing, and he was unwilling to re-experience it. Admittedly, not the cleanest of matches between the two, not a particularly tight–ball performance, both players hit their fair share of loose shots and unforced errors. But, if we only would win when we played really well, we wouldn’t win very often, right? Have to hustle. And John and Brendan know how to do that. Kudos to both players here for also playing through a lot of interference, (although at times I do think a ‘let’ call would have been in everybody’s interest!). It doesn’t have to be pretty, it just have to be more effective than your opponents, and John avenged his early season loss here with a 2-1 win! Momentum back to Over Served? Not so fast.

Cue the comeback. Well, almost the comeback. When the next – and last - five results came in, Butter Nutz was ringing the bell every time. And – believe it or not – after all 17 results had been completed, Butter Nutz had won more overall matches than Over Served. But, their early 3-0 losses came back to haunt them. Over Served survived the last minute onslaught to get away with a 39-35 victory!

The final is set! Over Served v Mongoose. It wasn’t long ago that these two squared off – just 2 weeks ago in round 9 – and 13 of the 17 matches were done… Mongoose came out just on top 33-30. Looking at the individual match-ups, it does look too close to call and to be honest, going by my history if I do nominate my ‘favorite’ it’s a guaranteed jinx move. Keep in mind, Mongoose require 2 subs and that will affect their potential bonus point maximum. Over Served can take advantage, clearly every point will be crucial.

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