Aberconway Cup 2013: Williams win

Mike Fenn reports:

This year we were without several regular pairs, all of whom promised to be back next year, the plus being that five new pairings entered for the first time. Following one of the coldest March months on record sixteen pairs arrived at Eton on a bright and warm sunny day to do battle in the 23rd championship for the Aberconway Cup.

Newcomers included Howard and Gwydion Wiseman, James and Milo Skelton, Peter and Charlie Nicholls, Mark and Sam Halstead and Jamie and Louis Halstead. Ages ranged from nine to mid-sixties with Gwydion Wiseman believed to be the youngest player to enter the Aberconway.

Much to the relief of the organiser all sixteen pairs arrived for a 10am start and within fifteen minutes eight courts were a buzz of excitement with cries of ‘yours dad’ and ‘good shot son’. The enthusiasm of all concerned was soon apparent with the top pairs encouraging the less able and within the true ethics of the game we so love played attacking shots against the opposing father rather than the often younger less experienced son.

The morning matches were as usual played in four groups of four each pair playing three matches with setting at eleven points. Each group consisted of two ‘seeded’ pairs and two lesser pairs with the final match being played between the top two pairs in each group to determine the semi-finalists with the lesser pairings bowing out with a match of similar playing ability. The groups went much as expected with Grant and Guy Williams comfortable winners of Group 1, Peter and Rex Worth in Group 2 and Mike and Chris Hughes in Group 4. It was Group 3 that provided a surprise when Jonathan and Matt Asquith lost to Andy and Tom Husselbee 6-12, 12-2, 5-12. Runners up in Group 1 were the Skeltons followed by the Robsons and Scholeys. Group 2 the Cooleys were in second place with the Bests and Halsteads (M). The Capstick-Dales and Nicholls in Group 3 and in the Group 4 runners up were the Halsteads (J) followed by the Wisemans and Nosworthys.

Play stopped for lunch with most pairs recovering from their morning exertions at the Watermans or St Christopher. A plate competition was offered to those who fell short of the semi-finals but after an exhausting and enjoyable mornings play all were happy to enjoy lunch and call it a day.

Grant and Guy Williams were comfortable winners of their semi-final against the Husselbees, the latter pairing not fully recovered from their long hard fought match against the Asquiths in the morning. Positioning played a key part with the Husselbees often on top during long rallies but they were unable to protect the buttress and so lost the rally. The Williams won 12-1, 12-8.

The tightest and most absorbing semi-final was that played between Mike and Chris Hughes and Peter and Rex Worth, a repeat of the final of 2011 in which the Hughes triumphed. The match was keenly contested and little quarter given with moments of highly charged discussion on the merits or otherwise of a let not given between both fathers and between both sons. The turning point in the first game came with a period of effective cutting by Rex Worth and a run of three points. The fathers, like the sons, were well matched providing an enthralling contest of fast attacking play much enjoyed by the few spectators present, the Worths taking the first game 12-9.

The second was to go to the Hughes the game turning when the score stood at 2-2. A very long rally of some 35 shots went to the Hughes who quickly took the next few points to lead 5-2. The Worths rallied to within one point to 5-4 but were unable to increase their score again and so lost the second to 4. Just before the end of the game Mike Hughes crashed against the top step side wall and required a brief time out to recover. Whether or not this impacted on the final outcome of the match is open to conjecture. In the final game the Worths got off to a splendid start and within minutes were 4-0 up their opponents unable to cut down Peter. Commanding play by Rex on the step saw the points progress quickly to 6-0 and to 9-1 before the Hughes managed to hold the line and claw their way to 6 points but with Mike suffering from the back injury sustained in game two the margin was too big and they went down 12-6.

Sadly the final was a slight anti-climax. Grant and Guy Williams, unlike Peter and Rex Worth, had had a less strenuous semi-final and it soon became clear that Peter was exhausted and had not fully recovered from his tight encounter against the Hughes in the other semi-final losing 12-2, 12-3 having given a five point start in both games.

Mike Fenn organiser and Vice President of the EFA presented the Aberconway Cup to first time winners Grant and Guy Williams and commiserated with the losers. The Williams are the sixth family to win the Fathers and Sons since the inauguration of the Championship in 1991.

Results

Semi-finals

Grant & Guy Williams beat Andy & Tom Husselbee 2-0 (12-1, 12-8)

Peter & Rex Worth beat Mike & Chris Hughes 2-1 (12-9, 4-12, 12-6)

Final

Grant & Guy Williams beat Peter & Rex Worth 2-0 (12-2, 12-3)

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