See below to see all the EFA school reports and photos from the 2010/11 season...
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No report received
This season’s Fives at Belmont have been marked by some outstanding individual achievements amongst a limited number of available players. This meant that we had to bow out of one scheduled match against Highgate, although Belmont pairs did play another match there and also against a mixed age group team at Aldenham.
Three pairs entered the U13 Tournament at Eton. Our first pair, Thomas Baker and Harry Rapley, both Year 7s, gave a very good account of themselves by winning two of their matches. Our second pair, Sophie Tingle and Sophia Dunkley, competed well but were unable to secure a win on this occasion. Our third pair Charlie Plummer (a Year 6) and Jack Billingham, who had not played together before, rose to the occasion magnificently and won four of their games against some very strong opposition with Charlie’s finesse and Jack’s power blending well.
Belmont sent 3 pairs to the Under 12s Tournament and one pair of girls played in the Girls’ Under 15s, both held at Eton. Our Under 12s pairs 3 and 2, consisting of Jonathan Becker, William Jenkins, Dita Jaja and Harry Rapley, played a number of matches and all finished with victories under their belts. The first pair of Thomas Barker and Charlie Plummer did better than this. Having lost to Highgate 3 and Highgate 11 they went into the Plate competition with 64 other pairs and managed to beat all their opponents to win the A1 Plate.
Sophie Tingle and Sophia Dunkley made up Belmont 1 and participated in the Under 15s Tournament. Once again the main competition proved to be the many pairs that Highgate took to the tournament, although there were also competitors from Wolverhampton and Emanuel. The girls came second in their pool after defeating Highgate pairs 8 and 9 but found Highgate 3 too strong in the next round. They finished by playing Highgate 7 and this proved to be a highly entertaining affair, with the Belmont girls narrowly defeated in two games 13-14 and 10-12.
There are a number of promising young players and great interest in the junior part of the school which bodes well for Eton Fives at Belmont in the future.
Fives continues to grow here at the school both in skill and numbers. Overall we played 30 fixtures against a wide variety of opponents including Charterhouse, Emanuel, Eton, Highgate, KES, Mill Hill, Orley Farm, QEB, Shrewsbury, St. Olaves, Summer Fields and Westminster.
The U18s have again shown their strength and depth as they have taken part throughout the season in a number of the adult tournaments as well as continuing to play as a Berkhamsted side in Division 2.
At the Midlands we took a very large contingent of pupils - both boys and girls - to take part with 17 in total. We had success with twins Charles and James Holroyd winning the Festival Trophy and Olly O’Gorman and Toby Savill taking the Festival Plate.
In the Old Boy/School Boy competition (now known as the Richard Barber Cup) the seniors again performed extremely well making it all the way to the semi-finals before losing out to eventual winners the Olavians.
For the Graham Turnbull Trophy entry was again very high, a total of 8 pairs, with many of the pupils teaming up with a combination of old boys, coaches and staff of the school. First pairing of Steven Wiggill and Anthony Theodossi made it all the way to the final where, despite losing 3 – 0 to an Olavian pairing, they had a superb match.
Last year one of the highlights for the senior pupils was taking part in the EFA Trophy competition; they made it all the way to the finals mixing in again with old boys and coaches but just losing out 2 – 1. This year they again repeated their success but with a reverse to last time winning 2 – 1. Particular mention must go to Vice-Captain Alex Rattan who teamed up with old boy Jeremy O’Neill and came back from two games down to win their match.
The League 2 team has again performed admirably; after taking the title last year, a number of coaches dropped out of the team to allow the seniors to prove their skill, again teaming up with a number of old boys of the school. Despite some early setbacks the team finished in a very creditable third place, a huge success again showing both the strength and depth in our senior school players.
In the Nationals we were able to enter all but the U15s competition with a total of 35 pairs representing the school. In the U12s our top pair reached the final of the main plate competition just losing out to Belmont 1. We had three quarter-finalists from our U14s, U18s and U18 girls. The greatest success came from our U13s, however, where our third pair made it all the way through to the final beating our second pair in the semis in the process.
Development in the school is also looking promising with Fives now being made more available as an option to girls below year 11. Another potential huge change is the involvement of the Prep school for the first time in the Fives programme with taster sessions starting after the summer half term.
Photos: Berkhamsted players at the Schools' Nationals; Turnbull finalists Steven Wiggill and Ant Theodossi; Midland Festival winners Charles and James Holroyd
Match v Lancing College (March 3rd)
The first pair played Fives of a higher standard than any previous Bryanston pair in the last 30 years, coming under relentless pressure from a highly respectable Lancing first pair. Frank Lebon and Bertie Bannerman put on a fantastic show matching Lancing shot for shot, the first game lasting 40 minutes, 15 minutes of which was at “foot down”. They went down eventually 13-15. They also closely lost the second game. The second pair Tancred Campbell and Fabio Turner won their match 3-0 as did the third (under 16 pair), Finn Macmillan and Joe Fox. So an overall win for Bryanston.
Match v Emanuel
The first 4 pairs won their matches in style, each result being 2-0 . Our 5th pair lost 1-2 with close scores in each game and the 6th pair lost 0-2, also putting up a fine show. So, a win for Bryanston.The team was: Lebon & Bannerman, Campbell and Turner, Studd & Bellamy, Waldron & Lally, Fox & MacMillan, Isin & Sanders, Boeree & Baring.
Match v EFA
Three Bryanston pairs took on a team from the EFA. The match was amazingly exciting, with extended rallies and unbelievable retrieval shots and attacking manoeuvres. Our first pair won 3-1 against formidable opponents (who later commented on the significant improvement of our pair over the last year).The second pair also won 3-0 and the third pair lost 0-3, but only by a small margin in each game. So, another overall win for Bryanston. Our team was: Lebon & Bannerman, Bellamy & Campbell, Waldron and Boeree.
Fives 2011 National Schools’ Championships
Bryanston’s involvement was on the Monday and Tuesday, with the Under 16 and Open competitions.
Our U16 team was: Joe Fox & Finn Macmillan (1st pair) and Oran Isin & Felix Sanders (2nd pair). First pair beat High Wycombe, St Olaves and Westminster by significant margins and went through to the second round. They were then beaten by the first pair from Shrewsbury, the side that went on to win the whole competition.This last game was far from a walkover, with our lads producing some fine attacking play and not wilting under the pressure. Second pair were unfortunate in their draw in the first round, narrowly losing their matches but getting very useful match experience.They did go on in the afternoon to win a couple of Plate matches.
Our OPEN team was: Frank Lebon & Bertie Bannerman (1st pair), Tancred Campbell & Fabio Turner (2nd pair), Jack Bellamy & Kynie Studd (3rd pair), Piers Waldron & Kieran Lally (4th pair). The first pair won their matches to get through to the second round, playing their usual very impressive Fives, and were then beaten by Berkhamsted in the 2nd round. The second pair played well, losing their games by close margins.Their match against Highgate was clearly the match of the day. This was incredibly close, with protracted rallies with unbelievable retrieval shots and attacking play. Their ability to maintain an almost flawless performance, playing at that level of skill, had spectators in thrall. The third and fourth pairs also played good games, losing these by small margins in most cases.
This has been the strongest side at Bryanston that any of us can remember and we are lucky that the whole squad will be intact next year, with no leavers.
Photos: Bryanston vs the EFA at Bryanston; Bryanston's Seniors and U16s at Eton
The Charterhouse Fives team had an good season: We ended by taking part in the national tournament at the beginning of the Easter holidays. We had our best result for 20 years having a senior last 16 pair (F Imrie and A Kane), one losing quarter-finalist (S Harvey and T Barley) at Under 15) and a semi-finalist in the under 14 novice competition. S Simmons and N Cobband were beaten by the Shrewsbury pair who went on to win the tournament. This was a fine end to the season in which we again had a great influx of yearlings and a group of capable players in the upper years who consistently gave a good account of themselves.
The seniors were affected by injury and the inevitable pull of hockey on our first pair. There is little doubt that if they had been regularly available Imrie and Kane would have been a significant challenge to all but the very best at the national level. H Wise and R McDougall played well at times but were increasingly under pressure both from academic work and, in the case of Wise, illness. B Wilberforce Ritchie, J Foley and M Marsh adjusted well to the higher pressure of senior Fives and should be a strong players next year. R Brown was much missed as illness prevented him from playing more than an occasional game at the start of the season.
We tend to play our strongest Under 15 players as Under 16s. N Walker played as a senior with Marsh. Harvey and H Shore were consistently excellent as first pair. They rarely lost a match and showed great instinctive understanding. They have tremendous combination of touch and when necessary enormous power to defeat all but the best opposition. H Clinton and P Harrison were second pair and again played extremely well. There are natural games players and have adapted well to the pressures of Fives. They played exceptionally well in a match against Cranleigh at the end of the season when they were expected to come under considerable pressure. Their development will depend entirely on how much time and spend all the courts in the next two years. They are becoming increasingly powerful as they grow in size. Barley played consistently well throughout the season. He had a number of partners before settling on Harvey for the National tournament. He adapted to each of them with impressive calm. There is no doubt that he will become an exceptional player as his cut becomes more powerful. N Radonjichas has all the talent in the world and again will become a powerful player if he will adapt to a more attacking style of play. S Sergeant did not play as much as he might this season through illness. D Federer, C Crowson Birley, T McConnell and C Lewis all graced the courts and have the ability to become better players next year.
The Yearlings were again very strong. At the beginning of OQ we put out a side against Harrow that did not lose a match. The Southern Schools’ tournament in October was won with two semi-finalists from Charterhouse. The winners were Simmons and M Buffoni. As the season progressed it became clear that Common and Simmons were a consistently good pairing. N Luytens demonstrated both enormous determination and great talent to pair himself with Buffoni. F Strange, E Cobden–Ramsey, E Keddie, J Rees, B Balawi, B Burrowes, E Boston-Townsend and W Matthews all played regularly for the team and will be able to make great progress next year as the skills they have learnt are developed.
The greatest triumph came at the end and is referred to in the introduction to this report. We took one senior, two under 15 and three novice pairs to the championships. The seniors did as well as could be expected. Imrie had not been able to play much during the term because of hockey commitments. The lack of practice became evident when we came up against the eventual semi-finalists. Clinton and Harrison progressed throughout the day eventually falling to Eton 2 in the last 16. They played superbly. They were unfortunate that they had a very tight and long match immediately before their Eton match. This told against them. Harvey and Barley went one better getting to the quarter-finals where they played Eton 1. They left on the Tuesday evening full of hope having one each match in their progress through pools with little difficulty. If the truth is told they didn't really get going in this match on Wednesday, pushing their opponents only in the first set and for both of them it was a disappointing end to a very good season. Finally the novices did as well as anyone could have hoped. Simmons did a wonderful recruiting job and introduced two good players right at the end of the season (C Lavelle and W Hartley). Hartley partnered Luytens and reached the last 16. This was a great achievement for players partnering each other for the first time. Lavelle played with Boston-Townsend and had a disappointing tournament on a day of miserable weather. Simmons and Cobb reached the semi-finals of the novices where they lost to the eventual winners Shrewsbury 1. I would like to thank our coach, David Mew, who was a great encouragement to players at all levels. On top of this we have the knowledge and unfailing enthusiasm of Gilles Gergaud helping the sport.
City of London
This year has been by City Fives’s most successful for more than a decade.
Fives has been making something of a return in recent years and the introduction of multi-time national champion Mat Wiseman as coach has sparked a huge improvement in the Fives squad.
Also crucial has been the renewal of links with the Old Citizens Fives club. Following a match against the Old Boys in October, school captain Sam Packer, Tom Davidson and Max Twivy have been regular attendees of the Old Cits’ weekly practices at Highgate and have competed for the Old Cits in adult league matches and various tournaments.
In fact, so successful has the partnership proved that next year schoolboy Fives players are to form the bulk of an Old Citizens second side (following the promotion of the main side) led by Packer. The school also had an entrant in the men’s national championships for the first time in decades, with Packer partnering former Cambridge half blue Nick Gill.
The competitive highlight was achieved by Twivy when he won the London Tournament Festival partnering Gill, beating school colleague Davidson on the way, in the autumn.
There was also some success for the school pairs at both the under 16 and under 18 Schools' National Championships, with the under 16 pair of Ben Lee and Yonah Goldshmidt achieving a top 60 placing in their first year of Eton Fives, and the top under 18 pair of Packer and Twivy reaching the semi-finals of a plate competition following victories over Westminster and Bryanston and a narrow 12-10 defeat to a Shrewsbury pair.
In an attempt to build on this success, Fives afternoons have been extended from the sixth and fifth forms to the fourth form in the summer term of this year.
CLS fives players are very grateful to Westminster School for the use of its courts and to City of London’s staff members Mssrs Chamberlain and Cornwall who have organised the sport and provided for boys to compete in tournaments.
Sam Packer (captain)
Fives at Cranleigh continues to thrive. We continue to gain good young players from Mark Halstead at Cranleigh Prep and our introduction sessions work very well for new players. We have continued our traditionally house matches, with over 30 matches played. The school has also kept the traditionally monthly fixture with the Brigand’s.
Unfortunately we had fewer fixtures this year. We managed fixtures against Westminster: Charterhouse; Christ Hospital; Lancing and St Olave’s. We could not attend due to pupil Holiday commitments, but the enthusiasm the boys’ have for the game continues and I hope that over the next year or two we will have our first girls’ team at Nationals as well.
I now hand over the reins of Fives to Jamie Bartlett and I know that the sport will go from strength to strength under him.
It was another very rewarding and enjoyable season for the Fives players this year and even resulted in some much deserved silverware along the way - but more of that later.
The Fives at Cranleigh operates over the Michaelmas and Lent terms with players signing up to attend after school sessions over the course of the season. I am always encouraged by the large numbers who want to play the game and give up their free time so willingly and enthusiastically. This year has seen record numbers of boys playing and the improvements made have been very encouraging and satisfying. The problem is a recurrent one - we have some outstanding sportsmen who play the game very well but just miss out at the highest level because we are unable to compete with the top schools who have far greater access to courts.
The Form 6 group are particularly strong and amongst the best crop to pass through the school in the past 10 years.There was a real strength in depth apparent with the group and competition to get into the top pair was fiercely contested. Ollie Taylor, George MacDonald, Richard Eamey and Adam Duffen all play the game very well and will undoubtedly continue to improve the more the play. However not far behind come Leo Methley, Ben Larwood, Joel Carne and Joe Collins. There was even greater strength because pushing hard on their heels were Miles McGibbon, Alasdair Johnston and Toby Bazin. Our strength in depth was apparent in two events we took part in.The first resulted in some silverware at The Southern Schools Beginners Tournament where the team picked up the award for accumulating the most points in the group stages. We were slightly unfortunate not to scoop further honours in a tournament shortened by malfunctioning lights.
Another highlight of the season was the strong performance in a new four way fixture with Eton, Summer Fields and Ludgrove. Again we missed out at the top level but our strength in depth saw our 2nd and 4th pairs being undefeated on the day.
In the Prep Schools’ Tournament all four pairs acquitted themselves well although we again were not able to match top schools. The Under 12 Nationals saw our Year 7s gaining lots of valuable experience.
Emanuel School has had a wonderful season. The Fives team has been building up and now has many players that are competing at the top level in their age groups. This year Emanuel have had new additions to the Fives team in the U14, U13 and U12 age groups. These players have played in the team representing the school in matches and competition across the Christmas and Lent term. In total, the Fives team have played in over 25 School matches and competitions that have been highly beneficial to all players and have really helped raise the standard within the School.
In the Southern Schools’ competition, Emanuel came fourth in the team event and Emanuel 1 Archie McPhearson & Sam Eastaugh reached the semi-final. In the REFCA U14s Patrick McCahon (top U13 player) reached the final, where he lost to a very experienced pair from St Olave’s & Ipswich School. Many of our new U12s took part in the REFCA U12s Individual competition, and enjoyed considerable success with both a winner and another player missing the final by just one point. Meanwhile the top U15 Player, Tom McCahon partnered coach Alex Poole to play in the Turnbull Trophy.
After Christmas Lucy Pugh and Tom McCahon played in the Mixed Nationals and reached the plate B Final. Top School players, Tom McCahon, Sam Eastaugh and captain Zac Lovejoy teamed up with the Old Emanuels to take part in the Richard Barber Cup. Emanuel’s top U13 pair of Will Smith and Leo Steele reached the final of the REFCA U13 National competition and beat a very strong young St Olave’s pair in the final.This is a fantastic achievement; winning in a field of forty pairs from all over the country. Emanuel made some real progress in the Schools’ Nationals this year by reaching the 3rd/4th rounds in the U12/U13/U14 age groups.
The Emanuel Ladies pair of Lucy Pugh and Gina Vuqitrna represented the school in various matches and events. Their crowning glory was again the key role that they played in winning the Richard Black Cup as part of the representative EFA team.
July 2011 will see members of the Emanuel Fives team go on a Fives tour to the Swiss Alps to enjoy a week in the Alps training as well as going on day trips, to St Moritz, mountain biking, sports matches against the host School in Fives, Cricket and football and many more. What a great way to warm up for the coming season.
This has been a very good season for Emanuel and we are hoping to improve and add to the team next year.
Photos: REFCA U13 winners Will Smith and Leo Steele; Gina Vuqitrna with the Richard Black Cup; The 2010 Emanuel tour to Switzerland; The Emanuel team in the Richard Barber Cup
It has been another good season of building the numbers of players at Eton. This year’s sizeable group of Lower 6th have made the transition to senior Fives very well and will guarantee Eton three effective pairs next year.
Meanwhile more base has been added to the pyramid, with the New Boy tournament producing a staggering 93 pairs (70% of the cohort). 80 pairs were available and played in the first round. How to cope with such a tournament? CMBW was in his element! The final pitched a Summerfieldian against a Ludgrovian, but the key was to be which of their partners could raise their game. Indeed our beginners have made very good ground on the experienced players over the season. The pyramid is healthy.
In the National Championships, our top U15 pair overturned their defeat in the semi-finals of the U14 beginners last year and triumphed in the tournament. They, too, have been spurred on by a strong group of players around them; with Eton 2 reaching the semi-finals, Eton 3 the quarters and Eton 4 the last 16! One of the 4th pair, Barnaby Bossom stood in to play in the Open competition (where, for the second year running, we lost one of our top pair to injury shortly before the Championships). With Dan Byam Shaw, Barnaby went further than any of our established pairs did in the tournament, reaching the last 32.
Our U16s had a reasonable year. The top pair reached the quarter-finals but as part of the senior set-up next year I expect them to flourish; they are capable of going further! This group did struggle to get as much match time as I would have liked this year and it showed when it came to the acid test.
So Fives at Eton is now in a healthy and sustainable state. Its profile within the school is good and I’m delighted that Mike Hughes will take over the work of coaching and running the Fives. I look forward to seeing Etonian pairs challenging at the very top of the game in the coming years.
This has been a transitional year for Fives at Harrow. With no regular players remaining from last year's talented 1st VI it has been a time of rebuilding. Ollie Jones has played first pair with Steve Kirby and they have achieved some good victories and most notably against Eton in the autumn term.
The promising U16 pair of Zicomo Smith and James Lawson Baker have had a most encouraging year and they have combined effectively to beat Eton, Westminster, Mill Hill and St. Olave's . Particularly pleasing has been theur willingness to compete in Tournaments on Sundays including the last Exeat. James reached the final of the Schools Mixed Championships partnered by Anna Snowden while Zicomo and Tom, partnered by two Old Harrovians, did very well to reach the semi-final of a national tournament. In the Schools Championships they were defeated in three close games against the eventual winners, Shrewsbury.
The U15 team, although enthusiastic, have struggled to compete against the stronger schools but it was excellent to see all three U15 pairs performing so well in the Plate competitions at Eton.
At the U14 level Tom Neville and Tom Skinner show considerable potential and with hard practice should develop into a first class pair.
It was always going to be hard to repeat last year’s success, especially at Senior and Under 16 level and so it proved in the matches with Shrewsbury and St Olave’s both in term time and at the Nationals. Nevertheless, we were very pleased that Jonny Airey and Aroop Bhattacharya (our third pair) reached the quarter final of the Open where they lost to Shrewsbury 1 and that James Curry and Alex Pavitt (our second pair) beat the fourth seeds from St Olaves to reach the semi-final again against Shrewsbury 1. Despite a brave effort, they could not overcome the accuracy of shot and speed round the court of George Thomason and Jack Hudson-Williams, who had proved themselves the hot favourites to win the Open with a string of notable victories in schoolboys and adult matches, during the year. Our first pair (Cameron Most and Matthew Kovar) impressed as the tournament went on and won a terrific match in the semi-final against Shrewsbury 2. And so to the final, where despite giving their very best, Shrewsbury 1 were too good and they won a famous victory – a just result for the outstanding fives they played and they proved themselves the best pair by far this year. It was fitting that George Thomason was voted Young Player of the year – richly deserved.
We did extremely well in the early rounds of the Under 16 Championship, having eight pairs in the last 16 – seven of which will be back next year. In the end, our top two pairs reached the semi-final where Charlie Noble and Joe Berriman (our first pair and still U15) were beaten by the eventual winners (Shrewsbury 1) and Ben Kovar and Gabriel Mador (our second pair) lost to St Olave’s 1 in a very close and intense match 2-3. Our U15s are very talented and will be strong contenders next year.
As our top six pairs were ineligible for the U15s, we were delighted that Ben Berrick and Stephen Papaloizou (our 7th pair) reached the quarter-finals and we were even more impressed with our eighth pair (Christy Blackaby and Julian James), who reached the semi-finals where they lost to the eventual winners from Eton. The U15 squad all played at both U15 and U16 level during the term with much success.
Our U14s exceeded all expectations in the Championships as their performances during the season were, at times, fairly mediocre, but they rose to the occasion in the U14s and we ended up having three pairs in the semi-finals – Ben Reed and Daniel Light (3rd pair), Matthew Budgett and Ingimar Tomasson, who is still U11, (2nd pair) and Richard Footman and Alex Robinson (1st pair). Ben and Daniel raised their game to new heights to beat a talented and determined first pair from Berkhamsted (3rd seeds) in the quarter finals, but then lost to our first pair in the semis. Matthew and Ingimar won a close match, also in the quarter finals, against Harrow 1 and then produced the performance of the U14s to beat the favourites and number 1 seeds from St Olave’s in the semis. Coming back from 0-2 down, they fought their way to a fantastic win, 3-2. And so to the final, where despite losing the first game 12-15, our top pair raised their game and as Matthew and Ingimar tired, they won the next three games quite comfortably.
The U13s had a successful season winning all their matches and we have much strength in depth, but unfortunately they have been overshadowed somewhat by the U12s, who are exceptionally talented. Nevertheless, Ben Hopkins and Robert MacLennon reached the finals of the Prep Schools U13 competition, having played out of their skins to win 2-1 against the number 2 seeds from Ipswich, whom they lost to earlier in the term, in a school fixture. They put up a terrific fight in the final against our U12 top pair (Eve Smith-Bingham and Ingimar Tomasson), levelling the score at 1-1, but then lost a close and exciting third game. Our two other pairs, James Bloomfield and Theo Abramason (3rd pair) and Jack Knowles and Alex Blofeld (4th pair), both lost to Highgate 1 and 2 in the quarter finals, but they contested the final of the quarter final losers competitions with pair 3 winning 2-1.
We are blessed with a huge number of talented players at U12 level. Eve and Ingimar retained their U12 title by beating our second pair, Joseph Gibber and Andre Tejuoso in a wonderful final 3-2. But right behind them are Aimee Paul, Amira Reimer, Scarlett Katz-Roberts, Daniel Vishnick, Sam Tansey, Daniel Marshall, Jacob Chevalier-Drori, Seb Maskrey, Shunyu Matsumoto, Charles de Lanoy-Meijer, George Bleakley, Anton Baleanu, Marko Andrejevic and Lola Katz-Roberts – players of genuine talent and ones to look out for. Joseph Gibber and Andre Tejuoso were rewarded for their fine season by beating Berkhamsted in the final of the National U13s and we were delighted that James Remo and Christian Eaves reached the semi-finals.
Our U11s have enjoyed a rewarding season, led form the front by Ingimar Tomasson, and they have improved hugely during the course of the season. Players to watch out for at this age level include Alex Randall, James Hoplins and Oliver Light (who reached the semi-final of the U12s, beating some notable pairs on the way), Andrew Waters, Matthew Leigh, Alex Bazar-Rosen, Joshua Gordon, Ton Blackshaw, David Brown, Rohin Mittal and Oliver Weisfeld.
Highgate girls have enjoyed another brilliant season in inter-school matches, producing both finalists in the girls U15 and Ladies Open competitions. It is becoming more difficult for our older girls to get into court on a regular basis as they move up the school due to the many demands made on their time and because fives is still a voluntary after school game. Nevertheless, our U16 first pair and captains, Hannah Rapley and Francesca Howell, reached the quarter finals of the Ladies Open. Our U15 1st pair, Marina Mylonadis and Ellie Oppenheim reached the quarter finals of the U15s and our U13 first pair, Georgia Allen and Helen Pugh, reached the semis. Eloise Most and Lara Foch, our U14 first pair, lost in the final of the U15s and reached the quarter final of the Open. However, it is the strength of our U12s which took all the honours. Eve Smith-Bingham and Aimee Paul won both the U15s and the Open and Amira Reimer and Scarlet Katz-Roberts reached the semi-finals of the U15s, but the went one better by beating Zuoz 1 to reach the final of the Open. Other girls who have impressed during the season are Alice Johnson, Phoebe Bracken, Marjolaine Briscoe, Anya Lowenberg. Loly Rapley, Cecilia Gran, Lydia Fenning, Anna Barber, Sienna Sehgal and our U11 first pair, Olivia Hirshfield and Isabella Gill. At U10 level, Gemma Smith-Bingham is making a name for herself. We finish by congratulating Eve Smith-Bingham on being voted runner-up in the best Young Fives Player category by the EFA – a just reward as she is the proud holder of six national titles and the Prep Schools U13.
We say goodbye to our leavers: Cameron Most, Matthew Kovar, James Curry, Alex Pavitt, Jonny Airey, Tom Lethbridge, Oscar Moore, Alex Coleman-Bennet and Gabriel Mador and thank them for all they have done for Highgate fives over the last seven or eight years. Cameron and Matthew have been to the final of all the main competitions, winning all but the Open. However, by winning in last year’s final, Cameron has joined a select group of 4 who have won all the boys’ major competitions.
And finally, a big thank you to Mark Collins and Ali Brunner, who have dedicated much time and effort to the sport over the year and have been hugely responsible for our success.
Photos: U14 Schools Final; Open Schools Final; U15 second pair Amira Reimer and Scarlett Katz-Roberts; U13 winners Joseph Gibber and Andre Tejuoso; U14 finalists Ingimar Tomasson, Richard Footman, Alex Robinson, Matthew Budgett; U14 winners Richard Footman and Alex Robinson; Prep Schools finalists Robert MacLennon, Ben Hopkins, Ingimar Tomasson, Eve Smith-Bingham
Old Reptonian, Tony Stubbs, took over as our fives coach at the start of the year and is to be congratulated on successfully continuing the promotion and improvement of the game at Ipswich. With few experienced players in the Sixth Form the level of expectation was not high for this year. It was therefore enormously heartening to see the senior boys and girls showing great keenness to improve and willingness to compete against anyone, no matter how good they were. (Others might note that coming a firm last in the Williams Cup was still considered a worthwhile exercise by the team.) As a result their standard of play picked up hugely over the year and Richard Elston, Allan Cawthorn, Henry Patten (U15) and Sarah Frost, in particular, showed themselves to be capable players by the end. Hearing “I really want to carry on playing once I’ve left” was perhaps the most satisfying result of the year.
Pupils played in several adult competitions: the Northern, London and Kinnaird Festivals, Ipswich Tournament, Mixed Championships, Richard Black Cup and Turnbull Trophy. In the Turnbull Henry Patten did well, making it into the last eight, in partnership with OI Gareth Hoskins.
We managed ten fixtures across the age groups and were heavily reliant on tournaments to provide competitive experience, especially those organised by REFCA for the U12 -14 age range. It would be only right to thank Eton College for kindly accommodating all the tournaments and matches that it does, we would be hard pushed without that. It proved a very quiet year for our U15s (Henry Patten apart) for whom we had no matches or tournaments and it will be interesting to see how this year’s keen U14 group adapt to the extra pressures as they go up a year. We were pleased to have the chance to pit our younger players against Highgate, St. Olave’s and Emanuel. A narrow U12 win against St Olave’s was a great encouragement, although they were shown what to aspire to in the match against Highgate. The U13s also lost to Highgate but a win at first pair, coming back from a game down was a great result for Cameron Lyle and Fergus McKay. It was particularly pleasing to see Fergus taking his chance, filling in at first pair in the absence of Arthur Patten.
Our senior girls played one match against the EFA Ladies team and recorded an impressive draw, one pair all. Sarah Frost and Sophie Hare rather took the EFA first pair by surprise with their forceful play, showing just how much they had improved. It was such a pity that work commitments prevented the girls from playing in the Schools’ Championships.
In the REFCA U14 Tournament Isaac Wagland and Arthur Patten both made it into the final with Isaac and partner beating Arthur and partner 12:10. We had two finalists too in the REFCA U12 Tournament in which we came third behind St. Olave’s and Emanuel.
We were pleased to be invited to participate in the Prep Schools’ Championships. Cameron Lyle and Arthur Patten came within one point of reaching the final, which was frustrating, but the tiredness that overtook them was understandable, as Arthur had only just returned to action following an injury and all credit to the Highgate pair who never gave up and tightened their game at the right time.
At Under 12 level the problem was one of coping with up to thirty wanting to play at lunchtimes with only three courts and forty minutes. I am sure that we have many that would like to give the game a try but can’t get on court, particularly the case with the girls. Still, a good problem to have and my response to the boys who have asked “when are we going to get some more Fives courts” is “well if your parents were to give the school a sizeable contribution we would probably have to do that”. Nothing received as yet!
In the Schools’ Championships Richard Elston and Henry Patten reached the second round of the Open Competition before losing to Berkhamsted 2. A Mill Hill pair then prevented them gaining a place in the Plate final but it was still a good performance. Tom Martin moved up to first U14 pair with Sam Christopher, replacing Wagland who was ill. Victories against St Olave’s 7, Shrewsbury 10 and Highgate 11 were enough to take the pair into the last 16 before falling to Eton 1. Arthur Patten and Cameron Lyle (playing up a year) also fought through to the last 16 of the U14s, where they lost to Highgate 3 - two very pleasing performances. To cap a successful day, Cameron Rule, having only played the game for four weeks, fought his way through to the quarter-final of the Plate Competition. An amazingly athletic and determined display from a gifted sportsman who we hope will have time to carry on with some Fives.
In the U13s our top three players were ineligible or unavailable and so it was left to Sam Clark to lead the five pair entry, which he did superbly. He and James Gray (Yr 7) played some excellent and determined fives to reach the last sixteen, before losing 1-2 to Berkhamsted in a hard-fought match.
We were indebted to Seb Cooley for coming to Ipswich on two occasions during the year and giving the pupils some inspirational coaching.
Richard Elston and Sarah Frost were joint winners of the Martin Shortland-Jones Cup for the most promising senior player. Fergus McKay won the Forrest Cup for most promising Junior, and James Gray won the new Barry Hoskins Cup for U12s.
During the year we expanded a partnership arrangement with a local secondary school to include their sending some of their senior pupils to learn fives at Ipswich. They were keen to carry on and it would be brilliant if we can get them to a stage where they could enter the Schools’ Championships.
Our challenge for next year will be to cope with the expansion of the game with more players coming in at the bottom, whilst providing enough competition for all the age groups.
King Edward's, Birmingham
It has been a busy season of fives at King Edward's this year, with the school playing over 20 fixtures. These included wins over Oakham and Uppingham, thanks to excellent wins from the U13s pair of Alex Woolley and Isaac Hinchtyre, and the senior first pair of Nathan Molnar and Tom Hook. The school also took a large squad to Shrewsbury to participate in a 4 way school fixture, which included St Olave's and Berkhamsted. Some excellent Fives was played against these strong schools, with Tom Claughton and Sam Bennett beating Berkhamsted first pair with ease.
Another highlight to the season included a record turn out of seven pairs in the Graham Turnbull Trophy, this is where a school player pairs up with a coach or old boy of the school. Steve Thatcher played magnificently all day to win the plate competition with his partner Mr Campbell.
The Nationals was a tremendous success with pairs being entered in every age group apart from the U15s. In the U12s our top two pairs qualified from their groups; this was a fantastic performance considering the boys had only been playing Fives for a couple of months. Other success came from the under 13s first pair and the under 18s first pair, who both progressed though their group by playing some quality Fives.
Finally, I’d like to thank George Worthington for his considerable time and effort in running all the fixtures this year, in particular for spending the best part of a week driving to Eton and back everyday for the School’s Nationals.
This season we have had the usual fixtures against our traditional opponents with the usual mix of results across the ages.
In terms of numbers playing, Fives is very healthy with the courts full on each Monday and Friday session coached by Matt Wiseman. Given the enthusiasm shown by the loyal core of players it is to be hoped that the standard of skill and ability will rise across the board in the next couple of years, although we always have to compete for the top sportsmen and sportswomen with the ‘major’ sports.
Lancing Won the Graham Turnbull Trophy in December of last year when Jamie Betts partnered Howard Wiseman to beat a strong Westminster pair in the final at the same time as the successful Lancing Old Boys were making good progress in the Barber cup a few courts away. This is the second time that Lancing has won the Turnbull Trophy.
In the Schools’ National competition at Eton we entered a limited amount of pairs this year and for the juniors it was very much for the experience of playing in a large tournament. At senior level Mikey Jones and Jamie Betts produced a very good performance, coming second in their group at the pool stage and progressing to the second and third rounds with relative ease. Down to the last 16 on the second day, they put up a strong fight against the third seeds, but there their run was brought to an end here.
I would like to thank all Lancing Fives players for their loyalty and support and especially, on a personal note, I would like to thank Jamie Betts and Mikey Jones who have been, arguably our most successful schoolboy pair for some years. I look forward to the challenges of the coming season.
Fives at Ludgrove has been played with intense enthusiasm during the past year. We have had lots of senior players take to the court with drive and determination to succeed at the highest level. Particular mention should go Hubie Sangster, Max Rowse, Archie Wheeler, Oliver Rowse and James Greenley. Thursday afternoons were always busy on the courts and practice was rewarded in two hard fought victories over Summer Fields. This led to high expectations for the Prep Schools Championship - sadly, we were outgunned by the same school in the quarter finals, perhaps not adjusting to the courts as well as our opponents. The second pair kept the flag flying, reaching the Plate Final before tiredness caught up with them.
We sincerely hope all players will continue at their Public schools, all have very hard cuts and some good court craft. The final of the School Fives was won by M. Rowse and H. Sangster in an expectedly hard fought battle against A. Wheeler and O. Rowse. Well done to all involved this season.
Paddy Buckley/Simon Barber
Lyceum Alpinum Zuoz
The Lyceum Alpinum was lucky to have secured the services of Old Etonian Tom Witherow as a Fives coach for the first semester of 2010/11. Tom was invaluable in keeping Fives alive this school year and we wish him well as he embarks upon his undergraduate studies this autumn. During his stay he had the chance to play (and win!) in the traditional Zuoz Club Suisse Romande tournament. Also known as the Geneva tournament it was played in Zurich in October this year. Reflecting the general trend at the school, there were more girls than boys at the tournament, which also involved a healthy number of Old Boys, many of whom play regularly in the two Zurich courts.
Looking ahead to 2011/12, we will have the remarkable situation that two ladies (Jessica Rees and Katharina Kuenburg) will form the overall first pair at the school. Jessica and Katharina did very well in the Ladies Open at Eton in March, only losing one match to secure third place. On 11/12 June 2011 the school team is heading to Geneva for one of the most enjoyable tournaments of the year, involving Old Boys and players from England.
Photo: Three generations of Zuoz players - Curt Schmitt, Jessica Rees, Christine Beck and Benny Oei
No report received
Mill Hill enjoyed a busy and successful season. Just under 40 players practise and use the courts on a regular weekly basis. Over 20 competitive matches were played with honours even in terms of wins and losses. The seniors, captained by Jack Weller, played attractive and competitive Fives. Oliver John and Matt Jackson took over the mantle of 1st pair following a broken hip sustained by Mill Hill’s promising left hander Josh Leader and did more than hold their own throughout the season. Jack Weller and Saul Levy brought back the Plate A trophy from the championship at Eton. As usual many of the senior players practise with the Old Millhillian Club and it is good for the future of the game that so many school players are introduced to and encouraged by the old boy club.
Alex Holmes and Henry Goode were occasionally inspired at U16 level to play some good Fives; Henry as a left hander and having taken the game up only last year, is especially promising.
The U15 1st pair of Gareth Kong and Raph Levy improved and developed much throughout the season and deservedly reached the quarter finals at the championship. This year group is well supported and developing quickly.
This year saw an encouraging number of U14 players take up the game. Charlie Becker and Amit Chadha could be players to watch in future. Alex Conn and Alex Fraser won Plate A at the Championships.
Photo: The Mill Hill senior squad
This year has seen an encouraging number of people take an interest in Eton Fives at Oakham, and particularly pupils from the Junior end of the school 11-13 age, where there is a growing number of boys and girls playing voluntarily at the Thursday Club spot at 4pm. It is from this and the Jerwoods Activities sessions that boys and girls have been selected to play for the school in a number of matches and in two tournaments this year and have been very encouraged by the experience.
We began the season by playing a match against the Eton Fives Association in October over Service Weekend, and whilst this inevitably comprised staff and Old Oakhamians, boys from the 6th Form were represented, and a great match was enjoyed, though we were a little outplayed.
In early November we played a team from Wrekin and Wolverhampton College. We fielded an U18, U16 and Ladies team. It was particularly pleasing to see wins from the U16 and some very well fought games against the U18, a fact which was not always reflected in the scores.
Then on 22nd January, we played a return match for the U13 against Wrekin and Wolverhampton away, and there, many of the boys and the two girls we took for the first time experienced a normal sized court, realising that ours is a little smaller than most and without one or two features! This was an excellent afternoon’s Fives and each of the four pairs had significant wins, the end result being a 7-4 win for the boys against Wolverhampton, a 1-1 draw for the girls against WGS and a 2-0 loss, but very closely contested one, for our first pair against Wrekin College.
On Sunday 6th February Oakham fielded three teams against King Edward's Birmingham at home – U13, U16 and U17. Although we suffered defeats across the board, in the U13 there were some very encouraging close ties against their opposite numbers and much of value was learnt through this match and we came out looking a lot stronger: against a team that enjoys a lot more practice than we are able to manage at present.
On Thursday 17th March we took six pairs to the U13 Schools Tournament at Harrow: three at U13, two at U12 and one at U11.This was a tremendous experience for all the boys concerned and again a lot was learnt, its being the first time for all of the younger boys that they had played on a different court. Everyone did extremely well and showed noticeable improvement as the day progressed. The experience fired them all up to return and practice all the harder. At U13 level, it was particularly pleasing to see Will Guy and Edward Aldous do especially well, winning their pool matches and several plate matches.
To end the term, two pairs went down to Eton to play in the National Schools’ Championships. As a result of clashing commitments we were unable to take our strongest teams, but it was pleasing to see Dominic Feroze and Hugh Cashin, Georgi Velikov and Tom McDavid winning one or two of their pool matches before being knocked out, and then see some encouraging performances in their plate matches. Again, it was a very valuable learning exercise for that same team who will have another opportunity to make greater gains next year.
The way forward, as many agree, is to play more with the thriving Adult Monday Club whenever possible, and to increase the number of slots on the time-table in activities and PE and we have received much encouragement for this to take place from the PE department. Fives, I believe has a great future ahead at Oakham School and we invite more to try this wonderful game: a game which is second to none in improving hand/eye co-ordination, encourages courtesy on court and the only game in which players themselves act as referees.
Photos: Oakham players at Wolverhampton
This has been another very special year thanks to the remarkable tenacity and skill of our senior players, none more so than our captain, Matthew Andrews, and his first-pair partner, Reuben Hembury-Stroud, pictured below.
Looking back, as one glances out of a bright May window, a host of atmospheric images comes to mind of ordinary and exceptional moments – all of them special and all, strangely, of equal value in some remarkable way that one would have to consult a philosopher to explain.
The first memory is of hopping through puddles in the pouring rain on the way down to the courts at Highgate on a dark November evening. We had just arrived through the Friday evening traffic to that inevitable and constant welcome. Our then first pair (Matthew Andrews and Kasim Hussain) managed to prevail against Highgate’s courteously selected opposition. It was no surprise that the rest received just the benefit of an instructive experience. It is always good to play Highgate because it raises our awareness of what can be done.
The second memory, although earlier in time, is of standing with the team in bright winter sunshine looking across at the wonderful edifice of Charterhouse at the U14 Southern Schools Championships. This was a really useful experience for newer players like Sam Brown and Aaron Sosah (playing in their first tournament and almost their first competitive match and showing some promise). Tom Davies and Zak Mohammed also made a remarkably good pairing.
Another memory is seeing Alex Poole (to whom I taught maths some years ago) at Harrow with a thronging Emanuel team in tow. It was dark, raining and they had come a long way - but they played with tremendous energy. We managed to restrict them to winning only the fifth and sixth pairs out of seven – but Alex’s optimistic smile, as ever, was unchanged.
Looking out over the chapel spire at Berkhamsted at sunset is another enduring memory. Also, Ant and Doug’s friendly welcome and the good spirit in which Berko invariably play. There were some excellent tussles here with honours going either way. Daniel Whitham and David Hooke worked particularly well together, showing a lot of grit and determination over a long match.
Our club practices moved from Friday nights to Tuesday nights this year and it has proved a better time to meet. Minds are fresher and we have had the company of Ed Warne and the Harrow boys. It has been good to see Francis O’Toole and Freya Hembury-Stroud joining us on some of these occasions, even though they have now left the school.
Our late night club on the Hill for adults and ex-pupils has been in hibernation this year but we have ideas about re-awakening it in September on Tuesday nights.
Our annual House Competitions involved twenty-nine players. It was no surprise that Julians won the junior section since they had Husayn Murphy (of future first pair potential) together with Vikram Paunrana, Chris Desai and Amit Armon who are all regular club players. The senior section was a complete surprise, with Hastings emerging victorious over very strong Hopkins and Broadrick teams. Kasim Hussain’s & Vikram Chhapwale’s (Hastings) superb win over Matthew Andrews & Tom McGivney (Hopkins) tipped the balance. It just goes to show ‘Yah caynt never tell!’ in Fives.
The tournaments at Eton and Harrow in March were most enjoyable. It was inspiring to find so many others who like knocking a ball around a stone bunker.
In the REFCA U13 National Fives Tournament at Harrow, our three pairs all played at least six matches. It was our third pair, Zak Mohammed and debutant Joe Schwarzmann, who actually progressed the farthest by getting into the semi-finals of the Plate. Rest of the team: Darpan Chawla (capt) & Vikram Chhapwale and Frankie Bennett & Joe Bennett.
In the 44th IAPS U13 Tournament at Eton, none of our pairs made it through the group stages into the main competition. However, the Jeremy Marston Plate Competition (into which the majority of pairs go) offered ample opportunites for nail-biting and anguish. Our seconds, Kasim Hussain & Sahil Shah, played well but only our firsts, Matthew Andrews (capt) & Reuben Hembury-Stroud, progressed into the semi-finals. Here they met the second pair of the ever-sportsmanlike Cranleigh. This was a fascinating game of energy and inspiration on both sides. Matthew was flying through the air in his attempts to keep the ball in play, at times. Getting the cuts back proved very difficult as both the Cranleigh players were good cutters and one was superb. However, Matthew’s fine anticipation and matching mercurial movement accompanied by Reuben’s canny skill and nonchalant focus enabled them to prevail. Their close win left them facing Ludgrove 2 in the final. This really was a game on a knife edge. The balance of play and the scores went one way and then the other right up until the end. Ludgrove were very reliable in getting our cuts up and in pursuing every point hard. However, Matthew and Reuben’s focus remained constant and they won a gripping final 12-10. Their success matched the achievement of any Orley players in the recent past. We are very proud of them indeed. Rest of the team: Ben Bointon & Shyaamal Solanki and Tom McGivney & Aaron Sosah.
In the Marsh U12 Tournament at Eton, ten Orley pairs had a very enjoyable day playing along with the eighty-six pairs from other schools. We got nowhere at all in the main competition but won several of the innumerable plates. David Hooke & Aaron Sosah won the A5 Plate, Reuben Hembury-Stroud & Daniel Whitham won the B1 Plate, Tom Davies & Husayn Murphy won the C1 Plate and Nikhil Shankar & Yazan Issa won the C2 Plate. Well done to all – and especially to the plate winners. Rest of the team: Kush Shah & Dipen Hansjee, Luc Worthington & Joe Bennett, Vikram Paunrana & Chris Desai, Amit Armon & Kian Amaan, Rafe Wendleken-Dickson & Kayan Patel and Lucy Mynard & Natasha Hussain.
We are very grateful to the organisers of the above competitions: Mr Howard Wiseman (U13 REFCA), Mr James Woodcock of Summer Fields (IAPS U13) and Mr Mark Williams of Eton College (Marsh U12) and their helpers for making available to us these brilliant events.
We are also very grateful to Harrow School for the continuing use of their courts for our practice sessions and home matches.
Thanks also go to several of my colleagues: Peter Ryan for his on-going support and for running the house competitions, David Wright for driving us on innumerable dark nights to far-away places, Tim Cato for taking the REFCA team to Harrow and Ceri Davies for driving the Southern Schools team to Charterhouse.
Looking back over the year, there have been some very special moments indeed - but all of it has been enjoyable, even overcoming the slight and occasional difficulties. It occurred to me that this might be because, amongst other things, running the Fives club is a voluntary activity – and a privilege.
Photos: Orley Farm players; Lucy Mynard and Natasha Hussain at Eton; Marston Plate winners Matthew Andrews and Reuben Hembury-Stroud
Fives at QE continues to thrive in the younger year groups through the continued support and excellent coaching of Ian Hutchinson. However, the loss of an hours coaching has had an impact on the older boys and with the difficulty of only one court has meant a severe drop in enthusiasm and therefore senior fixtures. The usual number of u14 and U15 fixtures took place against our local opponents with varying degrees of success though the enthusiasm, enjoyment and progress of the boys was heartening to see. The highlight of the season was the success of the U14 1st pair reaching the semi-finals of the u14 beginners schools championships.
The Lent Term has always been a busy term with various sports vying for days to complete their fixture list, but the situation has been exacerbated by the proliferation of AS re-sits and A2 examinations. This meant that Repton played two fixtures, one competitive and one more friendly. In the competitive game, the top two senior and U16 pairs took on a deliberately weakened Shrewsbury side.
Benn and Hodges came back from being 0-2 to win the third game, and would I am sure have pulled back still further, and possibly would have won the match in the fifth set as they were playing the better fives with the opposition tiring. However, the other pairs had finished and so the match finished with a win for Shrewsbury 1-2.
Doxey and Hugill, after a nightmare first game that they only just won, played much better Fives, with Hugill returning well and Doxey cutting the ball with pace, in the other two games to win comfortably in the end 3-0.
The Under 16 pair of Cosford and Matthews was too strong, with Cosford supplying the brain and Matthews the brawn in a relatively straightforward 3-0 win.
After a good workout with some competitive Fives played, it was therefore unfortunate there were no other school fixtures, although they did play in internal matches for the Mars Bar Trophy and in housematches. The other, so-called friendly, match was between the first pair, Benn minor (S’06) and Hodges (O’06), and Benn major (H’78) and Bradburn (P’67). In a good humoured match with father Benn (captain of Fives in 1983) showing that he had not lost the old knack, the wiliness of the ‘old men’ was too much for the more sprightly youngsters.
Players: J. Benn (S) (capt), M.A. Hodges (O), R.P. Doxey (P), D.W. Hugill (L), L.P. Cosford (N), C.E. Matthews (N).
RGS, High Wycombe
This year was the second for me as Master-in-Charge at RGS. The previous season had been curtailed as we had to close the courts for four months while they were refurbished, courtesy of a generous grant from the Eton Fives Association. The courts were back in operation from the start of the autumn term, but play began in earnest after the courts were officially re-opened with an exhibition match featuring former RGS pupils who are currently playing the adult sport, and a selection of nationally-renowned players.
Almost immediately the new boys in the school, in Year 7, took up the opportunity to participate. So many wanted to play that the consequence was that we had to put on club sessions running Monday, Tuesday and Thursday lunch times, and Thursdays after the end of afternoon school. There were also games sessions for Years 10, 11, 12 and 13 on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
I had my work cut out managing the large numbers of boys who wanted to play. By the end of the season, some 165+ boys had participated in internal training and competition. Most of these are in the junior years and this bodes extremely well for numbers of participants in the future. We also discovered a few players had been briefly trained when the school last had a coach, some 4 years earlier, and of those there were still 3 players who were currently competing in local and national competitions. Of significant merit was Robert Wilson, this year’s Captain of Fives, who took part in numerous events, with some outstanding success. As the year drew to an end Robert was awarded Full Colours for Fives, the first time this has been done in the last 20 years.
Robert and the others had survived by playing at Eton College and Westway, so I am grateful for those establishments keeping the embers burning through the lean period when nothing was happening at RGS.
We have been fortunate to have had support from Howard Wiseman through this period of renaissance and he has supplied us with David Mew, who has done a superb job of coaching the large numbers of interested players, resulting in many of them taking part for the first time in local and national competitions. I have been particularly impressed with the deference with which the boys have treated him, especially once they had seen him competing at national level. It has generated the desire in many of the boys, not only to represent the school, but also to progress to compete at national level.
Alongside the development of the sport within the school, we have seen the emergence of a High Wycombe Fives Club, which meets once a week, mostly at the school (occasionally at Eton College) and has recruited a broad spectrum of players of all ages and both genders. Masterminded by Richard Black and Paul Bowden, it has given some of the RGS boys a further channel of participation.
We have not been able to take part in any inter-school competitions, nor get a realistic team together for the national schools, largely because of the time it has taken to build up a reservoir of talent. Next season will be different.
The school has supported the development of the sport in many ways, including having the school shop stock gloves and balls, so the players can get all necessary equipment on site.
For the future: we intend to get a staff team next season, initially to give the boys some additional competition, but also to provide me with a colleague or two who understand the sport well enough to enable them to get involved with coaching and managing some of the teams which will be put out next term.
Photo: Howard Wiseman coaches RGS players at the re-opening of the High Wycombe courts
This season has seen a renaissance in Eton Fives here at Rydal Penrhos. After a 20 year hiatus, the school was once again competing in various Fives tournaments, kicking off at the Northern Schools’ Championships, in which all of our pairs were playing for the first time, and we managed to get an all Rydal Penrhos Plate Final.
Through the installation of lights in the Fives courts, the students were able to develop their game during the winter months, and their hard work and determination culminated in their appearance in the EFA Nationals at U12 and U13 level, displaying very mature performances. The first U13 girls also competed, eventually winning an U17 Ladies Beginner’s Plate Competition with a superb performance.
Over this year, the young students have displayed a very mature grasp of what is expected of them, and their continual exuberance and endeavours to improve on their game, after starting from scratch have enabled them to make the most from these tournaments.
This experience, along with our other trips to Eton Fives tournaments, really enabled the students to focus on the need to develop key game playing relationships in pairs, working on their own weaknesses, and simultaneously figuring out game strategies to really target their opposition.
It has been a real pleasure to have been a part of the students’ development over this time here at Rydal Penrhos, and essentially it has been their eagerness, zeal and energy that has got them to this very high level stage. As with everything, they will look for greater improvement and greater challenges next year, and I know that the students will achieve this with a humility and a courteous approach that defines the ethos of the sport of Eton Fives.
Photos: Abigail Klazinga and Hannah Cashell, U17 Ladies Beginners Plate A winners; Rydal Students at Schools Nationals at Eton on the original court; Rydal Students at the EFA U12 Nationals at Eton; Rydal Students at the REFCA U13 Tournament at Harrow School; An all Rydal Plate A Final at the Midlands Competition in November 2010- Tom Cotterall, Adam Sabri, Shaswath Ganapathi, Jack Sissons; Rydal Students playing in their first ever tournmanent at the Midlands Tournament at WGS
Fives continues to grow in popularity at St John’s and has been offered as an activity throughout the year. With the school welcoming Fourth Form girls for the first time this year a new junior girls' competition has been added to the other inter house Fives competitions. This year the senior house competition was played in excellent spirit, with North House beating West House in a thrilling final (15-3, 15-12, 16-16 & 15-9). The senior girls’ final was won by South House who convincingly beat Haslewood House. The final of the junior house competition between Surrey House and North House will be taking place on 23rd June as will the junior girls’ competition. Alongside the inter house competition, St John’s once again hosted a fantastic match against the EFA Jesters this year. Further to this, renovation of two of the four Fives courts has been taking place over the summer term with the intention of being ready for fixtures in September.
Photos: Senior House Fives Final; Court renovations at St.John's
This season has been very successful for the School. We have started with an increase of players in 6th form (boys and Girls) as well as new boys in taking up the sport in year 11 games lesson. We have had a massive addition of over 50 boys taking up the sport in year 7, with 35 players playing in the junior school team.
The school took part in over 70 school matches and competitions across the Christmas and Lent term with some good results in the competitions. All of the school matches were competitive and were shared out amongst over 100 team players.
The Fives team have taken part in many tournaments in both adult and junior competitions. Our top School pair entered the Rossall Championships and won the senior doubles titles. The top two U16 pairs enter the Adult Midlands Tournament were they had a fantastic time and gained great match experience. We also entered the Southern Schools’ Championships where we had a pair reach the semi-finals, only narrowly missing out on a place in the final. In the team event St Olave’s came second. St Olave’s had more success in the Midlands Schools’ Championships where it was an all Olavian final in the main competition, with Wolverhampton winning the team event by 1 point over St Olave’s. St Olave’s entered many U12s and U14s events with a number of Olavians featuring in various finals.
Our senior boys have been playing in adult and mixed Old Boy / School Boy events with some success. Tony Barker and Harry Ravi won the Pepperpot Trophy which is the main plate of the Kinnaird Cup; Chris Self won the Graham Turnbull Trophy with Old Olavian Seb Cooley; Tony Barker, Harry Ravi, Chris Self and Sanjay Kundu also won the Richard Barber Cup (three pair Old Boy/School boy event).
In the Schools’ Nationals and REFCA U13 Championships St Olave’s had many pairs reaching the final stages. St Olave’s 7 (top U12 pair) reached the Final of the REFCA U13 Competition after beating many seeded pairs but narrowly lost in the final.
St Olave’s top U12 pair reached the third round of the U12s and fourth round of the U13s Nationals. St Olave’s were seeded 1 in the U14 Nationals, only just missing out on a place in the final after a tough 5 set match against Highgate 2, losing 3-2 after being 2 sets up. In the U16s event we were also seeded 1. Shrewsbury 1 unfortunately played superbly to overcome St Olave’s in the final.
Over all this has been an excellent season in both player standards and in numbers, and shows the strength that is building in the junior team.
Photos: Rossall winners Harry Ravi and Tony Barker; Turnbull winners Chris Self and Seb Cooley
The season was perhaps our most successful season ever and it resulted in a great number of national successes and tributes.
We could not have been any busier this season if we had wanted to. We clocked up a fair few miles up and down the motorway to event after event. George Thomason, as captain, led from the front and never shirked his duty. The rest of the squad took their turn and thereby allowed the school to be well represented at a great number of national events. The rotation of players was healthy and work and play managed to be balanced.
The Seniors & U16 boys fell jointly under my leadership this year. They were simply outstanding and must be congratulated for their hard work and first class results. The majority of the squad trained together and benefitted from regular high class intra school opposition and the excellent coaching of Grant Williams.
The U15s were again brilliantly led by Dr Morgan and progressed well throughout the year but were to some extent hampered by the loss of Andrew Jackson and the promotion of Henry Blofield to the U16 age group. I have no doubt that Harry Flowers and Charlie White will continue to impress next year together with a number of others as they set out to win the U16s tournament for the third year in a row, a feat never achieved in the school’s history.
The U14s were newly and expertly managed by one of our most experienced fives staff Mr Barrett. The competition in this years’ group was significant and a number of boys developed rapidly throughout the term to pose a number of difficult selection problems by the time the nationals came around.
The Girls were superbly managed and coached by Mr Conway and built steadily on the fine work of the previous two years. The number of girls playing again increased and, despite a number of serious injuries, the standard of play was far higher in general. The potential for greater growth next year is real.
The fixture list was full and comprehensive and allowed us to blood boys and girls of varying ability on a regular basis. We started the season early in November when a group of staff, girls and boys played in the Midlands Championship at Repton. The regeneration of Fives in the North West region is slowly happening and we benefitted from many more local fixtures against Rydal Penrhos, Wolverhampton GS, Repton and King Edwards Birmingham. We are encouraging these schools to grow their participation and use our excellent facility to meet up for mini tournaments and fixtures.
At the National Schools’ Championships, Shrewsbury won the Open Championship as Jack Hudson-Williams (PH LVI) and George Thomason (G UVI) defeated the Highgate 1st Pair 3 - 0 in the Final on Saturday 2nd April. Uniquely Hudson-Williams and Thomason won the competition without losing a single game - a feat almost uniqe in the annals of Eton Fives! The final was streamed live on the internet and therefore made history by becoming the first Fives match to be filmed live. The final by default had the largest audience for any match in the history of the sport. The Cup was presented by Old Salopian Peter Worth (M 1965-70), Chairman of the Eon Fives Association and a former Open winner himself.
Shrewsbury won the Under 16s - Guy Williams (Rb 5) and Will Miller (Rb 5) defeated the St. Olaves 1st pair by 3 - 0 in the Final on Saturday. We also won the Under 14s Beginners, after an all-Salopian Final in which 1st Pair George Lewis (I 3) and Nick Pearce (I 3) beat 2nd Pair Jamie Humes (I 3) and Sansom Yick (G 3) by 3 – 0 and the inaugural Under 17s Beginners Ladies, after another all-Salopian Final in which Issy Barber and Alice Long won the title, defeating our 2nd Pair Sophie Walker and Sarah Lim by 2 - 0. Shrewsbury got through to the Under 15s Final, but Charlie White (G 4) and Harry Flowers (I 4) were then defeated by the Eton 1st pair.
On top of that success, we retained the Williams School team cup at Eton and Alice Brett and Jason Tse won the National Schools’ Mixed title. A hugely successful season was rounded off by George Thomason and Grant Williams being named EFA Young Player and Coach of the Year respectively.
Photos: Shrewsbury U15 and U16 squads at Eton; The Williams Cup winning team; U14 Beginners Finalists; U17 girls beginners winners Izzy Barber and Alice Long; Schools' Mixed winners Alice Brett and Jason Tse; Schools U16 winners Will Miller and Guy Williams; Schools Open winners Jack Hudson-Williams and George Thomason
This year Stowe Fives has had another positive year. We have seen the completion of the refurbishment of the courts including reroofing and new lighting. The school has played matches against the Old Stoics as well as some invaluable practice on a Monday night with and against local teams. The team have also taken part in the Schools’ Nationals, taking the largest number of boys to date. Stowe Fives is constantly growing and I hope we will be able to play even more matches next year and host them in our new courts.
Photo: The renovated courts at Stowe
A good number of boys played Fives this year, whether as members of the school Fives squad or as part of the structured programme of minor sports and activities. A total of 27 in Years 6, 7 and 8 represented Summer Fields in a schedule of twelve matches and three tournaments. There were several promising novices in the U10 age group, too.
In our matches we managed to demonstrate our supremacy over other prep schools and also over Berkhamsted, Wolverhampton and Stowe. Against Eton and Harrow honours were even. Highgate, of course, maintained their customary advantage and we suffered a 7-0 loss – a bald statistic that conceals the fact that several of our pairs competed very respectably indeed.
In December we were joined by Ludgrove, Cranleigh Prep and Eton U14s in a four-way mini-tournament at Eton. Each school put out four pairs, each pair played three rubbers and the total points scored produced the final rankings. Summer Fields finished on top, marginally ahead of Ludgrove.
The Prep Schools’ Competition in March saw our first two pairs emerging safely through the pools to reach the last eight. Barnaby Harrison and Crispin Straker defeated Ludgrove 1 to reach the semi-final, but Highgate’s talented first pair put paid to any hopes of further progress. Charlie Davies and Teddy Knollys, meanwhile, were overpowered by a strong Ipswich 1. Of these four boys, only Harrison leaves us this year (bound for Eton) and so there are grounds for some optimism for next season.
We entered seven pairs in the National Schools’ U12 Tournament and reckoned that Straker and Davies had a good chance of making it to the final. Sadly, a hiccough in the second round produced a shock defeat (albeit 11-12) at the hands of a lower Highgate pair, and our top pair had to settle for a subsequent run for lesser glory that culminated in winning the main Plate.
No report received
It has been a good year for Fives at Uppingham, with members of the Upper Sixth having developed into excellent players over the past few years. As a result the regular matches against the staff have been hotly contested. The autumn term was in many ways the busiest as many of the new fourth form tried out fives for the first time and the spring term again saw fierce competition in the House Fives matches. As in previous years fixtures were also held against the other schools on the Midlands Circuit, as well as against the Jesters. However, unfortunately it was not possible to have an Uppingham presence at the Nationals this year. Staff have played as much as busy timetables permit and have continued the tradition of competing against the Oakham club side. Next year will certainly be a year of transition as the search to replace the talents of the current leavers begins in earnest.
Ben Lane/James Birch
Eton Fives has continued to thrive at Westminster this season. The standard of Fives played has been encouragingly high and has been characterised by the enthusiasm demonstrated at all levels.
It has been very encouraging to see another U14 squad demonstrating ability in depth and witnessing the emergence of a few very able individuals with a skill and competitive approach to the game which is very promising. It was particularly pleasing that Salim and Lewin, who were unable to take part in the U14 Beginners Nationals Competition because of commitments elsewhere, made such encouraging progress in the U15 competition instead.
The U15 squad continued the progress made last year and at present there is little to distinguish the top pairs at this level. They all have played with enthusiasm and developing skill over the year. The top four players have all had success in a variety of combinations over the season: but, as Fives is very much a team game, an individual’s skills is only at its most effective in a successful partnership, and there has not been a combination which has given complete satisfaction. There are several others who have shown an admirable determination to improve their game who will continue to push for places in the top pairs next season. It will be interesting to see how things develop.
It has been very good to see fresh faces in the U16 squad: individuals have joined the Fives club full-time this year and have presented interesting new permutations to the possible pairings. They have teamed up with veterans to great effect. Alster and Nelson-Jones have remained the pair to beat and have had another impressive season in School matches. They have enjoyed the experience of playing against Seniors both in the Nationals and in School fixtures through the year. They work hard at their game and are a force for the future: it was a shame that progress at the Nationals was hampered by illness on the day.
The Seniors had mixed success over the year and it was hard to establish a pattern of play or pairing because of injury and other commitments. But this did have the benefit of allowing a wider selection of individuals for fixtures than in previous years. The best performances were probably reserved for the National Championships, but throughout the season the captaincy and play of Will Reid has been inspirational and impressive. He and Sahabdeen, Mostafavi and Miles, Mehta and Wilson-Smith, along with the Senior Girls pair, Ho and McBurney are all to be commended for their hard work and enthusiasm. It is good to see the Old Westminsters doing so well in the sport; apart from anything else, this makes it easier to encourage our leavers to carry on with the game in the knowledge that there is good, competitive support for them if they do so.
Wolverhampton Grammar School
Season 2010/11 saw further expansion of Fives at WGS with the fixture list now including Rydal Penrhos, Rossall, Wrekin College, Uppingham, Oakham, Shrewsbury, KES Birmingham and competitions at both Eton and Harrow. Fives is an integral part of the Games programmes in Big 6, Year 7, 8 and 9. The After School Club is flourishing and filling all courts on occasions; it is particularly pleasing to have a group of Year 9 girls playing regularly.
The WGS U13 Fives Team made a successful trip to Harrow school for the U13 championships. Many of the boys had only started playing Fives during the Year 8 games lesson and it was pleasing to see how quickly they adapted to playing in a large competition. Our first pair made progress from the qualifying pools into the knockout rounds; however, a rapidly improving Rydal Penrhos pair prevented any further progress. The remaining pairs moved into the plate competitions for the rest of the afternoon’s play.
Our Year 9 team of Boys and Girls made the trip to Eton College for the National Championships. The qualifying pools in both main competitions saw WGS up against the likes of Highgate, Shrewsbury, Mill Hill and St Olaves, and all our players acquitted themselves admirably. All four pairs moved into the plate competitions for the afternoon and their play improved dramatically, with everyone finishing the day with a smile. It is to be hoped that as all of the team will be eligible for the same tournament next year that we can return with even greater vigour.
The Year 11 boys from WGS made their way to Eton College with great optimism after last year's success at the U15 Nationals. However, Fives at U16 level this year turned out to be highly competitive. Tom Weston and Ben Hart were drawn in a qualifying pool with pairs from Shrewsbury, Eton and St Olaves. All their qualifying matches were tight affairs, with a single point defeat to Shrewsbury and a loss in a decider to Eton preventing progress to the knockout stages. However, Tom and Ben did finish the day as runners-up in the plate. Tom Husselbee and Matt Pritchard made much quicker progress from their qualifying pool with victories over pairs from Shrewsbury and RGS High Wycombe. However, the 2nd round produced a tough draw against a Highgate pair. Despite losing the first two games, Tom and Matt won the third, but with Matt's injured left hand it proved too much and Highgate took the fourth game. As the boys continue to develop their game and play more fixtures with the Old Wulfrunians the disappointment of this year's Nationals should lead to future success.
In summary, 20 pupils from WGS competed in national competitions with many others representing the school throughout the season. All looks set for a successful 2011/12 season, a fitting way to celebrate 500 years. Many thanks to all those involved and supporting Fives at WGS.
Photos: Wolverhampton players in action at Harrow and Wolverhampton
We had a lovely sunny morning at Shrewsbury School in October on the refurbished Worth courts and the Wrekin boys had their first taste of victory! Led admirably by Captain of Fives, Mark Wade, they won both pairs against Rydal Penrhos. However, the second match against a more experienced team from Wolverhampton G.S. saw narrow defeats in both pairs. A January double header against Oakham and WGS saw further on-court success with both matches won. The match performances were particularly pleasing as our training time is limited to one hour on Saturday mornings.
The highlight of the season was Greg Sterling and James Whitehouse representing Wrekin College at the National Schools Fives Championships at Eton College in March. It has been many, many years since Wrekin College has competed at this level and the boys were made most welcome by all the other competitors. The draw found Wrekin College in a tough qualifying pool with pairs from Shrewsbury, Harrow, Berkhamsted and Highgate, but the boys adapted quickly to the courts and level of competition. Having learnt from their experience in the main tournament, Greg and James moved into the plate competition where they accumulated more points on a regular basis. The day concluded with a very narrow defeat to a St Olaves pair (9-12), but both boys looked increasingly confident in their play. In addition to playing Fives, the boys had an opportunity to take lunch at Eton, visit the original court at the school chapel and spectate at a doubles match on the nearby rackets courts (a sport even more exclusive than Fives!).
REFCA continues to play a key role in a large number of Rugby and Eton Fives playing Schools. There have been a number of highlights this year: Matthew Wiseman’s work this season with City of London School has propelled the interest of young 5th and 6th formers. The keenness from the pupils has helped to forge even stronger links between them and the Old Citizens Fives club. The school has now exposed 4th year pupils to Fives over the summer term by booking REFCA to introduce the boys to Fives on the squash courts. This is proving to be a real success under the direction of David Mew.
The Midlands scene continues to strengthen, very much with the aid of REFCA coach Mark Yates, who has not only delivered key coaching and management at Wolverhampton and Wrekin, but who has also helped to co-ordinate fixtures for a number of Midlands Schools.
The outstanding success of the season however has been the superb re-emergence of Rydal Penhros. REFCA reintroduced Fives two seasons ago, and this year Abhishek Bhattacharya has continued the work with great skill and enthusiasm. There is now a thriving junior Fives team at Rydal who enjoy full support of the games staff. They have competed in a good number of matches and tournaments, both in the Midlands area, but also in London too. The standard is very high and the team is really committed. Congratulations to Rydal for coming so far in such a short space of time.
Finally, Thanks, as ever to all the various coaches who work so hard for REFCA and the sport. A special thanks to George Campbell and Tom Cox who have worked so hard for REFCA at KES Birmingham – both are moving on to other ventures for next season.
Photos: REFCA U12 individual tournament; REFCA U13 tournament; REFCA Midlands Schools tournament; REFCA Southern Schools tournament; REFCA U14 individual tournament;