2008 Midlands Tournament
Dominique Redmond reports:
This year's event was bigger and better than last year, as we had over double the entry and over double the number of players, guests and partners at the evening dinner. We had over 40 pairs enter across the weekend with three of the 40 pairs coming from the Rugby Fives community at Derby Moor School which is just up the road - they were most welcome and should be congratulated for their effort.
There were four pools with an average of eight pairs in each, with each pair playing the others in their pool over one game. Along with the amazing quantity of pairs we also had fantastic quality, with lots of matches going right to wire. Anthony Theodossi and Ryan Perrie, who learnt their Fives at Emanuel School and the Westway Sports Centre, beat third seeds Doug Foster and Andrew Joyce (last year's semi-finalists) 12-9 to finish top in their pool. Meanwhile, second seeds Seb Cooley and Jeff Lawrence breezed through their pool finishing in pole position. Last year's finalists Howard Wiseman and Will Betts had a shaky start but overcame that, topping their group and top seeds Mark Yates and Mark Yates did the same. This year our only true Old Reptonian pair Sam Basu and James Ware were joined by a Reptonian staff member as well as some schoolboy pairs who entered the plate on the Sunday - a most pleasing development.
At the end of the first day's play, all players, partners and assorted guests gathered for a night of great food, fun and speeches. The dinner as last year went extremely well with over 50 guests, terrific food and free-flowing wine; It really is fantastic to have a Fives tournament which benefits from being directly linked to such a wonderful hotel with all its associated amenities.
On the Sunday morning after the late night social all players, with the exception of Anita Ganguly and Emmalina Thompsell, made it to the courts for 10.30am. The semi-finals were extremely close with Howard and Will losing narrowly to Seb Cooley and Jeff Lawrence and Mark and Mark Yates progressing to their second final in successive years. The Festival, too, contained many close and well-contested matches, with the final featuring the Salopian father and son pair of Bill and Connor Christie against Olavians Jack Williams and Sam Newby.
The main final was so very close. The Old Wulfrunian pair and defending champions got off to a great start making the Old Olavian pair chase the game. After Seb and Jeff had levelled the score at 7-7, Jeff managed a great run of points allowing the Olavian pair to take the first game 12-7. The second game was the opposite with the Olavians making the better start and the Wulfrunians then reeling them in to lead 11-8. Seb then pulled a magical run of points out of nowhere with his amazingly quick top step play. The players decided to play to 14 and remained in deadlock at 11-11 until Jeff started the Olavian pair on a roll and they ended up taking the second game and the match.
The Festival final was also a very close match, but the experience of Bill Christie helped in defeating the Olavian pair of Jack Williams and Sam Newby, the Salopian pair winning 2-0.
I would like to thank all players who took part, Repton School for allowing the Midland Tournament to take place at the school, and Howard Wiseman for making the competition a complete success.
I do hope to see you all at next year's event.
S Cooley & J Lawrence beat M Yates & M Yates 2-0 (12-7, 14-11)
B Christie & C Christie beat J Williams & S Newby