Sunday, November 16, 2014

Carson wins IRT Turkey Shootout

Rocky Carson won the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) 24th Annual Turkey Shootout in Garden City, Kansas Sunday by defeating Ben Croft in the final, 11-7, 9-11, 11-4, 11-9. Carson's win is his 3rd in a row and his 21st career win in his 200th IRT tournament.

Both Carson and Croft drove serve throughout the final, and mostly to the left side - each other's backhand, although they did vary the serves. Carson especially used a jam serve to the left with the ball jumping off the side wall into Croft's body.

The match was a case of what might have been for Croft, as he had leads in game one and four, but lost them both.

Game one had a cagey start, as it took several rallies before the first point was scored. Croft got on the board first, and led all the way to 7-3. But Croft stalled, and Carson came back and tied the game 7-7. Carson kept pushing, served an ace to make it 9-7, and finished off game one 11-7.

In game two, Croft again took the lead early at 5-1. But Carson came back and tied it at 6-6. But this time Croft had a response, and went up 10-7. Carson got a couple points back: one with another ace to the left side, and the second after a long rally in which Croft thought Carson played the ball after two bounces.

It wasn't the first time Croft disagreed with the referee, and it wouldn't be the last.

But Croft did win game two, hitting a flat forehand pinch shot to end it.

Game three was all Carson, as he went out to leads of 5-0, and then 9-3. He won it 11-4, helped by five drive serve aces, four to the left and one to the right.

In game four, they were back and forth with no more than a two point advantage either way until 6-6. Then Croft got ahead 9-6.

On the next rally, Croft skipped a backhand shot, and broke a string on his racquet in the process. But when they resumed the ball broke on the serve, which suggested the previous rally should be replayed.

Initially, the referee did call for a replay, but after a further ruling - presumably from the IRT President Jason Mannino - that call was reversed, and Carson was given the serve at 6-9.

Croft was unhappy with that ruling, which wasn't the first time he was upset with the referee. During the match he expressed those disagreements demonstrably several times, and it's surprising Croft was never assessed a technical.

Carson took full advantage of the ruling, as he scored five unanswered points to win the game, 11-9, and the match, 3-1. The winning rally was a drive serve to the left, and Croft's return was into the middle, where Carson rekilled it to win the rally.

Carson's record against Croft is now 30-5.

The next IRT event will be the Kitsap Splat in Bremerton, Washington, December 4-7, 2014.

24th Annual Turkey Shootout
Garden City, Kansas - November 13-16, 2014


2. Rocky Carson d. 4. Ben Croft, 11-7, 9-11, 11-4, 11-9

Follow the bouncing ball….

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