From Camden Riviere’s blog…
" Last night was the Finals of the 2013 USCTA National League season, which featured my team, Team New England, against Team New York. This was a rematch from last years final where we had ended up on top sweeping the final, but I knew this year would be a tough one. My teammates, Tony Hollins and Rich Smith, had a playoff to see who would play in the final alongside me, and Rich Smith had won it. The match took place at Prince’s Court in Washington, DC and with over 100 people in attendance was a great night.
The first match up was Rich Smith against Barney Tanfield. Barney has been the most in form player in the #2 spot for the last year, but Rich has played a few more times in Washington. The match started off with Rich coming out firing. Barney looked like he was still adjusting to the court a bit, and this gave Rich the opportunity to grab a quick 3/0 lead. Barney fought through it, but was putting too many balls on the penthouse. Rich kept his lead and grabbed the first set 6/3.
The second set was much tighter, Barney started to find the floor more, but Rich stuck to a firm gameplan of dominating the service end. Rich grabbed a small lead early in the set and held it to the end taking the match 6/3 6/3.
This meant I walked on court to play James Stout knowing if I won, the title was ours! James is an amazing retriever, and could be the most talented player in the game, but having not played on the Washington court often showed last night. The first set showed my knowledge of the court, and James’ lack there of. I was playing the floor well, but also finding the openings when needed. This mixed with an unusually high error count from Stout, helped me storm ahead taking the set quickly 6/1.
The second set saw some better rallies, with James showing his retrieving skills, but I was finding the openings well and wouldn’t let up. I grabbed another early lead and kept the pressure on. My serving stayed tight, and I kept finding the grille all the way through the match. Before I knew it I was 5/2 up with match points, and was able to close it out taking the match 6/1 6/2!
This meant we had won the night, but we still had the doubles to play! I told Rich before hand not to let up just because we had won the two singles, and that’s exactly what we did. New York went 2/0 in the race to 8 before we found our feet and stormed to a 7/3 lead. Barney found his main wall dedans though,and no matter what Rich served him he managed to get it in. This changed the momentum and got them back into the match. They fought back to 6/7 before Rich and I were able to put a whole game together and took the match 8/6.
That meant that New England had swept the Final 7/0 to win our second consecutive title! It was a great night and a huge thank you must be given to Prince’s Court for hosting the event, Ivan Ronaldson for marking, and the members for making the night a special one! This was also the last year I will be playing for team New England, as Ricardo Smith will be moving to Newport next year, and taking over the #1 spot on the team. It made the night even more special, but now I must find a new team to play for!!"