2011 Prep Schools' Tournament: Highgate dominate again

James Woodcock reports:

35 pairs from nine Schools participated at Eton this year by kind permission of the Head Master.

Whilst five group winners progressed easily through to the quarter-finals there were some tight matches, notably Highgate 3 beating Summer Fields 2 by 15-13 and Summer Fields 3 beating the first pairs from Orley Farm and Cranleigh. This resulted in four Highgate pairs being joined by Ipswich 1, Ludgrove 1 and Summer Fields 1 &3.

The quarter-finals provided no surprises with the line up in the semi-final a re-run of last year’s U12 competition. Summer Fields 1 enjoyed the early exchanges within their match against Highate 1 only to see their opponents pull away from 4-4 and this was repeated in the second game. Meanwhile a fantastic match was being played by the talented Ipswich first pair against Highate 2. They won a titanic first game 14-13 and looked to have the match in their grasp at 11-7 in the second. Sadly for them the resilience of the Highate pair and too many errors on their behalf saw them edged out 13-14 and in the deciding game Highgate dominated. The final proved to be another excellent match with a young but highly talented player Ingimar Tomasson combining most effectively with the left handed Eve Smith-Bingham, niece of a dual winner, and the best U19 female player, facing a strong second pair. This was as good a final as we have had for many years with the younger first pair ultimately showing too much class at the critical moments, winning in three games. Meanwhile in the plate for the best losing quarter-finalist Highgate 3 overcame Highgate 4, again in three games.

In the Marston plate there were some excellent matches in a competition which is becoming increasingly difficult to win. In the semi-finals Summer Fields 2 managed to lose from 11-5 against Ludgrove 2, whilst Orley Farm, having overcome Sunningdale 1 in the quarter-final 12-11, beat a resilient Cranleigh 2 in the semis and then beat Ludgrove 2 in the final 12-10. This was a second consecutive win for Orley Farm.

Our prizes were presented by John Barclay, a former National Schools' finalist and former MCC president. His enthusiasm and encouragement to all were much appreciated.

Results

Semi-finals

Highgate 1 (I Tomasson & E Smith-Bingham) beat Summer Fields 1 (B Harrison & C Straker) 2-0 (12-4, 12-5)

Highgate 2 (B Hopkins & R MacLennon) beat Ipswich 1 (C Lyle & A Patten) 2-1 (13-14, 14-13, 12-5)

Final

Highgate 1 beat Highgate 2 2-1 (12-10, 13-14, 12-9)

Marston Plate

Orley Farm 1 beat Ludgrove 2

Quarter-finalists Plate winners

Highgate 3