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Phil Lyndon reports:
The 2012 Heath Tournament was played on Sunday 13th May amidst bright sunshine. Most competitors were members of the Aldenham Club but thanks must go to the North Oxford contingent who turned out in force despite being scheduled for a second match at Marlborough later the same day.
The competition rules remain straightforward and effective: pairs play back to back 20 minute matches until there are only two unbeaten pairs who then contest the final.
The ‘open’ draw produced a series of close contests which was only slightly disrupted by the late running Cambridge to Hatfield train. This forced two pairs to be rejigged, paired Robert Wilson with Phil Wilson and gently opened up Group 2 to the advantage of the eventual winners.
Picking the potential favourites from the draw is always a dangerous game. This year the ‘fickle finger of fate’ suggested Gareth Hoskins/Andrew Fraser or Peter Scholey/ Neil Margerison as obvious finalists. As it was Chris Austin/Richard Dennis produced a combination of aggressive and controlled fives to sweep into the final and looked to be odd on favourites.
The other side of the draw was more predictable. Bob Pace/Jo Seelig provided the humour, Phil Lyndon/Mandie Barnes the ‘looks’ and Ian Mitchell/Dave Goad the determination. But the crunch match saw Carl Rennie/Oli Lawton narrowly losing out to schoolboy Darshan Patel/Graham Pulsford in a very tense last 5 minutes.
The final was played in fine spirit and there were a series of quality rallies that had the accumulated spectators ‘oohing and aahing’. The star was Darshan Patel who played a nerveless game and assisted his delighted partner to victory. The Heath Trophy was ceremoniously presented to Darshan Patel/Graham Pulsford by ‘Sir’ Jim Fredenham along with the winners blue Heath shirts. It was also Jim's job to select two players who had excelled on the day; he selected Karen Hird and Dave Goad, who both receive the accolade of the light grey Heath shirt.
Then to the social part of the day. Pete Scholey once again provided the beers, Andrew Fraser provided the BBQ and Jonathan Lindsay provided his chef skills.
All in all a fab day, friendly fives, a BBQ, sunshine and agreeable company! What more could a Fives player want……