2009/10 Richard Black Cup: Girl Power in action

The inaugural Richard Black Cup was won by the EFA who defeated St.Olave's 3-0 in an exciting final.

The tournament was held at Eton on Sunday March 28th and in the space of one day established itself as one of the most enjoyable events on the Fives calendar. A three pair inter-club Ladies Fives competition was probably long overdue and the six teams who entered the first running of the tournament produced a day of exciting, competitive and high quality Fives.

The morning’s play saw the six teams – EFA, St.Olave’s, Cambridge, Westminster/Lancing, Highgate A and Highgate B – play each other in a one game round robin format. The standard across all courts was both very high and very even, with the two young Highgate teams demonstrating the ability that saw them dominate the previous week’s school championships and that will make them a force to be reckoned with in this competition in years to come. For the time being, though, experience held sway and the group stage produced the following table:

1 EFA 11

2 St.Olave’s 10

3 Cambridge 9

4 Westminster/Lancing 6

5 Highgate A 5

6 Highgate B 4

A combination of injury and imminent exams meant that Cambridge conceded the 3rd/4th play-off to the Westminster/Lancing combination, whilst the EFA and St.Olave’s went through to the best of three final, although it had required a formbook upsetting 2-1 win for the Olavians over the EFA in the final round of group matches to hold off the impressive Cambridge challenge. That result also set up a very interesting final with the EFA team looking to regain the upper hand over their Olavian opponents.

The final took place at the same time as the Kinniard Cup final and although the crowd was smaller, the excitement and skill levels involved stood up well to any comparison. The EFA second pair of Dominique Redmond and Micky Galperti quickly won their match against Anita Ganguly and Helen Toop, whilst at first pair Olavians Charlotta Cooley and Marianne Rees won the first game 12-9 against Kerry White and Fiona Barnes and then established a lead in the second game. At this point all eyes turned to third pair, where the young Emanuel pair of Lucy Pugh and Gina Vuqitrna were battling hard against the equally tenacious Charlotte Walker-Jones and Zarina Siganporia. All at once, the tide suddenly turned in the EFA team’s favour, as Gina and Lucy came through to win their match 12-7, 12-5 whilst in the first court, Kerry and Fiona fought back to win the second game of their match 13-10 and then go on to win the third at a canter.

Richard Black himself was on hand to congratulate the winners and with the first ever Ladies National Champion Krystyna Vargas on hand to present the trophy it was hard to avoid the feeling that this was a landmark moment in the history of Ladies Fives, and that in years to come the entry for the Richard Black Cup will increase and it will occupy a position in the game to rival that of the Barber Cup.


EFA beat St.Olave’s 3-0

K.White & F.Barnes beat C.Cooley & M.Rees 2-1 (9-12, 10-13, 0-12)

D.Redmond & M.Galperti beat A.Ganguly & H.Toop 2-0 (12-4, 12-4)

L.Pugh & G.Vuqitrna beat C.Walker-Jones & Z.Siganporia 2-0 (12-7, 12-5)

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