Young & Tavra Win At Repton
28/10/19: Hugo Young added to his growing trophy haul this season with a win in the Midlands Tournament at Repton at the weekend, alongside Old Zuozer Marc Tavra.
The weekend started with 28 pairs divided into four groups and an absolutely wide-open competition with any number of pairs fancying their chances of getting their hands on the trophy. As usual, the top four from each group made it through to Sunday's main competition with the other pairs fighting it out for the Festival. Group A was won by the only participant who could claim to have taken part in the original iteration of the Midlands Tournament at KES Birmingham as Pete Scholey & Abs Bhattacharya made it though followed by ladies champions Karen Hird & Charlotta Cooley, Chris Lumbard & Harry Asquith and Derby Moor Rugby Fives players Lewis Keates & Bally Singh. Group B was won by another new pairing in Alex Abrahams & Ralph Morgan with their closest challengers having a strong Ipswichian flavour in Steve Burnell & Isaac Weaver and the old firm of Peter Boughton & Tony Stubbs, former ladies champions Lia & Dom Redmond completing the list of qualifiers.
Group C produced probably the best group stage game of the tournament as Hugo Young & Marc Tavra came from behind to beat Olavians Josh Ravi & Sanjay Kundu (not their last meeting of the weekend as it turned out) as they qualified in first and second place ahead of Ashley Lumbard & Emily Scoones and Old St Beghian Adrian Peckitt & his Derby Moor partner Raheem. Former school partners - celebrating their combined 100th birthday this year - Howard Wiseman & Jeff Lawrence negotiated their way through Pool D without too much difficulty, Gareth & Tom Hoskins pulling off a couple of spectacular comebacks to finish second ahead of Belmont staff pair Andrew Rennie & Ollie McGuinness and the Stowe/St.Olave's pairing of Poom Hall & Isaiah Akpovwa.
Saturday's rain gave way to glorious Sunday sunshine for the knock out stages of both competitions. The last sixteen of the main tournament produced a couple of cliffhangers, both of which resulted in 14-15 defeats for the top two ranked ladies pairs, Karen & Charlotta just being pipped by Andrew & Ollie and Ashley & Emily losing out agonisingly to Steve & Isaac. Mention should also be made of Poom & Isaiah, who pushed Ralph & Alex hard before going down 15-11. There were still no real favourites emerging as the quarter-finals got underway: Scholey & Bhattacharya looked good as they made short work of Boughton & Stubbs; Young & Tavra looked as though they were beginning to gel as a pairing as they cruised past Rennie & McGuinness; Wiseman & Lawrence kept their chances alive winning two close set games against Weaver & Burnell and Ravi & Kundu hit a hot streak to win surprisingly easily against the fancied Abrahams & Morgan.
The semi-finals were classic youth v experience battles and to start with it was experience that held sway. Scholey & Bhattacharya hit a purple patch at just the right time at to come from behind and win the first game against Tavra & Young, while Ravi & Kundu were all over the place in the first game against Wiseman & Lawrence. Both matches then turned on their head in the second as Young & Tavra got off to a flying start which they quickly turned into a 12-2 win to level the scores in their semi. A similar story was unfolding next door as Ravi & Kundu found their feet and began to dominate against Wiseman & Lawrence, winning the second to 5 and the third to 6 to book their place in the final. Tavra & Young had to work much harder in the third game to complete their comeback win but they always managed to keep their noses in front and with Marc finding a more settled rhythm with fewer unforced errors, Hugo was able to keep control of the game on top step to take his pair through with a 12-9 win.
With Lumbard & Scoones having cleaned up all opposition in impressive style to win the plate, all eyes turned to the final with Josh Ravi defending the title he'd won last year with Tony Barker against the Bhattacharya brothers and Hugo looking to add the Midlands trophy to the Under 25s and Universities that are already in his pocket this season. The first game was a Hugo Young masterclass, with a dominant performance centred around consistent cut returning, strong volleying and great lengths into the buttress from front and back of the court. In the group game between the two pairs the day before, Marc had made too many mistakes and allowed Josh & Sanjay to keep it close. In the final he was a player transformed, providing the perfect solid foil to Hugo's pyrotechnics and producing a few handy winners himself for good measure. The second game was much closer as Josh & Sanjay showed a few classy touches of their own, but they were unable consistently to find a way past their opponents and there were still more than enough cut returns coming from Hugo & Marc to put them in the box seat throughout and clinch an impressive 12-2, 12-7 win.
The Festival is always a delightful competition, with a huge variety of pairs involved and some nailbiting matches. The final was a mini classic - played as a best of five game match - with all three games going right to the wire and all three won by Olavian youngsters Franklin Baron & Genesis Muzenbe against Elana Osen & Hugo Tobias, who narrowly missed out on adding a second festival title to his first, won back in 2007.
Thanks as always to Howard Wiseman & Dominique Redmond for organising the whole weekend and to everyone at Repton for hosting the event. If you've never played in this tournament, it's one of the most fun weekends on the calendar so why not pencil it in for 2020?
Ab.Bhattacharya & P.Scholey beat A.Peckitt & Raheem 15-3
P.Boughton & T.Stubbs beat G.Hoskins & T.Hoskins 15-4
A.Rennie & O.Mcguinness beat K.Hird & C.Cooley 15-14
H.Young & M.Tavra beat D.Redmond & L.Redmond 15-5
J.Ravi & S.Kundu beat C.Lumbard & H.Asquith 15-9
A.Abrahams & R.Morgan beat P.Hall & I.Akpovwa 15-11
S.Burnell & I.Weaver beat A.Lumbard & E.Scoones 15-14
H.Wiseman & J.Lawrence beat L.Keates & B.Singh 15-2
Ab.Bhattacharya & P.Scholey beat P.Boughton & T.Stubbs 2-0 (12-2, 12-6)
H.Young & M.Tavra beat A.Rennie & O.Mcguinness 2-0 (12-4, 12-6)
J.Ravi & S.Kundu beat A.Abrahams & R.Morgan 2-0 (12-6, 12-9)
H.Wiseman & J.Lawrence beat S.Burnell & I.Weaver 2-0 (15-12, 14-13)
H.Young & M.Tavra beat Ab.Bhattacharya & P.Scholey 2-1 (9-12, 12-2, 12-9)
J.Ravi & S.Kundu beat H.Wiseman & J.Lawrence 2-1 (2-12, 12-5, 12-6)
H.Young & M.Tavra beat J.Ravi & S.Kundu 2-0 (12-2, 12-7)
Plate (Round Robin)
Winners: A.Lumbard & E.Scoones
F.Baron & G.Muzenba BYE
S.Kirby & D.Ali beat Silas & Matthew 15-3
Hugh & Sankaman beat Will & Luke 15-10
Ethan & Nathan BYE
Rufus & Ollie beat E.O'Malley & Ed 15-14
E.Habershon & C.Wheeler BYE
Alex & Harry beat Roger & Owen 15-4
E.Osen & H.Tobias BYE
F.Baron & G.Muzenba beat S.Kirby & D.Ali 2-0 (12-6, 12-5)
Ethan & Nathan beat Hugh & Sankaman 2-0 (15-12, 12-10)
E.Habershon & C.Wheeler beat Rufus & Ollie 2-0 (12-4, 12-4)
E.Osen & H.Tobias beat Alex & Harry 2-1 (12-2, 5-12, 12-7)
F.Baron & G.Muzenba beat Ethan & Nathan 2-0 (12-7, 14-11)
E.Osen & H.Tobias beat E.Habershon & C.Wheeler 2-0 (12-4, 12-3)
F.Baron & G.Muzenba beat E.Osen & H.Tobias 3-0 (12-10, 12-9, 14-12)