Kinnaird Cup 2019
18/03/19: The qualifying rounds of the Kinnaird Cup in association with Advanta Wealth took place at Eton over the weekend, with 56 pairs taking part across the two days in both the main and the festival competitions.
The main competition entry of 24 pairs was slightly down on last year, with injury, late unavailability and the vicissitudes of the Wolverhampton Wanderers fixture list removing a couple of pairs from the draw who would normally have expected to be there. The quality was high from the start, however, with the sixteen unseeded pairs fighting it out on the Saturday morning to give themselves a shot at taking on one of the eight seeded pairs in the afternoon. For the first time in a while we were pleased to welcome an Old Uppinghamian pair - Matt Chinery & Robert Thorogood - and an Old Zuozer pair - Bogdan Dovgyy & Marc Tavra.
There were some excellent matches in the morning, with Old Westminsters Hugo Young & Can Koksal in fine form with a 3-1 win over U21 champion Prajeeth Sathiyamoorthy and young Gwydion Wiseman. The regular pairings of ladies champions Karen Hird & Charlotta Cooley and Chris Lumbard & Ralph Morgan both pushed their opponents (the Bhattacharya brothers and Olavians Josh Ravi & Sanja Kundu) hard without ever quite doing enough to threaten a win, Royal Holloway students Will Seath & Ollie Avery found the going tough against Salopians Chris Hughes & T Walters and there were comfortable wins for Tom McCahon & Julian Black and Andrew Rennie & Charles Plummer.
Two of the matches turned into bona fide five game classics. 2017 Pepperpot champions Steve Burnell & Tim Gregory got off to a strong start against the Oxford University/Oxford Brookes pairing of Sam Mcloughlin & Will Ponsonby, winning the first game 12-4. When the Oxford pair then won the second and took the third from 7-11 down, the writing looked to be on the wall for the Ipswichians but they fought back to level at 2-2 with a fine win in the fourth. Steve & Tim then went 8-1 up in the fifth but there was a final twist as Sam & Will gradually inched their way back into the match point by point as the Ipswichian cut returns dried up and the unlikely first became possible, then probable and then finally inevitable as they closed the match out 12-8. If that match seemed to take a long time, it was nothing in comparison with the final first round match, as Highgate coach David Mew (a former Kinnaird semi-finalist) & Old Cholmeleian Emily Scoones took on North Oxford's Nathan Turnbull & Noah Caplin. This was a magnificent match, with both pairs evenly matched and all four players giving their all, especially in a first game that lasted the best part of an hour and was finally won 15-13 by Nathan & Noah. Dave & Emily hit back, though, taking the second and third and it was greatly to Noah & Nathan's credit that they managed to recover from the loss of the tight third game to come back and eventually win in five after three and a half hours of play.
Their reward was a quick sandwich and then straight back on court to take on third seeds and former finalists Peter Dunbar & George Campbell and they acquitted themselves well considering the effort they had already put in, before finally succumbing to the inevitable. The other top seeded pairs had similarly straightforward passages through the second round, defending champions Seb Cooley & Tom Dunbar seeing off Koksal & Young with the minimum of fuss and second seeds Jonny Ho & Riki Houlden breezing past Ravi & Kundu for the loss of just three points. Mcloughlin & Ponsonby - after their morning heroics - were unable to make much of an impression on fourth seeds Ant Theodossi & Ryan Perrie, fifth seeds Ed Taylor & Sunil Tailor demolished the Bhattacharyas pretty efficiently and sixth seeds Howard Wiseman & Tony Barker had little trouble defeating Tom McCahon & Julian Black. The closer last sixteen matches were always likely to feature the lower seeded pairs and there were a couple of fine matches to keep the afternoon crowd entertained. The new pairing of George Thomason & James Piggot were seeded seventh and they found themselves up against the improving Aldenhamian/Millhillian pair of Andrew Rennie & Charles Plummer. This was a very watchable match with all four players offering something different - ferocious cutting and sharp volleying from Thomason, the athleticism and reach of Rennie, the ambidexterity and touch of Plummer and quick reflexes and awkward left-handed angles from Piggot. Both the first and third games in particular were very close, with Rennie & Plummer getting to 11-9 up in the third, but in the end Thomason & Piggot just had that little bit extra composure and precision when it mattered and they won in three to take their place in the quarter-finals.
The final last sixteen match was another epic, as eighth seeded Cholmeleians Matt Kovar & Joe Marks took on the ninth-ranked Salopians Chris Hughes & T Walters. There looked to be very little to choose between these two pairs on paper and so it proved on court in a long, tense and exciting match whose outcome was in the balance all the way to the final point. It was the Salopians who had the edge early on, winning the first two games to 9 and 8. With the winning line tantalisingly close in the third game, though, the tide began to turn slightly and the Cholmeleians turned the tables to win the third and then the fourth by the same margins. Although the match was still incredibly close, the winning momentum was with Matt & Joe at the start of the fifth and it was therefore a very impressive performance from Chris and T to hang on in there during the fifth game and finally get their noses in front when it counted to win it 12-8.
None of the four Sunday afternoon quarter-final matches were particularly close, with all four being won in straight games, but the standard of Fives on display was very high and a treat to watch for the spectators and for the large number of pairs playing in the Festival competition that was running in parallel, many of whom had not seen Fives played at that level before. Cooley & Dunbar were as efficient as ever in easing past Hughes & Walters; Thomason & Piggot had their moments against Ho & Houlden and caused them some problems but were unable to put them under enough consistent pressure to win a game; Campbell & Dunbar were always in control of a lengthy and slightly attritional encounter against Wiseman & Barker and Theodossi & Perrie were unable to reach the level they were at a couple of years ago before their 2017/18 sabbatical, losing in three games to Ed Taylor & Sunil Tailor, both of whom looked very sharp indeed, with Sunil making the semi-finals for the first time ever, and almost certainly the first old boy of QE Barnet to do so.
The Pepperpot Trophy for the pairs who lost in the first round was as keenly fought over as ever. Mew & Scoones succumbed to the after effects of their morning marathon, leaving Sathiyamoorthy & Wiseman and Hird & Cooley to qualify for the semi-finals from Group A. Burnell & Gregory looked to be strong contenders for a second title in three years as they came top of Group B, with Uppinghamians Thorogood & Chinery excelling themselves to qualify ahead of Lumbard & Morgan. The schoolboy pairing was then too strong for Matt & Robert in the first semi-final, while Steve & Tim just made it past Karen & Charlotta - who were hoping to become the first ladies pair to win the Pepperpot - in the other semi-final. Victory came at a price, however, with Burnell ending the game practically on one leg, meaning that the final was something of a damp squib as a contest, Sathiyamoorthy & Wiseman winning comfortably to take the trophy.
The Sunday Festival has quietly established itself as a fixture of the Kinnaird weekend in recent years and this year it took off in spectacular style with 37 pairs packing out the Eton courts for a wonderful day of Fives for young, old and uberveteran alike. Early morning transport and logistics difficulties were soon overcome as the eight morning pools sifted the competitors into various different competitions for the afternoon. The non-qualifiers from the group stages split into three plate competitions; Plate D (for fifth-place group finishers) was a heavily Ipswichian affair but was won by North Oxford pair Toby & Will Bush in their first competitive foray beyond the Summer Fields courts. Plate B - for the third place group finishers - was won by another North Oxford pair in Matt Chinery & Steve Gore and a North Oxford clean sweep of the lower plates was only prevented by a narrow semi-final defeat in Plate C (for fourth placed group finishers) for Andy Bishop & Faye Kerr at the hands of Berkhamsted youngsters Auld & Longbottom, who went on to win an all Berko final against Oldham & Montero.
The top two pairs in the group stages went through into the knockout rounds, with no clear favourite yet emerging and lots of pairs all fancying their chances. The last sixteen pairs were a great cross-section of the Fives world, with seasoned club players, the three top women's pairs in the country, some useful student pairs, up and coming schoolboys and girls and some grizzled veterans all in the mix. The eight pairs who lost at this stage went into Plate A, which was won in fine style by the father & daughter pairing of Tim & Charlotte Gregory who saw off the challenge of Berkhamsted's Matthew Foster & Joe Thompson in the final.
Things really started to heat up at the quarter-final stage of the festival itself, with overall victory now only three matches away. Chris Lumbard & Ralph Morgan laid down an early marker, clinically dispatching the past & present Cambridge pair of Nathan Turnbull & Nick Choustikov, whose previously strong challenge suddenly crumbled. Hopes of a female winner were also dashed at the last eight stage, Hird & Cooley going down 15-10 to Olavian school pair Tim Byrne & Isaac Adebkun and Ashley Lumbard & Emily Scoones narrowly losing 15-12 to Cambridge pair Akhil Shah & Viral Gudiwala. The quarter-final line-up was completed by the Ipswich coach/pupil pairing of Tony Stubbs & Isaac Weaver, who won a riveting match against the impressive Berkhamsted pair of Charlie Doe & Jack Pemberton.
Weaver & Stubbs were again pushed to the limit in the semi-finals, just managing to overcome Adebkun & Byrne 15-13, while Gudiwala & Shah produced their best performance of the day to end the challenge of Morgan & Lumbard with a 15-8 win. 2019 has been the year that has seen Tony Stubbs make the quantum leap in his Fives career from Plate specialist to Festival specialist. The big question for the watching masses was could he go one better than he had as a losing finalist up at Shrewsbury and could he claim a potentially career-defining victory? The answer was a resounding yes: Shah & Gudiwala produced some good shots but made too many unforced errors; Weaver was everywhere, moving and volleying well and returning everything. Stubbs himself was playing like a man possessed, feeling the hand of destiny on his shoulders guiding him towards a 15-8 win, the victory chocolates and no doubt a celebratory stop at every single service station between Eton and Ipswich on the way home. A fine end to a fine competition.
My thanks go to George Thomason and Eton for hosting the competition, to Advanta Wealth for their sponsorship, to Mark Williams for his organisational assistance and to all those who came and played over the course of the weekend.
H.Young & C.Koksal beat P.Sathiyamoorthy & G.Wiseman 3-1 (12-6, 6-12, 14-11, 12-10)
C.Hughes & T.Walters beat W.Seath & O.Avery 3-0 (12-1, 12-0, 12-1)
A.Bhattacharya & A.Bhattacharya beat K.Hird & C.Cooley 3-0 (12-3, 12-9, 12-5)
S.Mcloughlin & W.Ponsonby beat S.Burnell & T.Gregory 3-2 (4-12, 12-8, 14-12, 8-12, 12-8)
N.Caplin & N.Turnbull beat D.Mew & E.Scoones 3-2 (15-13, 4-12, 10-12, 12-7, 12-4)
T.McCahon & J.Black beat B.Dovgyy & M.Tavra 3-0 (12-4, 12-0, 12-1)
A.Rennie & C.Plummer beat R.Thorogood & M.Chinery 3-0 (12-1, 12-0, 12-2)
J.Ravi & S.Kundu beat C.Lumbard & R.Morgan 3-1 (12-4, 10-12, 12-2, 12-2)
T.Dunbar & S.Cooley (1) beat H.Young & C.Koksal 3-0 (12-1, 12-0, 12-2)
C.Hughes & T.Walters beat M.Kovar & J.Marks (8) 3-2 (12-9, 12-8, 8-12, 9-12, 12-8)
E.Taylor & S.Tailor (5) beat A.Bhattacharya & A.Bhattacharya 3-0 (12-2, 12-1, 12-1)
A.Theodossi & R.Perrie (4) beat S.Mcloughlin & W.Ponsonby 3-0 (12-4, 12-4, 12-1)
P.Dunbar & G.Campbell (3) beat N.Caplin & N.Turnbull 3-0 (12-6, 12-1, 12-6)
H.Wiseman & T.Barker (6) beat T.McCahon & J.Black 3-0 (12-5, 12-0, 12-2)
G.Thomason & J.Piggot (7) beat A.Rennie & C.Plummer 3-0 (14-11, 12-5, 14-12)
J.Ho & R.Houlden (2) beat J.Ravi & S.Kundu 3-0 (12-1, 12-1, 12-1)
T.Dunbar & S.Cooley (1) beat C.Hughes & T.Walters 3-0 (12-2, 12-0, 12-3)
E.Taylor & S.Tailor (5) beat A.Theodossi & R.Perrie (4) 3-0 (12-8, 12-6, 12-5)
P.Dunbar & G.Campbell (3) beat H.Wiseman & T.Barker (6) 3-0 (12-7, 12-1, 12-8)
J.Ho & R.Houlden (2) beat G.Thomason & J.Piggot (7) 3-0 (12-5, 12-8, 12-5)
S.Burnell & T.Gregory beat K.Hird & C.Cooley 15-11
P.Sathiyamoorthy & G.Wiseman beat R.Thorogood & M.Chinery 15-3
P.Sathiyamoorthy & G.Wiseman beat S.Burnell & T.Gregory 15-4
Kinnaird Cup Festival
C.Lumbard & R.Morgan beat C.Boy & F.Baron 15-8
N.Turnbull & N.Choustikov beat M.Foster & J.Thompson 15-8
V.Gudiwala & A.Shah beat G.Wiseman & S.Scott 15-4
A.Lumbard & E.Scoones beat D.Redmond & L.Redmond 15-3
I.Weaver & T.Stubbs beat T.Gregory & C.Gregory 15-2
J.Pemberton & C.Doe beat A.Deshmukh & T.Sachi 15-6
I.Adebkun & T.Byrne beat N.Bunyan & N.Cox 15-8
K.Hird & C.Cooley beat B.Dovgyy & M.Tavra 15-0
C.Lumbard & R.Morgan beat N.Turnbull & N.Choustikov 15-3
V.Gudiwala & A.Shah beat A.Lumbard & E.Scoones 15-12
I.Weaver & T.Stubbs beat J.Pemberton & C.Doe 15-12
I.Adebkun & T.Byrne beat K.Hird & C.Cooley 15-10
V.Gudiwala & A.Shah beat C.Lumbard & R.Morgan 15-8
I.Weaver & T.Stubbs beat I.Adebkun & T.Byrne 15-13
I.Weaver & T.Stubbs beat V.Gudiwala & A.Shah 15-8
M.Foster & J.Thompson beat C.Boy & F.Baron 12-4
G.Wiseman & S.Scott beat D.Redmond & L.Redmond 12-4
T.Gregory & C.Gregory beat A.Deshmukh & T.Sachi 12-5
B.Dovgyy & M.Tavra beat N.Bunyan & N.Cox 12-10
M.Foster & J.Thompson beat G.Wiseman & S.Scott 12-9
T.Gregory & C.Gregory beat B.Dovgyy & M.Tavra 12-6
T.Gregory & C.Gregory beat M.Foster & J.Thompson 12-8
N.Tripathi & N.Chidipothu beat W.Seath & O.Avery 15-5
J.Ravi & C.Wheeler & I.Akpovwa & G.Muzenba 15-12
M.Chinery & S.Gore beat J.Hopkins & G.Martinez 15-1
I.Kidd & C.Broomfield beat W.Thomas & L.Rawlins 15-7
N.Tripathi & N.Chidipothu beat J.Ravi & C.Wheeler 15-9
M.Chinery & S.Gore beat I.Kidd & C.Broomfield 15-5
M.Chinery & S.Gore beat N.Tripathi & N.Chidipothu 15-10
I.Akpovwa & G.Muzenba beat W.Seath & O.Avery scr
J.Hopkins & G.Martinez beat W.Thomas & L.Rawlins 15-12
I.Akpovwa & G.Muzenba beat J.Hopkins & G.Martinez 15-8
T.Auld & H.Longbottom beat N.Madhavan & I.Bhargava 15-9
A.Bishop & F.Kerr beat P.Haldia & A.Pandey 15-9
E.Cameron & A.Upadhyay beat F.Anderson & R.Bhagwat 15-10
B.Oldham & C.Montero beat B.Forster & J.Schortien 15-14
T.Auld & H.Longbottom beat A.Bishop & F.Kerr 15-13
B.Oldham & C.Montero beat E.Cameron & A.Upadhyay 15-12
T.Auld & H.Longbottom beat B.Oldham & C.Montero 15-12
A.Bishop & F.Kerr beat E.Cameron & A.Upadhyay 12-6
P.Haldia & A.Pandey beat N.Madhavan & I.Bhargava 15-7
B.Forster & J.Schortien beat F.Anderson & R.Bhagwat 15-12
P.Haldia & A.Pandey beat B.Forster & J.Schortien 15-10
1. T.Bush & W.Bush
2. C.Chalmers & L.Davison
3. S.Weaver & S.van Slooten
4. A.Pang & J.Kam
5. B.Clark & N.O'Riordan