BRIAN ROBERTSON won the Hartshorne Cup for the 12th year in a row. Robertson returns a serve in the championship match.

BRIAN ROBERTSON won the Hartshorne Cup for the 12th year in a row. Robertson returns a serve in the championship match.

Published in the June 22, 2017 edition.


WAKEFIELD — Former WHS boys’ tennis coach Brian Robertson extended his total dominance over Wakefield tennis to an even dozen years without ever losing a set, much less a match; he stopped second seed Jonathan Laramie 6-0, 6-2 Sunday in the title clash after blanking fourth seed Rich Greif 6-0, 6-0 Saturday.

Laramie reached the final for the third time in the last four years by rallying from a break down in each set for a 7-5, 6-4 victory over third seed Rob Imbriano in a fascinating clash that deserved the kind of attention the Hartshorne Cup matches used to get.

In the championship final Sunday it was Robertson at his best in the opening set as he dropped only seven points, winning five games at 15. In the fourth game with Laramie serving he blasted a big first serve after a double fault to reach 15-all and again got even at 30-all. The next point developed into a blistering duel but it was Robertson who got it, choking off the one danger in a set he had complete control over.

But Robertson, who had shown great concentration on the matter at hand, was a bit ragged in the early stages of the second set. After losing only three points in three service games in the first set, he was quickly behind 0-40 in the opening game, which he lost on a double fault at 30-40. Imbued with new spirit, Laramie, after losing the first service point, suddenly was up 40-15, but Robertson then went on a seven point run with some marvelous cross-courts to break at deuce and go up 40-0 on serve, winning at 30 for a 2-1 edge. Laramie dropped the opening point of the fourth game to a crosscourt but got even with a marvelous series of three shots and knotted the set at 2-2 by holding at 30.

But Robertson started to play the way he did in the first set, holding and breaking, both at 15, for 4-2. Laramie then played what might have been his best game of the match, a 12 point, triple deuced battle in which he had three break points but could not convert. The first two were at 15-40 but Robertson went to ad in. The game swung to ad out again before Robertson won it for 5-2. Laramie went up 30-15 but Robertson used a soft angled shot to knot it. A double fault brought up match point and the match was over on the final 19-9 burst. The points per set were 24-7 and 32-22 for 56-29. On serve Robertson was 6-1, 29-15, Laramie 1-6, 14-27.

In his four matches this year, Robertson won 48 of 56 games, winning four sets at love, including three first sets, and the other four at 6-2. Elliott Miller, his first opponent, won four of the eight games with Mark Tringali and Laramie each getting two games in the second set.

In his semifinal, Robertson faced Greif, who had bageled his first two opponents over 24 games in four love sets only to be bageled by Robertson in 12 straight games, the points being 24-5 and 30-15 for 54-20. As with Laramie, Robertson was on a set-long streak of near perfection in the opener, Greif reaching 30 only in the third game as Robertson carded love games in the second and fourth games. After opening with a love game in the second set, Greif started to show what carried him to two decisive wins during the week. He got to 30 in both the second and third games and battled in the following two games, the fourth going 16 points through five deuces and the fifth to a single deuce before Robertson took the final game at 15 following a four game stretch in which the points were 22-14 as Greif showed some of his talent against Robertson, who might well be though of as the Wakefield Master except that term is reserved for a 15th century playwright of so-called religious mystery plays who wrote five excellent plays in the 32 play cycle at Wakefield, England, the others being quite unexceptional.

The best match for competition was the other semifinal where Laramie came on at the end of each set, gaining edges of 38-33 and 31-29 for a 69-62 total as Laramie was 8-3 and Imbriano 6-5 on serve.

Laramie struck early, holding at 15 and breaking at deuce, but Imbriano went on a 16-6 surge, concluding by holding at love for a 4-2 lead. Laramie held at 15 and Imbriano at 30. The ninth game was critical as Laramie was down to set point at 3-5, 30-40, but he went on a closing 15-5 run, holding at deuce and at 15 while breaking Imbriano twice at 30.

In the second set Laramie held twice at 15, sandwiched around an Imbriano love game, but again Imbriano went on a 12-3 spree to go ahead, carding a fifth game break at 30 and holding at 15 for the same 4-2 lead he had in the first set.

The seventh game was critical but Laramie, after a double fault left him trailing 15-30, got on top. Three times Imbriano deuced the game but Laramie won on his fourth game point, broke at 30 to even the score after Imbriano led 30-15, and held at 15 to go ahead 5-4.

The final game was not anti-climactic. With Imbriano down 15-40, double match point, he drew an error from his opponent and evened matters with a drop shot, but Imbriano netted and then went down on Laramie’s third match point.


Top Quarter: Brian Robertson (1) d. Elliott Miller 6-2, 6-2; Mark Tringali d. Lee Milward 6-1, 6-3.

Second Quarter: Jonathan Owen d. Rick Jackson 6-3, 2-6, 6-3; Rich Greif (4) d. Tom Flynn 6-0, 6-0.

Third Quarter: Rob Imbriano (3) d. Jason Kaminsky 6-1, 6-3; Cliff King d. Noah Greif 6-3, 6-1.

Bottom Quarter: Bill Conley d. Brett Jackson 6-3, 7-6 (8-6); Jonathan Laramie (2) d. Jack Palmer 6-0, 6-0.

Quarterfinals: Robertson (1) d. Tringali 6-0, 6-2; Greif (4) d. Owen 6-0, 6-0; Imbriano (3) d. King 6-4, 3-6, 6-4; Laramie (2) d. Conley 6-3, 6-2.

Semifinals: Robertson (1) d. Greif (4) 6-0, 6-0; Laramie (2) d. Imbriano (3) 7-5, 6-4.

Title Match: Robertson (1) d. Laramie (2) 6-0, 6-2.