By Fred Hill
Nigel Thain hit a hard backhand volley just above the left front tin to give Thain and Dave Rosen a dramatic, “no-set” final point victory over Peter Cipriano and Nick Barquin in the Open final of the 2012 Maine/Maryland at Meadow Mill Doubles Tournament in Baltimore on the last weekend of September.
Thain’s shot, taking the ball off the back wall at mid-court, climaxed a long, full-court rally at 14-all in the fifth set of a near twohour battle which saw the two Canadian natives claw their way back from two sets down and survive two match points.
Thain and Rosen, who grew up and first learned to play squash in Ottawa, gave away nearly two decades in age to Cipriano and Barquin, two outstanding and hard-hitting players who graduated from Bowdoin and Trinity in recent years. Cipriano, from New York, won the 2007 Intercollegiate Doubles title with Zach Linhart.
Youth and power seemed to have an edge as Cipriano and Barquin used their hard drives and deadly reverse corners to capture the first two games—15-14 on a backhanded overhead reverse by Cipriano, and 15-9, featuring several unanswerable corners from Barquin from the right wall.
But Rosen, a Harrow Sports representative, and Thain, Director of Athletics at Philadelphia Country Club, did not let that deficit bother them. They won the third game decisively (15-11), and pulled out sudden-death, “no-set” wins in both the 4th and 5th games, 15-14. Cipriano and Barquin were just about to close out the match, leading 14-12, but a forehand nick to the right corner by Rosen tied it at 14-all.
Rosen won the M4 Doubles last year with Greg Park, the 2012 U.S. National Doubles champion with Preston Quick. Rosen and Park defeated a team of former Bowdoin players, Linhart and Matt Dresher, three games to one, in the 2011 M4.
Sixty-four players from Baltimore, Maine, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, New York and Washington took part in the seasonopening M4 Doubles. It also represented the third annual Maine State Doubles Championship—due to the lack of a doubles court in Maine. Bowdoin College tore down the only court in the state in 2008 to make way for a new fitness center. A major effort is now underway to build a new squash facility in Portland, which might include a hardball doubles court.
The 2012 M4 saw the first Under-25 draw in the history of the tournament. Brothers Bill and Jim Kacergis, of the U.S. Naval Academy, prevailed, defeating Barrett Takesian and Andrew Sprague, 2012 graduates of Bowdoin from Portland, Maine.
Two other outstanding squash players from Navy, Hunter Beck and Andrew McGuinness, gave Cipriano and Barquin a fierce battle in a five-set, semifinal in the Open, leading two sets to one before dropping the last two. The scores were 15-7, (12), (8), 12, and 9. Rosen and Thain bested Baltimore Country Club professionals, Jay Bewley and Patrick Bedore, in the other Open semi, 15-11, (9), (13), 9, 9.
In other draws, Geoff Goodson, of Meadow Mill, and Dick Rice, from Rochester (NY), survived two match points to defend their 2011 title in the 60s bracket, edging John Kirkpatrick and Mike Heneroty, from Pittsburgh, in another, hardfought, five set match.
Gary Yeager, from Philadelphia, and Jim Mott, from Somers Point (NJ) won all three matches in a closely-contested round robin in the 50s draw. They defeated MMAC owner Nancy Cushman and Liz Everts, MMAC pro Peter Heffernan and Brian Swanson, and Guy Cipriano, from Franklin Lakes (NJ), and Peter George. Cushman and Everts won two of their three matches.
Heffernan and Patrice Cromwell, also of Meadow Mill, won all three matches in the Mixed Doubles round-robin. Peter Cohen and Gary Zipper, from Meadow Mill, prevailed in the largest draw of the tournament— the Bs. Bob Everd and Bill Bruchey, also of Meadow Mill, swept three teams to win the 65s for the second straight year.
In addition to many patrons, principal sponsors of the 2012 M4 tournament included the Maryland State Squash Racquets Association, Knott Mechanical, Harrow Sports, Platt Development Group, SMG Architects and Peter George.