Barber Cup Final Outcome Undecided

25/02/19: The outcome of the Alan Barber Cup remains undecided after the final at Eton on Sunday.

The Old Salopians won two of the three pairs played, but there had been an objection made before the match by the Old Harrovians about the relative strength of the first and second Salopian pairs. The Salopians had the choice of changing the order of their pairs or sticking with their original choice and chose the latter option. The matter will now be referred to a competitions sub-committee panel to be convened by sub-committee chairman Mark Williams.

Mark Williams reports:

With two strong teams assembled and a different winner to the ‘norm’ guaranteed, the neutrals were looking forward to an interesting contest.

At third pair, Salopians Chris Hughes and Sam Welti were too strong for evergreen Jamie Fleming and Qassi Gaba in the first two games. Shrewsbury were 11-7 ahead in the third game when Harrow upped their game, levelling at 11-11; however, Shrewsbury recovered their nerve and won through 14-11.

At first pair, Harrow’s Tom Dunbar and a much improved Oskar Denby had the upper hand throughout against Rex Worth and Tom Cox. It was a closer fight in the third game with the Salopians playing with great determination, but they found Tom Dunbar on impressive form, well supported by an increasingly confident Oskar Denby, and Harrow ended up winning comfortably 12-7.

The second pair game was a very well matched contest between Peter Dunbar and Rahul Wijeratne (Harrow) and Ed Taylor and George Thomason (Shrewsbury). The match was evenly poised at 1 game all, with Harrow carrying the momentum of winning the second game 12-3 into the third game. At this point, however, the Salopians really knuckled down, significantly improving their cutting, and making fewer unforced errors. With the majority of rallies taking place on the Shrewsbury serve, the pressure began to tell and Shrewsbury won the game convincingly in the end. Harrow began the fourth game well and established a lead, but Shrewsbury never lost their consistency and intensity. Crucially they were both able to cut Rahul Wijeratne down pretty much at will, and Peter Dunbar was also struggling to return cut and therefore forced into taking risks. Ed Taylor, still remarkably fit and mobile for a 44 year-old, played his usual competitive and unorthodox game to great effect, and George Thomason cut superbly and increasingly dominated the rallies. The score reached 6-6 and stayed unchanged for several minutes, but the Salopian pressure inevitably took its toll, so that they pulled away to win convincingly once more.

On court Shrewsbury therefore won 2-1, but Harrow had objected to Shrewsbury’s pairs before the start, and Shrewsbury declined to change them, as they are both entitled to do, so the result of the match will now go to arbitration by a specially convened group of neutral experienced players.

Provisional Result (Salopian names first)

R.Worth & T.Cox lost to T.Dunbar & O.Denby 0-3 (4-12, 3-12, 7-12)

E.Taylor & G.Thomason beat P.Dunbar & R.Wijeratne 3-1 (12-7, 3-12, 12-5, 12-4)

C.Hughes & S.Welti beat J.Fleming & Q.Gaba 3-0 (12-3, 12-7, 13-11)

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