First the disclaimers: I’m assuming the weather cooperates and all the second place teams play; I’m assuming everyone is available; I’m assuming the best players play every match; and I’m assuming there is no way all those things will happen. And maybe that’s ok. The fall does seem to be a time when some teams lengthen the bench a little and let more guys join in the playoff competition. Of course some captains do that all year long and seem to have success with it, particularly at the 4.5 level.
4.0 Playoffs – they have a two flight system as in years past so it’s very helpful to have found your way into the weaker flight, there always is one.
Red flight – here we find flight winner Hackberry Creek/Myers (flight B, 7-1), second place Brookhaven/Bartlett (flight B, 6-2), flight winner Garland/Sisk (flight C, 7-1 and second place Oak Creek/Iyer (flight D, 5-2). Whatever happened to the old Dirty Garland tee shirts? I’m as much a fan as warm beer and flack jackets worn during the match as anybody. Can I still get one on Ebay?
The Red flight is interesting because it’s a traditional playoff contenders and newcomers. Garland and Brookhaven are back in the playoff hunt and after Hackberry’s surprise showing at tri-level I wouldn’t count them out. Oak Creek had a nice run but I think it ends here. I’m going to have to break out a few PBR 40s and call this one for Garland. For the uninitiated, that’s the beer you see in the brown paper bags on skid row, not a weapon. Sisk has no depth so if he spreads his lineup thin he’s out.
Blue flight – here we find flight winner McKinney/Kanchi (flight A, 8-0), second place Oak Creek/Rich (flight A, 7-1), second place Greenhill/Ohl (flight C, 6-2) and flight winner Greenhill/Eckenrode (flight D, 6-1). So it’s an intra-squad face off with Greenhill versus Greenhill, the newcomer in McKinney and the ever present Oak Creek squad. This is pretty good depth top to bottom.
The Blue flight has its own intrigue. Nobody wants it more than Eckenrode’s boys but that isn’t always enough. McKinney already beat Oak Creek once so I’ll assume they can do it again. Then there is Ohl’s guys. Lots of playoff experience here. Since I’m already committed to the old school theme at 4.0 I’m going with Ohl’s guys in this flight, especially since half of Ohl’s roster used to play at Garland. McKinney has the best team but I’m nostalgic.
4.5 Playoffs – same format in 4.5 as 4.0.
Red flight – here we find flight winner Fair Oaks/Valentin (flight A, 8-1), second place Lakes/Way (flight B, 8-1) and flight winner Greenhill Red/Rossouw (flight C, 7-1).
Blue flight – here we find second place Greenhill Blue/Rossouw (flight A, 8-1), flight winner JCC/Reiman (flight B, 9-0) and second place Gleneagles/Juhn (flight C, 7-1).
Last year Rossouw had two flight winners. Are we slipping a little bit? If my team split in half we couldn’t win a 3.0 flight. But again, two teams in the playoffs is pretty impressive. The Red flight is arguably a little tougher because it has two flight winners but these second place teams in 4.5 are no slouches. This could easily be the spring playoffs.
By way of example, flight winner Fair Oaks lost to second place Greenhill Blue in flight play but edged them out on the lines won tie breaker after Greenhill slipped up to lowly Greenhill/Orsak (3-6) late in the season. An unusual type of loss for a Rossouw team but he did default a line. Without the default this team is the undefeated flight winner.
Flight B was JCC lose to exactly no one. They only suffered two 3-2 matches all season. At 38-7 that’s pounding the wins out every week. Five out of nine matches were sweeps. I like that kind of mentality. Lakes fell only to JCC but a tight 2-3 margin. And both teams took out a tough Brookhaven/Harllee team. This flight was brutal.
Flight C had its own interesting dynamic, with flight winner Greenhill Red losing 2-3 to TBar/Fikes. Rossouw’s boys squeezed them out on the lines won tie breaker at 31 to 29, a very tight race. There was no defaulted line here, but TBar did manage to win two of three third set tie breakers, all in doubles. Juhn’s boys had an impressive season but went down to Greenhill Red 1-4. Three of the matches were Greenhill won were tight but they did win all three of them and winning is still winning.
All that being said, I tend to reward consistency so it’s Reiman versus Rossouw. Several of these teams are virtually interchangeable and each of these captains has their challenges. Reiman has the 18 man roster to contend with. Assuming he wants to keep everyone happy since it’s the fall, he’s going to need to nail his lineups. Rossouw has the opposite problem. While he does have 15 guys, he split his two rosters pretty evenly so he’s not at full strength.
No disrespect to 4.0 but I’m very excited about the 4.5 fall playoff matchups and I’m hoping to be able to get out for some good tennis and root some of my friends on.