Razik beats White in Men's Final in Natick, MA
May 14, 2010, by Sarah Cortes © 2010 SquashTalk.com , Independent News; SquashTalk LLC
(updated 15-may-10 9:20 )
New England EVENT IN NEW US PRO TOUR Reaches Successful Climax
Players breathed a collective sigh of relief and spectators wondered if they had got their money’s worth as the NE Open ended with not a single player arrested. However, conduct warnings, point penalties and stern talkings-to from the ref abounded on this, the final night of the tournament. The 5-let rule sustained a number of the oft-mentioned “tweakings,” emerging like Marlon Brando in “On the Waterfront” black, blue and bloodied but still hanging in there and capable of meatpacking or whatever it is they do on waterfronts.
Shahier Razik accept's trophy in Joe McManus's "NON PSA" event (photo @ Sarah Cortes)
Cutting a wider berth around Arizona and its new “papers, please” law which incarcerates individuals not carrying some mysterious papers who “seem” like the “might be” illegal aliens and give “probable suspicion” for such, our loyal and by now much-loved band of players navigated into the Cross Courts club well before 6:30pm and started warming up. Referee Mike Riley was seen “checking” quite a few “papers” during the night, and apparently all checked out as there were no further incarceration repercussions.
Local favorite Sharplin succumbs in ¾ playoff
First up were Egyptian Wael el Hindi and ever-fit and really trim New Zealander Daniel Sharplin for the ¾ playoff. Spectators were prepared with their Ray-ban sunglasses as el Hindi disrobed after the warmup, but there was no need as he limited his fashion strategy to a sleeveless but form-fitting non-fluorescent blue kit. After checking each other out with a good deal of probable suspicion, our players got underway.
It was unclear if either el Hindi or Sharplin carried “papers” during the warmup, but everyone was on the sharp lookout for anyone who “seemed” like they might be an “illegal alien.” Tonight Sharplin did not hesitate to question referee Riley’s calls as he challenged the towering el Hindi, while giving him a run for his money. El Hindi needed 15 minutes to close out the first game, barely squeaking by Sharplin 12-10. Sharplin used up three lets and el Hindi two as the Egyptian, tonight on his best behaviour, prevailed 11-8 in the second after another 15 explosive minutes of play. The third game proved the final as el Hindi clinched the match 11-4.
Penalty strokes and warnings clutter the final
After el Hindi’s nonstop fashion assaults of the past week, Razik and White provided relief, demonstrating their similar subtle counter-fashion strategies, reminiscent of Peter Nicol’s “fished-crumpled-from-the-bottom-of the squash bag” look. Our popular finalists got underway as tournament director Joe Mcmanus announced raffle winners in a week that has been filled with such tournament amenities, including an incomparable afternoon at the Red Sox with players, sponsors and invited guests. It was hard t say who had more probable suspicion, and who fewer papers, but White, after zinging a winning cross-court drop at the outset, promptly called a let at 1-4 and received just as promptly a “no-let, Mr. White” decision. “Thank you, Mr. Ref,” was White’s clever rejoinder, setting a polite initial tone. At 6-2 Razik received a stroke and White’s frustration grew. He pulled the game back and won 11-7, after 8 minutes.
In the second, the no-let rule once again leapt our of seeming acceptance into controversy, as at 3-8 for White Riley did not see a questionable Razik pickup and announced a “referee let.” How many do you get? queried a shocked Razik. White announced Riley would get 5 lets of his own, whereupon Razik refocused his probable suspicion onto Riley and used Indian sign language to let him know his eyes would be glued to the foreign-born ref. henceforth. Shortly thereafter with a 9-3 lead, White hypothetically queried the potential outcome of a possible let he was taking under consideration, and announced he was awarding himself a let. Shahier hit a fantastic drop which proved the turning point of the game and match, as an increasingly frustrated John White saw his 9-3 lead turn into an 11-9 loss in the second game.
White’s frustrated mutterings as he flew from the court yielded him a point penalty from referee mike Riley at the outset of game three, and later ball abuse garnered him a conduct warning. Concerned where such abuse could lead, Riley also frowned on White’s treatment of the rubber ball. White, exasperated, gave up the third game 11-0 after only 7 minutes.
In the fourth, lets were no longer an issue as Razik quickly mounted an 8-2 lead. Briefly stopping Razik’s juggernaut, White finessed a lovely drop at 10-4. However, after 39 minutes of play, White conceded the final point, 11-5 and match 3-1 in only 39 minutes.
MENS NEW ENGLAND OPEN
Wael El Hindi (EGY) def. Dan Sharplin (NZL) 12-10, 11-8, 11-4 41 minutes
Shahier Razik (CAN) def. John White (SCO) 8-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-5 39 minutes