Read on to find out how the Fives-playing schools saw their 2011/12 season...
Click on the thumbnails to see the full-sized photos.
A total of 12 school matches produced 2 draws and just 1 win but that masks a good number of individual performances by many of our pairs against opponents with 4 or 5 years experience on our players. It was encouraging to note the progress of Jack Tolley and Michael Stovall, both of whom enjoyed their first full season. Our top pairing of Darshan and Nirav Patel played some excellent Fives throughout the season ably backed up by Jon Yardley, Nick Constantine and Andrew Rennie. Jack Gibbins and Alex and Robbie Porter juggled Hockey commitments with matches and played some good Fives. In our second six Micheal Stovall was the strongest player, Oliver Kyte showed great promise – finally winning a match versus Oakham – and they were well backed up by Dan Saunders, Stephen Wright and Dan Altman.
In the National Championships our second and third pairs reached the semi finals of the plate competition before losing out to Shrewsbury. Our first pair beat St Olave’s 2 – eventual national semi finalists – giving them the possibility of securing 5th seed position. Unfortunately they lost to Shrewsbury 8 in a nail biter and lost their advantage, thus meeting Shrewsbury 2 – losing finalists – in the last 16. They finished their competition but they were within a point of something much better! Overall we won 17 matches through the championships.
At junior level we took 5 pairs to the national championships and despite being rather outgunned by many we performed well and learned a lot. There is a good nucleus of players at Year 7 and 8 and if they continue to practice they can develop into future senior players.
Best pair: Nirav & Darshan Patel
Most improved player: Jack Tolley
Senior individual champion: Darshan Patel
Club man awards: J Yardley & A Porter
Half Colours: D & N Patel
Martineaus individual champion: Zac Curtis
Martineaus best pair: Max Frost & Ben Garfield
Darshan Patel with OA partner Graham Pulsford after winning the 2012 Heath Tournament
The Eton Fives programme this year has witnessed some changes. Gone is the red top, Belmont pairs now wear a smart black and red uniform. New fixtures have been added allowing Belmont Fives players much more experience, with a corresponding development of their skills.
The first opponent of the year was QE Boys. This rare home match was a good first experience for five of the six Belmont boys playing and they all did well, defeating the opposition across the board. Next Belmont took 9 players (4 ½ pairs) on a very cold evening to Harrow to compete against Orley Farm. Overall Belmont won 5 games to Orley Farm’s 3 to claim a victory.
At this point the season truly heated up. Belmont Fives players have been involved in three national competitions and one match against Highgate School in two weeks. In the first week on Tuesday 6th and Wednesday 7th March three pairs played in each of the Under 12 and Under 13 Eton Fives Association competitions held at Eton School. All the pairs who played had a number of wins. On Tuesday Belmont’s second pair of Jonathan Becker and William Jenkins reached the semi-finals of the main Plate competition before being narrowly defeated by the Sunningdale pair who went on the win the Plate.
On Friday 9th March 11 Belmont boys travelled to Highgate to play their Under 11s. As Highgate play Fives as their main sport in the spring term this is always a difficult fixture and most of the Belmont pairs were handily defeated. However, first pair Charlie Plummer and Dita Jaja won 2 games to one against their opponents and second pair Harry Rapley and Hugh Smith managed to win a game.
On Thursday 15 March the culmination of the season came with the Prep Schools Eton Fives Tournament, made up of 40 pairs from ten schools. None of the Belmont pairs made it into the main cup competition after the pool round, even though first pair Harry Rapley and Charlie Plummer won three of their four matches. They played extremely well and went on to be runners up for the Marston Plate.
This has been a very successful year for Belmont Fives and the players have been a credit to the school in every match. Next year promises more of the same with even more matches planned.
It has been another strong year of Fives at Berkhamsted with all the year groups represented well, across over 30 fixtures, against a huge variety of opponents including Eton, St.Olave’s, Westminster, Highgate, Harrow, Emanuel, Stowe, Shrewsbury, Mill Hill, QEB, Orley Farm, Aldenham and a new fixture against High Wycombe.
We recorded some very good wins against Harrow, Eton, Shrewsbury and Highgate particularly from our U15s who have great strength and depth in both talent and numbers. The Harrow fixture in particular was very enjoyable with some high class Fives played across all the pairs, and the 2nd U15 pairing of Alex Green & Will Roen-Tate who eventually won after five games spanning over two hours of play.
The juniors also did well in the REFCA U14s & U12s Individuals with Hamish Maccaig & Toby O’Gorman winning respectively.
The seniors also represented the school well in a number of adult fixtures including League 2, the Midlands Tournament and The Turnbull Trophy. In the Turnbull Trophy we again entered a healthy 6 pairs and it was our top pairing of Lower 6th form pupil Alasdair Leighton & coach George Campbell who made it all the way to the final where they then beat a strong Westminster pairing, reclaiming the trophy for Berkhamsted once more.
One of the highlights of the season was the development of our senior girls’ pairs; they have had a tough season as many of our regular fixtures were cancelled due to lack of opposition and so they only had a single school fixture. Despite this they took it upon themselves to participate in as many adult events as possible, particularly impressive was when they decided to travel up to Shrewsbury to enter the Northern Festival competition.
The Prep school continue to have their sessions once a week and again we are looking to develop the game in this area from next season hopefully with a more impressive programme including our first ever school fixtures and timetabled lessons.
In the Schools Nationals we had a good entry of 34 pairs across all the year groups; success came in the form of the U13s 1st pair, Charlie Nicholls & Milo Skelton, and U15s 2nd pair, Casey O’Gorman & Hamish Percy, who both reached the semi-finals stages and the senior girls 1st pair, Emily Mann & Ellie Casey, who lost a tight game in the quarter-finals, while 2nd pairing, Sarah Wiggill & Kate Hodkinson, won the main plate competition. All of our 1st pairs from each other year group made it as far as the last 16.
The Berkhamsted girls squad at the Schools' Nationals at Eton; Under 12 squad on the original court at Eton; Under 18s in action against Aldenham; Kate Hodkinson, plate winner at the Nationals; Sarah Wiggill, plate winner at the Nationals; Ali Leighton and George Campbell, Turnbull Trophy winners
Fives reached its zenith this spring, producing the best standard of play in my experience (35 years). The squad also showed great strength in depth, Bryanston being able to field as many as seven pairs of good quality when all were fit and available.
We had a very close game against an Eton team and were able to secure a win. We played a very enjoyable home game against Lancing and won this one by a significant margin. Matches against Emanuel and St Olaves were both cancelled by the opposition.
Bryanston took 6 pairs to the Fives Nationals at Eton. This was the largest and strongest Bryanston squad ever. The contest ran from 10.30 am until 7 pm with all our players getting to play a far wider range of schools than in normal circumstances and getting valuable match experience. Three of our pairs beat a sufficient number of schools in their pool to get to the next round. Some of the draws were the worst imaginable with Bryanston 6 playing Eton 1 for example, but the lads put on a brilliant show. In the afternoon plate matches, our first pair got to the final of the main plate competition and the third pair reached the semi-final in the plate B competition.
In recognition of their services to Fives the following were awarded their colours:
The squad again had the benefit of the coaching by Dr Peter Knowles, as well as myself and Akshay Sanghrajka . The latter takes over from me as I take my retirement.
The Bryanston first pair in action at Eton
Matches: Played 14 Won 7 Lost 5 Drew 2
The Fives team had a good season. The fixtures are now set from year to year and against the best schools on the circuit. Matches introduced last year against Shrewsbury and Highgate have been maintained. The results reflect a good season in which all those who played at the school were given an opportunity to play for the team. We took part in the National championships but were unable to field the senior side because outside commitments. This was unfortunate as the captain James Foley & Benjamin Wilberforce Ritchie (both R) had improved throughout the year and would have made significant progress. The strong under 16s all played well and two pairs (S Harvey(B) & T Barley (g) and H Shore(B) & H Clinton (W)) managed to progress to the last 16. The novices played well with our strongest pair (M Barley(g) and T Brown(D) making it to the last sixteen of their competition.
The seniors all played well in matches but tended not to convert quality of play into victory except in the evening matches against adult challenge. Here the old Carthusians and Brigands were both impressed by the quality of Foley & Wilberforce Ritchie and M Marsh (S) & N Walker (H). Walker adjusted well to the higher pressure of Senior Fives and is take on the office of captain next year.
The Under 16s remained very strong. There was some adjustment of pairs as five strong players competed to operate as the first and second pairs. The old partnerships were broken up this year and Harvey & Barley gradually became the settled first pair while Shore & Clinton played well and will push hard in years to come. Both pairs have tremendous combination of touch and when necessary enormous power to defeat all but the best opposition. P Harrison (W) gracefully accepted that he would play in the third pair with M Cox (V) who returned to the game after a year's absence. It is clear that they will make enormous progress if they continue to play with the same enthusiasm they displayed the during LQ. This year group contains a number of other excellent games players who have every prospect of making Charterhouse Fives feared throughout the circuit. S Sergeant, C Crowson Birley and H Creswell ( all V) played extremely well and came to the National Championships. Whilst they did not progress beyond the pool stage they demonstrated that with more time on court they will be good players next year.
The Under 15s are an enthusiastic new group. The best players are among the best on the circuit and rarely lost a match. E Cobb (V) and S Simmons (both V) were the first pair. They would have been seeded as third pair had they attended the national Championships. M Buffoni (B) generally partnered N Luytens (G); they would have pushed the first pair hard had they been able to attend more training sessions. F Strange (D), E Cobden–Ramsey (S) ,E Keddie (P),J Rees (P), B Balawi (G), E Boston-Townsend (g) and W Matthews (G), C Lavelle and W Hartley (both V) all played for the team and will be able to make great progress next year as the skills they have learnt are developed.
The Yearlings were again very strong. At the beginning of OQ we beat Harrow and in the following match the Westminster with little difficulty. We won the plate in the Southern Schools tournament at Charterhouse. As the season progressed Barley & Brown became a consistently good first pair. J Galliver (V) & D Richardson (g) played well as a pair and a showed that aggressive play is rewarded in this game. J Holland (W), W Dyer- Bartlett (W) , A Ayling (L), H Crawshay Williams, R Henderson,G Clinch (g), H Docx (G) T Hunt (V), J Collard (V) and C Hay(D) will make significant progress this year and should become significantly more powerful next year.
The greatest progress this term was in the matches against the adult pairs. The Jesters were re-introduced as a fixture. This, more than anything else, shows the progress that is being made and was noted by those senior players. This is a tribute to both the quality of the players and the inspirational coaching by David Mew. He is a great player who always persuades his opponents that they are within a gnat's whisker of causing a never to be realised upset. This is an enormous skill and great encouragement to players at all levels. I also wish to pay tribute to the enthusiasm of Gilles Gergaud and the excellence of his company on the court.
I would not like this article to close without mentioning the sad passing of staff member Ed How, who had begun to spend time on the court. Ed enjoyed the camaraderie and the challenge of taking up a new game and we will miss him enormously.
City of London
No report received
City of London captain Sam Packer with partner John Reynolds after winning the Midland Tournament Festival
No report received
Cranleigh Prep School
2012 has been another busy year for Eton Fives at Cranleigh. Over the past few years the Fives at Cranleigh has seen a renaissance at the Prep School with many more students taking up the game and playing it to a very decent standard. There are many talented sportsmen at the school and the one frustration continues to be that we are not able to dedicate as much time to the game as I would like due to the pressure from the major sports. Operating on one optional session a week means that we will always struggle to compete with the superpowers at a National level that are able to provide far greater exposure and time to this wonderful game.
The current year 8 (Form 6) crop have made great strides this year with the first pair of Edward Bayne and Edward Tristem particularly catching the eye. I sincerely hope that Ed Bayne continues playing at Harrow because he will now have the exposure and expertise available to him to develop his game and he has all the skills to make an impact. The top pair was ably supported from below by an enthusiastic and dedicated group comprising Harry de Blaby, Matt Forster, William Warner, James Hockley, Samuel Halstead, Christian Oldfield, George Gundry and Henry de Villiers. All of this group have made great progress and play the sport with a great sense of enthusiasm and enjoyment.
The next year group down have likewise made great progress and show promise for the future. They have been a very enjoyable group to work with and it has been very pleasing to see the girls starting to turn up on a regular basis. Clare Huttly in particular shows immense promise and more than holds her own against the best boys in the year group. Amongst the boys special mention should go to Callum Job, Jordan Corbett, Thomas Hemming, Nick Marshall-Turner, Nick Edwards and Percy Walker-Smith.
The summer term provides me with my opportunity to introduce the Year 6s (Form 4) to the game and I have been delighted with the progress made in a very short time. There is huge potential in this age group with a number of players including Louis Halstead, Jeff Olsen, James Green, Louis Vaughn, Harry Hall and Hugo Puddle all showing great promise. It will be interesting to see how this group develop over the next two years as I am very excited about their prospects.
Huge thanks must go to Alison Jolly, our head of sports, for all her continuing support and to Dominic Britt for all his efforts and encouragement this year.
No report received
Gina Vuqitrna and Lucy Pugh of Emanuel in action at Eton
2011/12 proved to be a very busy, successful and enjoyable year for Fives at Eton. New boy numbers have continued to grow, and we have had more than 30 U14s play for the College, only 6 of whom had ever played before. During the Michaelmas term, as well as a healthy number of school fixtures, we are immensely busy with our own internal competitions, for which we produced 8 different pairs or teams of winners. Such competitive spirit stood us in good stead for the rigours of the Lent term.
Eton recorded some fine team victories over the course of the Lent term, most notably doing the ”double” (home and away) over Highgate seniors, and beating both Oxford and Cambridge Universities. In the Williams Cup, despite being unable to field either of our two Keepers, and relying largely on our excellent U16 contingent, we finished a very creditable 3rd, behind Shrewsbury and St. Olave’s. A highly enjoyable, if exhausting experience!
In the National Schools’ Tournament we were able to welcome back one of our Keepers, Jamie Abbott, who partnered our highly talented Lower Sixth boy, Charlie Courtenay at first pair. In an epic quarter-final encounter with Shrewsbury 2, we narrowly lost out in the fifth game. Again, the standard of some of the Fives played would have graced any National Schoolboy Final and gave us all an insight in to where we need to be to compete with the best. We feel we are now most definitely doing that!
Ultimate success did however come at U16 level, where James Cobb and James Piggot convincingly reversed defeats during the term by Highgate 1 and Shrewsbury 1 to become National Champions, playing some quality Fives which belied their years.
Elsewhere, Tom Weld and Ted MacDonald-Buchanan reached the Semi-Finals of the U15 tournament, losing in five sets to the eventual winners, whilst in the Beginners tournament Eton provided 3 of the 4 semi-finalists, messrs Flinn Andreae and Al Russell eventually going down 3 sets to 1 in the final to a very good Shrewsbury pair.
A special thank you from both coaches must go to our two Keepers, Jamie Abbott and James Tugwell whose total commitment and dedication to the cause, despite serious injury, has helped ensure that the game continues to thrive here. A personal thank you also goes to Master-in-Charge, Mark Williams, who guidance and endless enthusiasm continues to light the way!
Mark Williams writes:
In September Mike Hughes arrived to continue the excellent progress made by Seb Cooley. Mike immediately impressed all who came across him, and quickly established himself as an excellent coach, very efficient administrator and a real asset. The Fives club has continued to thrive under his influence, and it has been a year of real achievement.
Eton's Under 16 Schools' Championships winning pair of James Cobb and James Piggot; Mike Hughes and Mark Williams talk tactics with their Under 16 pair
No report received
This has been a very enjoyable and successful season as can be seen from the results below. We competed keenly in all age groups and although, perhaps, our seniors were not quite as strong as in the past they played with tremendous enthusiasm and were a particularly fun group to coach. Many thanks to our leavers – Aroop Bhattacharya, Alec Noar, Matthew Willett, Max Wintle, Sam Moulding, Freddie Mills, Alex Tansey, David Reed, Joe Beach and Joe Gladstone.
Our girls continue to make excellent progress and we have strength in depth in all the boys’ age groups from U.12 to U.16. A special mention must go to Eve Smith-Bingham (U.13) and her partner Aimee Paul (U.13) on winning the National U.15s and U.18s but also in winning the U.21s and reaching the quarte-rfinals of the Ladies Open. Eve also won the Mixed Doubles and has now won 11 Championships! Also, special praise to Ingimar Tomasson who won three Championships this year – the U.12s (for the third time), the Prep Schools U.13 (for the second time and he still has a year to go) and the National U.14s – an amazing achievement.
Ladies Under 21
Winners: Eve Smith-Bingham and Aimee Paul
Semi final: Amira Reimer and Phoebe Bracken
Girls Under 18
Winners: Eve Smith-Bingham and Aimee Paul
Runners up: Amira Reimer and Phoebe Bracken
Quarter-Final: Scarlet Katz-Roberts and Olivia Hirshfield & Lola Katz-Roberts and Marjolaine Briscoe
Girls Under 15
Winners: Eve Smith-Bingham and Aimee Paul
Runners up: Amira Reimer and Phoebe Bracken
Semi final: Scarlet Katz-Roberts and Olivia Hirshfield & Georgia Allen and Nell Tindal
Quarter-Final: Carolina Valensise and Cecilia Gran & Gemma Smith-Bingham and Cecily Turner
Winners: Eve Smith-Bingham and Bertie Mills
Runners up: Amira Reimer and Matthew Willett
Winners: Ingimar Tomasson and Alex Randall
Runners Up: James Hopkins and Oliver Light
Quarterfinal: Matthew Leigh and Rohin Mittal & Joshua Gordon and Jake Bluston
Winners: Sam Tansey and Seb Maskrey
Runners up: Anton Baleanu and Marko Andrejevic
Quarter-final: George Bleakley and Jacob Chevalier-Drori & Daniel Marshall and Shunya Matsumoto
Winners: Ingimar Tomasson and Ben Hopkins
Semi final: Max Holdsworth and Charlie Kleiman & Joseph Gibber and Andre Tejuoso
Quarter-final: Sam Tansey and Seb Maskrey & Robert MacLennan and Casper Phelops
Runners Up: Charlie Noble and Joe Berriman
Quarter-final: James Angel and James Hosking & Jamie Willett and Bertie Mills & Ben Berrick and Stephen Papaloizu
Quarter-final: Aroop Bhattacharya and Charlie Noble
Winners: Ingimar Tomasson and Alex Randall
Runners up: Joseph Gibber and Andre Tejuoso
Quarter-final: Eve Smith-Bingham and Aimee Paul & James Hopkins and Oliver Light
Under 15 and Under 18 girls finalists; Under 14 boys winners; An all-Highgate clash in the girls competition
This was undoubtedly the best year for fives Ipswich School has ever had. We won the Schools’ Under 15 Competition, having never previously had a pair reach a final in any age group; we were runners-up at Under 14 and had an Under 16 pair reach the last 16. One of the winners of the REFCA Under 12 Tournament was an Ipswichian and some of our Under 14 girls reached the quarter-finals and took Plate titles in the Under 17 Beginners. In addition Girls’ Captain, Stephanie Smith, won the Ladies’ section of the Midland Tournament with OI Sarah Frost and also reached the semi-final of the Under 25s. There were other highlights too, such as seeing Ipswich players on all 16 of Eton’s courts in our match against St. Olave’s, being complimented at the London Tournament on the sporting behaviour of our pupils and a sixth-former letting slip that a teacher at his previous school could not believe that he was playing a sport, let alone representing the School at fives. Quite the nicest thing was the genuine delight from other schools’ staff at our success this year.
Having started the season so well it was a shame that injury curtailed Stephanie Smith's season and it was a frustration that our senior girls again were unable to compete in the Schools’ Championships, especially as Sophie Hare and Catherine Jones, in particular, have developed into strong players. It was not a lack of enthusiasm though, as seven girls made the trip to Shrewsbury for the Northern Tournament along with four of our senior boys and had a great weekend of fives.
We had only a small group of senior boys this year and enjoyment and improvement was the name of the game. Chris Lavelle and Alex Macfarlane worked hard and developed into a competent pair. Their performance in reaching the Northern Festival Plate final was just reward for their enthusiasm. The seniors, boys and girls, were a delightful group to coach, play and travel with and we hope that those who are leaving will have the opportunity to continue to play in the future. Stephanie Smith won the Shortland-Jones Cup for the most promising senior player.
Several of the U16 squad found it difficult to devote much time to fives alongside their other commitments this year. Nevertheless they continued to improve their game enthusiastically when they had the chance and Henry Patten proved himself to be a talented player, with impressive performances in the London Tournament Festival, reaching the quarter-finals with Isaac Wagland, in the home match against Eton and in getting to the third round of the Schools’ Championships, also with Isaac.
It was a year to savour at Under 15 level, easily our strongest year group. We put in excellent performances in the matches against Charterhouse and Eton (despite losing the latter) and in the Ipswich and London Tournaments. In the London Festival, Tom Martin and Dom Barker reached the last 16 and Sam Christopher and Tom Gale won the Plate. In the Ipswich Tournament, Isaac Wagland showed both his ability and a steely determination in winning in partnership with Nick Bunyan and then he and Sam Christopher made a dream come true in winning the Schools’ Competition. It was a demonstration of resilience, good tactical thinking and will power, that enabled them firstly to get to the final and then overcome a useful Shrewsbury pair that had accounted for Piers Prior and Tom Martin in the third round. The final was a nail-biting five gamer with Isaac and Sam playing catch-up for most of the match until they found a way to return more cuts and scraped home 12-9 in the fifth. This made Ipswich the sixth name on the cup in sixteen years.
The Under 14 boys did well in the REFCA U14 Competition with Fergus McKay scoring maximum points. Top pair Cameron Lyle and Arthur Patten followed up a win in wet and difficult conditions at Charterhouse with a superb win 3 games to 1 at home to Eton and went on to reach the final of the Schools’ Competition but lost 1:3 to Highgate in what was described as a high quality match.
Our six Under 14 girls showed a great spirit in entering the national U17 Beginners’ Competition just a few weeks after learning to play. To come back from Eton with 2 Plate Competition titles was a tremendous achievement and hopefully will inspire them to develop their game further.
At Under 13 the headline 1:5 result against St Olave’s may have been disappointing but it hid many positives. James Gray and Will Clough showed themselves to be promising players and did really well in the Ipswich Tournament, James reaching the semi-final and Will the final. It was a shame that we were unable to take part in the REFCA U13 Tournament and National Prep Schools’ Competition because of restrictions on time out of school. This extra experience would undoubtedly have brought further improvement. Even so, in the Schools’ Championships, despite the absence of James Gray, two pairs made it into the last 32.
The U12s performed brilliantly in the REFCA Tournament at Eton with 3 of our 6 players in the top 6. George Frettingham won the final in partnership with Berkhamsted’s top player and Oscar Taylor and Chris Wijnberg were 5th and 6th. There were pleasing performances in the draw against St Olave’s, including a couple of good recoveries. Too many errors and lack of consistency returning the cut meant we did not do well in the Schools’ Championships; none of our pairs made it past the group stage but encouragingly our play improved substantially as the day went on.
The pressure on court space during lunchtime sessions has been immense with often 30 or more wishing to play and so court time restricted. This eased a bit during the Summer Term allowing some, such as Noah Burke and Edward Lloyd, to show that they have the ability to challenge for a place in the team next year.
We are enormously grateful to the Rugby and Eton Fives Coaching Agency, to the EFA and to other schools we played, for making it possible for us to provide competition for our pupils and for encouragement given. Huge thanks to Tony Stubbs for all his coaching work and for travelling to Eton incessantly and to Seb Cooley for his inspirational masterclasses.
Under 15 Winners Sam Christopher and Isaac Wagland; Coaching duo Peter Boughton and Tony Stubbs; Under 14 runners-up Cameron Lyle and Arthur Patten; Midlands Ladies Champions Stephanie Smith and OI Sarah Frost; Ipswich players at Eton
King Edward's, Birmingham
No report received
Coach Joe Marks trying to inspire the KES second pair at the Schools' Nationals
This year Lancing Fives has been quieter than usual but it has continued to thrive. We have played our usual matches against Westminster, St. Olave’s, Bryanston, Charterhouse, with the restoration of a fixture against Cranleigh. The courts have been full to overflowing on most Mondays and Fridays and we have continued to benefit from the coaching of Matt Wiseman. I would like to thank Tom Liddle, the Captain for having played a leading role in the club. He has been ably supported by a strong, talented and keen LVI and Vth form squad. There is a dedicated squad of III form players too who show real promise for the future. A few girls are playing too and we hope to raise again the profile of the girls in the game next year.
Sadly we could not enter the National Schools’ Championships this year because of change of date and the format of next year’s Championship is under discussion but we aim to be back in contention however it turns out.
We are increasing our fixture list next year with a fixture against the Eton Fives Association and one or two new schools. We aim to enter some pairs in the London Fives Tournament next term and in the Graham Turnbull Trophy; we have twice before been winners of this competition.
Fives Half Colours were awarded to the following for their commitment and achievement:
Tom Liddle (re-award)
Ludgrove Fives was played with its usual zest and hunger for competition in 2011/2012. Our keeper, Louis Cunningham-Reid and Oliver Martyn-Hemphill, outstanding games player, were a dangerous 1st pair on their day and played many fine and close matches against Sunningdale, often racing out into strong early leads without quite being able to close out the games or matches. We had a good victory against them in the quadrangular tournament at Eton in December but otherwise their fine pair always just had our measure.
We looked forward to the Prep School Fives Championships with a little trepidation as Martyn-Hemphill had been ill beforehand but the 1st Pair really galvanised themselves to win two tricky group matches against Orley Farm and Summer Fields from a long way behind in both games. We then had our "Final" against Berkhamsted in the quarter-finals winning a high standard game by 2-1. We were then predictably outclassed by Highgate in the semis but enormous credit to our pair for going as far as they did.
Further down the school we were rebuilding for the future with a lot of enthusiasm being displayed in Year 6 and some fine games players beginning to show their teeth in the National U12s plate competitions.
We look forward to more matches next year.
Paddy Buckley/Simon Barber
Lyceum Alpinum Zuoz
Eton Fives in the Alps is in good health. Almost 30 students competed in the intramural Pepperbox Championships over several weeks before Christmas, which was eventually won by Katharina Kuenburg, who has played at 1st pair with Jessica Rees throughout the season. It was the first time the school has had an all-girls pair leading the team. The two were confident to go one better after their semi-final exit at the Schools Championships at Eton in 2011, but despite some good preparation in freezing temperatures in Zuoz, the girls fell at the same hurdle against the same opposition in 2012.
Howard and Matthew Wiseman have been particularly helpful over the last few months. Matthew stayed at Zuoz for three weeks in the spring, even experiencing a few training sessions under the roof with some serious snow piling up at the back. There is certainly a case for using yellow balls at this altitude. Howard Wiseman again organised two tours of London students with Dom Redmond and David Mew, an excellent addition to an otherwise very short fixture list. A trip to Geneva in early June to play with the Zuoz Club as well as John Reynolds, Seb Cooley and several other English tourists was a wonderful occasion for our players, even though the finals were cancelled due to torrential rain. We’re very much looking forward to welcoming the Wiseman brothers again at the beginning of the 2012/13 school year to boost the sport even further. There are also plans to revive the Engadin Challenge Tournament and increase exchanges with English schools. I would be delighted to hear of other schools wishing to play on the highest courts in Europe, if not the world.
Zuoz players at the 2012 Geneva Tournament
No report received
Some good quality Fives and matches were played this season although results were a little down compared with other years: P 23 W 10 D 3 L 10. First pair of Alex Holmes [Captain of Fives] and Henry Goode played well and the U16 1st pair of Gareth Kong and Raph Levy is an exciting prospect. The game is very popular at U15 level and 1st pair Amit Chadha and Charlie Becker are improving quickly. Contrariwise, there are very few U14 boys playing but it is good to see girls back on the courts at Mill after several years; 3 pairs of U14 girls should be playing next term spearheaded by Sophia Dunkley and Sophie Tingle.
Highlights of the season included several close and exciting matches against Harrow, Westminster, Aldenham and regular encounters with QEB, on a War and Peace scale, on Tuesday evenings. It was good to see High Wycombe back on the courts at Mill Hill after a gap of 20 years. Senior boys continue to be fed into the Old Millhillian set up with success but Mill Hill is aware that it cannot afford to be complacent and needs to keep up with the progress being made in some of the other schools and clubs.
The Mill Hill Fives squad; Mill Hill youngsters on court; Master-in-Charge Steve Plummer in inspirational form; Under 14 and Under 15 girls pairs
This year has seen a steady growth in interest in Fives across the school here at Oakham through opening up the opportunities for pupils to play at different times. Besides a number playing in the Games afternoon slots on Tuesdays and Thursdays we now hold a regular club for Jerwoods (aged 11-13) on Thursdays at 4.00 – 5.00pm and this is attended by a growing core of pupils who have taken to the game and are showing great signs of improvement. In addition, there is a keen nucleus of pupils who have taken to the game through Activities Afternoons on Mondays and in the Jerwoods Carousel on Fridays.
Holding match practices for those who have played before has been more challenging but there has been a good number who have represented the school at different levels and to great success. We have played Uppingham several times at U14, U16 and U18 level over the two terms and each of these matches has been won by Oakham after some closely contested games. It was good to resurrect the fixture with Summerfields Prep school after some years break, and the U13s and U12s had the opportunity to sample an indoor Fives Court for the first time. They came away wishing that we had such facilities, but understood why the opposition was so good! We held a return match at home on 22nd January and despite some excellent play from some of our team, we eventually lost.
The previous week on 22nd January we played Shrewsbury School. Freddie Turner, Fives captain writes:
‘In what was somewhat of a coup, Oakham Fives managed to create history in playing its first ever home fixture against the mighty Shrewsbury. The only glitch in this historic occasion was that it had to be played down the road in Uppingham at the home of the Auld Enemy, due to the high winds damaging the Oakham Fives courts this week. However, six third form and four upper school boys arrived unperturbed, hoping to create a giant killing to rival that of a David beating Goliath.’
Tom Norton and Alex Steere competed admirably against talented opposition and will have gained invaluable experience as will Joe O’Brien and Tim Stuart. Both pairs showed great potential, which bodes well for the rest of the term. The first pair at Under 14 level, Edward Aldous and Will Guy, played two extremely competitive sets against Shrewsbury's strongest pairing, losing 12-9 12-8. A brilliant effort against one of the best U14 pairs in the country.
At senior level, the squad was depleted due to the oncoming exams, however the makeshift second pair of Tom McDavid and birthday boy Georgi Velikov, played with great endeavour and provided competition against a strong Shrewsbury pairing. James Henley and Freddie Turner were thus Oakham’s last chance of grabbing any form of victory. However, despite some brilliant points they lost 12-2 12-7 to the first pair. Nonetheless, in the final game of the day they were able to prevail 14-13 in an epic tussle against Shrewsbury’s second pair. This game was a showcase of Eton Fives at its best.
Sadly, due to snow, the match against King Edward's Birmingham on Sunday 5th February had to be cancelled. However, for the first time ever, to my knowledge, we teamed up with Uppingham and played a joint match against King Edwards at U14 level when they were due to visit Uppingham at the beginning of March: it was a very closely contested match and resulted in a loss by only a few points.
The climax to the year was the Eton Fives National Championships at Eton. First came the U13 Championships on Friday 16th March. This was played amongst schools of a similar standard and it gave all those who played the chance to shine and develop their games, and there were notable successes throughout the day, with everyone seeing a fantastic growth in standard as they found their level.
The final Tournament of term was the U14s on the following Wednesday. After some initial disappointments in the early pool games each pair saw wins against their opposition in the Plate competitions and one pair reached the Final of their plate – a fantastic result considering the amount of practice that most have been able to manage in recent months. Overall, this and the other matches have proved to be invaluable experiences and should pave the way for some exciting Fives in the future. I must end by saying how deeply grateful I am to Freddie Turner for all the effort he has put into coaching and encouraging the game over the past few years – he has been a tremendous role model on the courts and has inspired many: a true Oakhamian ambassador who will be greatly missed.
Those who have represented teams:
U12/13: Oliver Liddar, James Hammond, Olu Afolabi, Toby Trayner, Phoebe Burrows,
Jed Boffey, Ben Maxim, Harry Stuart, Hector Canham, Tom Davies, Luke Griffiths,
James Moody, Nathaniel Taylor
U14: Edward Aldous, Will Guy, Tom Norton, Adam Skinner, Tim Stuart, Joe O’Brien,
Alex Bower-Brown, Alex Steere
U18: Tom McDavid, Georgi Velikov, Freddie Turner, Alex Bake, James Henley,
Dominic Feroze, Tom Smith, Hugh Bevan
Once again, we have been blessed by a goodly number of committed and able players who have been quite happy to travel up to Harrow for weekly club nights after school. At the beginning of the year, it was interesting to see who would partner our new captain (and first pair player from last year), Reuben Hembury-Stroud. Daniel Whitham rose to that challenge and has been a steady and skilful support in this year’s firsts. Reuben has continued to be his inimitable, easy-going self, unmoved by triumph or disaster and one of the best fives players Orley Farm has ever produced. David Hooke and Tom Davies emerged as our eventual second pair and they are both very fine and promising players. Other Year 8s included Kush Shah (who nobly filled in for the injured Aaron Sosah in the seconds for many sessions), Lewis Duckworth, Dipen Hansjee, Luc Worthington and Joseph Bennett who all made welcome contributions. Of the Year 7s, it was good to see Nanik Nanwani, very much a newcomer in September, rapidly rise to partner the fiery U12 captain, Husayn Murphy, through sheer positivity and application. The Year 7 second pair, Kian Amaan and Amit Armon have also enjoyed a fair amount of success this year. Kian is very much Shakespeare’s man of ‘modest stillness and humility’ (but tiger enough during play) and this is just as well since Amit has sufficient genial banter to keep them both in conversation. Other Year 7s included Vikram Paunrana, Nikhil Shankar, Rohan Kotecha, Kayan Patel and Yazan Issa who all rendered the school team able and reliable support.
We have much enjoyed playing schools such as Berkhamsted, Highgate, Summer Fields, Emanuel and Belmont in our seasonal fixtures. The national tournaments at Eton and Harrow have been the inspirational highlights of the year. They really are marvellous occasions which lift both spirit and vision. We had one summer term fixture, for the first time playing Westminster School and this was most enjoyable – especially seeing old boy Sahil Shah who played so well for us last year. At the time of writing, only the House Fives Competition remains.This is always great fun with something of the order of eighty pupils from Years 5 – 8 expected to play and the gloves bag running out far too soon.
Next year, Mr Peter Ryan takes over as Master-in-Charge here at Orley Farm. I know that our Fives could not be in better hands. We already have fixtures lined up for the Autumn Term against many our old jousting partners – and also some new ones against Harrow, Eton and High Wycombe. It has been a real pleasure and a great privilege for me to be involved with the Fives at Orley Farm and I wish its players and staff every success in the future.
The Orley Farm team at Westminster
Queen Elizabeth's, Barnet
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This Lent Term was busy as ever, with academic and major sports (football as well as hockey) commitments negating the possibility of playing more inter-school fixtures. In the end, only one match against a young Shrewsbury side was able to be played, though a full set of internal house matches were somehow shoehorned into available whole-school days.
Hugill and Moss dovetailed quite well together, with Hugill’s good return of cut and Moss’s steady back-court play. They managed to lose their cool, and hence the second game in their match, but came back strongly to win the third game and, because of time constraints, the match ended 2-1 in Repton’s favour.
Cosford and Matthews have played together for several years so can be quite a handful when they keep their concentration. Cosford again supplied the brain and subtlety, whilst Matthews the brawn and pace of cut. Once they had found their form in their match, they ran out comfortable winners 3-0.
Davis and Humphries were a new pairing, as Humphries had only just taken up the sport, having entered the school in the Lower Sixth. With skill and determination, they showed that they have the making of a good pair. In their match they were a little tentative at the start, but they soon showed their true mettle and ran out easy winners 3-0.
It is a shame that there are so few opportunities for playing this excellent sport, which is an excellent aid in the preparation for any of the major sports. Eton Fives requires quick-wittedness, anticipation, stamina, good co-ordination and excellent reactions – which other sport does not want some, if not all, of these attributes.
Players: D. Hugill (L), (capt), L. Cosford (N), G. Davis (L), J. Humphries (P), C. Matthews (N), G. Moss (O).
RGS, High Wycombe
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Fives has continued to grow in popularity at Rydal Penhros and this has been greatly helped by the renovation of two new courts thanks to the EFA. Rydal Penhros now has consistent fixtures with schools such as Wolverhampton, Shrewsbury, Uppingham, Wrekin, Oakham and KES Birmingham. This shows the great improvement the school has made over the past two years to put Fives back into the school sports curriculum. The "Fives @ Fives club" is flourishing and all courts are being filled on occasions. The young students are incredibly enthusiastic and enjoy playing Fives, creating a thriving Fives atmosphere and ethos which is brilliant to have been a part of during my time at Rydal.
Rydal has competed in many competitions this season and has also managed to make it down to several competitions down at Eton despite the long journeys! Rydal was represented during these tournaments by a mixture of year 7s, 8s and 9s, who all enjoyed immensely their trips away from home. This didn't stop them playing good Fives during the day, in both the U13s and U14s, both first pairs losing in the quarters-finals after competing against very strong Shrewsbury, St Olave’s and Highgate pairs. This ultimately shows the improvement the school has made during the past 3 years.
Rydal has also been involved with some in-school tournaments, most notably a "Student-Teacher" tournament which was incredibly successful. This involved our two Deputy Heads, our Director of Sport and our two Gappys with a celebrity appearance of Abhishek Bhattacharya, the previous Fives coach at Rydal Penhros. It was an excellent chance for the young students to get one over their teachers, but all in all, was played in very good spirit.
Throughout the season, the pupils who have played Fives have represented the school in an excellent manner which is befitting of Rydal Penhros. The determination and spirit shown by everyone involved with Fives has resulted in a very successful season and I can count myself lucky to have been a part of it. I am sure they will go from strength to strength in the future at Rydal Penhros and I look forward to seeing the first National Champion from Rydal Penhros!
Alternative views of Fives at Rydal
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St Edward's, Oxford
This is the first year that Fives has been reintroduced at St Edward’s, and it has been well-received by, especially, the Shells (yr9s) who have been playing on a weekly basis within our activities programme. This has only been made possible by the help of Andrew Bishop and all at Summer Fields who have been happy to share their courts with us, and to whom we are enormously grateful. After a fixture at the start of March against Summer Fields, two Shell pairs went to take part in the National U14 Beginners’ tournament, and despite their relative inexperience acquitted themselves admirably – first pair Ivan Nachev and Ralph Outhwaite doing especially well to qualify from the group stages, only to lose a hotly contested game to a good Shrewsbury pair. All the boys found the tournament a real eye-opener and have shown palpable improvements for the experience. We hope that Fives will go from strength to strength at Teddies over the coming years, and would welcome fixtures and opportunities to further the growing interest in the game at the school
St.Edward's players at the National Schools' Championships
With the completion of the new courts in September, Fives has certainly had a new lease of life. The hollow sound that one used to have when hitting the ball against the back wall has finally gone and the new court surface allows pupils to develop the technique of putting spin on the ball, which made for excellent competitions. In the senior competition West House won as there is strength in the depth of the team. Glanville & Luscombe in the L6th and Gale & White in the U6th showed their quality throughout the competition. However, in the senior years Parry (Montgomery), Gough (Montgomery), Baynes (Montgomery), Weston (Surrey), Lander (Surrey) and Locke (East) show that there is clear strength across the houses and next year’s competition will be eagerly awaited. In the girls’ competition South beat Haslewood in a close fought match. In the junior years once again the girls’ competition was also closely fought and was won by Haslewood House. For the Junior Competition, this will be the last year that the 4th form girls compete separately and from next year they will join the 4th form boys in a combined competition. In the Junior House Competition, there was strength in depth and there were some excellent players spread across all the houses. Fleming (North), Harrison (North), Monk (Montgomery) Blair (Montgomery), Boothby (Montgomery), Feltham (Surrey), Vogel (Haslewood), Evans (South), Grob (East) and Hoare (Churchill) to name a few. In the end the combination of Fleming and MacFarlane, which dominated the L5th final, secured the victory for North House overall.
Aside from House competition, St. John’s has also hosted the annual fixture against EFA Jesters and a match against teams from North Oxford and the Old Edwardians. Eleven times Eton fives champion John Reynolds came to play on our ‘unique’ courts with ‘unique’ rules and along with Julian Black thoroughly enjoyed our game. The pupils gained much experience and learnt a lot against this opposition and are looking forward to their return next year. Overall 2011/12 has been an excellent year for Fives at St. John’s and it can look forward to new competitions commencing in September 2012 with the introduction of an Intermediate Competition and a mixed competition in the 4th form.
St.John's pupils take on the combined might of North Oxford and the Old Edwardians
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Midland Tournament Champion Chris Self; St.Olave's players on tour in Switzerland
Last season, Shrewsbury School won almost every schools trophy and competition they entered (and reached the final of the only one they didn’t). Joining such a successful and strong club with an instruction to help to improve it sounded almost unfair. But try we did, and in a few areas I think we succeeded. As ever, the season was spent working up to the Schools’ National Championships. A new generation of 3rd formers had already been scouted and coached by Matt Barrett during games sessions and for everyone else, business as usual began in January.
This, however, was business as usual version 2012. We had more boys and girls on the courts from day one than had been seen last season, and all of them keen to keep coming back. Andy Barnard, as Master-in-Charge during this handover year, put together a masterful and imaginative plan involving three games hours rather than two and staggered starts and finishes, to make sure as many as possible got as much court time as possible.
The fixture list was equally busy. On the first weekend we had a senior fixture against the Old Salopians and Monday Club on Saturday, a junior fixture against Oakham and Uppingham and a girls’ tournament at Eton on Sunday. I note that this is a perfectly normal weekend! Player rotations (months before Andy Flower adopted the idea for England cricket) served to keep our athletes fresh and to make sure time for work remained available. Already in these early fixtures, our U14s started showing themselves to be good sportsmen and promising players against opposition often more experienced than themselves. Through the season they grew quickly and naturally into the club culture: enthusiasm for matches and competition; a strong club identity and spirit; pleasure in each others’ company which is so important on trips to away matches.
Aside from the fixture list, we retained the Williams Cup fairly impressively, with 29 out of 30 possible points. The top senior pair of Jack Hudson-Williams and Henry Lewis won the U21 Nationals as part of our Schools’ Nationals build-up; an emphatic case indeed for schoolboy dominance from this outstanding pair!
The Schools Nationals is, of course, the tournament towards which all of our preparations are focused. Our U14s had moved from talented and promising to sharp, dangerous and downright fierce! As it turned out, our second pair had to cede their place in the semi-finals of the beginners’ tournament due to a flight to Iceland. The top pair, Tom Breese and George Panayi, won the tournament with strong matches against all comers, only losing only one game: to Eton in the final. Our U15s George Lewis and Jamie Humes reached the final of the U15s but lost in 5; they will be very keen to reverse this next season. In the U16s we lost in semis to the eventual champions, Eton, a pair we had beaten 3-2 at home just weeks earlier. I seem to remember someone writing in this space last season that “I look forward to seeing Etonian pairs challenging at the very top of the game in the coming years.” We provided both sets of finalists in the U17 Ladies’ beginners tournament, won by Rosie Parr and Hannah Pritchard.
Our first senior pair dropped no games in reaching the Open final, there to be met by our second pair, on the flying form of which we knew them capable. On their way, Sam Welti and Guy Williams had beaten the 3rd seeds Eton 3-2 and then 2nd seeds St Olave’s 3-1 in quarters and semis to take their place in what I believe was the first all-Salopian final in history. Though they came out strongly and took the first game, Hudson-Williams and Lewis were victorious.
Did we have a better season than last? Arguably not. Having set ourselves high targets, we surpassed them in some areas (getting two pairs to the open final), achieved them in others (a third consecutive Williams Cup) but missed out on the grand sweep of titles of last year. If, however, success of a school sport is measured in full courts, it was a season unparalleled!
There can be no bus without a driver, no ship without a captain. The fives club owes an enormous amount to Andy Barnard who has led the team of coaches, organised the fixture list, put together serious logistics for the schools’ nationals and has, undeniably, provided an immense driving energy behind the fives club for his years as Master in Charge. Under his direction the school has had astonishing success: it is recognised as being a dominant force nationally. We have been very fortunate to have him at the helm; he arrived at the school as a non fives player; since then he has not only made himself an astute coach and analyser of the game but has approached running it with huge enthusiasm and always has an ear for the players. I am delighted that, though handing over the role of Master in Charge, he will continue as one of the Fives staff next year.
Schools Winners Jack Hudson-Williams and Henry Lewis; Action from the final; Runners-up Sam Welti and Guy Williams; Ladies U17 winners Rosie Parr and Hannah Pritchard; Andy Barnard with trophies; Under 14 beginners winners; Under 14 beginners runners-up; The Shrewsbury Williams Cup winning squad
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Stowe's current and future M-i-Cs in action; Stowe boys playing in the Stowe Fives Open Day
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The Summer Fields squad at the Prep Schools' Championships
Reaching the semi-finals of the Prep Schools Fives Championships for the second year running was a significant achievement, having beaten Summer Fields first pair on the way and losing to Highgate 1 who won the tournament. We also reached the semi-finals of the U12 Prep Schools Fives which shows promise for next season especially as a number of our non-leavers had only been playing for a few weeks.
A number of good results against Ludgrove, Summer Fields, Cranleigh and RGS High Wycombe kept the season busy and has encouraged more players on the courts from under 9 upwards.
The 2011-2012 season has been one of real transition and development for Uppingham Fives. With few established players in the older years the key aim was definitely to inspire the new fourth form with the joy of Fives. Regular fixtures against Oakham and the visit of the EFA Jesters in the autumn term certainly helped to reveal some good talent and keen players. The U14 pairs certainly held their own at the Midlands Beginners Tournament and four pairs went on to represent Uppingham in the U14 Beginners National Competition. The first pair had the greatest success; first progressing out of their group and then after getting knocked out of the main competition eventually making it to a plate semi-final. An exciting, knock-out House Fives was held for the fourth form and over the coming years this competition will spread to through the older years. On a more practical level the courts have been smartened up by the maintenance team during the year and we keep our fingers crossed that there will be a new roof for the courts by September.
Wolverhampton Grammar School
As WGS moved into its fifth season under the stewardship of Mark Yates, the fixture list had to be pared back due to austerity measures imposed by the current economic climate. Despite these challenges WGS started the season by taking part in the Autumn ladder event at Shrewsbury on Sunday 9th October with 34 players from Oakham, Rydal Penrhos, Wolverhampton and Wrekin College. Everyone played as an individual, moving up a court with a win and down a court following a defeat. All the courts witnessed WGS players gaining experience and confidence as the afternoon progressed. The final standings saw Eve Cowan collecting the Top Scoring Girl's prize.
The Senior boys and U15 girls team gained valuable experience playing in the adult Midlands tournament at Repton in late October. In November, WGS hosted the Midlands Schools U14 Championships for the fifth year with a record number of teams and schools entering. In the main tournament, Silas Lawrence and James Anderson showed an increasingly mature attitude as they progressed through the knock-out rounds on their way to the final. The final against Rydal Penrhos 1 ended with Silas and James as runners-up but with great distinction. Meanwhile in the Festival Tournament, Ben Timmins & Daniel Adams played as new pairing and their strong striking of the ball proved effective as they finished as runners-up to St. Olave's 2. Sadly next year’s competition will be moving to KES Birmingham following the demolition of the Hallmark courts and the need for more court space.
The Senior boys paired up with Old Wulfrunians at the start of December and made very pleasing progress in the Graham Turnbull Trophy at Eton. Following the Christmas break we had home and away fixtures with Shrewsbury School, before a double header fixture with Eton College and KES Birmingham at Shrewsbury. Shrewsbury, as ever, proved to be very strong in depth but provided great experience. Similarly the touring team from Eton showed how beneficial time spent on court can be in honing winning shots. The fixture with local rivals KES ended in an honourable draw.
At the National School Championships in March, Tejas Netke & Eve Cowan made the quarter finals of the Ladies U15 competition before meeting a very strong pair from Highgate School. Beth Parlane, Lara Fraser and Ellie Frith all enjoyed their day with some very close matches in the plate competition. Meanwhile in the U15 Boys tournament Silas Lawrence and James Anderson gained valuable experience with a win over a St Olave's pair in the qualifying round and a narrow defeat to Westminster's second pair 10-12 in the second round.
The Open competition saw WGS represented by Matt Prichard, Tom Husselbee and Ben Hart all playing a year above themselves. The boys produced some excellent play throughout the day. Of particular note was the first pair coming from behind to beat Eton in the qualifying pool, demonstrating great determination, prior to defeat in the last 32. Ben Hart and partner went one round further by making the last 16. All bodes well for next year at Shrewsbury.
The sad demoliltion of the Wolverhampton Hallmark courts; WGS girls on court
The start of season 2011-12 was a slow affair with only one court available for play. However, David Pringle and Isaac Rooke represented Wrekin College at the Midlands Schools U14 Fives Championships in November, and considering that the boys had only started playing that term they performed admirably and their play improved throughout the day. The biggest event for the Autumn term was the arrival of a new Headmaster and the refurbishment of three of the Fives courts. The state of the courts and surrounding area improved each week making the whole area a far more attractive venue at the heart of the school.
The first Sunday in December witnessed a very enjoyable day of Fives at Eton, with two Wrekinian pairs playing in the Graham Turnbull Trophy. Chris Flint (OW) made his return to the Fives court after a gap of some 50 years to partner school captain James Whitehouse. It took a game or two for the new pairing to familiarise themselves with the courts but both improved throughout the day and finished with big smiles.
Will Miller and Mark Yates (Coach), made a rapid start winning their opening qualification pool. In the knock-out rounds they saw off pairs from Ipswich School and St Olaves to set up a semi-final with Westminster. Having taken the first game 12-3 it looked like plain sailing, however, the Westminsters struck back with 2-12 win in the second game, leaving the final game as a straight shoot out. Wrekin were behind throughout the third game, but managed to save game-ball and have the game reset, but sadly couldn't convert the momentum, losing 11-14.
The Spring term saw a first for Wrekin College with James Whitehouse playing in a match against Eton College at Shrewsbury School. This was a very competitive match, with James gaining great experience from a high level game. The fixture is already in the diary for next season. In March the National School Championship were held at Eton College and Will Miller showed that he had lost none of his skills and made it into the last 16 of the Open Competition. We are very much looking forward to next year’s Championships, which will be held at Shrewsbury School.
The Spring and Summer terms saw the newly refurbished courts full of new players from Lancaster house all looking to try out a new sport. This all bodes well for next season with both girls and boys proving to be very adapt at the game and ready for an extended fixture list. Many thanks to all those involved for their continuing help and support.
The Wrekin Turnbull Trophy team; Turnbull Trophy action