Veterans 2019: Legends Are Taylor Made

Graham Pulsford reports:

29/04/19: The Veterans Competition in association with Advanta Wealth, newly renamed the Legends Competition, is truly a great finale to the fives season and this year was particularly competitive in the fight for all three trophies.

The afternoon is always a pleasing opportunity to spend an afternoon playing fives and meeting up with friends and foes alike and this year’s newcomers included brothers Jon and Pete Shorrocks (a national schools' finalist in 1976 and winner in 1977).

The result of the three Legends finals were:

Open Competition for the MJS-J Cup

Al Taylor & Ed Taylor beat Niifio Addy & Guy Chapman

The MJS-J Cup is often a marathon with close games from start to finish – and this year there were six games for each pair to ‘enjoy’. There was some great fives with a wonderful cross section of styles and shot selection on view from players with real quality – Grant Williams, Sid Simmons, Marco Rimini, Alex Knight, Niifio Addy and Ed Taylor to name just a few.

The crucial games in the early rounds saw Al Taylor & Ed Taylor edge a 12-11 win over the ever-competitive Mike Hughes & Grant Williams, and Niifio Addy & Guy Chapman fly from the blocks to beat Chris Austin & Sid Simmons 12-8 before Sid had settled in after his lengthy journey from Wolverhampton. Another close 12-11 saw Marc Quinn & Bill Emlyn Jones eclipse Marco Rimini & Jonny Saunders in an energy sapping epic. Alex Knight & Manuel De Souza-Girao had their moments and a victory. Mike Hughes & Grant Williams fought themselves into third place with Mike securing a lethal tally of shots ‘dead’ into the hole.

After three hours of play the remaining two unbeaten pairs, Al Taylor & Ed Taylor and Niifio Addy & Guy Chapman, came face to face. There were some lengthy rallies as the two pairs vied for early supremacy, but it was Ed’s aggressive volleying that gave his pair an early advantage and, at 9-4 up, the Taylors looked like cruising to victory. At this stage Niifio & Guy showed that they weren’t in the final to make up the numbers and they ‘dug in’, put the severe pressure on Al and slowly the score crept up to 9-9. The players were tense, the crowds were tense and, after a series of hands without scoring, the last three points were won in a flurry of quick rallies with Al to the forefront and the result a 12-9 win for the brothers. Niifio and Guy will be back next year...

Ronald Pattison presented the MJS Cup to the delighted and exhausted brothers.

Over 50s Competition for the Chris Cup(s)

Pete Scholey & Graham Pulsford beat Chris Davies & Chris Lloyd

The final was won by guile and experience, and a large chunk of good fortune, as the older pairing of Pete Scholey & Graham Pulsford overcame the evergreen Chis Davies & Chris Lloyd; the latter competing in their seventh successive final. From the start Pete Scholey & Graham Pulsford maintained a small points lead and however hard Chris Davies & Chris Lloyd tried there always appeared an unlucky ledge or edge to prevent them reducing the lead. There were a series of excellent rallies, with some memorable volleys from the maestro Chris Davies and some superb back court winners from Chris Lloyd, but the consistency from the older pair with Pete Scholey in particularly effective and robust form was enough to see them through to a 15-9 victory.

Chris Davies sportingly presented the Chris Cups to the winners.

The play off for third place was an interesting battle between the well-matched pairings of Paul Kendall & Phil Lyndon and Jon Shorrocks & Pete Shorrocks. The lengthy game seesawed and neither pair managed a ‘clean break’ until at 11-10 the Berkhamsted brothers produced a coordinated push for the finishing line and closed the game out 15-11.

Over 60s Competition for the Walters Cup

Richard Dennis & Simon Woolfries beat Nigel Cox & Rod Smart

The Over 60s Competition for the Walters Cup was won 15-9 by Richard Dennis & Simon Woolfries who had enough experience to out think and outplay Uberveteran Nigel Cox & Rod Smart in a very good natured final. Simon Woolfries & Peter Boughton were the 2018 winners and, after a sporting injury to Peter Boughton, Simon had carefully selected a partner of quality who could assist him to retain the trophy!

Richard Black, after some delightful words of introduction, presented the Walters Cup to the winners.

David Cooper & Richard Black took third place – with a combined age of 150 they were in fine form both on court and in general conversation! It was great to see Gideon Osen, John Cooley, Richard and David to continue and play an extra game after the official competition had ended.

David Cooper was confirmed as the oldest Legend to have played in the competition, a youthful 79, and as he left, he modestly pre booked his place for the 2020 competition.

Nigel Cox celebrated his 74th Birthday with cake and wine in the Henry VI pub with backing singers Pete, Simon, Niifio, Graham, Ed and Al inadvertently clearing the pub after a loud rendition of the traditional Happy Birthday song.

Many thanks to those who helped make the day enjoyable by playing or coming to watch and Eton College as hosts.

Note: - If you are over 40 you are eligible for these competitions

Note: - 2020 is the 36th Veterans Competition – the more pairs the merrier!

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