Read on to find out how the Fives-playing schools saw their 2014/15 season...
Missing reports will hopefully be added over the next couple of weeks. Click on the thumbnails to see the full-sized photos.
P38 won 20 drew 5 lost 13. 6 tournaments played
A busy year and real signs of improvement. In the nationals championships we were within a game point of making the second day in the U15 category and in the U14 tournament we meet our opponents on a like for like basis and went unbeaten in the group stages for our fisrt and second pair.
The attitude and commitment of a growing group of players is excellent and, although the challenges will only get greater, the spirit and commitment will enable them all to achieve more.
Notable season wins over pairs from Eton, Harrow, Westminster and Stowe at U15 level promise much for the future. The U14s can almost match that although they did achieve a win against our nemesis Mill Hill.
There is a good group of U13 s, who, if they continue, will complement the U14 and U15 players so that we have some strength in depth.
Belmont's players in action and Alfie Cicale and Charlie Bertolotti with the Roddy Forman plate
Belmont had an extremely good Fives season this year and has made some very good steps in the previous year with everyone improving significantly and I thank Bob Pace for his work he did with Fives over the last few years and the support he has given me this year, laying a strong foundation for me to take over from.
With far more matches than previous years numbers have increased and more have been able to get much needed match experience though have struggled to get the court time. With more regular players this season than before and far more matches than before against schools such as Berkhamsted, St Olaves, Highgate, Emanuel, Aldenham, Orley Farm,
At the Prep schools' competition this year we took 3 pairs of Year 8s, consisting of Alfie Cicale and Charlie Bertolotti at first pair, Finn Harvey and Jake Clifford at second pair, and Chris Correia and Zack Lester at third pair.
At the Marsh Insurance Under 12 schools' nationals at
The Year 6s who went to the U12 nationals did very well, and I was extremely happy with how they performed and improved throughout the day, showing the amount of potential that there is in this year group. The top Year 6 come second in their group and then beat Summer Fields to progress to the second round after the groups where they lost.
At the end of term assembly the following awards were presented: Player of the season went to Alfie Cicale. Most improved went to Nick Jenkins, and the Year 6 Prize went to Faris Khan.
This has been a good season for Belmont fives and I also thank Steve Plummer and Ian Hutchinson for the amazing support they have given me this year. We have had good results from fixtures with lots of great signs for the future and lots to build on in the next few years with more fixtures, especially for the younger year groups, increased staff involvement, and more is also being done to improve the fives link with Mill Hill before the Year 8 boys move to Mill Hill, we are hopefully also going to start a Saturday morning club in September for the boys to get more court time and coaching.
The new courts at Berkhamsted
This year was certainly an action packed one for Eton Fives at Berkhamsted; the season kicked off with the grand opening of three brand new Eton Fives courts located at the Prep School with the original school team from 1973 – 1974 all attending and re-creating their classic photo from 40 years ago.
The Eton Fives also starts the Inter-House sporting events and this year numbers were once again up with 282 players representing their Houses across years 7 – 11. It was also pleasing to see that a different House won every age group, a good sign of the strength and depth across the school. Bees managed to win the illustrious Paul Dicker Cup as the best overall House across all year groups.
Across the two terms we played a total of 109 fixtures, winning 49, losing 47 and drawing in the remaining 13. The U16A and U12A squads proved to be the most successful both with a win ratio of 55.6%. The Prep School also did well for their first year of playing winning 4, drawing 1 and losing 7, an impressive result as often they were playing a year group above. One of the most impressive wins of the year actually came from the U11 Prep squad where Hannah Davis & Bethan Miles managed to beat Highgate boys 2nd pair in three close games.
In the senior school U16 1st pair Charlie Nicholls & Milo Skelton won all but one of their eight fixtures across the season with the single loss coming against last years’ Nationals winners Harrow. U13 first pairing of Miles Doe & Anders Davis also had a strong season winning all but two of their nine fixtures.
In competition and tournaments, the school took part in the U12s and U14s Individual competitions where both Tom Carter & Conor Briggs respectively reached the finals but unfortunately both lost out. In the Turnbull trophy Charlie Nicholls paired up with coach Anthony Theodossi and Milo Skelton paired up with coach George Campbell and both reached the semi-final stages.
Girls Fives also continues to develop; again we hosted a Festival competition with age groups ranging from Y6 – Y13; the tournament was well attended with schools being represented from Stowe, Aldenham, Shrewsbury and Berkhamsted Prep and Senior Schools. The addition of the Prep courts has also helped to encourage the girls' game with plans in place for the 2015 – 2016 season to begin introducing the game more through the senior school with players now coming through from the Prep.
Once again the season culminated in the Schools Nationals, again held this year at Eton College. The school was very well represented with 103 players taking part across years 6 – 13, the highest entry coming from the U12s competition where the Prep school also took part and 45 players participating. U12s 1st pairing of Kofi Cripps & Josh Harrison did well to push through to a quarter-final as did U18 Girls pairing of Lucie Bultitude & Valerie Boivin. The highlight of the tournament came from U13 1st pairing of Miles Doe & Anders Davis who managed to reach the Final of the main competition knocking out Highgate in their semi-final. They came up against a very strong Emanuel pairing; it was an epic game which unfortunately went the way of Emanuel who won it after five long games.
One of the wonderful things about the Fives compared to all sports across the school is the strong links that are created with the Old Berkhamstedians with many of the senior players took part in adult League matches and competitions across the year. It is these strong ties which make the OB Fives the most successful and enjoyable Old Berkhamstedian sport.
We look forward to seeing how the game will develop again next year with the first batch of pupils coming through from the Prep School into both the boys and girls senior schools.
No report received yet
Matches Played 13; Won 6; lost 9; drew 1
The great news on the fives from was the successful refurbishment of two of the courts. The floors were replaced with slabs of York stone which meant slippery, dangerous flooring was far less of an issue this year. When the court became wet the grip remained firm and we can continue to play. Courts were also repainted and looked extremely impressive. The school has plans to refurbish all the courts in a similar manner over the next 2 to 3 years.
The fives team had a mixed season. The team was led by Ned Cobb (V) during OQ struck up a strong partnership with Mark Barley (g) beating Harrow in the first match of the year. However, he sustained a serious injury before the end of that term and was unable to play again. This was particularly damaging for the team as he was the only player with senior experience; this left the novice seniors exposed, particularly as we have created a reputation over the previous two years for strength at this level.
Mark Barley then partnered Nick Kaba (H) as first pair. They played well but did not really manage challenge the top pairs this year. The problem might have been alleviated and they managed to more practice together. This was a consistent issue throughout the season and one which we hope to address as the sports timetable is being reconsidered. The second senior pair of Rex Henderson(S) and Dominic Richardson (g) fought long and hard against strong players they encountered. The evening matches brought the return of Will Legge and Will Harvey ( both V) who played against the OCs and other adult sides. They played well and, as good sportsmen, showed that with more practice they would be able to threaten strong pairs. I do hope that they continue to play once they have left school.
The two Under 16s pairs showed great potential but only towards the end of the season really started to practice and show how this paid dividends. James Hockley (W) and Jack Hunter Lees (S) went through most of the season as first pair taking points and sets from good players but not converting this into victories. They managed to do this in the second match against Eton and subsequently made the quarter-finals of the national championships. They will do well as senior players next year. Chris Jin (G) and Michael Gimson (V) improved enormously over the season. They are on the edge of producing consistency and had many hard-fought games during the season. Once consistency is achieved they will be a formidable pairing.
The under 15s are strong year group:Jack Hunter Lees has been promoted to be number 16 player. Christian Pethick (g) had a number of partners. He was happiest playing with Alex Holmes (W). They followed the pattern of taking many pairs to a final set, but rarely converted this into victories. Edward Henderson(B) was a stalwart of the season practising furiously and, at his best, beating strong players with the aggression of his play. He generally played with Zander Bowes (D) and achieved three splendid victories, this greatest of which was against Westminster on our courts. Jai Chopra (G) returned to the courts and, as a good cricketer, used his natural talent to play with another cricketer, Ruwan Sliva (G) . This created a pairing which should improve enormously next year. Luke Lavelle and Matthew Milligan (both g) played mainly in practice games. They should improve next year and manage school matches.
We had a good group of yearlings led by Aidan Chan(W) and Robert Elston (G). They played against strong opposition as the first pair. Their best result was a victory against Westminster away. Robert is a thoughtful player who thinks hard about the game. Aidan relies on natural talent to hit the ball very hard indeed. They should develop into very strong players next year. Ahmed Abdulai (D) grew in stature throughout the year, forming a strong partnership with Ryan Kannepalli(S). They were a cheerful mixture of calm and tempestuous temperaments each bringing qualities out of each other during the year.
Robert Parnham(B) came to the sport at the beginning of LQ and immediately showed himself to the a natural fives player. He hits the ball hard and is able to adjust his position on the court in the way unusual for someone so tall. He settled into a partnership with Freddie Fulston ( R) , who needed the enthusiasm of Robert to help him move around the court. When Freddie is awake is a formidable player with a real understanding of the angles the court and clearly gains much enjoyment from using them. Again, this partnership should grow next year. Perhaps the most frustrating pair to watch were Finn Arthurton and Ruaridh Boswell (both V). Like some of the Verite seniors they are good sportsmen who need time on the court to make the most of their ability. This was evidenced by the downward track of results until the national championships when they improved hugely during the day : eventually being losing finalists in the plate competition. Teddy Wright (V) is another member of that august house who has plenty of hands-eye coordination but relies upon it too much. He came to the game at the end of LQ and formed a decent partnership with Oliver Lofthouse (S). They both went to the national tournament and learnt a lot on that day. Ben Lawson (R) was one of the good players who needs the move more freely around the court. There is nothing wrong with his ability to read the hazards or is capacity to hit the ball hard. However, as he develops his he will become a stronger partner. Alan Mackenzie(D) improved throughout the year and made a good partner for Ben.
We approached the national tournament, which took place at Eton in April with hopes of pairs developing their fives during the matches. They all did well and we came away with two quarter-finalists (under 16's-Jack Hunter Lees and James Hockley -yearlings Aidan Chan and Robert Elston). This gave hope for the future that the teams will match the quality of our new courts.
In summary this was a year in which we played well in the school matches and made significant progress. We had a splendid coach, Julian Black, who helped all players make significant progress. I also wish to pay tribute to the enthusiasm of Gilles Gergaud and the excellence of his company on the court and the wisdom of his advice. Fives is extremely lucky to have such an enthusiastic and gentlemanly supporter and player at school.
The senior boys’ team of Callum Osborne, Matt Foster, Monty Clarke, Dan Chitty and Harry Adorian continued to work hard throughout the season, and were a credit to Cranleigh Fives. Their key focus was the regular battles late into the cold evenings against the canny Brigands side, who always proved tricky opposition to put away. However, it has been the junior players who have really excelled this season, and a number have been routinely making the senior team. Whilst there are a set of talented set of squad members, particular mention should go to Rob Green, Louis Vaughan, Jeff Olsen and Louis Halstead who all represented Cranleigh in the national schools junior championships. Jeff and Louis surpassed expectations by fighting back on a number of occasions, eventually losing in the quarter-final stages. On the domestic level, the house competitions for both boys and girls at senior and junior levels proved popular and were very well supported. These have proved a great way of unearthing hidden talent. I would like to thank all the players involved, but especially Callum Osborne, who has done an excellent job helping run the Fives programme over the past year, and thoroughly deserves his school colours. I would also like to thank Mark Halstead from Cranleigh Prep School for not only providing such exciting new players, but also for going above and beyond with regards to helping with the national schools event.
Fives at Cranleigh Prep School continues to thrive with a dedicated band of enthusiasts giving up their free time to play this wonderful game. I have been assisted this year by the talents of Mr Harry Thomas, Mr Mike Till and Mr Richard Rigden in getting the boys and girls going. As always we have punched well above our weight given the exposure we get to the game and the complications we have in getting over to the Cranleigh school courts.
Pride of place this year must go to George Ealham and Benedict Fewings who reached the last eight of the Prep schools championships before going out to the eventual winners Summer Fields 1. However there were a number of others in the U13 age group who caught the eye including Will Tristem, Luke Andrews, Ollie Corbett and Archie O’Neil. Also worthy of mention are the girls who have played in this age group. Rosie Hope and Ella Job both continue to play the game very well and have the capacity to develop into excellent players.
In the Under 12 age group there have been notable improvements from all and they all greatly benefited from their day out at the U12 Nationals. Although we did not reach the later stages in the tournament a number of successes were had in the various plate tournaments on offer.
There was also notable success in the U14 Nationals where the pairing of Jeff Olsen and Louis Halstead reached the last eight fighting their way through from the qualification rounds. It is the first time for several years that Cranleigh School have entered a team for this competition and their success was quite staggering given the exposure to the game they have had this year. Hopefully this success will be built on in the years to come.
U13 winners Dylan Hutcheson and Thomas Marwood; Emanuel players at Eton
This has been a strong year for Fives at Emanuel with successes in several year groups and a change in the coaching staff as Julian Black took over from Ryan Perrie as coach, with continuing support from Dominique Redmond and Howard Wiseman.
The Year 8 group this year is one of the strongest year groups ever seen in the school, with the first pair of Dylan Hutcheson and Thomas Marwood winning the Under-13 National Tournament as well a large squad of very keen, talented and committed players also playing regularly and performing to a very high standard with a great attitude and level of sportsmanship.
There has been a good uptake in Year 7 and Year 6, with several converts to Fives, both boys and girls, and they have enjoyed taking part in practices and fixtures; the Year-9 group has continued to play throughout the year, though slightly lacking edge and commitment at times.
At the upper end of the school, there have been fewer players continuing with the game, but worthy of mention is that Luke Goebbels won the main Plate competition in the National Championships for the Under-16 age group with an Olavian partner, which is a great achievement for him and a fantastic end to his Emanuel career as he moves schools for his A-Levels.
Open winners Tommy Weld and Tom Kirkby; The Williams Cup winners; Eton's U15 champions
Eton has once again enjoyed a busy and successful fives season. Following on from our successful Michaelmas fives calendar, and magnificently led from the front by our Keepers, Tom Weld (RS) and Thomas Kirkby (
At senior level we had plenty of strength in depth below the first pair, and Barnaby Harrison, Oliver Rowse (both AW), Max Rowse (
The Under 16s are also blessed with numbers and whilst we did not see enough of our strongest pair, Hector Hardman (
In the junior ranks we proved that we are a real force to contend with. At Under 15 level we were led by the aggressive play of Charles Lyons and the steady high percentage play of Kit Penny (both
The Under 14s were a talented group, a couple of whom had played at Prep School, but the vast majority had never seen a fives court until last September. So many of them took to the game with natural skill and an understanding which belied their lack of experience. Over 30 boys represented Eton against other schools and proved that very few could match us.
As the season drew to a close so the major National School Competitions came into focus. At the beginning of March the Williams Cup was played at Eton. This is the National Schools 3 pair Open Cup, and is the ultimate gauge of a school’s strength in depth. Eton went into the draw knowing that the day would be a tough ask. However, having won the cup for the past two years, our boys were determined to give everything they had for the cause. Again, huge praise should go to our keepers, who continued their impressive form by winning all six of their matches at first pair that day. Behind them although Max Rowse was injured, we still had enough strength with Oliver Rowse, Barnaby Harrison, Arthur Wellesley and Jack Capstick-Dale to compete. As it turned out the day could not have gone better. Both second and third pairs performed brilliantly all day, pipping opponents in close sets and coming back with grit and determination in matches where they dropped the first set. Such was their dominance, that Etonhad all but won the competition by the time our last match was due. Not many schools win anything three years in a row, let alone National titles. The boys were, quite rightly, immensely proud of their achievement and feared nobody going into the National Schools Tournament a week later.
Indeed the National Schools week at Eton proved to be the perfect ending to our year with much improvement, and success at almost every age group.
At Under 14 level we witnessed a quite remarkable achievement when Cassian McDonald (
In the Under 14 Novice tournament we were strong enough to produce three of the four semi-finalists, another significant achievement for the boys. Somewhat inevitably, the Final saw Eton take on rivals Shrewsbury for the title. In another first, Shrewsbury put together a boy/ girl pair (an early peak into the future of junior fives perhaps). In what became a mini classic of a very high standard, the match swung first to Eton, then back to Shrewsbury who then went on to win the third set 15-14. Despite the momentum now being with Shrewsbury, both Billy Lowther and Cassian McDonald (both
At Under 15 level, in Charlie Lyons and Kit Penny, we felt we had a pair who had shown enough talent during the term to go far in the tournament, and they let nobody down by reaching the Final, defeating Shrewsbury2 and Harrow1 on the way. In the Final they came up against a talented Highgate pair, but with the two Etonians starting in perfect tandem, raced into a two set lead. However, the two Cholmeleians seemed to use that deficit to relax and play their full array of shots, and managed to get back into the game, winning the third and fourth tight sets 14-11 and 13-12. It seemed as though Eton may have shot their bolt, particularly when the opposition managed to come back into the fifth set from having been 6-2 behind. But just when it was most needed the Etonians gave one last effort, rediscovered a winning length, and despite showing signs of fatigue, finally managed to claim victory 12-10 in the fifth. Many congratulations to both players, particularly as Kit has now followed up his National Novice title of last year with the National Under 15 title this year.
In a very strong Under 16 line up only one Eton pair qualified for the quarter-finals; this after Hector Hardman and Will Polito had defeated the 4th seeds, Berkhamsted 1 very comfortably in four sets. However, their match with Harrow 2 the following day proved to be one too far, and their enforced lack of match practice told on their stamina and ultimately performance. Despite their obvious disappointment both Hector and Will have shown enough natural talent to prove that can play major roles in School fives in the years to come.
And so to the Blue Riband event of the week, the National Open Championships. Max and Oliver Rowse were seeded number 7 (a fitting reward for some very commendable performances throughout the term) and had a very decent run to the quarter-finals before succumbing to the second seeds Shrewsbury1. Elsewhere, in possibly the match of the early rounds, Eton 3 (Barnaby Harrison and Arthur Wellesley) very nearly defeated Shrewsbury 2, only losing 13-10 in the fourth set. Unsurprisingly, Tom Weld and Tom Kirkby were the number 1 seeds for this tournament and proved all week exactly why. Their never say die style, remarkable retrieving and clinical finishing of rallies was a testament to the hours of practice and match time they had put in all year. Losing just one set, at the semi-final stage, they cruised into the final where long term rivals, and respected foes Shrewsbury School awaited them.
Despite getting off to a good start in the first game Eton never looked entirely comfortable. Tom Weld, usually so dominant and accurate, struggled to get to grips with the pace that Shrewsbury were intent on playing at. However, his partner Tom Kirkby certainly rose to the occasion. Almost buoyed by having to take on the dominant role Kirkby fired in winners from all parts of the court, retrieved balls which looked dead and cut as well as he had done all season, and he was rightly congratulated by his partner when they finally snatched the first set 13-12. The team talk between sets did not mince words, and served to reinvigorate Weld who returned to court determined to play his natural attacking game. What followed was a highly entertaining display of top class fives with Eton firing on all cylinders. Weld and Kirkby, both at the top of their game, were just too much for the Shrewsbury boys and Eton ran out winners by three sets to love, 13-12, 12-3, 12-3. In his summing up CMBW paid tribute to both pairs when he said that the first set had been one of the finest sets of fives he had seen at schoolboy level in all his years as organiser of the National Schools Tournament. Praise indeed for an Etonian pair who, two years ago had lost to Shrewsbury School in the Final of the Under 16s and three years ago were not even a pair, but who are now deservedly the 2015 National Schools Open Champions!
In bringing to a conclusion this end of season report I would also like to pay something of a personal tribute to Mark Williams (CMBW) who left Eton at the end of the Lent half after 18 years. As Master-in-charge of fives he has been an outstanding coach, always capable of getting the best out of boys and so much of Eton’s success has been down to his skill and experience. As a mentor he has also been invaluable to me. His guidance and advice was always given constructively and we will all struggle to replace his boundless enthusiasm for the game. We wish him the very best in his new role at
This was a very good year for Harrow with large numbers of boys playing at both U15 and U16 age groups. The School benefited from the coaching of Alex Poole and the input from Richard Luke, John Eaton and James Hall.
The Autumn term was hugely enjoyable and the standard of play reached by our players was high. The Spring term remains a big challenge as there is limited time for practice and development as most of the boys are committed to rackets and/or squash and then there are the team games of hockey, football and Harrow football. It was particularly good to see Harrow again competing with the strongest schools over three pairs.
In the Open Competition Tom Nevile and Tom Skinner had a comfortable win against Shrewsbury before facing Highgate in the quarter-finals. Harrow played with composure to win 3-1 in a hard fought match. The semi-final against top seeds, Eton, did not disappoint and it was possibly the match of the whole tournament. Harrow played their best Fives to take the first game. Eton responded by winning the second game comfortably but Harrow did not fade and at 6-6 in the third game the match was in the balance. Eton finally came through 3-1 but the Harrovians pushed them hard and were the only pair to take a game off the eventual champions.
In the Under 16 tournament our second pair, Alan Huo and Henry Collins, produced some excellent Fives to beat Eton’s first pair and reach the semi-finals. In the other half of the draw our first pair, Rahul Wijeratne and Oskar Denby, overcame the Highgate pair that had won the U14 tournament two years ago. Many learned observers considered this tournament to be of a very high calibre and it was certainly no disgrace for our second pair to find the going very tough against an experienced and talented St Olave’s pair. In the other semi-final our first pair played some brilliant rallies but could not quite maintain the consistency necessary to win at this level, but this does not detract from a first class season and tournament.
In the Under 15 tournament Qassi Gaba and Benji Menell played with tremendous tenacity and skill to reach the semi-final. A titanic struggle ensued with Harrowlosing 13-14 in the final game. Both Harrovians could not have given more to the cause.
In the U14 tournament Hugo Rowse and James Cullimore put up a spirited display as did Aria Shirazi and Tom Santini in the Beginners’ competition.
The Black Cup winners; U21 winners (Phoebe Bracken & Amira Reimer) and finalists (Marjolaine Briscoe & Carolina Valensise); Schools' mixed winners Amira Reimer & Alex Robinson; The Highgate Richard Barber Cup team
The number of boys and girls playing Fives this season was down but the quality and talent of those playing was as high as ever.
Our girls have yet again enjoyed a fantastic season. First pair (Amira Reimer and Phoebe Bracken) won the Girls Under 18 at the National Schools Nationals, the Ladies Under 21s and Under 25s and reached the semi final of the Ladies Open. They also met each other in the final of the Mixed Pairs Schools Championship with partners Alex Robinson and James Hopkins. Our second pair (Marjolaine Briscoe and Carolina Valensise) reached the final of the Girls Under 18 and the Ladies Under 21 and the semi finals of the Ladies Under 25s. The above four plus Eve Smith-Bingham and Lola Katz Roberts won the Black Cup. Our second team (Nell Tindale, Olivia Hirschfield, Viva Ruggi, Daisy Goldman, Minna Griffiths and Talia Augustidis) came third beating the EFA Ladies in the 3rd/4th playoff. In the Under 15 Championship Viva Ruggi and Minna Griffiths played extremely well to reach the semi finals.
Our boys have also done very well. In the Barber Cup (the competition for Old Boys plus present boys) Daniel Light, Oliver Light and Alex Robinson plus partners Jonny Ho, Grant Williams and Abhishek Bhattacharya reached the semi final. Our first pair (Daniel Light and Max Holdsworth) and our Under 15 first pair (Oilver Light and James Hopkins) reached the quarter final of the Men’s Under 21 Championship.
We also did well at the Schools Championships. In the Open Daniel and Max reached the quarter final and second pair (Ben Hopkins and Alex Robinson) gave Shrewsbury 1 a tough match in the Octo-Finals.
Our Under 16s are a very talented squad and they performed with great skill and determination all season. James Hopkins and Oliver Light lost narrowly to St Olaves in the final but they have another year at this age group. Pair 2 (Joseph Gibber and Anton Baleanu) reached the quarter final and pairs 3 and 4 (Ingimar Tomasson and Sam Tansey, Daniel Marshall and Andre Tejuoso) reached the Octo-finals.
Our Under 15s also performed with distinction with Ton Blackshaw and Jake Bluston losing narrowly in the final against Eton in a thrilling final 2-3. Second pair (Rohin Mittal and Joshua Gordon) did well to reach the quarter finals.
We had further success in the Under 14 Championship. Our first pair (Louis Perl and Ivan Apukhtin) was outstanding in winning the competition beating a very talented pair from Rydal in the final 14-13, 15-14,12-7! Our second pair (Harry Jenkins and Tom Dickson) and third pair (Jack Ledigo and Dinesh Sharma) both reached the semi final and our fourth and fifth pairs (Joel Abramovich and Charles Duah, Daniel Lioubimov-Antonov and Arthur Avanzato) reached the quarter finals.
In the Under 13 Prep Schools our first pair (Matthew Knight and Joseph Sochor-Grethe) played brilliantly to reach the final but lost to an outstanding pair from Summer Fields. C.J.Coleman and George Everitt (U.12) reached the semi final and gave the Summer Fields pair a really hard match losing 1-2. Amos Sharp and Thomas Ragazzi won the Plate Competition. In the National U13 competition Matthew Knight and Thomas Ragazzi reached the semi final.
In the U12 Championship we had two pairs in the semi finals (George Everitt and Tom Handyside, William Ryan and Will Jenkins) but lost to Summer Fields and Sunningdale.
All in all this has been a very exciting and successful season. Congratulations to all our players.
Ipswich School v The EFA; London Festival Plate winners Isaac Wagland & Sam Clark; Girls National U15 finalists Ellie Morgan & Eloise Carter; The Ipswich Richard Barber Cup team
No report received yet
Another mixed year for Eton Fives at King Edward's Birmingham. The courts continue to be a problem. New roofs installed in the summer of 2014 immediately leaked and finally blew off at the start of 2015. Obviously not ideal news for maintaining the game's profile. On the playing side, however, there continues to be a good number of enthusiastic and talented boys who enjoy the game and have made playing it an important part of their busy lives.
We have had competitive matches against Summer Fields Oxford, Stowe, and Shrewsbury. In the Schools Championships in March KES boys as usual gained experience but no prizes - and here many thanks to Paul Bowden for his patient and good-humoured running of the Plate Competitions (to which our pairs inevitably gravitate quite quickly), and in particular to Mark Williams for his immense organisational skills.
Regular trips to Harrow and Eton to take part in REFCA's Individual Tournaments have proved popular and a boost to skills and experience; and with some success - one of the U14s, Ed James, was in the winning pair at November's Tournament at Harrow. My main hope for the coming season is a lasting solution to the Fives Courts situation, and, again, my sincere thanks to the Chief Master and Head of Sport for remaining firmly supportive of the game.
This year there have been fewer school matches but we have played against Bryanston, Westminster and St Olave’s. There has been a regular Tuesday evening session from 8.30pm which has been very well attended by current pupils as well as OLs. Numbers have been growing again and we have as usual very grateful for the invaluable help of Matt Wiseman.
Of particular note is that the Captain Matthew Davis has already been playing with some success for the OLs, helping them to come second in their division. This is a very positive development both for the club at the college and the OLs. Not only has he done this but also has played a superb role in leading and running the sport within the College and for this he deserves much thanks.
The 2014-15 Fives season at Ludgrove saw plenty of enthusiasm from our leavers down to our under 9s. We had some very close matches and a good win against Berkhamsted in an U11/U10/U9 fixture. All the schools’ tournaments were excellent experience for the boys in view of the years ahead. The team is working on its consistency and will be working on ways of making up the necessary court time to compete with the top player
Lyceum Alpinum Zuoz
The Zuoz girls at the National Schools' Championships
The continuation of the Fives season during the winter this year allowed our players to hone their skills even with Arctic temperatures of -15C. With the courts cleared of snow and an extra layer of clothing, Fives was played throughout the Winter and enabled four of our best Senior girls to practice right up until the Nationals in March. A small team of four girls made the trip over to Eton and represented the school with distinction. It has been a few years since our team made the trip over to the UK and we certainly hope to repeat the experience next year with both Boys and Girls teams travelling. We have been fortunate to have the services of Matt Wiseman sporadically throughout the year, and have just taken delivery of our new Fives cannon, enabling our players to practice their cut returns on a consistent basis.With a trip to the Benny Oei championships in Geneva planned for the end of June and our impending annual battle with our Old Boys Club in September on the horizon, Fives is in rude health here in the Engadin valley
Home and away matches against St.Bart's, and the usual tussles with the EFA and Marlborough Town, enabled our small group of Eton Fives players to enjoy some good, competitive action this season. The pool of players and the skill levels are both rising, if not quite as much or as quickly as we would wish for. Archie Wheeler captained the squad and led by example on court, ably assisted by Will Davies and Henry Dunhill, a pair who have potentially another two profitable years together. Newcomer Orlando Mace offered a very welcome injection of skill and agility. We look forward to the 2015-16 season and would welcome anyone wishing to visit for a match.
London Tournament Festival winners Andrew Rennie & Charlie Plummer; The Mill Hill squad; Action on the Mill Hill courts; Launch of the Stinger
Results were slightly down this year [ P 24 W10 D 1 L 13] but victories were recorded against Aldenham, QEB, Emanuel and
At senior level Matt Starr and Liam Kelly played with true Corinthian spirit. Harry Rapley, Benedict Balcombe and Charlie Plummer led at U16s first pair. Henry Webster and Rory Pyrke showed much improvement and Lukas Vanhaesebroeck and Hal Leitao also distinguished themselves.
At U15 level Charlie Plummer and Iain Kidd stood out and noted victories included defeats of Eton, Harrow and Highgate. Charlie Plummer is an outstanding player but the challenge is to produce a partner for him to win national honours.
There were very few U13s coming through this year but three U14 pairs were produced who played enthusiastically.
No report received yet
No report received yet
No report received yet
Rydal Head Patrick Lee-Browne with Welsh Open winners; Players at the Welsh Open
This season has provided us with an abundance of participation and success in Fives.
The began started with the Welsh Open in September, which was another great success and gave the pupils chance to play with a wide variety of visitors as well as raising the profile of Fives and getting the year off to a great start.
Over the course of the term we played 3 fixtures against Shrewsbury School, winning an even number of games against a selection of U14 and U15 pairs which is an impressive feat considering we were playing pairs at least 1 year above us.
The end of the term saw our participation with 7 pairs in the U13s Nationals and 5 pairs in the U14s Nationals at Eton College.
At the U13s our top 3 pairs qualified for the main tournament with Michael Thomas, Matteus Fiorita, Adam Lee-Browne and Iestyn Williams finishing in the C plate and Finlay Hare and Max Robinson winning B plate. We have several promising players in Yr7 including Kevin Farrell and Jasper Richardson who won the A6 plate, showing great knowledge of the game playing against boys a year older. Zach Speakerman paired with Abhishek Bathula delivered an impressive performance to finish as runners up of the A2 plate. Jon Li and Luke Davies came 4th in the A2 plate, Eddie Farrell and Will Roberts placed 2nd in A3 plate.
Our most notable success is that of our U14s 1st pair Will Sissons and Jack Jones who consistently bested U15s pairs from Shrewsbury School and placed second at the U14s Nationals at Eton, playing nearly 20 games across 2 days very narrowly be defeated by Highgate 1 in the final. The boys consistently delivered a superb quality of fives which was also commented upon by several of the event organisers.
For the first time Rydal has seen girls represent the school at the U14s Nationals alongside 4 boys pairs. Izzy Williams, Gowri Pradeep and Martina Ruszkowska entered as a single pair and delivered a promising performance over the day, leaving them with an invaluable experience which will hopefully lead to further participation of our girls in the game for the future.
The other boys pairs all qualified for the main tournament and ended up with Ewan Luke, Rafeez Mortuza, Zach Blomley and Adam Hardman passing 2 rounds to end up in C plate and Michael Thomas and Petko Petkov entering the B plate.
No report received yet
Fives players at St.Bees
This year at St Bees we have enjoyed playing Fives on a very social basis and introducing it to the younger members of the school. In January we were fortunate to have Paul Bowden visit us to ensure the pupils understood the rules and could appreciate the finer side of the game. During the day Paul delivered nurmerous sessions to students aged 9 to 18. What was very encouraging was that over 60% of the students on the taster day were female and continued to practice in their own time forming an activities club.
Four more experienced students, in Year 10, braved the cold at Shrewsbury for the Northern Championships. They thoroughly enjoyed testing their skills against other competitors and certainly made good progress throughout the weekend.
St Bees School would like to thank Paul and the Eton Fives Association over the years for their support. They have been so encouraging and enthusiastic towards the school and pupils that in remote North West Cumbria Fives has been enjoyed by many students for so many years.
The victorious Olavian Richard Barber Cup squad; Turnbull Trophy finalists; Schools' U16 winners Kosi Nwuba & Tom Gallagher; Northern Festival winners Morgan Pugh & Josh Ravi
Fives continues to thrive at St.Olave’s School. Roughly 150 children represented the school during the season, with superb leadership being shown by the joint Captains, Josh Ravi and Ed King, who assisted greatly in organising coaching support throughout the school as needed, as well as overseeing all lunchtime use of the Fives court complex by the younger pupils. The Seniors also trained a large number of lower sixth girls to form a very enthusiastic squad who entered three pairs into the National Championships girls festival, and eight pairs into the mixed category. The Seniors' recruitment drive of year 7 boys was also a great success, with over twenty new recruits being handed on to the professional fives coaches at the first year 7 practice. The Fives at St.Olave’s is completely inclusive – if you put the effort in to play regularly, then you are rewarded with the opportunity to represent your school at the appropriate level – or even to go on tour to Switzerland!!. The strongest players in the school enjoyed regular training and match play alongside the Old Olavians, with school players featuring alongside the Old Boys in Leagues 1, 2 and 3, and Tom Gallagher became the first schoolboy to be part of a winning Barber Cup Team. The highlight of the season was Tom Gallagher and Kosi Nwuba becoming the National U16 Champions.
Schools' Open finalists George Panayi & George Lewis; Girls U15 winners Nina Lange & Tilly Reynolds; U14 Beginners Nina Lange & Dan Humes; Ladies Festival Finalists at the Schools
This was, for the senior fives team, a season of great promise; for the junior team it was an historic year with the introduction of girls. As such the season was set to be exciting from the very start and there was indeed something of a buzz around the courts at the beginning of January.
There were the usual calculations to do: how do you fit 160 bodies into 14 courts, 4 to a court, with 2 hours available? It is akin to fitting an elephant into a giraffe and then popping the combined creature into a mini without a sunroof. Fortunately we have a team of coaches well accustomed to bending the space time continuum slightly. With judicious use of a spreadsheet, all was perfectly clear to everyone: life made sense. Those who wanted to carry on playing beyond their allotted time disregarded it altogether, everything still seemed to work and that seemed to make sense too.
Our usual January weekend down to Highgate, Harrow and Eton was, as ever, the ideal early boost to the season with lots of court time and several very close, competitive matches. We lost the first pair match vs Eton 3-2 to put down a marker for the term – these were the pairs anticipated to be in the Schools’ Final in March and 3-2 here definitely made the season’s prospects exciting.
Fixtures on either side of half term continued for seniors, juniors and girls, with the girls also travelling down for various Sunday tournaments and getting fully involved with the commitment and travelling that fives requires. Berkhamsted hosted a festival in February and Eton the Ladies’ Open Nationals at the start of March: in the latter our 3rd formers in particular stood out: Emma Graham and Katie Oswald won the Festival and Nina Lange and Tilly Reynolds left with the main Plate. All gained much important experience and impressed some of our former Ladies’ fives players, Rosie Parr and Hannah Pritchard, now playing for Oxford University.
The Williams Cup, the 3-pair team event, is our biggest target outside of the National Championships. At the start of the year we had 12 players (6 Upper 6th, 6 Lower) vying for places in the side; by March 8th we were down to 7 players, the reduction being mostly down to injuries. Tom Breese was the highest profile loss, the recurrence at the Northern of a back problem demanding further investigation and diagnosis. As it transpired, he would not play again for the rest of the season and is still off sport as I write. Nonetheless, the depth of our squad is such that we had a team more than capable of winning the event. It’s a tournament that forgives no slip-ups so all matches are crucial but we knew that Eton and Highgate were the big matches which would settle the result. Etonwas our third match and they had dropped a point to Highgate so we had more breathing room than they did and we did the business at 3rd pair. However, our first and second pairs both missed out on game-winning opportunities that would have given us a 4-2 win; the consequence was a 2-4 loss. Sadly that effectively meant the tournament was over unless Eton slipped up again. When we dropped points against St Olave’s and Highgate the deal was sealed: with the time fast approaching 7pm and a full match still to play, we decided to scrap that Westminster fixture in favour of getting back to Shrewsbury before midnight. Eton deserved their win, having defended game points and closed out matches when they had their chance.
On the same day, our girls enjoyed considerably greater success in the Schools’ U15 Nationals. Despite all being beginners, our four pairs all made it through their groups into quarter finals. Top pair, Nina Lange and Tilly Reynolds, won the whole competition, beating a more experienced Ipswich pair in the final while our second pair, Phoebe Wasdell and Lizzie Ware, having reached the semis, overcame Highgate in the 3rd place play-off to claim 3rd in the competition. Our 3rd & 4th Pair played off in the Plate Final with Emma Graham & Katie Oswald ( 3rd Pair) beating Sophia Breese and Libby Hedges (4th pair – most improved on the day) in a close encounter.
So we went into the Nationals week at the end of term knowing that at senior level, only our very best performances would be good enough to bring silverware. Through the week there was probably less than the usual drama, though Tom Bromley-Davenport and Lysander Adair showed tenacity and character to retrieve a match from 2-0 down against Eton. They lived to play another round and tried the same tactic against Highgate, losing two then winning the third, but this time it was just too great a challenge. They nonetheless showed they have the ability to apply what they pick up in training to the big games so I have high hopes for them – and the rest of the year group – over the next few years.
The U16 competition largely went to the script, though Ed Chapman and Adam Aslam-Baskeyfield would have reached the quarter-finals with a kinder draw: many of our players in that year group are beginning to step up and convert their athleticism and ability into quality, sharp play and I foresee some good results for them over the next two years. We got five pairs into the last 16 of the Open (including Chapman & Alsam-Baskeyfield) and our top two senior pairs progressed to quarters: here Jamie Humes and Samson Yick met top seeds Eton and didn’t have enough to trouble them. George Lewis and George Panayi made it through to the the final (despite losing the first game 13-14 to Westminster in their semi). The first game of the final was hard-fought and close throughout: Eton won it 13-12. The rest of the match might have been very different had it gone the other way, but the opposition got more confident and more effective whilst George and George, though they got stuck in, were not setting up and then executing a plan with the same confidence and fluidity they can. We lost 3-0.
Meanwhile, the girls were back at Eton and competing in two further competitions: the Ladies’ Open and the Ladies’ Festival. The 3rd form were also involved in the U14 beginners, which has been a competition we’ve dominated in the past but not won for a couple of years. All three were to bring us success.
Dan Humes and Nina Lange were our top 3rd form pair in the U14 beginners. They won through their pool easily and had their first real test in the semi-final, which did indeed become a real test. They went 1-0 up but Eton rallied to 1-1. Nina and Dan responded to go 2-1 up, the fourth was terrifically close but Eton pinched it 11-12: two all! Characters held and passed the test: Nina’s calm under pressure was key as Dan’s expectations of himself threatened to cause an implosion. In the final Nina and Dan were stronger having been tested and knowing better how to deal with the pressure. They won this match 3-1, including a critical 15-14 to go 2-1 ahead.
In the ladies’ festival our 3rd and 4th form girls really got stuck in. Our top two pairs (Sophia Breese & Tilly Reynolds; Phoebe Wasdell & Lizzie Ware) got through their pools and never looked back, meeting each other in the competition final. Sophia and Tilly won this 3-0 (although again, a very close 3rd game finished 13-12). It is very impressive indeed that the girls have reached this standard in their first year playing the game. This is in no small part due to the excellent technical coaching and hard work of Andy Barnard.
My thanks go to the players for their hard work and commitment throughout the season and to all of the staff for the same!
Stowe v The EFA
No report received yet
Schools' U12 winners Edward Bingham & Mark Spiridonov; Prep Schools champions Ben Porter & Alfred Backhouse
This season marked the 20th Anniversary of the resurrection of fives at Summer Fields, as our new courts were built in 1995. The school, having been founded in 1864, also concluded the 150th Anniversary year of celebrations. It was therefore all the more satisfying that we were able to mark these milestones with our best ever set of results in fives tournaments.
Results from the last couple of years gave us good reason to hope for great things from our top two pairs this year and everyone at Summer Fields was delighted when, in the space of five days in March, they won two major titles. Edward Bingham and Mark Spiridonov thoroughly deserved to be National Schools U12 champions, despite the best efforts of the runners-up from Sunningdale; this was a first for Summer Fields, although we have reached the final on two previous occasions (1999 and 2007). In the 48th Prep Schools’ Tournament, our U12 pair were disappointed to lose to Highgate 1 in the semi-finals, but our 1st pair, Alfred Backhouse and Ben Porter, steadily increased their momentum during the knock-out stages and finished with a 12-9, 12-5 win in the final to take the trophy and thus break Highgate’s amazing, decades-long run of success.
Earlier in the season, at the beginning of December, we retained the winners’ salver in the 4th annual 3-pairs tournament, contested by Cranleigh Prep, Ludgrove, Sunningdale and Summer Fields. Incidentally, we continue to be grateful to Eton College for kindly allowing us to use their courts for this event.
In addition to these competitions and an informal mini-tournament at Berkhamsted, we played sixteen matches against ten different schools. Nine of these were ‘club’ matches, or friendlies, which allowed some of our lower pairs to gain experience of competitive fives; in fact a total of 37 boys represented the school on the fives court between September and March. The seven proper matches yielded four wins, two draws and a narrow defeat against Highgate. It is worth noting that Backhouse and Porter, when playing together, were undefeated throughout, twice beating Highgate and Eton, and also overcoming Ludgrove and Sunningdale – in addition to their unbeaten run through the Prep Schools Tournament. Similarly, Bingham and Spiridonov had a fine record of wins, with their only loss being in the semi-final of the Prep Schools, when a bruised hand allowed Highgate 1 to prevail.
The school team was honoured to be nominated for the EFA Team of the Year award.
No report received yet
No report received
Kinnaird Festival winners Matt Lewin & Ismail Salim
This was a great season: it ended on a note of real triumph in the National Schools’ Championships, but Westminster Fives has been characterised by the spirit, enthusiasm and flair exhibited by players at all levels throughout. The high point was the performance of Lewin and Salim in reaching the semi-finals of the Nationals – further than any Westminster pair has reached in the competition, and just a month after winning the Festival at the Kinnaird. The quality of their play and the dynamic spirit with which they competed won praise from many. Their success should spur on the players in lower years!
The U14s progressed encouragingly over the year: the experience of Doody was a great asset, and finally his pairing with Gore appeared to produce the greatest success. Other emerging players of quality are Hubbard and Mount: it was a shame that Westminster was not able to field a full complement of players for the Nationals as Gore and Huang were away in Alston, but the injection of the athleticism of LSA players, led by Drake, proved very handy; indeed Hubbard and Drake went further than any previous U14 pair in the Nationals, making their way past the group stages and the 2nd & 3rd rounds, only to be beaten by a strong Eton 1 in their quarter-final.
The U15s too have enjoyed success over the season; spearheaded by Benson and Koksal - even though these two were not able to pair up on as many occasions as desired - there were good performances from Muminoglu, Young, and, particularly in the Nationals, from the pairing of Vinen and Acevski. Shine and Graff too are emerging as players to watch. This all points to strength in depth. With a sharpening of their competitive edge and increased practice, they could challenge at the higher levels next year. Certainly that Benson/Koksal, with magisterial dominance, and Vinen/Acevski, with an admirably gritty and competitive display, both went through the first day of the Nationals to the quarter-finals suggests that they have what it takes to be aiming at further success in the years ahead.
Dogged by injury and with very few supporting players in their year group, Amin and Guttenplan formed an admirably gutsy U16 pair. Successes at Charterhouse and Berkhamsted were encouraging; and the two of them must take the positives of these performances on into the next two years. As ever, practice and time spent on the court is what will assist them up onto the next tier of competitiveness – they have spirit enough!
The keen anticipation with which the season was approached at Senior level was increasingly justified. Salim and Lewin may have garnered the glory with their skill and athletically dynamic style of play, but they were excellently supported and challenged by a very hard-working and enthusiastic group of able players. Capstick was notably the team’s most improved player, working very hard at his game: Critchley too showed real quality in his play, when he could be tempted from glory on stage. Support too came from the 6th Form, where a nexus of Malik, Shah & Lim was available to step up and perform at a high level – offering plenty of hope for success next season. Great too to see Sharma and Birnie flying the flag for Westminster Girls’ Fives in a match against St Olaves; they showed how far players can progress in a year.
As ever, the enthusiasm, patience and talent of Matt Wiseman as coach fuelled the atmosphere of enjoyable competitiveness throughout the season.
Ladies Festival Plate winners Eve Cowan & Ellie Frith; Ladies Plate Finalists Tejas Netke & Beth Parlane; Wolverhampton GS v The EFA Ladies; WGS players at the London Tournament
Beth Parlane & Tejas netke in action; Juniors at the Midlands U14s; Senior girls at Eton
Fives at WGS has once again had a very successful season. The junior teams have improved greatly over the year, playing at a high standard and gaining valuable experience. A key competition for them was the U14 Midland Championships, in which both the boys and girls team held their own against some very strong opposition, resulting in a great day. The senior boys team, Rob Pye and John Price, met success in many of their matches and have also been working towards their coaching qualification along with some of the senior girls team. The coaching course has allowed them to help younger members of the group develop their skills as well as enhancing their own game play. The senior girls teams have had another great year of matches and tournaments, cullminating once again at the national competition. Ellen Hopwood and Emma Morley reached the plate semi-finals, Eve Cowan and Ellie Frith got to the competition's quarter finals and Tejas Netke and Beth Parlane made the semi-finals. The season has been filled with much success and as a whole team we would like to thank Mr Yates for all he's done for us this year and throughout our time playing fives at the school.
Tejas Netke & Beth Parlane
Pip Maddocks & Elise Nelson