2019 Briggs Cup
December 6th – 9th
Hosted by the Apawamis Country Club, Benefiting City Squash
Pierrepont/Leonard Take Briggs Cup
Suzie Pierrepont and Kayley Leonard captured their first CitySquash Briggs Cup title at the Apawamis Club in Rye, NY this weekend, battling through a strong and varied field of teams who produced a full weekend of exciting and dynamic play.
The tournament, hosted by doubles legend Peter Briggs and The Apawamis Club, also featured an SDA draw won by Manek Mathur and Chris Callis. The tournament, known as one of the most prestigious events on both calendars, takes place every two years and provided the third equal prize money event of 2019. An 8 team WSDA draw competed for a $30,000 purse while a 16 team men’s draw had $60,000 up for grabs. The event benefits the highly successful Bronx-based urban squash program, CitySquash.
In an event that went pretty much by the seedings, there was still plenty of drama for the knowledgeable Apawamis crowd to enjoy. The event kicked off Friday night with the much anticipated match up of top seeds Stephanie Hewitt and Kelsey Engman vs. last month’s WCC Pro Doubles Champions, Natalie Grainger and Olivia Fiechter. Grainger/Fiechter got off to a good start as new pairing Hewitt/Engman struggled to find their feet as a team. A one-sided second game put Grainger/Fiechter up by two games and well on their way to the semi-finals, but Hewitt/Engman had other ideas. A seesaw third saw newly elevated WSDA World # 1 Grainger and Engman trade winners from the left wall, coming down to a simultaneous game ball match ball with Hewitt/Engman sneaking it 15-14 before going on to complete their comeback in 5 games.
In the bottom half of the draw, second seeds Suzie Pierrepont and Kayley Leonard faced qualifiers Marie Elena Ubina and Katie Tutrone. The up-and-coming youngsters got off to a great start, taking the first game comfortably with some excellent shot making and court coverage. The next three games went the way of the second seeds and saw a lot of left wall play as left-handed Leonard asserted herself against a strong and steady Tutrone.
The first semi-final was an interesting match with 4th seeds Meredeth Quick and Georgina Stoker looking like the more dominant and organized team but ultimately falling in a close 3-1 to Hewitt/Engman. Hewitt/Engman, showing the same tenacity that saw them through their first-round match, stayed error free at key times in each game. The second semi-final was certainly a fan favorite for the Apawamis crowd, with all four players on the court having close ties to the local area. Pierrepont, a former Apawamis assistant pro, and Leonard who grew up in the Apawamis program, facing off against current Apawamis assistant pro, Lume Landman and her twin sister and neighboring WCC Assistant Pro Elani Landman. The twins, who overcame Tina Rix Stout and Alicia Rodriguez in their first round, made their intention to attack the older player clear from the start electing to serve from the left to Pierrepont. After three close and exciting games, the match looked to be heading into a 5th game as Landman/Landman took a 14-9 lead in the fourth, before an error from Landman and 4 winners from Pierrepont’s racket closed out the match for the second seeds.
The final was a fast paced affair on a hot and bouncy court, with Pierrepont clearly looking to take advantage of the conditions to use as much pace as possible. Some excellent left wall play between Leonard and Engman created attacking opportunities for both Pierrepont and Hewitt over on the right wall, with Hewitt continuing the form she had shown in previous matches, attacking well to both front left and front right. All three games of the final came down to who could hold their nerve at the end, with Leonard in particular staying steady and in control when it mattered, showing great maturity on court. Harvard graduate Leonard, an analyst at UBS in New York, is a shining example, along with Maria Ubina and Katie Tutrone, of the future of the WSDA. This may have been Leonard’s first Briggs Cup title but is unlikely to be her last.
The Briggs Cup is the last event of 2019 for the WSDA, but the tour immediately picks up again in 2020 with the MFS Boston Pro Am in January. The event, hosted by the Harvard Club of Boston, will be the largest prize money event ever for the WSDA at $50,000.
2017 Briggs Cup
Hosted by the Apawamis Country Club, Benefiting City Squash
Qualifiers Sobhy/Todd Win 2017 Briggs Cup
It was an unexpected final for the 2017 Briggs Cup. The unseeded team of, Tina Rix and Fernanda Rocha battled past #1 seeds, Suzie Pierrepont and Meredeth Quick in the first round. The result was a reversal of the New York City Open semi-final a few weeks ago with Rix/Rocha able to hang on at the end of each game to close out a 3-1 win. They faced #3 seeds Latasha Kahn and Tehani Guruge in the top semi-final. Rix/Rocha dominated the first two games with Rocha hitting winner after winner from the middle of the court. Coming into the 3rd game, Khan/Guruge were able to up the pace and establish a presence on the court, allowing them to pull back the 3rd game with Guruge taking control of the front of the court and attacking well. Returning to court for the 4th game, Rix/Rocha were clearly determined that the match was not going to five games and found the length and accuracy they had shown in the first two games to finish the match 3-1.
In the bottom half of the draw, unseeded qualifiers Amanda/Sobhy and Niki Todd beat #4 seeds Amy Milanek and Georgina Stoker in 3 to set up a semi-final clash with #2 seeds Narelle Krizek and Stephanie Hewitt.
Sobhy/Todd started strongly in the first, establishing a good lead before Krizek/Hewitt found their rhythm. The second game was tight with a number of fantastic winners from Krizek and some great retrieving from Hewitt. Ultimately, however, the combined court coverage of Sobhy/Todd proved frustrating for Krizek and a number of errors and some visible frustration ended the match in 3.
The final was slightly delayed by the late arrival of Rocha, who has hurried back to Boston on Sunday night in order to take her citizenship exam on Monday (which she passed!). The final was a great display of shot-making and athleticism from both teams. Rix/Rocha did their best to move Sobhy/Todd into the back corners before attacking the front left. Once again though, the combined court coverage from Sobhy/Todd and a number of Todd winners from the back of the court saw them take the make 3-0.
This was the 8th installment of the Briggs Cup benefiting CitySquash and the 2nd time the event has featured a WSDA draw. The SDA event was won by Damien Mudge and Manek Mathur, they defeated John Russell and Scott Arnold in the final, 3-1.
Thank you to everyone involved with this year’s event. Peter Briggs and the team at Apawamis, Terrance Lee and the CitySquash crew and event committee, Tom Clayton, Peer Pederson, Steve Mandel, Artie Schwabe and Brian Walsh.
The 2017 Briggs Cup, benefiting City Squash, begins Friday at the Apawamis Club in Rye, New York. This is the second time the bi-annual event has included a WSDA draw alongside the SDA event. This is the 8th installment of the event overall and it remains one of the premier events on both calendars.
Top seeds are current #1 ranked team, Meredeth Quick and Suzie Pierrepont. The event will mark two years since Quick last lost a match in a WSDA ranking event. Quick’s last loss came in the final of the 2015 Briggs Cup when she and partner, Natarsha McElhinny lost in the final to Stephanie Hewitt and Dana Betts. Looking to defend her title, Hewitt is seeded #2 with partner Narelle Krizek.
The event is a return to competition for USA super star, Amanda Sobhy. Sobhy, is preparing for her PSA World Tour come back at the Tournament of Champions in January having sustained an ruptured Achilles in March of this year while competing against USA team mate, Olivia Blatchford in Columbia.
Sobhy is partnered with rising doubles star and current PSA world #52 and PSA player of the month, Niki Todd. Sobhy/Todd face sister pairing (the third set of sister to compete on the WSDA pro tour!) Alexia and Andrea Echeverria in the first round of qualifying on Friday.
In the top half of the draw, #1 seeds Quick/Pierrepont are seeded to face Latasha Khan and Tehani Guruge in the semi final, while in the bottom half #2 seeds, Narelle Krizek and Stephanie Hewitt are seeded to face Amy Milanek and Georgina Stoker. Milanek/Stoker will be looking to go one better than they did in 2015 when they lost in the semi final, 15-14 in the 5th to eventual winners, Betts/Hewitt.
Dana Betts and Stephanie Hewitt survived a late come back from #2 seeds Meredeth Quick and Natarsha McElhinny to claim the first WSDA Briggs Cup.
Photo Credit: Justin Willet
The final match of the 2015 Briggs Cup was another rollercoaster, which seemed to be the theme of the weekend. Quick/McElhinny looked out of sorts starting the match and soon found themselves 2-0 down. A change of pace and tactics saw the pair fight back to level the match 2-2 before Betts/Hewitt claimed the 5th game and the title.
The Briggs Cup, a bi-annual event that benefits the New York City urban program City Squash, is the biggest doubles tournament in the country, with over 97 matches being played over the weekend.
Photo Credit: Justin Willet
The 2105 Briggs Cup final will be contested by the top seeded teams after both narrowly made it through tough semi final matches with 6 of the 10 games played in the semi-finals finishing 15-14.
In the top half of the draw top seeds Betts/Hewitt survived a marathon semi final against new paring Georgina Stoker and Amy Milanek. Betts/Hewitt took a one sided first game 15-8 but from then onwards were pushed to the limit by Stoker/Milanek. The rest of the match was separated by just one point per game with Stoker’s impressive court coverage and shot making putting immense pressure on Betts/Hewitt. Long rallies and hard fought points saw Hewitt/Betts eventually prevail 15-14 in the 5th.
In the bottom half of the draw #2 seeds Meredeth Quick and Natarsha McElhinny were also pushed to 5 games by another new paring, Victoria Simmonds and Amy Gross. Quick/McElhinny took the first two games but Simmonds/Gross pulled the match level to 2-2 with long rallies and smart play. Quick/McElhinny started the 5th game well with Quick hitting 6 outright winners to give them the lead they needed to close out the match.
Dana Betts & Stephanie Hewitt def. Gina Stoker & Amy Milanek; 8 ,(14) ,14 ,(14), 14
Meredeth Quick & Natarsha McElhinny def. Amy Gross & Victoria Simmonds; 13, 12, (14), (14) , 11
The last event on the 2015 squash doubles calendar is underway in Rye, New York. The Briggs Cup, which for the first time features a WSDA pro draw is the biggest on the combined mens/women’s calendar with a prize fund of over $125,000.
The long standing event benefiting NYC urban squash program, CitySquash takes place at the Apawamis Club in Rye, New York and features the top players in the world.