2013 Mixed Universities title still up for grabs

Emily Scoones reports:

The Jesters Mixed University Championships were held at Highgate yesterday on a very dingy Sunday. However this did not put a downer on the fives. The whole tournament was full of great matches, upsets, games of nip and tuck and showed a great standard from all the pairs that came. The final between Bath and London Law Schools was halted due to injury and will be replayed at a later date.

In Group 2, things were more straightforward, with Bath University, Emily Scoones and Tim Leech and Cambridge 1, Elana Osen and Rob Wilson defeating Durham 2, Emily Mann and last minute stand in, debut making James Drinkwater and the Hartpury/London team, Rugby fives player Vicki Westwood and Abs Bhattacharya. All the pairs had great matches, but it was the more experienced players who took the two spots into the semi-finals. A great match between Durham 2 & Hartpury/London showed the potential from the newcomers, with Hartpury/London winning 15-2. It was the top position decider between Bath and Cambridge 1 which turned out to be the tightest match of the morning. It was nip and tuck all the way with Cambridge pulling away to 11- 14 but Bath held their nerve and pulled it back to win 15-14 and take the group. There were some great rallies, with Wilson cutting well and Osen playing very consistently; however it was Leech’s aggressive play which made that last bit of difference.

In Group 1 first seeded London Law School pair, Rosie Scott and Laurie Brock, dominated the group, qualifying in first. It was the second semi-final place that was fiercely contested by Durham 1, Ipswichians Sarah Frost and Chris Lavelle, Imperial, Sarah Greasley and Darshan Patel and Cambridge 2, Anneliese O’Malley and Jack Weller. The scores may not show it but all the matches were hard-fought and high quality. Durham 1 beat Cambridge 2, 15-14, but lost to Imperial, 4-15. However, Imperial then lost to Cambridge 2 by 14-15. With each pair winning one match, the place was decided by points difference which saw Imperial through to the semi-final.

The semi-finals went quite smoothly with London Law Schools defeating Cambridge 1, 12-4, 12-1 and Bath having a slightly harder time defeating Imperial 12-2, 12-7. Greasley showed her vast improvement, returning some immense shots on top step, and Patel playing some great power shots to the back, but it was not enough to beat the more experienced Bath pair.

The scene for the final was set from the first point, featuring great rallies with all players playing great shots and returning well. It was nip and tuck all the way in the first game with London Law staying a couple of points ahead of Bath throughout. However, good cut returning from Scoones and solid defence and shooting from Leach meant that Bath won the first set 12- 10. The second set began in exactly the same way with every point being fought for, Brock producing great top-step play and Scott playing high quality shots. The scoreline was 4-3 to London Law when disaster struck for Bath. Scoones fell badly on the step, her ankle swelling instantly and having to make a trip to A&E luckily to receive the news it was only very badly sprained. The final will be continued, hopefully over Easter.

The plate was another great success with great Fives and fun being had by all. There were many good games, many that were close and each point was highly contested. Overall a great day of Fives from all.

Our thanks go to Highgate School for allowing us to use their courts for the tournament.