A glorious late-spring weekend brought a fascinating and welcomed visit to the historic halls of the Georgian Court Casino as Bardyl Tirana, a close friend of Kingdon Gould, Jr., the nephew of Jay Gould, joined our ranks to compete for the coveted 2010 Jay Gould Cup. With well wishes to all, Bardyl relayed that Kingdon is thrilled that the court is in fine condition, and the game his uncle championed so many years ago continues to develop at his family’s ancestral home. For all of us in attendance, our newfound 3 degrees of separation from the first great American world champion of court tennis – and our tournament’s namesake – was clearly not lost on anyone.
Last year’s 2009 Jay Gould Cup and the 2010 USCTA Parent/Child Tournament have been so well received and publicized on campus, that a growing number of undergraduate young women have taken a keen interest in the court, the history, and the game itself. To highlight that point, when we arrived at Georgian Court on Friday morning to prepare the facilities for the arrival of all the competitors, there were 4 young ladies on the court playing “modified” lawn tennis doubles. After a few pointers and suggestions, we had them even more fascinated and intrigued with the “weird” scoring and play of our favored game. So we look forward to the continued popularity of the game on campus, and growing student participation when Fall Semester starts, and our highly anticipated Student Clinics get underway.
So, with Mother’s Day looming, and eager teams arriving, we started the group qualifying stages of the tournament with a classic nail-biter between the teams of Arthur Whitcomb/Maria Morinigo and Jake McCray/Elise Corey. A seemingly rusty first set led to a lopsided 6-0 score in favor of Team Whitcomb/Morinigo, but a valiant second set rebound of 6-5 forced a final set showdown, with Whitcomb/Morinigo edging ahead and securing the match 6-5 in the third. This was truly a great start to a couple of days of exciting and competitive tennis.
Everyone in the draw got in a first round match Friday afternoon and evening, and a wonderful BBQ spread was furnished by our new friends at University Catering. Good food and good tennis made for a fun first day of the tournament. Afterwards, many of the players and organizers of the tournament re-convened to whet our whistles at “The Horn”, and then huddled around the computer to watch the final day of the World Championship Match, streaming live from Melbourne, Australia.
Saturday lunch brought a close to the first round of group play, with positioning in the knock-out draw being up in the air right until the final ball was hit. But with seeding now determined, the march was on! Team Tirana/Hicks lost a well-fought match against Team Barnes/Ashmore, with a 5-5 deuce/ad set to determine the first finalist. And Team Ray/Elder then put together a powerful performance against Team Whitcomb/Morinigo to secure the other spot in the finals. Even with a brief interlude for Jake McCray and Elise Corey to secure their Consolation title, the momentum still seemed to be with Abir Ray and Pamela Ender, as they continued their fine form to secure a 2 & 3 victory in the finals over Gary Barnes and Tony Ashmore – that was much closer than the score would suggest. A great weekend, fine new champions and all newfound ambassadors and Friends of Georgian Court.