Read on to see all the EFA club reports from the 2010/11 season....
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The Aldenham Fives Club had another busy and successful year culminating in the Heath Tournament on 22 May which marks the end of the club’s season. The competitors ranged in age from veterans like Martin Lindsay, James Fredenham and Richard Dennis to the youthful Carl Rennie and Simon Turpin, so making the competition an agreeable mix of ages and experience. Most competitors were members of the Aldenham Fives Club but Gareth Hoskins and Courtney Friend were welcome guests. Twenty-somethings Matt Wood and Rubel Mallik won the tournament beating old timers Andrew Fraser and Neil Margerison. They were presented with the ‘Sir’ James Fredenham cup and specially commissioned winners’ shirts.
In April, Chris Austin, Graham Pulsford and Matt Woods won their way to the top of the Aldenham Fives Club ladder, each with a total of two series wins during the course of the seven-match season. The competition could have had more winners with several players needing just one more win to claim top slot including: Richard Dennis, Phil Lyndon, Rubel Mallik, Carl Rennie, Josh Rose and Simon Shepherd.
Club secretary, Phil Lyndon, said: “With the lack of participation in the EFA ladder we decided to run our own. It’s been very successful with at least three courts running during each event. Since May last year, we’ve run the ladder every six weeks or so and enjoyed a curry or Chinese meal afterwards.” More unofficial ladders will be held over the summer with another series of events planned for the 2011/2012 season.
In addition to the ladder, with fixtures against the Brigands, Lancing Old Boys, North Oxford and Old Millhillians, there was plenty to keep Aldenham’s players busy.
“Our enthusiastic players will continue to turn out every Tuesday evening over the summer. Players from other clubs will be very welcome to join us,” adds Phil.
Despite a number of prominent players leaving last year, it has been an excellent season for the club. The ladies in particular have enjoyed a landmark season, with a huge increase in the number playing regularly. Eight of the ladies travelled down to Eton on a non-match day to receive coaching from Seb Cooley later in the season, something that was unprecedented and which I hope can be continued. The increased enthusiasm has been reflected in some excellent results on the ladies’ side, with good wins over North Oxford and Westminster school as well as a strong showing in the universities championships, where three pairs reached the quarter finals and our first pair reached the semi-finals, and the ladies’ nationals (first pair in the quarter finals). The progress of ladies’ fives at both Oxford and Cambridge was then marked by the increase of the ladies’ varsity match to 6 pairs for the first time, something which should definitely aim to be continued. The reserve match ended 2-1 to Cambridge, but in the blues match the feeling in many circles had been that Oxford were strong favourites. However, the coaching, commitment and practice levels throughout the season paid off as we emerged 2-1 winners, a victory that is a tribute to the fantastic efforts of Eli Hullis, this year’s ladies’ captain.
On the men’s side, the club have been hampered slightly by players having other commitments and fixture cancellations, but there were nevertheless some good results, including a 2-1 win against the Old Cholmleians and a 3-3 draw with North Oxford. At the universities championships, which had a record turnout this year, the second pair (Ed Winfield and Mike McCulloch) reached the quarter finals whilst the first pair (Laurie Brock and Rory Griffiths) defeated Durham in an excellent match in the final, to win the tournament for the third consecutive year. In the Varsity Penguins vs Peppers reserve match, Oxford showed that we still have work to do by winning 3-0, despite some battling performances. In the Blues match, the third and first pair matches were won comfortably by Oxford and Cambridge respectively, leaving the match poised at 1-1. A delay meant that the second pair match started later than the rest, meaning that a large crowd were able to witness a match that will live long in the memory. The first two games were shared, with Cambridge (Rory Griffiths and Alfred Jackson) winning the first and Oxford (Tom Greene and Balrik Kailey) the second, both fairly comfortably. From then on however, the pairs proved virtually inseparable, with every game reaching setting. Rory and Alfred survived a late surge from Oxford to clinch the third set 14-13 but (despite some spectacular and dangerous dives from Rory!) were unable to prevent Oxford levelling at 2-2. The fifth set quite simply had everything. There were brilliant winners and crucial errors, while the brutal rallies took their toll as Rory began to struggle badly with cramp. Cambridge looked down and out at 11-9 down, but Rory and Alfred dug deep and fought back to 13-11 up, only to see Oxford level it at 13 all. Alfred then held his nerve with a superb step cut, followed by a brilliant return to win the match and Varsity for Cambridge, after over 3 and a half hours, by the narrowest of margins, 12-7, 8-12, 14-13, 10-12, 14-13. However, it is hard to give enough credit to Tom and Balrik who battled superbly, produced some unbelievable retrieves and played their part in a truly outstanding match which deservedly won the runner up spot for match of the season in the inaugural fives awards. A fitting end to a brilliant season!
Cambridge University Ladies
2010/11 has been an outstanding year for Ladies Fives at Cambridge, with semi-final standings at the Universities, quarter-final standings at the Ladies Nationals, an undefeated run in all but one of our friendly matches (a loss to the EFA for which some Cambridge ladies played), and a Varsity win for both teams. Getting out a second team has been a huge step forward for both the club and the Ladies game, and with numbers now rivalling the Cambridge boys, we had several players who did not make the Varsity second team. We have had a number of new recruits, and several rediscovered players joining the team this year, with player swaps with other sports on the horizon to try and boost the numbers further. A morning of coaching with Seb Cooley proved invaluable for honing technique, and huge thanks go to him for taking the time out for us, and the girls really benefited from mixed practices to raise the level of their games. The inaugural Universities Mixed Tournament was a huge success, with hopes for even more pairs to attend next year. Next year’s captain will be Elana Osen.
The club has continued to be well supported over the last season both on court and off court. On court the games have been enjoyable even if the results have not been unilaterally victorious. Off court the support for the club has been encouraging to witness.
The club appears to be supported by an increasingly diverse set of Jesters. This has helped in our progress to provide an increasing amount of high quality friendly Fives. I hope that this offering continues to grow in its appeal. We have worked to expand the list of venues and matches in an effort to appeal to a wider audience of members. For example next year we are excited to include Emanuel School and High Wycombe on our fixture list. We are also sending a team down to Provence in September as we did last year.
At the Strawson and the annual Jesters dinner I have been heartened to see the continued increasing level of interest. Special thanks need to go to Ronald Pattison for his consistent support in helping achieve this.
In the coming season I would encourage any Jesters of any ability to be proactive about contacting match managers. There are now plenty of matches in plenty of places to attract wide interest.
Lancing Old Boys
We have had another very successful season under a shared duumvirate of Nigel Cox and Richard Black. 25 OLs have played for us this season helped by six guest players in various matches. Ashley Lumbard has spent the winter coaching Fives at Rossall and Sophie Palmer now runs thegame at Stowe.
In League Division 3 we have met our main goal, which was to field a full team for every match and thus avoid any penalty points. We finished a creditable third in Division 3, but do not propose to try and get into Division 2 unless and until we have a larger pool of players in London. Unfortunately most of our best players are based well outside London and therefore have hardly played in the league. We have achieved this with some guest help from the Old Cranleighans and Old Bryanstonians.
In the Barber Cup, we justified our seeding at 3 by getting to the semi-final for the second year running, where we lost 2-1 to the Old Salopians. This is the furthest we have got in this competition for the second year running. Spectacular commitment by Mylo Scurr and Will and Tom Betts in coming down from the North of England have also helped this. Funds generously given by the OLClub have also made a considerable difference here.
Last, and best, George Campbell and Doug Foster, who were seeded (perhaps ungenerously) 5 in the Kinnaird Cup, beat the 4th seeds and thus got to the semi-final. This is the best individual performance by any OL pair in the Kinnaird ever.
One disappointment of the season is that we did not manage to arrange a fixture against Lancing College.
For next year, our goals are for some of our Barber Cup team to have the opportunity to play Division 1 Fives for George Campbell and Doug Foster’s Berkhamsted team; to maintain our record for putting out full sides for Division 3, and if possible winning it; to try & have a more significant presence in next year's Kinnaird (we propose to have an OL party at Richard Black's house in Sunbury on the Saturday night of the Kinnaird weekend); to increase the number of fixtures played to around 26 next season and thenumber of OLs playing to 30. The present organisation seems to work well but we are both concerned that there should be more input from younger players in the club.
Nigel Cox / Richard Black
The North Oxford season started on a high as Spencer Chapman led the Aston House Studs to the inaugural Westway Summer Superleague title, with the squad of Spencer, Gareth Hoskins, Justin Byam Shaw, Jeremy Hindle, Nick Shaw, Laurie Brock, Robert Desmond, Ian Mitchell, Ewan Thompson and Emily Scoones remaining unbeaten throughout the qualifying campaign before winning nail-bitingly close semi-final and final matches to win the silverware. Gareth Hoskins also won the Superleague MVP award.
Normal service was resumed in September and our Monday night gatherings at Summer Fields continue to be well attended. Job and University moves mean that we lost a few Monday regulars such as Alex Sale, Jeremy Hindle, Dan Ghui and Chris Davies but new players have arrived to fill the gaps with Old Salopian Stefan Nowinski returning to the game after a lengthy absence, the Scholey production line producing yet more talent across two generations and the Ladies section receiving a boost with the arrival of Karen Hird and Oxford University duo Hannah Cutmore-Scott and Connie Mantle.
The league team were determined to regain the Division 2 title after narrowly coming second to Berkhamsted in 2009/10 and got off to a flying start, dropping only one point out of the first 24. A settled line-up featuring Graham Pulsford, Spencer Chapman, Gareth Hoskins, Jeremy Hindle, Nick Shaw and Chris Austin with appearances from Chris Lloyd, Chris Davies, Robert Desmond, Carl Rennie, Hugo Tobias, Andy Bishop and Karen Hird were too good for most of the teams in the Division with the exception of the Old Millhillians and with the two clubs neck and neck at the top of the table and well clear of the rest, the league title came down to the head to head match between the two teams at Mill Hill in March. In a terrific match, all three pairs were level at 1-1 after the first two games; only the North Oxford third pair were able to go on to win, however, and the 2-1 win for the Old Millhillians was the difference between the two teams at the end of the season.
The EFA Trophy was North Oxford’s other competitive target for the season. With Gareth Hoskins and Nick Shaw ineligible and Chris Austin playing for the Wulfrunians, our strength in depth was tested. The response in the qualifying stages was good with a comfortable second place finish in the Harrow group; the semi-final against Berkhamsted proved to be a step too far, however, with the line-up of Graham Pulsford, Jeremy Hindle, Justin Byam Shaw, Carl Rennie, Spencer Chapman and Chris Lloyd fighting hard but losing 2-1.
Whilst the competitive side of things is important, the club prides itself on playing as many friendlies as possible at as many different venues as possible, providing the opportunity for all of our players to play fun and enjoyable Fives at the right standard. This year we played at venues such as Cranleigh, Stowe, Marlborough, Aldenham, KES Birmingham and Iffley Road, including several fixtures for the North Oxford Ladies team (now relying less and less on imported talent!) and one of the highlights of the year, our home and away cross-code challenge matches against Marlborough Town Rugby Fives Club. With Marlborough and Oxford University’s Iffley Road the only two venues in the country with both Eton and Rugby Fives courts on the same site, it provided the ideal opportunity for 20 or so players from the two clubs to play mix and match games on both sets of the courts, with everyone getting the opportunity to play both codes followed, of course, by the obligatory beer and curry. We’re already looking forward to the next instalment of this fixture, hopefully on the Winchester Fives courts of Bradfield at some stage next season.
Off court the club continues to expand its range of social events, with the traditional summer family barbecue at Summer Fields and the Christmas Dinner – which went ahead this year despite snow and temperatures of -15º – now joined by a start of season curry in Oxford. We are always looking for anybody in the Oxford area who would like to come and join us for a game at Summer Fields on a Monday; please get in touch with us via our website - https://sites.google.com/site/northoxfordefc/home
Photos: WSSL MVP Gareth Hoskins; U25 Plate winners Alex Sale & Jeremy Hindle; Jon Staley & Hugo Tobias; WSSL winners Aston House Studs; North Oxford vs Marlborough cross code challenge; A NOEFC league line-up
No report received
Following the departure of Justyn Comer and Simon Parrish to foreign fields, the 2010/11 season threatened to be a disaster but thanks to some new fresh young blood and a concerted effort from existing stalwarts, Alex and Adrian Burrows, Mark Platt, Ian and Stuart Clarke and last but by no means least the unique Nick Higgins, the club ended the season on a definite high.
New club members Alex Manby, Adrian Love and James Balkwill brought much needed youth and vitality to the team. In the early part of the season we struggled to win matches, suffering some frustrating and narrow defeats. Notwithstanding these setbacks the team spirit prevailed, which saw us come through strongly in the second half of the season, thus enabling us to climb to a respectable fifth position in the final Division 2 league table.
The club is greatly encouraged by the school’s recent investment in the repair and maintenance of the courts at Charterhouse. In January 2011 the walls were all jet blasted and new lighting was installed. The club is very grateful to the school for making this investment. The end of season match against the boys, differently and most successfully organised at the beginning of the Summer term, saw five pairs being played and 25 people at the subsequent dinner. We are all very grateful to the Master in Charge John Troy for everything he does at the school to promote Charterhouse Fives.
Next season the Club will be entering a second team in Division 3, thus providing further opportunities for the club to play more Fives.
My personal thanks go to all my fellow teammates for yet another very enjoyable season.
It hasn’t been the greatest of seasons for the Cholms, with the fantastic performances at School level not feeding through to the Old Boys. There are some very promising young Cholms players currently at University, and the team is in sore need of their talent coming through. Our performances in the league were more competitive than some of the results will show, and there were many enjoyable games, but the most disappointing aspect was the struggle to field a full team on a number of occasions. Next season will see a combined School/Old Boys side competing in the league, hopefully helping build for the future. The future should also see a flourishing OCs ladies side, with a core of keen and talented players soon to finish university.
It's been a year of revival for the Old Citizens. Despite our status as a club in exile, we re-entered the league structure in Division 3 (and won promotion) after a decade away, we re-established contact with schoolboys from the City of London School, our club night went from strength to strength with two courts regularly filled every week, our club trophy the Adams Cup attracted 16 players and we held our first end-of-season dinner for a couple of decades. We won the London tournament festival, with schoolboy Max Twivy and club secretary Nick Gill making a comeback from a set down to win the final. OC Spencer Chapman captained the Aston Studs to victory in the inaugural Westway Summer Superleague. We even had a representative in the semi-final of one of the season's big three tournaments. Next season we hope to keep the momentum going with two league teams, one in Division 2 and a second in Division 3, and we'll be back in the Barber Cup for the first time in about ten years.
The Old Edwardians had a disappointing season in 2010/11. Although a core of mostly elderly players managed a respectable performance in the Barber Cup, less than half of the Division 2 fixtures were completed and as a result the Eds have withdrawn from the leagues for 2011/12.
The poor showing is all the more frustrating because there is a pool of younger players who do not appear despite being in easy reach of courts. One can only hope that the attractions of university bars, new brides and the like turn out to be a passing phase.
For 2011/12 the Eds are being run in a caretaker mode to prevent the collapse of the club. Enquiries after friendly fixtures of a modest standard are welcomed.
Despite still being a very small club it has been good season for the Old Emanuels overall.
The old boys came together for two events this year, the Barber Cup and the newly created old boy/school boy competition now renamed as the Richard Barber Cup.
In the Barber we had a very enjoyable home fixture against the Old Etonians; 1st pair was old school pairing Ant Theodossi & Jonathan Fagan, 2nd pair Robin Malacrida & Rohan Rajesworan and 3rd pair Alun Meredith & Zac Lovejoy. 2nd and 3rd pair went comfortably to Eton who just had too much depth and experience. 1st pair was a real epic and despite the match being decided when the game was only at one game all the players all decided to continue playing the fixture. In the end it was the Emanuel boys who just came out on top 3 – 2 with all but one of the games going to the wire.
The Richard Barber cup was also a very enjoyable fixture with again Jonathan Fagan, Ant Theodossi and Robin Malacrida leading the way for the old boys. Fagan had brought the team together with his innovative idea of bringing back our old school ties now transformed into bandanas to intimidate our opposition; unfortunately it didn’t quite go to plan as we came bottom of our group. It was a most enjoyable day though both for the pupils to get a taste of adult fives and for the old boys to come together again to hopefully encourage the younger generation to continue the game at senior level.
It has been encouraging to see this year also Emanuel being represented in a number of competitions by both Alun Meredith and Jonathan Fagan. They competed in the Universities and Mixed Universities where Alun made it all the way to the final of the latter; Alun also took part in the U25s and U21s. In the U21s he reached the final of the plate competition only just losing out, an impressive achievement as both the numbers and standard were very high.
Anthony Theodossi just can’t seem to get enough Fives though, again taking part in almost all Fives events over the season. One of the highlights was the Midlands Tournament at Repton; paired up with his usual partner in crime, Ryan Perrie from Westway, the boys managed to battle all the way to the final and take the trophy 3 – 1.
All in all it has been a very enjoyable season and my thanks go to all who have helped out and contributed to the Old Emanuels; bring on the 2011 – 2012 season!
Building on last year’s record turn-out, the Old Etonian Fives Club continues to field one of the largest groups of active players, with friendly matches against the School particularly well attended – we hope to support this appetite for friendly fives with a new series of Club nights at Emanuel School next season . Our competitive form was a mixed bag, with age triumphing over youth – a mid-table finish in Division II of the EFA League and a quarter-final knock-out by old nemesis the Old Edwardians in the Barber Cup, contrasted with the first OE winners of silverware for many years in the form of the Chairman, Anthony Wagg, and Committee member Tim Best winning the Walters Cup for the Over 60’s! There were promising signs of things to come in the form of schoolboy pairing Matt Asquith and Charlie Fairbanks-Smith, who made it to the final of the Pepperpot Trophy, and father and son team Jonathan and Matt Asquith were semi-final losers to the eventual winners of the EFA Fives Festival. Other notable events this season included a highly enjoyable Dinner at White’s Club in November, the first completed match outside the South East for quite some time at King Edward’s School in Birmingham, and the passing of David Guilford, whose dedicated service to the School and Club over many years will be sadly missed.
The 2010/11 season has been one of consolidation for the Old Harrovians. It has been very encouraging to see new young faces coming in to join the player base including Will Jones, Tom Faber and Alex Poole. The push by the EFA to increase retention between school and club Fives has definitely showed signs of working and we look forward to the younger members playing a greater role in the club in the years ahead. We have also been boosted by the inclusion of several experienced players including Will Sorrell, who played a crucial role partnering Tom Dunbar at first pair in the absence of Pete Dunbar for this season. On the other hand, we have had the disappointment of not being able to raise a team in the Alan Barber Cup for the second year in a row. With the club having put in consistently strong performances in the league in the last few years, we will be aiming to have more of an impact on the major inter-club knockout competition next year.
The Old Harrovians had a late start to the season, not playing a competitive match until November and a lack of practice over the summer compared to other teams had us struggling early on. Particularly striking in the first encounter of the season against the Old Westminsters was the ‘team talk’ in the changing room between Giles Coren and Ed Rose whilst two games down. Whilst not fit for broadcast before the 9pm watershed, it did have the effect of a stunning turnaround and led to a disappointing 0-3 overall trouncing. We then came up against very strong Old Olavian 1 and Olavian 2 teams on the same day at Eton, which in hindsight was probably stretching our fitness levels a bit too far. By the end of December though our season was back on track with maximum point wins in a dominant manner against the Salopians and the return Old Westminsters fixture. The fine form then continued throughout season and we finished a strong third in Division 1, with high hopes for next year.
Elsewhere, congratulations go to Tom Dunbar as he timed his return to peak form perfectly. In a new partnership with the nimble and energetic Seb Cooley, he won both the Northern Tournament and the Kinnaird Cup, the later in a riveting final played to the highest standard.
2010-2011 was a year in which it is probably fair to say we were continuing to metamorphose. Tom Fletcher is to be congratulated on not only providing the mainstay for the first pair but also doing the harder of job of getting teams turned out. A 29% win rate for the season, although probably fair in reflecting the problems of work and family commitments for several past regulars, does not reflect the potential of the OIs seen in this year for the future. Rather lacking in a regular top pair the majority of the season was spent in the lower range of the league (Gareth, surely North Oxford don’t need you that much!). Even Mike Fenn’s magic in drawing a home round first match could do nothing to avoid a narrow defeat to the Old Wulfrunians in the Barber Cup.
However this all seems to be a symptom of the current refreshing of the old OIs with a new, leaner and fitter (although less experienced) bunch. Another true stalwart of the season was Dave Leach, up in London for Uni and ably complemented by the return of the (not quite so youthful) Tim Wyndham and the regular turning out of Robin Chatterjee (Old Citizen & Cambridge). Simon Woolfries and Richard Wood have, as always, provided the backbone of the side, however, outside of the league the improvement in players such as Will Gibbons, Oli Watts and Alex Yusaf really gives hope for a future in which Tom Fletcher doesn’t always have to play at first pair!
It was very pleasing to see some promising school players responding to the OI support for the Turnbull Trophy and the new team competition for pupil/former pupil pairs. We turned out an impressive six pairs in the Turnbull and congratulations to Gareth Hoskins and Henry Patten in reaching the last eight. Henry is only in the Under 15 age group at present which makes it all the more creditable. In the team competition we lost to Eton in the Plate final, which was not a bad effort with two Under 14s in the side. We were pleased too to see our girls playing in the Richard Black Cup, with Annabel Griffiths and Anne Dodwell joining the School Girls’ Captain, Sarah Frost and two other pupils, Stephanie Smith and Catherine Jones.
In both the OI matches against the school the club came out on top but the December match was notable for being over 5 pairs and for seeing the School’s fifth pair win. Simon Cass and Stephen Bland are still wondering how they lost to a pair aged 14 and 13 (the answer is, they’re quite good).
Congratulations must also go to the Varsity players with Tim Fletcher and Annabel Griffiths gaining half-blues for Cambridge and Izzy Watts a half-blue for the Oxford. And further congratulations to Gareth Hoskins on reaching the quarter-finals of the Kinnaird in partnership with North Oxford player Nick Shaw to add to his winning of the 2011 Ipswich Tournament in January (Gareth having lost the final in October to Seb Cooley and Cameron Lyle, allowing Seb and Cameron to hold the record for enjoying the title for the shortest time ever).
And, as always, a huge thanks to Peter Boughton for all his work with the school, the Graves Cup and making the journey to the Great Smoke when he could and to Mike Fenn for his behind the scenes work (giving the Secretary a bloody good run around on several evenings!) and always being prepared to turn out if needed.
Tom Fletcher/Peter Boughton
Photos: Ipswich Richard Black Cup team; Elli Hullis & Peter Boughton at the Mixed; Will Gibbons sums up the essence of the Graves Cup; Graves Cup Plate finalists; Graves Cup winners Gareth Hoskins & Sam Christopher; Graves Cup Dinner; OI Alan Barber Cup team; OI Richard Barber Cup team
The club was bolstered at the start of the season by the return of Joe Coakley from university but then, unfortunately, Justin Lefort succumbed to injury early in the season and Ollie Sander joined the Royal Navy after Christmas. Our hopes for another strong season were starting to look a little optimistic. However, with Vishal Bhimjiyani ever present at first pair, well supported by Joe, Sunil Tailor and Jitesh Patel at the top end, and Chris Vincent, James Hutcheson, Jamie Adler and James Mason all stepping in at both second and third pair throughout the season, we ended up having our best ever season dropping just two points out of thirty-three in Division 2. After a couple of seasons of coming close, we finally managed to win the division and have accepted promotion to Division 1 for the first time. We have also decided to enter a second team in Division 2. Only time will tell how we handle the stretch of running two teams with nominated players in one division but we felt it was important for the long term future of the club to continue to be able to offer competitive Fives to players outside the top six .
We remain indebted to Steve Plummer for his success in bringing schoolboys through the system and into the club. This will be particularly important next season as we couldn't have entered two teams without the knowledge that we have two former schoolboys on their gap years.
Further thanks should be given to Chris Vincent, who puts an incredible amount of work into the club, and whose efforts in organising the team played a major part in this year's success. Overall, the club is strong, still growing and feeling very positive going into the 2011-12 season.
James Hutcheson/Chris Vincent
The strength in depth within the Old Olavians Fives Club is now phenomenally high. Every year we have encouraged our top school players to play a regular part in the Old Olavians fixture list. The Graham Turnbull and the new Richard Barber Cup, both Old Boy/School Boys events, have helped in this cause. Old Olavian Seb Cooley and schoolboy Chris Self won the Graham Turnbull and the Olavians had a fantastic final against the Salopians in the Riachrd Barber Cup, winning 3-0 despite each match being really close.
We had a great start to the season with our start of season club social “Tankards” that took place at Eton in early September with over 30 Olavians and guests of the club.
The Old Olavians have also had a very successful year in the major tournaments. The London Tournament saw an all Olavian final where Matt Wiseman and James Toop got the better of Peter Cohen and Seb Cooley, winning 3-0. In the Northern Tournament six of the eight semi-finalists were OOs as were 3 of the finalists. Unfortunately the final had to be aborted towards the end of the first game due to an eye injury sustained by James. This year over six pairs entered the the Kinnaird Cup which saw a repeat of the Northern final line-up: Matt and James against Seb Cooley and Old Harrovian Tom Dunbar. A fantastic match ensued, with Seb and his partner running out as winners. Congratulations are due to Seb, who is the sixth Old Olavian to have won the Kinnaird.
The Old Olavians won their 12th Alan Barber cup title; this was the 8th consecutive win. This is a fantastic achievement, beating a very talented young Old Salopian team in the final. The Olavians also entered a mixed team of Old boys and School boys into the EFA Trophy narrowly missing out on a semi-final place by coming 3rd in their group.
The Old Olavian ladies team came out in force this year playing in all types of Fives with Anita Ganguly winning the Ladies U25s tournament with Charlotta Cooley as well as the doubles Winchester Fives trophy with her Rugby Fives partner. The OOs ladies also put out a young ladies team into the “Richard Black Cup”. The Ladies Nationals saw over eight Olavians take part with top pair Charlotta Cooley and Marianne Rees reaching their fourth Final together, against the same opposition of Dominique Redmond and Kerry White, but unfortunately they could not take the title off the defending champions.
A very popular tournament for the Olavians is the Mixed Nationals which saw 11 players take part and saw top Olavian players of Howard Wiseman and Peter Cohen battling it out in the final with non-Olavian partners Dominique Redmond and Kerry White.
To end the season with a bang the Old Olavians, who have two teams in Division 1, finished in 1st and 2nd place, which is a massive achievement for any club and is a first!
The main focus of next season will be to pull more players into the club, and to create more opportunities in the league for new faces.
Photos: Mixed Champions Howard Wiseman & Dom Redmond; Kinnaird Cup winner Seb Cooley; Emma Double & Sophi Hazell representing London University; U25 Champions Charlotta Cooley & Anita Ganguly; Old Olvian Barber Cup winners; Peter White receives the Division 1 Douglas Keeble Cup; Seb Cooley with his season's haul; Olavian Richard Barber Cup team
No report received
It was a mixed season for the club this year. There were some encouraging individual achievements, but this wasn’t enough to collectively tip the balance in our favour in any of the major competitions and tournaments.
The Barber Cup demonstrated the talent that the Club now has at the top level. Again meeting the Old Olavians in the final, for the first time in recent years we managed to win one pair, but this isn’t enough to win the match. The results were:
H.Wiseman & P.Markkanen lost to E.Taylor & T.Cox 1-3 (4-12, 3-12, 12-8, 5-12)
S.Cooley & D.Mew beat R.Nichols & T.Gerrard 3-0 (12-4, 12-2, 12-2)
M.Wiseman & P.White beat R.Griffiths & M.McKeever 3-0 (12-1, 12-7, 12-7)
On paper, this was one of the strongest Barber teams that we’ve had for some time. It demonstrates our potential, but also shows that to win top competitions we need to get players playing more regularly to achieve results. It’s a shame that our top players are by and large located outside the London playing centre. We now have the players to win the Barber, but we need to be playing consistently throughout the season in the League and major competitions if we are to stand a chance of beating the Olavians. Ed Taylor and Tom Cox deserved their win at first pair. At second pair, Rich Nichols and Tom Gerrard faced arguably the strongest pair on the day. Their score doesn’t quite reflect how close the game was and with Seb Cooley going on to win the Kinnaird Cup later in the season their performance against him was encouraging. At third, Rory Griffiths and Matt McKeever, who have only recently left Shrewsbury, fought well against multiple Kinnaird winner Matt Wiseman but didn’t have the experience to quite pull it off.
In the EFA Trophy, the Club was pipped at the post by Bekhamsted in a nail biting final. At first pair, Grant Williams and Dave Blofield fought hard to share the first two games 9-12, 12-4 but the morning's efforts caught up with them in the end and Theodossi and Joyce won 3-1 in four hard-fought games. Second pair saw Welti and Thomason in fine form, recording their second win of the day with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Smith and Fagan. The early signs at third pair were good for the Club with Marc Quinn and Craig Webster establishing a 2-0 lead. The third game was the turning point, however, as O'Neill began to take control of the contest and with solid support from Rattan won it 12-6. Once the momentum had turned there was little Marc and Craig could do, and the Berkhamstedians went on to win in five games.
In the League, the Club came second to last in both Divisions. A change in strategy next season with the Club entering just one team in Division 2 should help improve our performance next year.
In other tournaments, the South won the inter-club Harding Trophy at Shrewsbury on the day of the formal opening of the refurbished Fives courts at The Schools. The season also saw a strong Salopian presence in the Aberconway “Father and Sons” Cup. After an essentially all Salopian semi final, the final saw current holders Peter and Rex Worth beaten by Mike and Chris Hughes. In what was a closely fought game throughout, Mike’s fine form on the day just gave them the edge, and prevented Rex from dominating the court. Mike and Chris carved out a good victory in what was a fantastic final to watch. Rory Griffiths won the Universities Championships as part of the Cambridge first pair and also teamed up with Matt McKeever to finish as runners-up in the Under 25s. Alex Sale and Mark Tomley represented Exeter at the Universities Championships and won the Plate.
A new competition this season saw Old Salopians pairing up with current pupils from Shrewsbury in the Richard Barber Cup. A fantastic day of Fives saw the Shrewsbury team just miss out on the cup, losing to St Olave’s in the final. Despite the result, it was a great opportunity for the club to establish ties with the club’s players of the future and congratulations to George Thomason, Jason Tse and Ben Jones for playing so well against such strong opposition.
By far the greatest event of the season was the October opening of the newly refurbished Fives courts at Shrewsbury; now known as ‘The Worth Courts’. Richard Barber’s speech from that day was published in the previous edition of the Salopian magazine. Attempting to summaries this momentous project in just a few words here would not do it justice. You can find a link to the article below. I would however like to personally thank all those involved in the project. It was a fantastic achievement and has successfully secured the future of Fives at Shrewsbury.
With the newly refurbished courts in place, it was great to see such an outstanding performance from the Shrewsbury School team in the National Schools’ Championships this season. On behalf of the OSEFC, I’d like to congratulate all the players and coaching staff on their almost total domination of the competition across most of the older age groups. In particular, congratulations to Jack Hudson-Williams and George Thomason who won the Open Competition, without dropping a single game – a feat almost unique in the annals of Eton Fives.
On a final note, I am passing on the secretarial baton for the Old Salopian Eton Fives Club to Peter Nichols from the end of this season. I’ve enjoyed my nine years as Hon.Sec of the Club and I’d like to thank all those who have helped out during my tenure. In Peter I’m pleased to be passing on the management of the Club to such a dedicated Old Salopian and committed Fives player.
If anyone is interested in playing Fives either in Shrewsbury or London they should contact Peter via the Old Salopian Club.
The link to Richard Barber’s article on the opening of The Worth Courts is: http://www.shrewsbury.org.uk/downloads/welcome/Salopian147_Winter2010.pdf
Photos: Veterans winners Grant Williams & Mike Hughes; Universities Plate winners Alex Sale & Mark Tomley of Exeter; Peter Worth, Robin Moulsdale and Richard Barber at the re-opening of the Shrewsbury courts; Aberconway Cup winners Mike & Chris Hughes; Salopian Barber Cup final team
It is quite frightening how quickly the season flies by and then it’s time to submit the Club Report again. We ended this season in a similar position to last year- in the middle of Division 2. We are continually reliant on a relatively small group of players. Whilst we would welcome a greater number of players, we get by well thanks to Mike Skjott’s perseverance for new talent.
Charlie Robinson has graced us with regular trips from Yorkshire to support us in league and other competitions. Sam Basu, another frequent traveller, has also continued to play a considerable number of matches while running the Old Reptonians side.
Sam Basu has played a lot of Fives for us over the years and become a good friend. It was therefore with delight that a number of us attended his wedding and helped Sam celebrate the start of an exciting new era. While many decisions will now be shared we trust that married life will not adversely affect the time Sam spends playing Fives!
This season some members of the team will be playing Fives during the summer in the Summer Superleague, for WHOREFC (Windsor, Henley, Oxford, Rugby and Eton Fives Club). Speaking for myself it is an opportunity to avoid having to start the new league season from scratch, and presents a chance to enjoy during Fives more frequently. As our first league match does not take place until October, there is even greater reason to play during the summer and keep bad habits at bay.
It is with great excitement and anticipation that some of the team (including Will Skjott) will be traveling to Provence in September where Nigel Cox has once again set aside a number of selected weekends at his farm retreat to host an array of Summer Fives matches. I am really looking forward to sunny weather, a burst of sport, good and plentiful food and wine, good company, and the occasional lie-in! Mike Skjott has just returned so he will be debriefing me shortly.
As I was unable to make the Secretaries meeting a few weeks ago I wanted to briefly mention that it is a shame that the Edwardians have withdrawn from Division 2 as we had a great relationship with the team, not least as it has in the past allowed us to play our league match at Stowe (something they did not object to given their proximity to Stowe). We wish them good luck in whatever shape this takes.
Earlier this week (7th June ‘11) Seb Russell-Smith - Olds Stoic and ex-OS Fives player and I attended the Old Stoic Summer Party in London. It was a fabulous affair and I was impressed by the excellent turn-out. I was particularly pleased to bump into Ralph Hazell who three years ago played a match for us at Westminster and has since not been sighted (did we get beaten that badly?!). After I heard that Ralph had started playing Monday night Fives at Highgate he was quickly persuaded to start playing the occasional (or regular) match for us. I hope that this does not constitute duress (as by this time a reasonable amount of wine had been drunk) and I look forward to seeing him on the courts soon!
I would like to end on a positive note by highlighting the court improvements that have taken place at Stowe. On Charlie Robinson’s return to Yorkshire (from Sam’s wedding) he happened to drive by Stowe, inspect the courts and take this picture. When we return to Stowe it will become more difficult selecting the best court to play on…all of them will now be puddle-free thanks to a newly erected roof. We look forward to visiting Stowe to play Fives next season.
Another stonking year for the Old Wets, which, as usual, saw us make an early dash for the top of the table, before the Harrovians and Olavians cunningly started playing matches, allowing them to overhaul us later in the season and leave us once again with the brass spoon of mid-table respectability.
But Westminster takes a certain pride in annually holding its own with the best of best: aesthetes not shaming themselves among athletes. This season the indomitable Doug Foster and the incomparable John Reynolds performed wonderfully for us at first pair, going toe-to-toe with the finest players in the game in a way that the rest of us never could.
Our Division One odyssey was initially made possible only by a high proportion of ringers, but from next season, with Doug moving on (attracted by the promise of Berkhamsted's billions and a life of fast cars and super injunctions), we will be genuine Old Wets to a man, aside from the talismanic JPR without whom we are nothing.
The emergence of Laurie 'Mr Fives' Brock and the return from war-torn lands of Harry 'Mad Dog' De Quetteville (grandson of a former Kinnaird winner, though not John Reynolds), is what has made this development possible, plus solid contributions from the mercurial Edward Rose and grizzled old stagers Albert and Coren, not to mention Shawcross and the younger Brock (nobody knows his name, he is so little he may not even have one yet).
More and more fine young players are emerging from the Matt Wiseman Academy of Fives Excellence in the shadows of the Abbey, and great things are expected of the team next season. At least until Olave's and Harrow start playing.
Meanwhile, we lesser mortals of the Division Two squad likewise achieved mid-table respectability, getting off to a flying start with a 3-0 trouncing of the Etonians. It proved once more to be a very competitive league with some high-quality matches – according to those who played at both levels there were some tougher games as 1st Pair in Div Two than at 3rd Pair in Div One.
We had some excellent Friendly matches too, including a memorable victory over The Jesters. And while of course it's great to see the burgeoning crop of recent school leavers and graduates vital for the Club's future, it's also good to note that the Very Old Westminsters (50+) overturned last year's defeat at the hands of the VO Ipswichians. This was again much fun (on and off court), so if other clubs or composite teams are up for some Veterans games, do get in touch before the hip-ops take their toll...
Despite the lack of silverware, this was an exciting season with increased tournament participation, friendly matches and the successful introduction of the promising school U16 group into the Old Boy tournaments. The social side of the club was also extended this year with the promise of Beer & Curry after regular friendly matches with the Salopians – something we will be looking to make more regular in the coming season.
As far as the team competitions went, the wait for our maiden victory in the Barber Cup in recent history is finally over! A long trip down to play the Old Ipswichians in the first round saw the Old Wulfs triumph at first and third pairs to register a 2-1 victory. The second round saw the Old Salopians visit Wolverhampton and the regular Barber Cup finalists proved ultimately to be too strong for us as they ran out 2.5-0.5 winners.
The County Championships saw a Staffordshire team consisting of both Old Wulfs and schoolboys acquit themselves really well against some strong opponents to finish fourth.
As defending champions, the EFA trophy was a big focal point for the season for the Old Wulfs. The qualifiers at Harrow saw three schoolboys team up with some of the ‘old heads’ to just qualify in top spot after a titanic tussle with North Oxford. The semi-final at Eton saw a match-up against our old adversaries the Old Salopians. Third pair was secured early on, but first and second pairs both lost epic five-setters.
Our first ever participation in the Turnbull Trophy (Old Boy & Schoolboy) was extremely positive with all three pairs playing some excellent Fives in progressing into the leading groups of the second round. It was noticable how the schoolboys improved as the tournament progressed, which bodes well for the next couple of seasons in this tournament. Andy and Tom Husselbee continued on their performances there to compete in the Aberconway Cup (again, a first for the Old Wulfs), only being beaten by one of the top seeds.
The regular Monday and Thursday night sessions at the Wolverhampton courts are still going strong (thanks to Rich Ambler for helping out with organising those) and with the increased tournament exposure for the club players and the schoolboys coupled with the regular friendly social fixtures we all look forward to a successful coming season.
Finally, I would like to thank and congratulate all of the players for a highly enjoyable season. Special thanks must be given to Mark Yates who continues to commit a great deal of time and effort to the Old Wulfs cause, combining it with his coaching role at the school.
No report received
Oxford University Ladies
The 2010-2011season was one of firsts for the Oxford University Ladies Fives Club: six pairs training regularly, half-blue status awarded by the University Sports Federation, and some smart new stash to get the ball rolling. I think it’s fair to say that Oxford Ladies Fives has come a long way in the last couple of years and this year really paid tribute to that. We had successes at both the Universities and Ladies Open National championships with Oxford pairs in the semis and the finals of the former, and semis in the latter, and despite a disappointing result from the Varsity Match, the quality of Fives was excellent across the competition and hopes are high for next year. We were also delighted to provide both finalists in the Ladies National Under 21 Championships, with Constance Mantle and Hannah Cutmore-Scott winning against Alice Walker and Izzy Watts.
I am incredibly proud of everything we have achieved this season, from the old hands of Hannah Cutmore-Scott and Izzy Watts, to the influx of talented new players (in particular Harriet Asquith who showed astonishing improvement and commitment, and Sophie Cowen and Antonella Gorenflos for their amazing Varsity performance) and it has been a real pleasure captaining such an enthusiastic team. I am incredibly excited to see the results of next year under the new captaincy of Alice Walker.
Shrewsbury Monday Club
The Monday Club had another very good season. Numbers for Monday evenings through the Fives season were constantly swelled by pupils from Shrewsbury School coming out to play. More often than not, they integrated with Monday Club which saw a real mix of ages on court from 15 through to 75. At the height of the season we often had 5 or 6 courts on the go. Even out of season at the moment we regularly have 2 or 3 courts.
This season, apart from our regular fixtures against The Schools and Old Salopians, we also had a home and away fixture across four pairs against the Old Wulfrinians. Both of these were great fun and were followed by beers and a curry with both Wolverhampton and Shrewsbury vying for the best Biriani. In April, Shrewsbury’s Monday Club played a two pair fixture against Highgate’s Monday Club in Oxford - an unusual venue given the geographic locations of the two clubs but nevertheless great fun. A fabulous lunch in a local Gatsropub with some wives in attendance to add some glamour, all good fun. The Monday Club continue to contribute players to The Northern, The Midlands, EFA, Vets, Mixed and other tournaments. We love our Fives!
Windsor & Eton
WEFC has had another successful season, with the introduction of two more regular playing members to aid the continuing struggles of the 'old hands', [mainly your poor long suffering correspondent - the Captain]. We managed to fulfil most of the events in our fixture list, although some of the results were not quite as good as we might have hoped, and we have not done quite as well as last year. The overall result shows a creditable performance by a mostly ageing but enthusiastic crew who are big on the social activity following matches, but sometimes struggle on the court!
The highlight of the club's year, the annual pilgrimage to Shrewsbury, was again conducted with the great enthusiasm, and this year featured guest appearances from Messrs Cox and Warren-Thomas who thoroughly enjoyed the Saturday Night curry.
Following the sad loss of Malcolm Mitchell the previous year, the club decided to present trophies for the Northern Championships Festival Competition as a memorial. It was wonderfully fitting that the inaugural winners of the Malcolm Mitchell Memorial Shields were Malcolm's son Ian, a WEFC stalwart, and his partner Robert Wilson, another WEFC regular.
Over and above the regular Northern Tournament outing, the club also fielded pairs in the London and Midland Tournaments and the Kinnaird Cup and we entered a WEFC team into the EFA Trophy with creditable results.
Following the refurbishment of the two courts at the Royal Grammar School High Wycombe completed last September and the commitment by the School to encourage community Fives, Richard Black saw the opportunity to create a new club. Thanks to his perseverance and also the support of the School, particularly in the person of Steffi Trott, a new club with a committee has come into being.
Perhaps the initial idea of running two sessions a week was a little ambitious but gradually this has settled down into a regular Sunday afternoon session from 2.30 until 4.30 p.m.These sessions have mostly been held on the RGS courts with occasional expeditions to Eton to combine playing with watching the Kinnaird final or when the RGS courts have been unavailable.