Double Delight For Fiorita At The Welsh Invitational
18/09/18: The sixth edition of the now well-established Welsh Invitational tournament took place at Rydal Penrhos in Colwyn Bay at the weekend and resulted in a second successive double success for Matty Fiorita, who retained both the Saturday and the Sunday trophies that he won last year.
These are slightly uncertain times for Rydal Fives, with no gap year coach in place this year and legendary coach Mike Leach moving on, but this year's tournament showed that Fives is still thriving on the North Wales coast, with deputy head Tim Cashell now in charge and lots of talented and enthusiastic players getting on court at the school.
The usual assortment of visiting players - several former Rydal coaches, EFA grandees including regional development manager Tom Tsang plus various Fives tourists (the usual suspects) - joined in with the school players for a hugely enjoyable weekend of different competitions and timed matches with partners and opponents switching round at a bewlidering pace, marshalled by tournament supremos Mark Williams and Paul Bowden.
Saturday's final featured the four most successful school players and was won by defending champion Matty Fiorita, who teamed up with George Watkins to sneak past Anthony Bowe & Christian Cheesley in the final.
After the traditional Saturday evening dinner at Pen Y Bryn and the Bhattacharyas' annual pilgrimage to the fleshpots of Llandudno the Sunday morning, play was surprisingly fierce, aided by an injection of expertise from giant of the game Seb Cooley. Seb didn't have things all his own way, however, and with old boy Tom Cotterell showing some great skills for someone who only plays once a year, the Bhattacharyas looking decidedly sprightly for a Sunday morning and Isaac Wagland looking surprisingly uninjured, qualifying places for the semi-finals were tough to come by. The school players, too, were battling hard, although in the end Fiorita came out on top, finishing as top school qualifier and getting the bonus of drawing Seb as his partner for the knock out stages after Seb sneaked into the final adult qualifying place. Into the semis and then the final, nothing could stop the Cooley/Fiorita pairing as they saw off Abs Bhattacharya & Josh Stewart in the final to pick up the trophy and clinch the double double for Matty after last year's similar triumphs, confirming his status as the new Will Sissons in terms of Welsh Invitational successes.
The Junior competition was a delight to behold as the younger boys and the four Year 7 girls took on board the advice and confidence gained from playing with the adults and older pupils on the Saturday, demonstrating huge improvements over the course of the weekend and showing that the future of Rydal Fives is in good hands. The semi-finals and final pitched together four mixed pairs and in the end it was Jonathan Osbourne & Ella James who came out on top in a fabulous final.
Our thanks go to Tim Cashell and everyone at Rydal for hosting the tournament so well, to Paul Bowden and Mark Williams for their organisational efforts and to all of the players who made the effort to travel to Colwyn Bay and see for themselves just how well the sport is thriving in its North Walian outpost.
Saturday 15 September
A.Bowe & C.Cheesley beat R.Mortuza & J.Rajagopal 12-11
M.Fiorita & G.Watkins beat C.Earle & J.Osbourne 12-9
M.Fiorita & G.Watkins beat A.Bowe & C.Cheesley 12-6
Sunday 16 September
Senior Semi Finals
S.Cooley & M.Fiorita beat T.Cotterell & A.Bathula 12-8
Ab.Bhattacharya & J.Stewart beat Ar.Bhattacharya & A.Bowe 12-11
S.Cooley & M.Fiorita beat Ab.Bhattacharya & J.Stewart 12-9
J.Osbourne & E.James beat G.Hoskins & L.Davies 12-11
O.Davies & A.Milligan beat F.James & E.Durrans 12-6
J.Osbourne & E.James beat O.Davies & A.Milligan 12-6