Former Germantown Cricket Club regular Greg Park extended his Graham Company Cup title record with his fifth on St. Patrick’s Day, after rekindling a partnership with John Russell for their second event this season.
Having spent two seasons together nearly seven years ago, Russell & Park reunited ahead of the David C. Johnson Jr. Memorial last month. In Brooklyn, Russell & Park put together a successful semifinal run as the three seeds.
In Philadelphia, Russell & Park once again entered the draw as the three seeds, but this time went one better. Like Brooklyn, Russell & Park opened up their tournament with a difficult five-setter, holding off a comeback from Adam Bews & Hamed Anvari 15-13, 15-7, 7-15, 3-15, 15-10. Russell & Park then edged two seeds Robin Clark & Scott Alexander in a close semifinal 15-13, 15-13, 13-15, 15-12.
The top half of the draw saw Canadian four seeds Will Mariani & Thomas Brinkman upset top seeds Bernardo Samper & Chris Callis–the new world No. 1 this month–15-9 in the fifth to reach the final.
In the final, the SDA veterans pulled through to clinch the title 15-10, 15-9, 8-15, 15-12.
While Russell adds his name to the Graham Company Cup winners list for the first time, Park marks his fifth, following up his 2014 title with Jonny Smith, 2012 and 2010 titles with Imran Khan and 2007 title with Shane Coleman. Coleman is second on the winners list having won three titles from 2004-2007.
“Playing with JR is always a lot of fun,” Park said. “A tremendous player on the court and a great guy off. Our families are very close throughout the year not just with squash. That helps to make a solid team. Plus JR, as everyone knows, is one of the best players of all time.”
Russell’s second title of the season came just days before his fortieth birthday on Wednesday, March 20.
“It feels good to be answering questions about a tournament win on my fortieth birthday,” Russell said. “Greg played really well this weekend, continuing to improve after playing great three weeks ago at the Heights event. His style compliments my game greatly. Feels good to have finally won this event as I’m pretty sure I had reached four finals there. It was also great to have my son and wife there watching.”
The Graham Company Cup may be the end of his established SDA Pro Tour career, Park admits. At thirty-six years old, Park–the 2012 and 2013 U.S. National Doubles champion and 2011 ISDA Rookie of the Year–played eight events this season.
“This was a special one for both of us,” Park said. “JR was able to get the win and have his wife and son there to watch. My fifth time winning is a great feeling. Germantown is where I started playing so I am glad to have won the most titles there, and this time I had my wife and three kids to cheer me on. My “lucky charms” that day. It was also special because it was most likely my last event and a great way to go out–a win with a great friend of mine and we had our families there to share it with.”