Autumn Leaves Invitational Won by Jackie Jones
24-28 September 2008
The Fifth Annual Autumn Leaves Invitational tournament was held September 24th to the 28th at the picturesque setting in the mountains of southwest North Carolina. Hosted by the Chattooga Club in Cashiers, NC. The setting was everything anyone could want. Using three courts set just below the open pavilion and Lodge with a backdrop of two mountains across the valley. This year the weather cooperated with only a light rain for a couple of hours on Friday. Thursday morning we were awakened to 42-degree temperatures, but once the sun came up, it warmed up enough to make it most enjoyable.
Play was singles only, with nine players in Championship, (handicaps from minus 0.5 to 4), seven players in First flight, (handicaps 5 and 6), and five players in Second Flight, (handicaps from 7 to 10), and six players in Third flight (handicaps from 12 to 14). Four flights were set up to allow players to compete with their equals. Block play on the first two days led to everyone being seeded into a double elimination format. Fifteen of the twenty-eight original players were still competing on Sunday.
The food, as usual, was a culinary delight, starting with the opening party Wednesday evening with cocktails, and what was billed as a cookout, if you can imagine a buffet line with prime rib, salmon, and other delicacies available, also with chowder and a desert table. Two roaring fireplaces provided the background for the Thursday evening, cocktails and heavy hors d’oeuvres. Friday saw an open evening, when the players were able to try out the fine local eating establishments, or if they wished they could sign up for an Octoberfest dinner at the club. Saturday evening as in previous years, the Club hosted the traditional players cocktail party and dinner at the Lodge. This years menu included bacon wrapped shrimp and lamb carpaccio crostini for hors d’oeuvres, spinach salad with warm bacon dressing and seared scallops, followed by beef tenderloin and rainbow trout crab stuffed paupiette with caramelized onion Yukon potatoes, young green beans with shallot butter, and of course sweet potato praline pie with vanilla ice cream. A complete breakfast awaited us each morning in the Lodge. Lunch was served on the porch overlooking the courts and one had a choice of the daily menu.
In Championship flight, the ladder was played under beautiful sunny skies. Ron Huxtable seeded #1, undefeated in the block, therefore having a bye to the semi finals defeating Dale Poszgai to go to the finals. In the losers bracket after a loss to Jackie Jones, Linda Huxtable gamely worked her way up, defeating Missy Ramey, Tom Moss, and then to play Jackie again, who had been knocked down by Dale Poszgai. Jackie then knocked Linda out, followed by a win over Dale to meet Ron Huxtable in the final. In a game that Ron led most of the game, he made the mistake of sending a ball out on the court. It was enough for Jackie to come back and win 22-21. Another highlight of the day was Tom Moss’ 26 to 1 win.
Vic Lawrence, playing in First flight, was looking for his first win, having come in second several times in tournaments Managing to proceed through the ladder in the winners side, he awaited Roni Brazell who was sent to the losers side in her first match, which was against Vic. In working her way back, Roni defeated Lou Fusz, Cynnie Cagney, Pat Williams, Glenn Bennett, and finished the day by winning over Vic 14-13. Vic would have to wait another tournament to get his first win.
Second flight saw Conrad Rugart go undefeated to win over Jane Enochs, who like Roni ended in the losers side after the first game, then went and defeated Sue Lawrence, Annie Reade, and Jerry Devitt, to lose to Conrad 18-5.
Third flight, dominated by Don Lancto, took on a determined Louis Freeman in the finals, winning 17-9.
Everyone enjoyed the tournament, and we look forward to another next year, which will be held the same week September 23 – 27, 2009.