September 2013: Welsh Wizards

Paul Bowden reports:

Over the weekend of 14th/15th September seven visitors and over twenty pupils and staff from Rydal Penrhos gathered for the first ever Welsh Tournament. This was exactly a year after the official opening of the refurbished courts to which the EFA had contributed.

Over the last three years Fives at Rydal Penrhos has made giant strides thanks to some excellent GAP year coaches and the whole hearted support of the Director of Sport and PE Mike Leach.

The Saturday tournament involved everybody playing a series of fifteen minute matches, skilfully organised by Howard Wiseman, with the four players with the highest average qualifying for the final. So good was the standard of the young school players that none of the visitors made it to the final! In an excellent game of fine skills and long rallies Tom Cotterell and William Sissons just managed to overcome Alex Benfield and Jack Sissons who had had to beat Sashwath Ganapathi in a ‘penalty shootout’ to qualify for the final after both had finished with exactly the same average. The winners were presented with the perpetual trophy which had been donated by Paul Bowden.

Guests and visitors enjoyed a lovely evening at Pen y Bryn, a fine local hostelry, where Seb Cooley showed a particularly liking for cream and managed not only a starter and a main course but two puddings too! This indulgence did not prevent him and all the others from being ready to play at 10.00 a.m.on Sunday. The weather forecast was dire but in the event, conditions were not too bad and a good crowd of parents and friends turned up to watch.

Two competitions were played both following the same format as Saturday, one for the guest players and the seven strongest players from the School and the other for everybody else. At the end of the round robin games, the lower competition final was played between Patrick Gluck, the GAP student from New Zealand, and Ewan Luke who beat Matti Fiorita and Tom McCloskey 12-8 in an exciting final.

In the higher final, Seb Cooley and Mike Leach were matched against Mark Yates and Will Sissons. After many fluctuations the score eventually reached 11 all. It was anybody’s game but finally Seb and Mike prevailed 12-11.

Over the two days Will was quite outstanding: his movement and anticipation on court, his control on the top step and consistency from the back court were remarkable for one so young. But it is fair to say that all of the school players made significant progress over the two days and we wish them a happy and successful season.

Thanks go to all the guests who contributed to such a happy and productive weekend, to Howard for his organisational skills, to the school and to Mike Leach in particular for hosting the event so graciously and to the Headmaster for his unfailing support. I am sure that this will become a regular event in the Fives calendar.