Bell, Langford take 88th Hankey

Shane Valouch of Vernon stretches out for a backhander in the 88th Hankey Cup Saturday at his home Kalamalka Country Club. - Lisa VanderVelde/Morning Star
Shane Valouch of Vernon stretches out for a backhander in the 88th Hankey Cup Saturday at his home Kalamalka Country Club.
— image credit: Lisa VanderVelde/Morning Star

Jeremy Bell’s regular doubles partner was busy so he looked to Salmon Arm’s Bob Langford as a replacement.

The combination worked beautifully as Vernon’s Bell and Langford claimed the men’s A doubles title in the 88th Hankey Cup Doubles Tennis Championships Sunday night at the Kalamalka Country Club.

Tireless tournament chairman Ray Kimoto said 83 participants came from Calgary, central B.C., and the Okanagan with spectators entertained by some high-calibre tennis.

Bell and Langford, a former Vernonite, stopped Ken Cheung and Brandon Fung of Kelowna 6-5, 2-6, 10-6 (tiebreaker) in the finals. Cheung and Fung played a match in the ITF Futures tournament in Kelowna the previous day.

For the 44-year-old Bell, it was his second straight Hankey Cup victory after a few years of tough luck in the event.

“While it was disappointing that my regular doubles partner, West Martin-Patterson (of Sicamous), couldn’t play due to family commitments on Saturday, it was fun to team up with Bob Langford who I met in the early 1990s in Vancouver,” said the lean, 6-foot-4 Bell.

“Bob is a great guy and a solid doubles partner who gets the job done.  He stays level-headed and is particularly strong mid-court. All of our matches were enjoyable with some competitive teams pushing us to play our best.”

Langford also won the mixed A doubles, teaming with Kelowna’s Eva Koksalova and defeating Rosie and Joe Schaich of Kelowna 8-2 (pro set scoring) for the championship.

In the semifinals, Koksalova and Langford grounded Vernon’s Supha Phon and Calgary’s Everett Knight 8-1, while the Schaichs turned back Kelowna’s Audrey Chu and Ken Cheung 8-7.

In the men’s B doubles finals, the Kal Country Club veteran twosome of Ralph Stevens and Shane Valouch brushed back Vernon’s Joe McFadden and Joe Groves 6-3, 6-4.

Stevens and Valouch have pocketed this crown twice.

In one of the semifinal matches, Vernon’s Morris Vardabasso and David Valouch lost 6-4, 6-4 to McFadden and Grove.

In the ladies’ A doubles,  the results were determined by placements in the round-robin.

Two teams – Meryl Ogden and Rosie Schaich and Leah and Sharon Brownell, – had 9-1 records. The winner was then determined by the team that had won the most games over all the other teams in the round-robin.

First place went to Ogden (Vernon) and Schaich (Kelowna), who won 59 games while the Brownells of Penticton placed second with 55 wins.

Loree Boyd and Deedee Shattock of Salmon Arm iced Lea Poirier and Diana Kerr of Kamloops, 6-5, 6-4 in the ladies’ B doubles final.

In one of the semis, Vernon’s  Barb Klopfenstein and Diana Anderson lost 6-3, 6-1 to Boyd and Shattock.

The mixed B doubles final was captured by the Vernon pair of Lynne Smith and Joe McFadden over the Penticton duo of Sharon and Bob Brownell (Penticton), 8-3.

Kimoto, who is the first one out with a squeegee when the rain hits, and the last one to go home at night (which was very late on Sunday as the men’s A doubles final went past 10:30 p.m.), thanked his hard-working committee of Gordon Mann, Karalee Drdul-Mann, Dave Valouch, Gary Davidson, Mark Corbett, Bob Corbett, Barb Klopfenstein and Alice Kimoto, the kitchen crew of Judy Befus, Jill Holmes and Crystal Wilson, groundskeeper Lee Noonan, Voets Coffee for hot beverages, and Italian Kitchen and Centre Court Racquets of Victoria for door prizes.


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