EFA Trophy Jan 2015: The Usual Suspects

26/02/15: The EFA Trophy in many ways embodies the soul of the game. It's fun, friendly (most of the time) and the eligibility restrictions mean that there's none of your Cooley type flashiness or show-offery on display here - just an eclectic mix of youngsters on the way up, old 'uns on the way down and plenty who never made it that high in the first place. Eight such teams made it to the start line at Eton yesterday to take part in the qualifying stages of this year's tournament and all went home having taken part in a long and thoroughly enjoyable day of Fives.

The teams took part in a day long round robin, with the aim of producing a top four at the end of the day who would go through to the semi-finals later in the season. All human Fives-playing life was there - the young thrusters of Oxford and Cambridge Universities, the gnarled Wulfrunian veterans down from the Black Country, the gentlemen of the Monday Knights, the crack outfits from Aldenham and the Old Salopians (whoever designed the Aldenham shirts must have been on crack, anyway) with serious designs on the trophy, a North Oxford team with better cakes than cuts, and the enigmatic Etonians, who came, played in the morning and then disappeared after three rounds to do whatever it is Etonians do on a Sunday afternoon that's better than playing Fives.

The standard overall was very decent; no team had it all their own way and no team were outclassed. Lots of games could have gone either way with several 12-11 and 12-10 thrillers keeping the crowd entertained. In the end it was the usual suspects who prevailed, with last year's four semi-finalists all making it through again - the Old Salopians in first place, setting up a repeat of last year's final against fourth placed Oxford University and Aldenham and the Old Wulfrunians in second and third. The semis and the final will be at Eton on Sunday March 1st and promise to be terrific matches.

My thanks to all who played, all who watched and all who organised and cajoled teams into existence. Thanks also to Mike Hughes and Eton for hosting.

Final Table:

1. 16 points: Old Salopians (G.Williams, M.Hughes, G.Lewis, T.Breese, A.Taylor, H.Turnbull)

2. 14 points: Aldenham (G.Pulsford, C.Rennie, A.Rennie, D.Patel, R.Dennis, P.Lyndon, P.Kendall)

3. 12 points: Old Wulfrunians (S.Simmonds, M.Yates, A.Husselbee, P.Bullock, G.Hammond, W.Carling)

4. 9 points: Oxford University (J.Alster, O.Sale, F.Imrie, D.Byam Shaw, M.Wintle, S.Mehta)

5. 7 points: Monday Knights (M.Rimini, P.Gibbs, B.Emlyn Jones, T.Emlyn Jones, J.Saunders, S.Warren-Thomas)

6. 3 points: Cambridge University (J.Parham, A.Rattan, A.Stewart, S.Patel, C.Moore, E.Osen)

7. 2 points: North Oxford (S.Chapman, A.Yusaf, C.Lloyd, K.Hird, N.Turnbull, H.Asquith)

8. Scratched Old Etonians (C.Nissen, E.Nissen, A.Knight, J.Hindle, A.White, T.Best, J.Asquith)

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