2017 Hope’s Cup Recap
by Peyton Sivak
The 2017 Hope’s Cup Tournament brought together some of the finest stones players Philadelphia and Chautauqua could offer this past weekend. The bi-annual event was hosted in Philadelphia this year for the first time. Following the crushing defeat from the previous Hope’s Cup, Philadelphia looked forward to using their home course advantage to best the travelling Chautauqua side. At the same time, the talented Chautauqua team anticipated a 2nd straight victory. The weekend consisted of dozens of exciting matchups as each team fought ferociously for every point; but in the end, only one team could be crowned Hopes Cup Champions.
In the first round, both teams gathered at the Philly Stones Course at Fairmount Park to get the weekend underway with standard 2v2 stones. At the start, both captains deployed some of their premier players in an attempt to gain momentum. It paid off early for team Chautauqua, as they bolted ahead with a 212point run. But team Philly responded immediately by winning the final two games of the round, including a surprising upset by defeating the Chautauqua superstars Larry King Jr. and Jeff Breen to make the scoreline level.
In the second round, team Chautauqua dominated match play by winning 4 straight games to take a commanding lead. Again, John Janick and Chris Kinka closed out the round with another win for team philly by knocking off Chautauqua captain Jason Sivak and Camren Nelson. The game came down to a base to landing longball with the mark resting a ridiculous 20+ yards away. Chris began the round with an incredible throw by establishing his stone a mere half foot from the mark. The game surely looked over. However, Jason stepped up to the challenge, found his line and hurled his ball down the hill to knock out Chris’s stone and leave his ball in a scoring position. Next it was John “Last Ball” Janick’s turn to displace the opposing ball and score, and he did just that with another amazing throw to put their final ball in to score and win the game, earning another crucial point for team Philly.
For round three, the game format went back to standard game play. With team Chautauqua nearly doubling the score of their philly rivals after two rounds, it was beginning to appear similar to the the outcome of the last tournament when Chautauqua finished the first day with a significant lead. Team captain Mike Kinka gathered his team to draw up a new strategy for the ensuing round. Rallying together, the Philadelphia side managed to take the lead in all of the games in round 3 and see them through to the end. The team scored 5 out of 5 possible points for the round, completing the first ever round sweep in Hope’s Cup history to take the lead in the tournament. Including, a shocking performance by J.Y. Halpin and Kyle Power to beat one of the hottest teams of the day; Lake Sivak and Lucas Peterson. An unbelievable display of execution to build momentum going into the final day.
In the fourth round, the tournament relocated to an indoor course at Prism Brewery. Only a few points separated the two teams to start the second day and it was anyone’s trophy for the taking. The Chautauqua squad needed a decent performance in the match play round to make up for the embarrassing sweep from the day before. But Philly would not let that happen. They won another four straight games to complete a nine point run, the longest point streak ever in a Hope’s Cup. Another dominating performance to take a sizeable lead.
Going into the fifth and final round, it was time for 2 ball singles. Accelerated, unforgiving and treacherous; singles can make or break teams in the final round and sometimes cause even the most colossal leads to feel unstable. The round began with two more wins for philly at the hands of Chris Kinka and John Janick who showed all weekend that they were an unstoppable force. Following those games was the matchup of Tommy “iceman” Pendergast and Josh Eckert. The last hope for team Chautauqua and possibly the tournament winner for team Philadelphia. Tommy came sprinting out of the gates and found himself with a 9-3 lead going into the third stretch. All hope seemed lost for Chautauqua, but Josh seized control of the game earning point after point eventually taking the lead of the game and finishing out a miraculous comeback to keep the dream alive. Following Josh’s win, team Chautauqua managed to earn another 412straight points until, M. “Lefty” Castiglione put team Philly on his back and made some of the best throws of the weekend to win it all for his team. A heroic performance to squash the Chautauqua comeback.
In the end, we learned that anyone can come up big for their team on any given weekend. Whether it’s an unlikely hero or superstars anticipating a big performance or not. Stones can truly be an unpredictable game.
Three Stars from the weekend
1. John Janick
2. M. “Lefty” Castiglione
3. Chris Kinka