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The qualifying rounds of the 2013 Kinnaird Cup took place at Eton over the weekend wth 48 pairs enjoying an excellent weekend of Fives. 32 pairs took part in the main draw on the Saturday, and the field has now been whittled down to the last four, who will contest the semi-finals this coming Sunday - March 10th - at Eton at 2:30pm. The line-up for those matches sees top seeds and defending champions Tom Dunbar and Seb Cooley taking on fifth seeds Dave Mew and Richard Tyler plus a reprise of the Northern Tournament semi of a few weeks ago between former Kinnaird winners Howard Wiseman and James Toop and London Tournament champions Peter Dunbar and George Campbell.
The first round saw the top eight seeds progress comfortably. The closest match by far was between the Westminster School pair of Riki Houlden and James Alster and recent Salopian leavers Sam Welti and Jack Flowers. An epic five game battle saw the Salopian pair lose the fourth 13-12 and then win the fifth 15-14 to make it through to the Last 16. The other main point of interest in the opening matches was the return to the competition for the first time in over 20 years of 1991 champion Manuel de Souza Girao. By Kinnaird first round standards, a large and curious crowd gathered to watch Manuel partner his old Harrow and Cambridge team mate David Stephens against the current Cambridge first pair of Robert Wilson and Jamie Abbott. The first game went to the younger pair as some of the rust was shaken off, as did the third once fatigue and bruised hands set in. The second game, however, produced more than just the odd glimpse of past glories as Manuel rolled back the years, producing some scintillating Fives at times. Ultimately it wasn't enough as Wilson and Abbott won that game 15-12 and took the match 3-0 but it was a treat to see the former champion back on court.
If the seeds had it all their own way in Round 1, things were different for some of them in Round 2. The top three seeded pairs progressed without too much difficulty but fourth seeds Peter Cohen and Peter White were forced to retire due to a Cohen back injury having lost the first game to Sunil Tailor and Jitesh Patel. Fifth seeds Richard Tyler and David Mew had to come back from 2-10 down in the first game of their match against Harrovians Ross Bryan and Will Jones before running out 3-0 winners. Sixth seeds Anthony Theodossi were pushed hard by Salopians George Thomason and Henry Lewis and seventh seeds Laurie Brock and Ed Rose were spared a potentially awkward encounter against Wulfrunians Chris Austin and Sid Simmons when Chris had to withdraw after being hit in the eye. The match of the round pitched the number eight seeds - Old Millhillians Vishal Bhimjiyani and Justin Lefort - up against Wilson and Abbott, bidding to reach the quarter-finals stage of this competition for the first time. This was the classic see-saw encounter, with the Cambridge pair winning the first and third games, only to be pegged back each time by the tenacious Millhillian pair. The fifth set was a nailbiter, with Wilson and Abbott establishing an early lead but never getting far enough ahead to feel confident of victory. In the end they hung on to win 12-9 and earn a place in the quarter-final draw.
The quarter-finals took place on Sunday afternoon; Wilson and Abbott fought hard to win four points in three games against top seeds Tom Dunbar and Seb Cooley (not as easy as it sounds!); Brock and Rose tried hard but were unable to break down the defences of second seed Peter Dunbar and George Campbell; Tailor and Patel were unable to push Tyler and Mew and second seeds Howard Wiseman and James Toop weathered a second game storm to overcome Theodossi and Perris in straight games.
Sunday also saw the final stages of the prestigious Plate A competition for the Pepperpot Trophy. Westminster boys Houlden and Alster overcame their disappointment at their narrow first round defeat to come back and win the trophy with a three game win in the final over young Salopians Adam Morris and Ben Jones, after semi-final victories against Mike Skjott and Johnny Saunders and Nick Bunyan and uberveteran Nigel Cox respectively.
The Sunday Festival was somehing of a hybrid: with some strong Salopian pairs coming down having been unable to play on the Saturday plus a couple of main tournament second round losers looking for some extra Fives, the Festival was split into two tournaments, an A Festival and a B Festival, in order to give everyone present matches at roughly the right standard. The A Festival produced some excellent matches and a lot of fun Fives and ended with Mike Hughes and Grant Williams showing George Thomason and Henry Lewis that there is no substitute for experience. The B Festival also saw some tremendous matches and climaxed in an all-Ipswich final which saw plate specialist Tony Stubbs and Charlie Main beat Fergus Mackay and Sam Clark in four.
Thanks to everyone who played and supported, to Eton for hosting the tournament and to Mark Williams for running the weekend in his own inimitable style.
T.Dunbar & S.Cooley (1) beat D.Robson & J.Ravi 3-0 (12-0, 12-0, 12-0)
C.Self & S.Kundu beat C.Shawcross & J.Hutter 3-0 (14-13, 12-3, 12-7)
R.Wilson & J.Abbott beat M.de Souza Girao & D.Stephens 3-0 (12-4, 15-12, 12-4)
V.Bhimjiyani & J.Lefort (8) beat N.Bunyan & N.Cox 3-0 (12-3, 12-0, 12-1)
D.Mew & R.Tyler (5) beat I.Wagland & S.Christopher (12-2, 12-0, 12-1)
R.Bryan & W.Jones beat P.Boughton & S.Woolfries 3-0 (12-1, 12-5, 12-3)
S.Tailor & J.Patel beat M.Skjott & J.Saunders (12-4, 12-5, 12-2)
P.Cohen & P.White (4) beat F.Imrie & A.Poole (12-10, 12-3, 12-0)
J.Toop & H.Wiseman (3) beat T.Stubbs & S.Clark 3-0 (12-0, 12-0, 12-0)
S.Welti & J.Flowers beat J.Alster & R.Houlden 3-2 (12-6, 9-12, 12-8, 12-13, 15-14)
G.Thomason & H.Lewis beat A.Morris & B.Jones 3-0 (12-7, 12-3, 12-3)
A.Theodossi & R.Perrie (6) beat H.Turnbull & R.Pattison 3-0 (12-1, 12-0, 12-0)
L.Brock & E.Rose (7) beat W.Betts & D.Redmond 3-0 (12-4, 12-3, 12-3)
C.Austin & S.Simmons beat P.Worth & R.Worth 3-0 (12-6, 12-9, 12-3)
G.Hoskins & M.Yates beat A.Crawford & S.Patel 3-0 (12-3, 12-4, 12-4)
P.Dunbar & G.Campbell (2) beat N.Caplin & D.Arwas 3-0 (12-1, 12-1, 12-1)
T.Dunbar & S.Cooley (1) beat C.Self & S.Kundu 3-0 (12-1, 12-0, 12-0)
R.Wilson & J.Abbott beat V.Bhimjiyani & J.Lefort (8) 3-2 (13-10, 9-12, 12-7, 4-12, 12-9)
D.Mew & R.Tyler (5) beat R.Bryan & W.Jones 3-0 (14-12, 12-3, 12-2)
S.Tailor & J.Patel beat P.Cohen & P.White (4) 3-0 (15-13, 7-3 ret)
J.Toop & H.Wiseman (3) beat S.Welti & J.Flowers 3-0 (12-1, 12-3, 12-5)
A.Theodossi & R.Perrie (6) beat G.Thomason & H.Lewis 3-0 (15-12, 15-11, 12-2)
L.Brock & E.Rose (7) beat C.Austin & S.Simmons 3-0 (7-5 ret)
P.Dunbar & G.Campbell (2) beat G.Hoskins & M.Yates 3-0 (12-1, 12-5, 12-1)
T.Dunbar & S.Cooley (1) beat R.Wilson & J.Abbott 3-0 (12-2, 12-0, 12-2)
D.Mew & R.Tyler (5) beat S.Tailor & J.Patel 3-0 (12-6, 12-1, 12-5)
J.Toop & H.Wiseman (3) beat A.Theodossi & R.Perrie (6) 3-0 (12-2, 15-13, 12-4)
P.Dunbar & G.Campbell (2) beat L.Brock & E.Rose (7) 3-0 (12-5, 12-1, 12-6)
Plate A (Pepperpot Trophy)
J.Alster & R.Houlden beat M.Skjott & J.Saunders 3-0 (12-4, 12-6, 12-3)
A.Morris & B.Jones beat N.Bunyan & N.Cox 3-1 (12-3, 12-4, 8-12, 12-9)
J.Alster & R.Houlden beat A.Morris & B.Jones 3-0 (12-5, 14-13, 12-4)
M.Hughes & G.Williams beat T.Breese & G.Lewis 2-0 (12-6, 12-4)
G.Thomason & H.Lewis beat S.Welti & J.Flowers 2-0 (12-5, 12-2)
M.Hughes & G.Williams beat G.Thomason & H.Lewis 2-0 (12-9, 12-5)
J.Humes & G.Panayi beat J.Ravi & A.Weeks 2-1 (12-0, 11-14, 12-5)
T.Stubbs & C.Main beat F.Rowe & J.Caplin 2-0 (12-8, 12-3)
S.Clark & F.Mckay beat H.Pritchard & R.Parr 2-0 (12-8, 12-7)
T.Stubbs & C.Main beat S.Clark & F.Mckay 3-1 (12-4, 12-9, 10-12, 12-5)
N.Turnbull & F.Turnbull beat A.Paul & E.Murphy 2-1 (12-9, 10-12, 14-12)