Read on to find out the clubs' views on the 2011/12 season...
Missing reports will hopefully be added over the next couple of weeks. Click on the thumbnails to see the full-sized photos.
The Aldenham Fives Club has once again maintained a consistent Tuesday night turnout helped by the addition of current schoolboys from Aldenham School.
Rarely does the club fail to fill at least three courts with its own players or during regular friendly non-league matches.
In February, the club was delighted to see Martin Lindsay accept the role of club President. The post comes to Martin following the death of John Rimer, the club’s President for many years.
To mark the occasion, Martin was awarded a gavel and inscribed block at the club’s annual dinner in a St Albans restaurant. He previously held the role of club secretary.
In May, Graham Pulsford and schoolboy Darshan Patel overcame Chris Austin and Richard Dennis in the final of the annual Heath Tournament. The pair were awarded the Jim Fredenham Cup.
Throughout the year, we ran our six-weekly ladder; a competition that was well attended on every occasion. This year, left hander Chris Austin was feted as the player who won the most ladders with a total of three overall victories.
AFC continues to play throughout the summer so if you fancy a game, just turn up at Aldenham at 7.30pm on any Tuesday – we’ll be there.
Finalists the the Heath Tournament; Club fancy dress; New President Martin Lindsay celebrates his investiture
This season has seen the introduction of the Bateman Badgers, a new independent ladies club. With a combination of seasoned pros Charlotta Cooley, Karen Hird and Emily Scoones as well as the reintroduction of players such as Harriet Fletcher and Anne Dodwell, and of course the debut of Barney, our Honey Badger, we have entered the Fives world to continue the advances made by the Ladies game in recent years.
The squad of 12 players began playing in January and has played fixture against Highgate, Oxford University, High Wycombe, Berkhamsted, with an Old Lancing match still to be played. We made our debut against the ever-strong Highgate and narrowly took a two pair victory in a close and enjoyable fixture against the talented schoolgirls. The Badgers then went on to play the increasingly strong Oxford University Ladies and were defeated in a two pair fixture. Our High Wycombe fixture saw both experienced and youthful players taking to the courts in a three pair fixture. The highlight was the first pair match that saw Karen Hird and Charlotta Cooley narrowly lose to Julian Black and Nathan Turnbull in an exhilarating match for players and spectators alike. Then the Badgers ventured to Berkhamsted for a two pair fixture that saw the Badgers just coming out on top.
The opening season for the Bateman Badgers has been one to remember and we are very grateful for all the support we have received from players and clubs alike. With the Summer Superleague next on the cards followed by a jam-packed season of fixtures, we wait with baited breath for the next chapter for the Bateman Badgers!
The Bateman Badgers; Barney; the Badgers first ever match
The season of 2011/12 provided the OBEFC with a feeling of satisfaction and some moments to remember, with some great team success as well as a few special individual triumphs. After all the hard work of Anthony Theodossi, Douglas Foster (and too many others to mention over the last 3 years) the OBEFC are now able to reap the rewards as they are now well and truly back on the Fives scene as the team to beat.
As we hoped and expected the club has continued to grow and develop over the past few years, thus enabling us to create a large talented player base, and we hope to continue to see progression in the right direction over the seasons to come.
Due to this newfound talent base, we were able to defeat the likes of the Old Harrovians, Old Millhillians, Old Olavians, and the Old Westminsters; consequently clinching our first League 1 trophy since the early 1980s. The fashion in which the OBEFC defeated their opponents was similar to the Old Olavians of old, as they only dropped 5 points out of 30.
When it comes to individual success there have been many outstanding performances throughout this season. These range from Andrew Joyce’s successful defence of the U25s, to Jeremy O’Neill’s semi final in the U21s and Alex Rattan (Berkhamsted 2011 leaver) representing Cambridge in the annual Varsity Match against Oxford. Then we come to the best of all, the agile yet destructive pairing of George Campbell and current pupil Ali Leighton in their empathetic victory in the Turnbull Trophy.
As if the season had not gone well enough, the OBEFC got a great surprise when they were voted the ‘Team of the year 2012’, by you, the Fives community. I can now only hope that the OBEFC can continue in their winning ways for the next few years, and even start to put out a competitive Barber Cup Team.
Finally, everyone involved with Berkhamsted Fives was delighted to see OBEFC founder Derek Whitehead deservedly honoured at the end of season awards as the first ever recipient of the EFA Lifetime Achievement award.
Under 25s winner Andrew Joyce with partner Laurie Brock; Turnbull Trophy winners George Campbell and Ali Leighton; George Campbell and Jeremy O'Neill in Division 1 action; EFA Team of the Year; EFA Lifetime Achievement winner Derek Whitehead
The Brigands continued to attract locals to the fives courts at Charterhouse School. We meet on a Wednesday night from 7.00pm and fill 2 or 3 courts from September to April each year. Fives is followed by a meal or a drink at the Stag at Eashing.
Matches were played against Charterhouse School twice a year and against Cranleigh School at Cranleigh on the first Tuesday of each month maintaining our close links with both schools. In addition we were joined by the Charterhouse boys at the end to the season on our Wednesday nights.
Other friendly matches are against Aldenham Club, North Oxford and the Old Carthusians. The Bourne trophy is our internal end of season competition and attracted 16 pairs with Toby Savage (ex Winchester fives player) overcoming all competition to become victor ludorum. End of season dinner was also a big success with about 35 players and wives/girlfriends.
Our club is essentially a group of local players with a Wednesday club night and we play friendly fives. All standards and ages are welcome. Club secretary is Rod Smart (Tel 07818 818941)
Eton Fives has had another strong year at Cambridge. We now have approximately 40 men and women participating in practices and matches every week throughout the Michaelmas and Lent terms. A large proportion of these are first and second year undergraduates which bodes well for the ongoing health of the club.
This year we hosted several introductory sessions for novices, and were pleased to discover that there is a significant appetite for the sport at Cambridge. We eagerly look forward to the completion of the new courts, which will enable us to provide constructive coaching and expand the club to further accommodate novices.
The club has had 16 competitive fixtures over the course of the year, notably including the Universities’ Tournament, which was won by Rory Griffiths and Rob Wilson, earning Cambridge the title for another year. The season culminated with the Pol Roger Varsity Match in March. In the men’s matches, a strong Oxford team clinched all three of the Blues games, while depth in the Cambridge squad meant that the Light Blues were able to take all three of the games in the Seconds.
This year the club has a new website, www.cuefc.co.uk which has enabled fixtures and practices to be organised more efficiently. This has coincided with a one year sponsorship deal with Ernst & Young, which has enabled us to reduce the cost of the sport and open it up to more people. Despite the loss at Varsity, the club has had a very successful year, and things look very promising for the upcoming season.
Universities Tournament winners Rob Wilson and Rory Griffiths; the Cambridge Varsity Match squad
Cambridge University Ladies
This year was a challenging year for Cambridge Ladies Fives. The loss of several key players presented some difficulties at the outset of the season; however, we were quickly able to add some new recruits to the team through the introductory sessions that were held at the start of Michaelmas term. Notable additions to the team were Anastasia Noraev, whose rapid progress and enthusiasm secured her a place on the 1st team, Bonnie Tse, who by the end of the year was able to compete favourably with the top players on the team, and Marta Karbowska, whose continuing dedication led to her being named next year’s captain at the recent AGM.
Despite the team’s inexperience, we were well represented at a number of tournaments, including the Black Cup, which took place early in the season, where a Cambridge team competed against old school teams; and Ladies’ Nationals, where 4 pairs represented Cambridge University. CUEFC Ladies pairs also attended the National U21 Ladies Tournament and the Northern Tournament Festival. Tournament highlights for the team included winning the plate and placing in 5th at the National U25 Ladies Tournament, a 6th place finish at the Ladies’ Universities Championship, and our 2nd pair reaching the quarter finals at the Ladies’ Championship, by beating a seeded pair in the group stages. Memorable moments at club matches for the CUEFC Ladies included a win against Ipswich School and a fiercely contested draw against the EFA Ladies.
But, of course, the culmination of the 2011/12 season was the annual Varsity Match against Oxford University, which was contested between two full Ladies’ teams for only the second time in the long history of the Eton Fives Varsity Match, building on the success of last year’s match. This time around, the CUEFC Ladies were somewhat overwhelmed by the more experienced Oxford teams, which were largely unchanged from the previous year. Though they had worked hard throughout the year at training as well as matches and tournaments, the 2nd team – entirely comprised of players who had been introduced to Fives at Cambridge University this season – lost 3-0 to the OUEFC Ladies’ 2nd team. The 6th pair match, however, proved to be unexpectedly heated and hotly contested, and was watched with excitement by the rest of the members of both ladies’ teams. Though the Cambridge Ladies (Sara Basemera and Rebecca Steer) initially won the first set, the grit and determination of the Oxford ladies saw them overtake and go on to win the match. The CUEFC Ladies’ 1st team’s matches ended with the same result as the 2nd team’s – a 3-0 loss – as the Cambridge ladies were unable to hold up to the onslaught of the disciplined and talented Oxford ladies, who had come back freshly determined after the unexpected defeat the previous year.
Nevertheless, the CUEFC Ladies team had a terrific year, and it was lovely to see so many of the new faces at training sessions, matches and tournaments, improving enormously and enjoying playing Fives. Though this year again the Cambridge team will be losing some ladies, including Natalie Loh and Sarah Greasley, who had been key players in the 1st team for a number of years, the success of this year against the odds provides some hope that the 2012/13 season will be just as fruitful.
The Cambridge team in the Richard Black Cup; Varsity Match second team; Varisty Match first team
The, thankfully temporary, rustication from Westminster School sadly dented our fixture list in the past season. However the breadth and quality of games that the club plays continued to improve. For example this season we had two new matches at Emanuel against the Old Olavians which were enjoyably played at the very highest level.
Ronald Pattison has this year joined the Jesters committee where his enthusiasm and commitment have already been of great help. These unique traits undoubtedly contributed to the greatest achievement of our year, which was clearly Ronald being presented with the 'Jester of the Year' award.
The Jesters as a whole have continued to give generously to Eton Fives in the past year and will be further contributing to the new Cambridge courts appeal. This support is much due to the role that each of us Eton Fives Jesters play within the wider club. I hope that in the coming season you will continue to enjoy our brand of Eton Fives.
As always I would encourage any Jesters of any ability to be proactive about contacting match managers. We now have a set of matches that cater to all abilities, timetables and geographies.
Jester of the Year Ronald Pattison
Lancing Old Boys
No report received
Universities Champion Rosie Scott with City University partner Charlotta Cooley
2011/12 was another successful and enjoyable season for North Oxford with the competitive highlight the regaining of the Aston House Stud trophy for winning League Division 2 after two successive seasons as runners-up. The title win was built around an experienced core squad of Gareth Hoskins, Graham Pulsford, Chris Austin, Nick Shaw, Spencer Chapman, Peter Scholey, Justin Shaw, Chris Davies and Chris Lloyd with contributions from Hugo Tobias, Jonny Nelmes, Nigel Cox, Carl Rennie, Karen Hird and Andy Bishop. Further silverware was gained for the club by the Chrises – Davies and Lloyd – who won the Over 50 title at the Veterans Tournament and by Emily Scoones and Karen Hird, who won the Under 25s title before going on to be semi-finalists in the Ladies Nationals. Karen also teamed up with Gareth Hoskins to reach the semi-finals of the Mixed Tournament and went on to finish third in the EFA Player of the Season awards.
We weren’t entirely able to shake off the bridesmaid’s tag, however, finishing as beaten finalists in the EFA Trophy once again at the hands of the Old Wulfrunians and runners-up in the 2011 Westway Summer Superleague as the Aston House Studs. The 2012 Westway campaign is underway as I write, with another title challenge hopefully on the cards.
NOEFC is about a lot more than competitive Fives, however, and we have expanded our repertoire even further this year, variously trying our hand at Rugby Fives, in the cross code fixture against Marlborough RFC, St.John’s Fives, as the annual unusual courts match against the Old Edwardians took us to Leatherhead, and Real Tennis, with Karen Hird and Andy Bishop our expert guides to the game on the court at Radley College.
Our weekly Monday night sessions at Summer Fields continue to flourish, with over 30 different players gracing the courts at various points during the season, including the welcome addition of several members of the all-conquering Oxford University Ladies team. The start of season curry, the Christmas Dinner and the summer family barbecue were all well attended and are all becoming NOEFC institutions.
We are always on the lookout for new players of all ages and standards, so if you live in the Oxford area and would like to get on court with us, do get in touch.
NOEFC in action at Aldenham; Fives at Leatherhead; Under 25 winners Karen Hird and Emily Scoones; Aston House Studs
No report received
Jester of the Year Ronald Pattison
No report received
Veterans winner Grant Williams with Salopian partner Mike Hughes; Universities Mixed winner Abhishek Bhattacharya with partner Charlotta Cooley; London Festival winners Abhishek and Aroop Bhattacharya
Under the guidance of Will Howard, the Old Cranleighans are beginning tentatively to dip their toes into the waters of club Fives, with a player base being tracked down and a couple of fixtures against the school on the cards. The highlight of the 2011/12 season was OCs Archie Cameron-Blackie and Phil Roper winning the Plate competition at the Under 25 Tournament in September.
Under 25 Plate Winners Archie Cameron-Blackie and Phil Roper
Silverware (not all the club's own property), not entirely disastrous cup and league forays and a very jolly trip to Geneva were the highlights of the Old Cits' season. Oh, and we're still toasting the forthcoming history of the game which is set to reveal that we were the first old boys' club to be formed, back in the 1920s.
Some sixty years spanned the ages of players at this year's Adams Cup, the Old Citizens' own tournament trophy and the oldest cup in fives apart from the Kinnaird Cup itself.
Some two dozen players included EFA vice-president Gordon Stringer at one end of the spectrum and a quartet of boys from the City of London School from the other. It was won by Les Jacobs and club secretary Nick Gill, who edged out schoolboy Max Twivy and club treasurer Stephen Kelly.
Our other club trophy, the Wood Plate, attracted 16 entrants when it opened our season back in September 2011. That was won by club medic Stephen Mullin and jet-set banker John Gee-Grant, beating CLS schoolboy Tom Davidson and former Cambridge half-blue Bobby Friedman in a frenetic final 8-4. The season even featured an external tournament triumph for school captain Sam Packer and club captain John Reynolds who won five rounds in the Midland Tournament Festival to get their hands on somebody else's silverware.
So, Old Citizen fives is still thriving a quarter of a century after the school forgot to put up new ones when it moved a few hundred yards down river to its current site opposite the Tate Modern.
Further evidence of this is that one of our two league teams - one in the second division and one in the third - avoided the wooden spoon. We entered the Barber Cup for the first time in many years this season and enjoyed a glorious 2-1 first-round victory over the Edwardians and a slightly less triumphant 1-2 second round defeat at the hands of the Etonians.
Our foreign trip this year was to the outskirts of Geneva for the self-styled European Championships. There were seven Brits in our party - including three OCs - and one of our number, Mark George Jacobs was even one of those who shared the title, thanks to the fact that he had not finished his semi-final when rain stopped play on the uncovered courts.
CLS and the OCs feature heavily in a new history of Eton Fives and - according to a sneak preview - have a serious claim to being the oldest extant adult club. The book - due out later this year - will detail our role in the game's development from the 1890s, expansion overseas (Switzerland and Nigeria) and so on. But it also emerges that we were the very first old boys' club (ever, in the world) to be established. The pre-publication draft features this paragraph:
"Although the Times correspondent in the 1919 article had suggested that fives would remain a school game, it came increasingly to be played by adults beyond school. Most clubs began as groups of Old Boys formed to play against their own schools. Now they were beginning establish themselves formally and to play a wider range of opponents. The Old Citizens EFC were formally founded if not re-founded in 1923, just before the Old Etonians in 1924. In 1926 the Old Westminsters formed a Rackets, Squash, Fives & Tennis Society . . ."
Redoubtable former club secretary Gordon Stringer has dug up evidence that we were actually founded in the 19th century (a report from an Old Citizens Gazette in the 1940s refers to our second captain-cum-secretary taking office in 1896) but at least the first official history of the game has got the gist.
We practice every week at Highgate, currently on Thursdays. If you'd like to join us, let John Reynolds know.
Old Citizens in Geneva; Midland Tournament festival winners John Reynolds and Sam Packer; Gordon Stringer cuts; Adams Cup Final; City of London schoolboys at the Adams Cup; Adams Cup winners; Adams Cup finalists; Adams Cup participants
Having withdrawn from the League, this has been a very quiet season for the Old Edwardians. We did play in the Barber Cup once again and played our annual unusual courts fixture against North Oxford, this year at St.John's, Leatherhead, but the club is urgently in need of some new young blood in order to increase the size of the player base.
No report received
Fives is thriving at Eton under the leadership of Mark Williams (the Master-in-Charge) and our new coach Mike Hughes, who is a truly excellent inspiration to the boys who are being encouraged to play this wonderful game. Hopefully this will filter into the world of Old Etonian Fives, where we remain in the middle of EFA League Division II!
This season has been a bit of a mixed bag for the OE Fives Club, with our best finish in recent years in the premier club competition, the Barber Cup, and some excellent individual performances, alongside a mid-table finish in the league, the latter influenced by the withdrawal of the membership’s favoured match venue, Westminster School. Will Sorrell reached the semi-final stage of the Kinnaird Cup competition, eventually being knocked out by the second seeds, and the Barber Cup squad also got to the semi-finals before losing to an Old Olavian side fielding a Kinnaird winner in every pair! Nevertheless, the father and son combination of Jonathan and Matt Asquith came very close to taking a game off former winner Howard Wiseman, and Anthony Wagg and Tim Best went one better, retaining the Walters Cup for the Over 60s in a rematch of last year’s final. As well as the established November and March fixtures against the School which continue to be very popular, the first inter-OE Club Night at Emanuel School in Wandsworth was well attended, and we hope to expand this initiative next season to provide friendly fives in a convenient location.
Our close links with the school are vitally important, and we are particularly lucky to have Mike Hughes coaching boys that we hope will compete with the very best in the future. Simon de Zoete has become our new and enthusiastic Chairman. He joins colleagues and me in our endeavour to build on and better this year’s achievements.
The Old Etonian team in Barber Cup action; Over 60s winners Anthony Wagg and Tim Best
This season has been encouraging for the Old Harrovians with a broad spectrum of players turning out for the team, and many thanks must go to those who bolstered the team for the first time this season. Results have been generally good and our position in the Division 1 league table would have been much higher had it not been for the disappointing number of penalty points conceded on a regular basis throughout the year. A new generation of players coming through and joining the ranks has solidified our squad and provided everyone with a good and enjoyable standard of Fives.
With the strength of the Berkhamsted Division 1 team who proved untouchable throughout the season and the Olavians still reigning supreme in the Alan Barber Cup, it has shown the depth of commitment required to mount a serious challenge in both these competitions. Next season will see the return of Pete Dunbar after two years away from the country and this will hopefully act as a catalyst for the Old Harrovians to push up the table.
Finally, congratulations again to Tom Dunbar for his ever improving standard of Fives and winning all three major tournaments (London, Northern and Kinnaird) in emphatic style.
Old Harrovian Tom Dunbar receives with the Kinnaird Cup with partner Seb Cooley
Played 17, won 8, drawn 1, lost 8
Whilst the Old Ipswichians had limited success in the League and Barber this year, there was much to shout about with more silverware and awards than I can certainly remember for many, if any, years.
It was again brilliant to team up with school pupils for the Graham Turnbull Trophy and we managed 9 pairs this year which was great. Although we were prevented from emulating last year’s final 8 placing five of the pairs got as far as the last 16.
A cracking year for the school with genuine strength showing across the age groups giving real encouragement for the future of school and Old Boy Fives.
Girls’ Captain, Stephanie Smith, teamed up with OI Sarah Frost, to win the Midland Tournament Ladies’ Competition in October to start things rolling. Boys’ Captain, Chris Lavelle with Alex Macfarlane, came second in the Northern Festival Plate.
Isaac Wagland kicked off his impressive year winning the Graves Cup paired with Nick Bunyan (no mean feat) giving Bunyan bragging rights over Seb Cooley and Tim Fletcher among others (not that he needs rights). Apparently Wagland’s Fives fashion was not influenced by Bunyan’s predilection for luminescent lycra, however spies inform that in pre-season practice he has been seen sporting fluorescent socks.
The will to win displayed by Wagland in the Graves Cup was portentous, as he and Sam Christopher continued the winning streak, taking the U15s Schools’ title in a hard-fought five game thriller against Shrewsbury (with Isaac having played 16 games the previous day to reach the third round of the U16s in partnership with Henry Patten). However he couldn’t quite round this off with the Young Player of the Year Award, coming a deserved and close second.
Cameron Lyle and Arthur Patten also made significant inroads into the U14 tournament, making the final but lost in 4 games to a strong Highgate pair. The very high standard of the match was remarked upon by seasoned observers who were watching.
Four of our girls also walked off with the A and B Plate trophies in the Schools’ Girls U17 Beginners Competition. Impressive not only because they were U14s but also they had only learnt the game a fortnight before the tournament.
Fives is currently alive and well in the student population of the OIs with several notable mentions.
Alex Yusaf brought home the Malcolm Mitchell Memorial Shield for the Northern Festival with a strong performance over the weekend, whilst Annabel Griffiths and Gareth Hoskins (more oldie than student) reached the quarter-finals. 20 Ipswichians took part in the Northern Tournament - possibly a record.
Annabel Griffiths also made it through to the semi finals of the Universities Mixed Tournament but unfortunately couldn’t quite go to the distance. I am, however, reliably informed that this was due to the pair and no fault of any OI, clearly evidenced by a win in the plate of the Mixed Tournament when paired with Will Gibbons (OI). Annabel, playing with Ashley Lumbard, was also runner up in the U25 Ladies Competition, having beaten the School / OI pairing of Stephanie Smith and Sarah Frost in the semi-final.
Dave Leach has been a key regular in the league side winning my Most Valued League Player gong. He also won plate A in the U21s and Universities and has showed real promise for the future and has continued to help coach Fives at the school when in Ipswich.
Based on my own classification I now (worryingly) drop into this section. However with nothing to report on from me I must focus on some of the achievements of my “peers”.
In the “Coach of the Year” Peter Boughton took the thoroughly deserved award for the outstanding performance and improvement of the schoolboys over the past few years. However in the U50s Peter and Simon Woolfries could not add to the prizes with a tense final defeat which I have heard was second only to the Kinnaird.
The VOIs and VOWestminsters continued their tense rivalry with another fixture this year with a win for the VOWs and the Fives world is now rife with rumours of John Caudle’s impending return in next year’s match.
Overall a lot to look forward to for the next season, and with another Barber Cup home draw, perhaps some silverware for the club as well!!
Midland Tournament Ladies Champions Stephanie Smith and Sarah Frost; the VOIs; Graves Cup dinner; Coach of the Year Peter Boughton; Mixed Plate winners Will Gibbons and Annabel Griffiths; Northern festival winner Alex Yusaf; OI Barber Cup team; Ipswich team in the Richard Black Cup
With slight trepidation, the Old Millhillians entered teams in both Division One and Division Two this year. Ultimately, the experiment was successful and we finished third in Division Two with only one penalty point and, were it not for the last couple of weeks of the season, we would have only had one penalty point and finished in the top half of Division One. However, a combination of injuries, exams and cricket meant we ended up with three penalty points and dropping into the lower half.
Nevertheless, we will enter both divisions again next year and try and front-end load our season to avoid conflicts with the start of the cricket season. Whilst we are losing two of our “gap-year” players to University, we will hopefully be slightly stronger next year with three players returning from University. The Plummer Sausage Factory continues to deliver with two promising schoolboys, who have already played a few games for us, starting the Upper Sixth – Henry Goode and Alex Holmes.
Whilst our team weekend performances continued to be marked by matinal intoxication and navigational incompetence, individually the club had two pairs in the quarter-final of the Kinnaird for the first time. Congratulations to Vishal Bhimjiyani / Justin Lefort and Sunil Tailor / Joe Coakley.
Finally, many thanks to our secretary, James Hutcheson, who has been of invaluable support and hasn’t managed to make it to any of the last four secretaries’ meetings.
No report received
Mixed Winners Charlotta & Seb Cooley; Midland Tournament Winners Chris Self & Seb Cooley; EFA Player of the Year Seb Cooley; Captain of the Olavian Richard Black Cup team Anita Ganguly; Olavian Richard Black Cup winners; Kinnaird Cup winner Seb Cooley with partner Tom Dunbar; Olavian Barber Cup winning team
Another year goes by and another report due in, and what differences have we seen from last season?
This season has brought to the Old Reptonians two new players – Sebastian Moore and Alex Rowley who are actual, Fives playing, Old Reptonians. They have both proven themselves to be most proficient at the game and also the other part of the game, namely mulling over the state of the world, in the pub after.The Old Reptonians can now count on four, actual Old Reptonians to play during the season and also Jean-Pierre Houlier up in Derby. If James Ware ever returns to these shores then we could actually muster up a team for the Barber Cup which would be a first for a long time.
In the league, we came a respectable third, but perhaps most importantly conceded only 1 penalty point. Thanks to the great efforts of Mike Skjott for organising the games and individual performances from Sebastian Moore, Alex Rowley, Oli Malcolm, honorary Old Reptonian Ronald Pattison and the return of the impassable Mike Leon, we have had a most productive season.
On the subject of Mr Skjott, you will be pleased to know that a new tournament has been created in honour of the great man and his brother. The fact that my mention at the EFA secretaries meeting that he was not dead yet did not seem to matter. Let's hope that the cup becomes a living memorial to a man who has helped to encourage and promote Fives in this current day and age.
Until next season, regards...
No report received
Veterans winner Mike Hughes with partner Grant Williams; Aberconway Cup winners Chris & Mike Hughes; Salopian Barber Cup final team; Universities Tournament winner Rory Griffiths with partner Rob Wilson
It’s that time of year again to report on the progress of the OS Eton Fives Club, and I am delighted to report that there indeed has been progress.
This season we have had our best year yet since re-joining the league 10 years ago, by coming 2nd in Division 2 out of a total of 11 teams. North Oxford placed first….and have been deservedly contending at the top for some time.
The plan is to get the club together in June/July and to propose and finalise the new membership structure. Stowe has been very generous in supporting the Club, and through a recent successful funding application is offering support for items like fixtures and balls (and more excitingly for kit (!), something we would like to form part of the membership proposal).
In ending I would like to take this opportunity to thank Sophie Palmer who has been leading Eton Fives at Stowe for her support over the last couple of years and wish her all the best in her next challenge at Summer Fields School in Oxford.
Despite the hefty spanner tossed into the smooth-running Westminster Fives machine by the new child protection requirements at the School courts (following an Inspection), Season 2011/12 turned out to be one of the most successful in recent years for the Old Westminsters.
The access problem – it's impossible to reach the courts without passing through areas frequented by children – resulted in frantic fixture re-scheduling, Division One home games moved to Highgate, a mass CRB check of OWs and finally a post-Christmas resumption of something akin to normal service, though with the proviso that all visiting players must be escorted to and from the courts . . .
The Highgate base certainly did Old Westminsters I no harm as they finished second in the First Division, whilst Old Westminsters II overcame the operating difficulties to end up bang in the middle of Division Two. It was encouraging also to see The Abbey Club (essentially the School) runners-up in Division Three.
Much credit is due to all involved in this League performance, from teenagers to old stagers, with some bravura match management from Edward Levy, Chris Watts, Freddie Krespi, Laurie Brock and John Reynolds, which enabled the Secretary to emulate the PM and 'chillax' on the administrative sofa.
There were fewer Friendly matches than usual, thanks to the CRB fandango, although we hope to arrange a greater number in 2012/13. As a season finale, the Very Old Westminsters – four of the six school contemporaries from c.1970 – beat the Very Old Ipswichians to take a 2-1 lead in the highly competitive series of over-50s matches . . .
Under 21s and Universities Plate winner Sam Williams with partner Dave Leach; Under 25s winner Laurie Brock with partner Andrew Joyce; Under 21 Plate finalists Leo Nelson-Jones, James Alster, OI Dave Leach and Sam Williams; VOWs; Westminster Cup participants; Westminster Cup winners Riki Houlden and Laurie Brock
The 2011/12 season for the Old Wulfrunians was one of a gradual build-up over the course of the season. Our pre-season summer training nights were well supported and meant that the appetite for Fives over the traditional closed season was whetted regularly. This meant that we were as prepared as we could be for whatever the season threw at us.
In the main pairs competitions, Wulfrunian representation was apparent at the Midland, Northern and Kinnaird tournaments this year, which helped many of the WGS senior schoolboys with invaluable tournament exposure – these guys are the start of the future of Old Wulfrunian Fives.
The process of 'blooding' the schoolboys continued into the Barber Cup fixture with our local adversaries and perennial finalists the Old Salopians. The rule change this year meant that two schoolboys (the two Toms – Weston & Husselbee) were coupled with Sid and Andy Husselbee at second and third pair respectively and provided the more experienced Salopians with a few scares despite both losing 3-0. At first pair, Greg Hammond and Mark A Yates made the Salopian first pair of Ed Taylor and George Thomason work extremely hard for their 3-1 victory.
The EFA Trophy qualifying day turned out to be slightly different than anticipated down at Highgate. The reduced entry of only 3 pairs meant that a round robin of ourselves, North Oxford and London University teams changed into a final to be played on the same day after both North Oxford and ourselves came through tough encounters, winning 2-1 against the London University team in the first 2 matches. The final saw Sid Simmons and Chris Austin triumph 3-0 at first pair who were then able to add their vocal support to the other two enthralling games. Both Andy Husselbee and Greg Hammond at second pair and Mark Yates and Richard Ambler at thirrd pair were seemingly coasting at 2-0 up, but North Oxford have massive experience in the EFA Trophy and used this to pull a game back in both pairs. The Old Wulfrunian quartet then managed to pull through very tight and tense fourth games in both courts to come through as 3-1 victors meaning that the EFA Trophy was coming back to Wolves!
Semi-competitive Fives was provided throughout the season by our friends at the Salopian Monday Club featuring strong combinations of Seb Cooley, Grant Williams and their all-conquering schoolboys amongst others. We look forward immensely to more curry, beer and of course Fives during next season.
One of our aims for the coming season is to swell our club numbers and we are planning a recruitment drive next season for players of all abilities. So, if you know of anyone in the Birmingham/Wolverhampton area who you think might be interested in a game please contact me on 07944 296399
I know that this is said every year, but it cannot be understated, our thanks must go to Mark Yates and Greg Hammond for their sterling work on the administration/organisation side of the club and making sure we have plenty of Fives to keep us all happy!
Sid Simmons and Chris Austin in action; Old Wulfrunian EFA Trophy winners
No report received
The Oxford University Varsity Match team
Oxford University Ladies
The 2011/12 season was a triumph from start to finish for the Oxford University Ladies team. With all of last year’s players back again, there was a strong base to work from and with the addition of the experienced Lucy Rands and Julia Toynton and the arrival of newcomers to the game Sarah Leonard, Laura Pattison and Harriet Partridge, the squad looked in good shape to challenge on all fronts.
The key to the season was the great team spirit amongst all of the players for which 2010/11 captain Constance Mantle and her successor Alice Walker must take a lot of credit. Practices were regularly and keenly attended with many of the team also making the trip up to Summer Fields on a Monday evening to play with North Oxford, and the result was swift and clear improvement in everyone’s game with competition for places in the Varsity Match team in the back – or even the front – of the players’ minds right from the off.
The early signs were good with a strong performance in the Richard Black Cup where the team of Alice Walker, Hannah Cutmore-Scott, Izzy Watts, Lucy Rands, Harriet Allan, Harriet Asquith and Gina Ford performed above expectation to finish third, missing out on a place in the final by just one point. The following week’s Universities Tournament saw four Oxford pairs take part, with three pairs making into the quarter-finals and Oxford 1 (Connie Mantle and Alice Walker) narrowly losing their semi-final to a strong Bath pair.
Connie and Hannah made the quarter-finals of the Ladies Nationals in January before the build-up to the Varsity Match with frequent practices, coaching from Gareth Hoskins and Nigel Cox, and a strong desire to overturn the previous season’s defeat at the hands of the Cambridge Ladies. The result on the day was emphatic: the first five pairs all won their matches 3-0. Mantle and Watts at first pair conceded only 5 points in three games, Walker and Cutmore-Scott at second pair just 12 and Allan and Asquith at third pair just 14 to win the Blues match in commanding style.
The second team continued the trend, with Julia Toynton and Gina Ford at fourth pair winning 1,1 and 2 and Antonella Gorenflos and Emily Cornsh at fifth pair winning 4,5 and 2. The unavailability of Rands and Pattison meant that novices Sarah Leonard and Harriet Partridge got the opportunity to play at sixth pair; despite losing the first game 12-9, their determination carried them through as they improved visibly almost point by point to win the next three games and complete a clean sweep, which was duly celebrated long into the night!
The icing on the cake was the news at the end of the season that the Oxford Ladies had been voted into second place in the EFA Team of the Year awards.
The Oxford University Ladies team in the Richard Black Cup; Captain Alice Walker; The Oxford University Ladies Varsity Match squad
Shrewsbury Monday Club
No report received
I take some comfort in the fact that by the time you get this far down the club reports – that will be ‘W’ for those of you already having trouble keeping your eyes open – that this should be fairly easy to write because its all been said in the reports above. There’s also the possibility you will have lost interest. But there are a few things worth mentioning:
First we have very little history so not much to live up to.
Second we have great courts and some outstanding coaches – Howard Wiseman, Ryan Perrie and David Leach
Third the season went pretty much ok.
There was lots of support from a great many players who were all eager to don the black and yellow polo’s for our Division 3 campaign. Incidentally these were designed by the couture king of Fives Nick ‘You Can’t Buy My Loyalty’ Bunyan and eagerly worn too. We had some stand out performances by James Hammond, Ed Hewens and Alex ‘I’ll be home by 8.30’ Cybulski. (Nb/ to me that’s German efficiency not arrogance). Of course being pretty new to Fives no one warned me of the raised eyebrows and other nuances of adding Pete Cohen to the above and giving dear old Nigel Cox quite a blustery few pre-match sentences. In my defence I thought it was a competition.
We enjoyed ourselves immensely. I learned a lot and Westway, at season’s end, gained a trophy. Though I then found out it’s pretty much ‘a bring your own trophy’ kinda party. So we did and they were very well received.
With play and pay happening twice a week at Westway we are also starting to build a regular squad and have entered two teams in the Summer Superleague. Next year we are in Division 2 & 3 so the games will come thick and fast, more rules will be discovered but more players will have joined for the long haul and hopes are that although we are not backed by a school (therefore having no loyal talent pool) we can get more players in; both newbies and old hands to try their fortunes with us and maybe ruffle a bit of that fine EFA plumage along the way. And yes, we have our eyes on your players.
The Westway think tank in operation
Windsor & Eton
After yet another successful year, inasmuch as we managed to complete all our official fixtures, and several friendlies, the Windsor and Eton Fives Club, WEFC, has emerged as the most supportive club in the League. Or to put it another way, we are holding up the League 3 table, and it is a good job there is not a Division 4 at the moment!
Clearly our position at the bottom of the league table reflects the use of 'ringers', match fixing and unsportmanlike behaviour – and that is just our team. Next season we hope to find the Division 3 competition returning to the more social level at which we are accustomed to playing. For WEFC, going out to win the match is much less important than going out to have a drink afterwards, and we were taken by surprise by the unusual level of commitment and competitiveness in the Division 3 schedule. We nonetheless enjoyed our fixtures, and offer our congratulations to our fellow teams on their efforts. Needless to say we have begun planning to avoid this sort of technical hitch next year!
The Club year was as usual focused around the three important events in the calendar, namely the start of season curry, the Northern Tournament*, and the end of season curry; the highlight of course being the annual pilgrimage to Shrewsbury to participate in the Northern Tournament and present the Mitchell Shields to the Festival winners. This year we were able to take five pairs to the Tournament, and several of them enjoyed a modicum of success on the courts as well as in the local hostelry in the evenings.
Thanks to the efforts of the redoubtable Mandie Barnes who took over as Secretary pro tem for the meeting, we have a nice schedule to look forward to next season, with a good mix of league and friendly matches. WEFC have an established cadre of regular players alongside a number of associates who make occasional guest appearances for us, as indeed several of the WEFC squad do for other Divisional teams.
WEFC usually play and practice on Tuesday evenings at Eton during the season (September to April), and by arrangement at various other times throughout the year. We are always keen to welcome any new potential members, who in the first instance should contact the Captain, using email: nick.bunyan - AT - k9orbs.com [replacing the - AT - appropriately] for details of contacts and practice sessions.
*Editor’s Note: The WEFC Northern Tournament experience mainly revolves around the Saturday night curry…
The second season for the Wycombe Club has built on the foundations of the first one. Several friendly matches have now been played and enjoyed as have a number of mid season and end of season curries! Almost all of those who started last year have continued to enjoy the game, to improve and to play in matches and they have been enjoyed by a good number of new players, most of them young. An increasing number of pupils from the School have also joined our Sunday afternoon sessions. Our numbers have included seven female players, several of whom have played very regularly.
I doubt whether any other clubs are built around families in the same way as the Wycombe club: indeed four families have contributed a total of fourteen players. Next season we are hoping to increase both the number of players who are new to the game and our range of matches.
Huge thanks are due to Richard Black whose idea the club was and who continues to support it in every imaginable way and to the Turnbull family who are our most regular and committed attendees.
Richard Black adds: a huge amount of credit must also go to Paul Bowden, whose enthusiasm and commitment are crucial to the continued success of the Wycombe club.
Nathan and Colin Turnbull from the Wycombe club in action at the Kinnaird Cup