Playing the York City-County Men's Singles championship on the evening before the Fourth of July holiday wasn't Phil Myers' original idea.

Myers, the tournament's director, planned to finish the annual event on July 2 -- at the very latest.

The plan didn't hold up. Rain on the opening day pushed the matches back one day. So, instead of closing on July 2, the 2013 tournament finished on July 3.

Bumping up against the holiday almost certainly cut into the crowd for the Men's Singles final.

Several communities sponsored fireworks shows on July 3, plus people were finishing last-minute holiday planning that day.

While the galleries weren't exactly huge on the other days of the tournament, the Men's Singles final, even without the presence of 16-time champion Jim Kohr and 11-time champion Craig Diehl, should have drawn more than the small number of fans who made it to Farquhar Park on July 3.

Neither Kohr nor Diehl were entered in the singles draw this year. Diehl did play Men Doubles with his partner, Jeff Clark.

The fans who witnessed the Men's Singles final were treated to an entertaining, hard-fought match between Myers (he also played in the tournament) and Jared Howat.

Howat won the first set in a tiebreaker (7-4) and then clinched the title by taking the second set, 6-4.

The new champion didn't lose his serve the entire match, and the runner-up had his serve broken just once, in the first game of the second set.

The two young players (both are in their early 20s) provided an interesting contrast.

Howat crushed his serves and ground strokes. Myers relied on placement for his serves and slices for his ground strokes.

Following the match, Howat, a teaching professional at Bent Creek Country Club in Lancaster County (Lititz) said he hopes to be able to return and try for another championship next year.

Myers, a York High and York College graduate and a teaching professional, is definitely planning to be back in 2014.

He already is seriously considering one change for next year: starting the tournament earlier (maybe a week before it began this year) to avoid bumping into the holiday.

Myers will also continue his search for players to compete in Women's Singles.

Just one player signed up this year, so for the first time since 1998, no champion was crowed in that class.

On a positive note, this year saw an increase over last year in the number of players who competed in Men's Singles, Men's Doubles and Mixed Doubles.

The tournament may never again feature the huge numbers in Men's Singles and Women's Singles, like it did in the tennis heyday of the late 1970s and early-to-mid 1980s. (One Men's Singles draw during that time was loaded with 128 players).

Fans occupying all the bleacher space and standing, or sitting in lawn chairs, two and three deep outside the courts, may also be a thing of the past.

However, the York City-County Tournament has proven its staying power over the years by showcasing the area's best players for 93 tournaments. It isn't about to disappear from the summer sports scene.

Dick VanOlinda covers high school sports for The York Dispatch. He can be reached at dvanolin or at 505-5407.