2007 Midlands Tournament
Dominique Redmond reports:
After a twenty year break, the Midlands Fives competition is back. This year's tournament was held at Repton School by kind permission of the Headmaster.
The event was also based at the Menzies Mickleover Court Hotel. The School has twelve wonderful courts (six back to back) in pristine condition. The Tournament was run like no other; the format being completely different. All seventeen pairs were split into four pools. Each pool played three or four one game matches to fifteen points. When the pools finished the top two pairs would move forward in the draw into the main, and the bottom two pairs went backwards into the Festival. Once all pools had finished and split into the two sections, a quarter-final was played and then all retired to the hotel. The following morning, a semi-final was played alongside plate competitions, followed by finals in the afternoon.
On Saturday morning all players arrived at the Repton courts. Howard explained how the format would work. Luckily all gave a positive response. The matches got under way, with light snacks and refreshment available all day to keep all the players going. The aim of the day was to complete all pool and quarter-final matches. There were some extremely close games especially between Mark Herring & Jeremy O'Neil and joint first seeds Mark A Yates and Mark W Yates. Mark and Jeremy pushed the experienced Wulfrunian pair to the limit but Mark & Mark won by only a few points. Meanwhile Pool 3 seemed to be the pool that had the best and most challenging games. Doug Foster and school pupil Tom Barnes played extremely well to beat experienced pairing of Ryan Perrie and Anthony Theodossi; it was neck and neck until the Berkhamstedian pair broke away winning 15-13.
No tournament would be the same without a match that lasted long into the evening! Fighting for a semi-final place in the main competition were Dominique Redmond and Merlin Goldman against Doug Foster and Tom Barnes. This match went to three games, with Doug and Tom winning 12-13, 12-9, 12-7.
After all matches had finished players retired to the hotel to take full advantage of the swimming pool and jacuzzis, followed by all players meeting in the bar for pre dinner drinks. We all enjoyed a well presented dinner and good food put on by the hotel, with every player and guest sitting around one table in our own private room with waiters on hand to refill the glasses. The food was followed by speeches and loads of conversation that was carried on to all areas of the hotel until gone midnight. A few select individual took taxis into town to get the full Derby experience and came back with a fair few stories.
After what seemed like a long and jolly night the Sunday started with a swim and a full cooked or continental breakfast. The mini bus picked up all players and escorted us to the courts where play commenced at 11am, with some very close battles for a place in the final in both events and some very good plate matches. Each semi-final was played a best of five games followed by a final or third place play off, again, best of five games, while each plate game was one game to fifteen points.
The main semi-final saw Doug and Tom take on joint first seeds Howard Wiseman and Will Betts. The tenacity of Tom on top step and the superb cutting from Doug made a great and close challenge for the first seeds but unfortunately not enough to carry on their winning streak, Howard and Will beat Doug and Tom 3-1. The other semi-final saw a very close and well contested match going to the wire with the joint first seed Mark and Mark Yates, again coming close to defeat and narrowly fending off a set of younger and promising players of Peter White and Andrew Joyce, by winning 12-6, 10-15, 4-12, 12-8, 12-9. Meanwhile in the Festival a first time pairing of Dominique Redmond and Richard Black took on the only Reptonian pair of James Ware and Sam Basu. This was a very close match that could have gone either way with only one point between them for the first two games, Sam's arm unfortunately gave way at this point. Dominique and Richard won a place in the final by winning 15-14, 13-12, 12-6. Another first time paring of Simon Warren-Thomas and Hugo Tobias breezed through to the final, beating the St Olave's School pair of Sam Eglund-Newby and Robert Dunk 12-3,12-6, 12-2.
Both finals were about to start as the plates were finishing. The Festival plate saw the Olavian school pair of Oliver Horswell and Josh Ingrey coming top by winning all their matches and fencing off some very talented and well established pairs. The main plate was a true battle as all pairs were at a very even level and it was anybody's game. Ryan Perrie and Anthony Theodossi were the triumphant pair, winning all their matches and therefore the main plate title.The final in both sections got underway: Dominique and Richard took on Simon and Hugo who were just too strong. Richard's shooting at the buttress could not get past Hugo on the top step and Dominique's back court shots could not find their way past the great retrieving of Simon. Simon and Hugo beat Dominique and Richard in three games even though the score did not reflect on how fantastic the match had been.In the Main the joint first seeds met and it really was a close match. Howard's great shot selection gained his side many points, along with Will's amazing vollies. These where not enough to stop the Wulfrunian pairs great retrieving and mid court vollies over the buttress. The Wolverhampton pair beat the mixed pairing of Howard (Olavian) and Will (Lancing Old Boys) 12-6, 12-11, 5-12, 12-9.
Oliver Horswell & Josh Ingrey
3rd place play off
Sam-Eglund-Newby & Robert Dunk beat James Ware & Sam Basu 2-0 (12-9, 12-9)
Hugo Tobias & Simon Warren-Thomas beat Dominique Redmond & Richard Black 3-0 (12-6, 12-3, 12-4)
Mark A Yates & Mark W Yates beat Howard Wiseman & Will Betts 3-1 (12-6, 12-11, 5-12, 12-9)
Anthony Theodossi & Ryan Perrie
We would like to thank Sarah Tennant and Peter Bradburn and the catering staff at Repton School for all their time and effort that they put in to making this event work. We would also like to thank the School for allowing us to hold this event and using what could easily be; one of the best sets of Fives courts in the country. Due to the excellent condition of the courts and the success of the Tournament we would like to see these courts back into mainstream use. We all look forward to next year's event and hope that you can all join us.