Broward Craig Trophy 2014
USIC RECLAIMS BROWARD CRAIG TROPHY 14 - 12 IN ST. PETERSBURG, FL
OVERVIEW - The third edition of the Broward Craig Trophy, the bi-annual match between the ICs of the USA and Belgium, was held at the Renaissance Vinoy Resort in St. Petersburg, Florida, on October 29 - 31, 2014. Dubbed the Sunshine City in the 1920's, St. Pete lived up to its moniker as the event was played in perfect Florida weather - 77 degrees, low humidity, and powder blue skies. The host country had dominated the past two competitions, with the USA winning 45-28 in Philadelphia in 2010 and the Belgians coasting 20 - 7 in Brussels in 2012. However, in St. Pete, to the delight of both IC Captains, the thrilling competition was not decided until the final doubles session.
THE MATCHES - After the morning singles matches on Day One, the Belgian IC claimed a 5 - 4 lead. Four doubles matches were decided evenly in the afternoon session, so the Belgians held a 7 - 6 lead at the conclusion of Day One matches. A strong showing by the US singles players in the morning on Day Two swung the lead to the Americans 12 - 9. With five doubles matches slated for the final afternoon session, the USIC held a decisive but not insurmountable lead. Each IC claimed a straight set doubles victory bringing the score to 13 - 10. The remaining three doubles matches split sets and were decided by 10 - point match tiebreaks. The Belgians won two, but the US won one for the 14 - 12 overall team victory. Kay and Bob Beverley were the American heros, winning the deciding doubles match 12 - 10 in a third set tie break which featured match points for both teams - whew!
The following matches were played ( scores have been omitted to protect the losers; *Denotes matches decided by third set match tiebreak ):
Matt Litsky (US) d Alain Carlier (BEL)
Patrick Bol de Bal (BEL) d Jeff Snow (US)
Diane Guns ( BEL) d Linda Miller (US)
Ann Marie Van Coillie (BEL) d Frances Dickenson (US)
Robert Van Malder (BEL ) d Gary Boss (US)
Joe Bachmann (US) d Rudy Michielsen (BEL)
Craig Allison (US) d Alex Lamquet (BEL)*
Hartmut Liebel (US) d Philippe Vercruysse (BEL)
Dan Charles ( BEL) d Bob Beverley (US)
Guns/Bol de Bal (BEL) d Janet Newberry Howe/Jeff Winkler (US)
Bachmann/David Dickenson (US) d Michielsen/Rob Kuijers (BEL)
Boss/Blair Neller (US) d Charles/Lamquet (BEL)*
Van Coillie/Carlier (BEL) d Kay and Bob Beverley (US)
Fabiana Taverna (US) d Guns (BEL)
Litsky (US) d Bol de Bal (BEL)
Carlier (BEL) d Liebel (US)*
Snow (US) d Vercruysse (BEL)
Lamquet (BEL) d Boss (US)
Bachmann (US) d Charles (BEL)
Allison ( US ) d Michielsen ( BEL )
David Dickenson (US) d Kuijers (BEL)*
Bol de Bal/Carlier (BEL) d Litsky/Liebel (US)*
Snow/Winkler (US) d Vercruysse/Van Malder (BEL)
Kay and Bob Beverley (US) d Van Coillie/Kuijers (BEL)*
Michielsen/Lamquet (BEL) d Boss/Neller (US)*
Guns/Charles (BEL) d Frances Dickenson/Allison (US)
THE SOCIAL EVENTS - Festivities started on Tuesday evening with a mix and mingle cocktail hour at the Lobby Bar. Embroidered beach towels were presented to all players. Lunch was served to players and guests at courtside on Wednesday and Thursday afternoon. Wednesday night cocktails and dinner was held at the home of Ann and Jeff Winkler. Attendees includes the players and spouses as well as WTA Tour CMO Steve Tseng and his wife, Maia, and Broward Craig's wife, Joyce, and children Doug and Debi. The Thursday night Gala Dinner was held in a private room at nearby 400 Beach Seafood and Taphouse. The crowd was entertained with a slide show of event photos taken at the matches and the Wednesday night dinner, a presentation by Doug Craig on his father's tennis history, and speeches by Belgian captain Van Malder and US captain Winkler. Robert Van Malder and Diane Guns were invited to become Honorary International USIC Members. The Belgian IC invited Jeff Winkler to become an Honorable International Member. Friendly doubles matches were played on Friday morning. Each team consisted of a Belgian and a US player. Handshakes and hugs followed, and everybody went back to their lives better for the experience. The goal of friendship across the nets were met. In the end, Joyce Craig, who attended all social events and tennis sessions, said, and I am not making this up, 'this was the finest IC event that I have ever attended - Broward would have loved it!'
EPILOGUE - Thank you for the privilege of hosting the event in our home town of St. Pete. Ann and I had a great time!
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