Nov 2014: Super Cooley Goes Ballistic, Bunyan Is Atrocious*
* actually he played quite well, considering
03/11/14: He'll never win any trophies for on court sartorial elegance, but Nick Bunyan did manage to get his hands on the silverware at the 2014 Midland Tournament at Repton at the weekend; to quickly silence the gasps of disbelief echoing around the Fives world on reading that sentence it should be stated that he was being partnered by multiple Kinnaird champion Seb Cooley. It wasn't entirely the Cooley show, however, with Nick making a real contribution to their final win over Howard Wiseman and Olavian schoolboy Tom Gallagher: if medals were awarded for sitting on the ledge under the front wall, shouting "yours" and getting out of the way, Nick would be first in the queue.
A healthy entry of 35 pairs found their way up to Repton for what has become a firm favourite in the Fives calendar, a unique tournament that blends different pairings, close matches, and a brilliant synthesis of competitive Fives with a friendly Fives ethos. Run impeccably by Howard Wiseman and Dom Redmond, the 2014 edition of the Midland Tournament was as fun and sociable as ever both on and off court with the Saturday night dinner a highlight as always.
As for the Fives, the group stages on the Saturday sorted the field out into a main tournament and a festival for Sunday's play. The higher seeded pairs all made it through to the quarter finals, although Richard Tyler & Josh Ravi and Vishal Bhimjiyani & Charlie Plummer were pushed hard by Gareth Hoskins & Karen Hird and Peter Boughton & Isaac Wagland respectively in the Last 16.
The quarter-finals moved on to best of three game matches; Tyler and Ravi were no match for Cooley and Bunyan whose semi-final opponents were Ryan Perrie and Andrew Rennie, who were made to work hard by Peter White and Morgan Pugh. In the other half of the draw, experienced Wulfrunians Mark Yates and Sid Simmons were too strong for Alex Constantine and Noah Caplin and Wiseman and Gallagher survived a strong second game fightback from Millhillians Bhimjiyani and Plummer to book their place in the last four.
In the semi-finals, Bunyan and Cooley had just enough to win 2-0 against Rennie and Perrie; the other court produced a fascinating battle with the differing styles of Olavians Wiseman and Gallagher and Wulfrunians Yates and Simmons. The first game was crucial - set at 10-10, the winner would be in pole position to go through to the final; Howard and Tom took it 15-12 and then followed that with a 12-7 second game win to make it through.
The final was an intriguing match up with two Olavian Kinnaird winners up against each other, partnering a promising young schoolboy and a not so promising veteran; time allowed the match to be best of five but it looked like it would be all over pretty quickly as Cooley - with Bunyan offering steady and effective support - dominated proceedings in the first two games. With Cooley taking the game to Wiseman in particular in the third, it looked like it would be a routine three game win, but Howard and Tom dug deep and produced some gutsy and high quality Fives to pull themselves back from the brink, save a couple of match points and win the sudden death shootout 12-11 to keep the match alive. Howard and Tom's hopes of a comeback were quickly extinguished at the start of the fourth, though, with Nick and Seb racing out to an early lead which they never relinquished; Seb was back to his dominant best, and with Nick desperate not to have to play a fifth game, they ran out convincing winners to take the match 3-1.
The Festival final was taking place at the same time and was an all-schoolboy affair, Olavians Josh Hutko and Vish Shetty beating the Olave's/Ipswich pair of Coby Plews and James Gray in four close games. As always the plates were equally fiercely contested, with the main plate won by Rez Malik and Kosi Nwuba and the festival plate going to Ian Mitchell and Mandie Barnes.
M.Yates & S.Simmons beat S.Burnell & L.Rymell 15-1
A.Constantine & N.Caplin beat T.Leech & J.Rumble 15-7
V.Bhimjiyani & C.Plummer beat P.Boughton & I.Wagland 15-11
H.Wiseman & T.Gallagher beat J.Prior & D.Arwas 15-2
R.Perrie & A.Rennie beat R.Malik & K.Nwuba 15-3
P.White & M.Pugh beat A.Mitchell & F.Barnes 15-3
R.Tyler & J.Ravi beat G.Hoskins & K.Hird 15-12
N.Bunyan & S.Cooley beat L.Henderson & H.Russell 15-2
M.Yates & S.Simmons beat A.Constantine & N.Caplin 12-7, 12-4
H.Wiseman & T.Gallagher beat V.Bhimjiyani & C.Plummer 12-3, 14-13
R.Perrie & A.Rennie beat P.White & M.Pugh 13-10, 12-6
N.Bunyan & S.Cooley beat R.Tyler & J.Ravi 12-7, 12-2
H.Wiseman & T.Gallagher beat M.Yates & S.Simmons 15-12, 12-7
N.Bunyan & S.Cooley beat R.Perrie & A.Rennie 12-10, 12-9
N.Bunyan & S.Cooley beat H.Wiseman & T.Gallagher 12-6, 12-3, 11-12, 12-0
Main Tournament Plate (Round Robin)
Winners: R.Malik & K.Nwuba
J.Hutko & V.Shetty beat M.Goldman & J.Staley 12-6, 12-8
J.Gray & C.Plews beat B.Christie & C.Christie 14-13, 6-12, 12-6
J.Hutko & V.Shetty beat J.Gray & C.Plews 12-6, 12-7, 12-14, 12-5
Festival Plate Winners
I.Mitchell & M.Barnes