Click on the thumbnail to see photos from the Kinnaird Cup semi-finals
After the aborted attempt at Shrewsbury at the Northern Tournament, the Fives world will finally get to see the two Dunbar brothers go head to head in the Kinnaird Cup final at Eton on April 7th after they won their respective semi-finals yesterday to set up a mouthwatering first competitive match between the pair.
A bitterly cold day at Eton was the setting for this year's Kinnaird Cup semi-finals. A (fool?)hardy crowd had gathered to watch first seeds and defending champions Tom Dunbar and Seb Cooley take on fifth seeds David Mew and Richard Tyler and to see a repeat of the Northern Tournament semi-final clash between London Tournament winners Peter Dunbar and George Campbell and former Kinnaird winners James Toop and Howard Wiseman.
Cooley and Dunbar (T) have been laying waste to everyone in their path over the past couple of seasons and yesterday's match was no exception; Tyler and Mew threw everything they had at the champions and played with a great deal of passion and no little skill, especially in the second game. Ultimately, however, it was to no avail as Dunbar and Cooley were simply too fast and too accurate, winning in straight games 12--3, 12-6, 12-1.
The other semi-final saw the second and third seeds go head to head for the second time in a matter of weeks. Campbell and Dunbar (P) had come through in three games up at Shrewsbury and intially a repeat looked as though it might be on the cards as they took the first game 12-4 in relative comfort. Toop and Wiseman are renowned fighters, though, and back they came in the second game turning the tide in their favour and winning the match 12-6 to level at 1-1. The third game was long, tense, close and pivotal in determining the final outcome. Toop and Wiseman started the way they had finished the second game, moving out to a 4-0 lead. With George Campbell playing in only hie second Kinnaird Cup semi-final, it was the experience of three time former champion Peter Dunbar who kept the second seeds in contention as they reduced the deficit and then fought their way to a narrow 12-10 win. The spontaneous celebration from Dunbar and Campbell at the conclusion of that epic third game showed that they realised just how important winning it was. Apart from a wobble at 11-4 ahead, where Toop and Wiseman reduced the deficit to 11-8 and provoked one or two jitters, the fourth game duly went the way of Dunbar and Campbell, with George's attacking game and clinical finishing coming to the fore as Peter began to tire.
The final is at Eton at 2:30pm on Sunday April 7th and all spectators are welcome. It promises to be a fascinating occasion as Eton Fives answer to the Williams sisters (just substitute the mean streets of Harrow for Compton, LA and there you have it) face each other in a meaningful competitive match for the first time ever. The Ladies final will also be taking place on the same day, starting at 1pm.