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Marek Czerwinski and Graham McNerney Conquer the Field at the Inaugural Cabin Fever Classic
December 31, 2018
by Pete Rose & Ben McKnight
With a freshly snow powdered back drop, 32F degree air and overcast skies, Skokie Country Club hosted the Inaugural Cabin Fever Classic. 24 of Chicago, Indianapolis and Pittsburgh's top players battled for the ultimate prize. The event tested several new concepts for NRTs which included value priced entry fee, prize money for front and back draw participants, 3rd set super tie breakers in all matches to keep the event moving and concluded by 6pm(Berka rule) and a round robin morning format to identify 4 semifinalists and remaining back draw participants.Lunch was not provided but beer was.
In the morning round robin, the seeds held in 3 of 4 groups with the overall 1st (Marek Czerwinski Graham McNerney), 3rd (Paget Neave Pete Rose) and 4th (Ben "Bus" McKnight Paulo Gonzalez) seeds advancing out of group play unblemished. In the "Group of Death" the tournament saw its first upset with overall 5th seed of Jeronie Barnes and Peter Berka outlasting Brian Compton and Scott Kahler 10-8 in a third set super tie breaker. Not all was lost as Brian Compton and Scott Kahler would go on to earn the tournaments Sportsmanship Award while taking 6th place. The backdraw and 5th place was won by Ryan Baxter and Mark Cunnington who enjoyed the fruits of their labor at a local Ruth Chris after the event.
In semi-final play, Skokie Country Club head pro Paget Neave and Trevian High School Tennis Teammate Pete Rose fought valiantly to win the second set but ultimately succumbed to the overall 1 seed of Marek Czerwinski and Graham McNernery 10-7 in third set super tie breaker. In the other semi-final, Ben McKnight and Paulo Gonzalez continued their strong and creative play to win a hard fought 3rd set super tie breaker against Peter Berka and Jeronie "The Future" Barnes.
The stage was set for a great final between tournament favorites Czerwinski McNerney and the riding high McKnight and Gonzalez. Many competitors, Skokie members, paddle enthusiasts, family and fans were present at the paddle hut and on live stream for the fine array of shot making that was on display in the final. Despite a hot start by McKnight and Gonzalez, Czerwinski and McNerney were able to play their way to be the Inaugural Cabin Fever Classic Champions in 2 tight sets. Their win extended their lead on the Platform Tennis Money List with prize money paid out at the conclusion of the day's event.
The tournament directors would like to thank the fans, sponsors, competitors and Skokie Country Club for a fine event. We would also like to thank those that traveled from Indianapolis, Pittsburgh and Glen Ellyn to compete. We look forward to the 2019 Cabin Fever Classic and the NRT status that has been granted for it.