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Anthony Theodossi reports:
On Tuesday 9th June we held the 9th Annual Scholars & Rogues competition. After a few last minute drop outs due to dodgy fingers, sore hamstrings and ‘my wife won’t let me play’ (actually that’s a new one!) we began the tournament with a huge entry of 30 pairs. It was also very pleasing to see a couple of players from the Prep school for the first time ever and even more wonderful seeing how well they coped against more senior and experienced players, a great sign of the wonderful work Ryan Perrie has put in there over the past year.
We had 6 pools each consisting of 5 pairs split across the 6 courts with timed games of 8 minutes. The top two pairs from each group would then go through to a straight knock-out quarter-final. The pool stages showed just how balanced (and competitive!) some of the matches were this year with lots of surprise results and many of the new players to the game pushing the more experienced pairs.
In Pool A Ben Evers & Dan McDonald (8Gr) did well to steal the top spot ahead of favourites Tasha Cresswell & Matt Dight (11Ti) beating them in a tight game 5 – 4.
Pool B was similarly close with favourites Danielle Wates & Lucie Bultitude (12Sp) knocked out into the 3rd position spot leaving Scholars & Rogues veteran Tim Grant paired up with Eddie Goldstein (9Be) to battle it out with Director of Sport David Gibson & Nathaniel Cunnold (8Gr). It was a very tight game but Grant’s years of Scholars & Rogues experience allowed them to push through winning 6 – 4 leaving Gibson & Cunnold licking their wounds in 2nd position.
Pool C was dominated by MiC and Scholars & Rogues professional Martin Pett & Conor Briggs (9Gr). The 2nd place spot was taken by newbie Jonathan Cooper & Robbie Allen (7Lo) who gave them a good match losing out 6 – 3.
In Pool D beginner to the game Theo Gayton paired up with Miles Doe (8Gr) managed to top their group winning all their games reasonably comfortably with the 2nd place spot being taken by another Scholars & Rogues veteran Ted Savill paired up with Nathan Walmsley (9Fr).
Pool E was won reasonably comfortably by tournament favourites David Vila & Charlie Mann (9Fr) but the 2nd place spot was hotly contested; Max Stallard & David Saunders (7Ti), Dan Hyman & Tom Noithip (7Be) and Duncan Hardy & Callum Hardy (7Ti) had all won 2 and lost 2. After lengthy discussions from and some fine number crunching that the Maths department would have been proud of, it was Stallard & Saunders who took the 2nd place spot.
The Pool F 2nd place slot was claimed by newcomer Richard Falder paired up with Anders Davis (8Gr); the 1st place slot was won reasonably comfortably by MiC Athletics extraordinaire Tom Hockedy & Edmund Bryant (9Co).
With the riff separated from the raff our top 12 pairs proceeded into timed 8 minute quarter-final games with the following results:
Evers & Mcdonald BEAT Savill & Walmsley
5 – 1
Grant & Goldstein BEAT Stallard & Saunders
7 – 4
Pett & Briggs BEAT Falder & Davis
7 – 3
Gayton & Doe BEAT Cresswell & Dight
6 – 4
Vila & Mann BEAT Gibson & Cunnold
8 – 4
Hockedy & Bryant BEAT Cooper & Allen
6 – 1
This then moved us into the semi-final stages with two mini-pools of 3; pool 1 consisted of Evers & McDonald, Grant & Goldstein and Pett & Briggs. Pool 2 was Gayton & Doe, Vila & Mann and Hockedy & Bryant. It would be the top one form each of these pools that went straight into the final. The short time of 5 minute matches meant the games were fiercely contested with even the loss of a single point being able to turn the tide. The closest match was between Grant & Goldstein and Pett & Briggs; Grant, who had been playing like a man possessed all day, managed to level the score to 1 – 1 as the game ended, but the rules were whoever had reached that score FIRST claimed the win and so it went the way of Pett & Briggs. After 15 minutes of play we had the following results:
Pett & Briggs BEAT Evers & McDonald
6 – 1
Pett & Briggs BEAT Grant & Goldstein
1 – 1
Grant & Goldstein BEAT Evers & McDonald
5 – 3
Vila & Mann BEAT Gayton & Doe
3 – 2
Vila & Mann BEAT Hockedy & Bryant
4 – 0
Hockedy & Bryant BEAT Gayton & Doe
1 – 0
The stage was set for the final with Vila & Mann against Pett & Briggs in a 10 minute timed match. Pett & Vila had met in the final last year, but back then Charlie Mann was Pett’s partner and the game had gone against them with Vila taking the win 6 – 3 paired up with Charlie Spittal, so there was certainly some tension in the air! Before the game had even started most of the players looked nervous and this could be seen within the first few minutes where all the players made numerous unforced errors on what would seem to be simple shots. After about 5 minutes of play the score was levelled at 2 – 2 and with the players finally seeming to settle points began to flow; it was only from Pett & Briggs, however, who went to storm into the lead going 4 – 2 up in one hand. Vila & Mann battled hard however with some superb top-step play from Charlie Mann and being supported well by his partner they managed to stem the flow of points for Pett & Briggs. After a long rally Pett & Briggs managed to win another point thanks to a winning shot from Conor taking them 5 – 2 up, and this was then followed by a cut flying long rewarding Pett & Briggs with another point pushing them on even further to 6 – 2. With only minutes left Vila & Mann had to work hard to bring the game back and they did so in one hand managing to bring the score back to 5 – 6. Though it was a valiant effort it wasn’t enough and the game ended here with Pett and Briggs taking the win 6 – 5 to claim the Scholars & Rogues ‘Dossi Dish’.
Pett & Briggs BEAT Vila & Mann
6 – 5
There are number of individuals I must thank for making this such a wonderful event as always; firstly to the catering staff and Aramark for putting on a BBQ for all to enjoy. To Catherine Dow and James Morrison (10Be) for taking the time to come along and take all the wonderful photos and videos (look out for James’ video in the near future!). To Ryan Perrie and Doug Foster for helping make the tournament run so smoothly and efficiently. And finally to all the players, staff and pupils, who took the time to come along and support the event.
We’re hoping 2016 will be even bigger and better, with many secret allegiances being formed already!