First Annual Allentown $500 Doubles
by William Gritter
Allentown, PA July 29 2001
Mother Nature provided some cool weather for a day filled with heated action. This was Allentown Handball Association's first annual $500 dollar doubles tournament and many teams were expected to show. 32 teams consisting of players from Allentown, Philadelphia, Camden NJ, and N.Y.C came to battle it out for the $500 dollars. However, the two N.Y.C teams consisting of Rookie & Fred (Buddy) Gant and Tony Roberts & Pee-Wee Castro were early favorites.
The tournament was double-elimination so the other teams were faced with the tuff task of beating these power- house teams twice. Both teams advanced quickly and easily thru the early rounds. However, Rookie and Fred were tested in the fourth round when they faced Roland (N.Y.C) & John Ambert (N.Y.C). The game was a race to 15, and the score was 13-13 with Roland & John serving. However, two long serves by Roland provided an opportunity for Rookie and Fred to finish the game. At this point, Rookie took control of this closely contested match and secured a 15-13 victory.
Crowds began to gather as the two undefeated teams Rookie & Fred, Peewee & Tony squared off in the 5th round. This game was crucial because the loser would be thrown into the loser's bracket, and the winner would be guaranteed a chance at 500-dollar prize. Rookie & Fred won the hard fought game 15-7.
Disappointed with their 1st loss Peewee & Tony began to heat up and devour all challengers in the loser's bracket. The championship game was set; Peewee & Tony Roberts would have a chance to avenge their earlier loss to Rookie & Fred. Since Rookie & Fred were undefeated Peewee and Tony would have to win two straight games. The championship game was unbelievable, consisting of Peewee's acrobatic gets and Rookie's spikes. Rookie and Fred jumped out to an early lead and maintained it to game point, however Tony Roberts & Peewee clawed back tying the score 20-20 sending the game to 25. With momentum on their side Tony got red hot and hit killer after killer securing the game 25-20.
One more game was needed to decide who would walk away the $500 dollars. After some debating, both teams agreed to split the first place money and second place trophies.
William Gritter is the organizer of the Allentown tournaments.
For more photos and information, visit his website at www.gabasonbigwill.com or e-mail him at BIGWILL13@msn.com