First let me start with a little rant! It is absurd that Dallas, with 28 4.5 teams do not get a wildcard! San Antonio, Austin & Houston apparently get them. San Antonio only has 8 teams that I can find! Austin not many more and Houston I believe has 19. What gives Texas? (I also think there should have been more teams included in QT - What gives DTA?)
Having said that I still believe that there is only 1 team in it this weekend and that is Oak Creek/ Branch. They are prohibitive favorites with great depth at singles and very strong doubles (Kiron/ Huffman; Slezak/ Williams are virtual locks and then on singles Kelly and Davis are backed up by a string of talented singles players like Underwood. The big mystery is their 3rd dubs line….Durten & Ledezma perhaps?). This team is built to win and I don't see anyone stopping them.
Now Brookhaven, High Point & Corey's team many give them some tough lines but I just can't find 3 lines than can beat them on the same match.
First up it's Brookhaven & Garland. Brookhaven has some very capable and play-off tough guys. My good friends Jeff Laselle & Ricky Ramos are always tough. With Schlager, Yuri & Sechen also all very capable players. Adcock & Conway had a very impressive win together over a tough Lakes pairing so they will be tough to beat. Their weakness may be their singles depth. Garland's ace is unquestionably Ben Hawkins. He has been playing incredibly well this spring in tournaments and league and mixed. If I was Corey I'd play him at singles. He's as tough as anyone playing this weekend. However, I am still picking Brookhaven 3-2 in this one as I'm not sure that Corey has 2 more lines that can beat BHaven...... (to quote Corey: "prove me wrong - how's that for motivation?"
Then it's HP vs Branch! The big match of Friday should probably be the final! High Pt have been sandbagging all season thanks to their wildcard and have a very deep squad. The quality on the Branch roster though will be too much though. Branch can field 7 or 8 lines that will give HP best 2 lines fits! 4-1 to Branch
Saturday we see BHaven & HP play and this should again be tough. This was Bhavens only loss in the regular season and they will be looking for revenge. Again I am picking BHaven 3-2.
Then Royal Oaks vs Garland: Royal Oaks fresh off a tough QT play Garland. Interesting matchup but I think Royal Oaks will squeak out another 3-2 win. The Bell's and Ponder are really good. Webb & Flores are solid. They have a tough team.
This will leave the standings as follows going into Sat afternoon:
Royal Oaks 1-0
With only 1 spot for Sectionals expect to see HP to protect the ratings of their better players and play some of the other guys on their massive roster for the rest of the weekend......
Branch vs Brookhaven! Bring your popcorn. This will be a great match and again could be the final. Again I am picking Branch 4-1 but the matches will be closer than the final result.
Royal Oaks vs HP: Royal Oaks may take down HP if HP are 0 & 2. However, if HP continue to bring it I think they may be able to scrap this out 3-2. Yoshida, Ribman, Tikashi, Brownlee, Marasigan & Blumberg are all very capable and with the right matchups could pull it off. Watch out for Tada. He doesn't look like much and is rated 4.0 but he is a ringer......
HP vs Garland – I suspect Garland will continue to play for honor while HP at this point may be spreading the love amongst the other 33 players on the roster. Garland 4-1
Branch vs Royal Oaks – More good news for Branch, One match Friday and one on Sat means rested singles players for Sunday and this neutralizes the young Bell. Branch 4-1
Branch vs Garland – Branch 4-1. Branch are just too strong.
Brookhaven vs Royal Oaks – Brookhaven will be hoping for Garland to spring an upset and bring it all against Royal Oaks who at this point are out of it. Brookhaven 3-2 bu that won't be enough
Branch 4 & 0
Brookhaven 3 & 1
Garland 1 & 3
Royal Oaks 1 & 3
HP 1 & 3
I could add more detail but this would get too long.........