Defending champions were down two of their top players against Greenville but that did not stop then from taking courts 1, 2, and 3 to win the first round last night. On Court 1 for the first time, the tandem of Gerry Farley and Brendan Kirk pulled out a three setter against Todd Marvin and Simon Peppiatt. On Court 2, Neal Bozentka and Cliff McLaughlin won their three setter over Chris Donoho and Ben Zink. On Court 3, Rick Craft and Pet Pijawka won in straight sets over Dana Walker and Mike Fleming. Greenville’s lone win came on court 4, Mark Centralla and Manning after dropping the first set 6-0, came back to defeat Parker Sherry and Jeff Jansen to close out the evening.

Captains Safford must have consulted his Magic 8 ball again and pulled out his 17th consecutive different line-up this season. The match started with Tim McAvoy and Hank Oberly teaming up to win in straight sets over John Adams and Tom Burt. On Court 4, former 1 court star Jim Ryan and Captain Safford took all three sets as well, giving WCC an almost an insurmountable lead with the last two matches remaining. For Court 3 Divas Suds and Studs clinched the match for WCC with a first set victory and ultimate three set victory over Eric Nielsen and John Phelan. Court 2’s match pairing three year undefeated Paul Rider and highly National Ranked Vyatka Najdek against Steven “most improved player of the year award” Hall and Andrew “most improved player out of nowhere award” match for pride only. The first set was an excellent display of Philly Paddle at its best with Vlatko and Hall carving the ball to create incredible spin shots leaving the crowd dizzy while Ridder and Tomson stood tight at net and trusted their partner to do the dirty work. Hall and Tomson took the first set in a tie breaker. The second set was just as exciting for the spectators as they also played to a tie-breaker in which Hall and Tomson prevailed and thus ending Ridder’s unbeaten streak.

Wallingford knew going into the match that they were in for a long one as they were down a key player on court 1 against a very armed and dangerous Merion Team. At first it appeared that Wallingford’s fears were unfounded as Mike’s McGrath and Furman teamed up to take court 1 over Greg Eger and Jeff Lyon but unbeknownst to all, that would be the last court Wallingford would win this night. On Court 2, Chas Burkhart and Chip Morrow took all three sets from Tim Brook and Ray Johnston. On court 3, Pascal Collard and Brian Crochiere bounced back after losing the first set from Jay Peichel and Tom Mashek to win court 3. On Court 4, Tim Kent and Dan Gallagher dropped the first set 0-6, before they got their butts in gear and won the next two sets 7-6, 6-4 over Ken Crowther and Andy Lewis to clinch the upset for Merion. Next up for Merion is Aronimink in the Semi-finals.

P-Country and Martin-1 ended up where everyone expected, in a tie-breaker of games. On court 1, the Nowlan’s lost the second time this year to Scott Falatek and Gregg Frigerio. On Court 2, Clay Hardon and Andrew Hocker won in straight sets and only dropped 5 games in the process to Fazal Syed and Paul Nofer. On Court 3, the unstoppable duo of Greg Donches and Dan Wheeler won all three sets for Martin’s over Norm and Tomas Gonzalez to keep things close. The deciding match came down to court 4 and a third set tie-breaker in which J.D. Cassidy and Peter Hill prevailed over Jamie Stein and Tim Farrell giving P-Country a win by a handful of games and giving them a replay of last years semi-finals with Waynesborough in which P-Country snuck out a victory.

Next weeks matches

Semi Finals @ 6:30
P-Country at Waynesborough
Merion at Aronimink

Finals @ 8:00 at Waynesborough where everyone is invited to watch and drink MAPTA’s refreshments.

Some questions that can be answered next week.

How many different line-ups can Captain Safford pull together for its final match(es). Can Ridder come back from this devastating loss. Can P-Country pull another upset in the Semi-Finals over WCC for the second straight year. Will Norm wear pants? Will Merion’s “Money Ball” team continue its second half turn-around and claim the championship. Can Aronimink utilize its home court advantage and get its guys on the court to defeat the streaking Merion and claim their second consecutive play-off Championship.

Paddles With a Purpose
Wild West(chester) - Week 6

Keith Studnick