Kinnaird Cup Semis: Old Guard Roll Back The Years
25/10/20: After a seven month hiatus, the 2020 Kinnaird Cup semi-finals finally took place at Eton yesterday and it was the old guard of Seb Cooley & Tom Dunbar and James Toop & Matt Wiseman who made it through to next weekend's final.
Watch the matches here:
After such a long and uncertain wait, it was fantastic to see the top four pairs in this year's competition back at Eton and back playing against each other yesterday. The long break, the lack of recent competition and the difficulties in finding meaningful practice all gave an extra level of uncertainty to proceedings, but victories for Seb Cooley & Tom Dunbar are right up there in the inevitability stakes alongside death and taxes, however, and the nine times champions had a comfortable straight games win against Ant Theodossi & Ryan Perrie, quickly putting paid to any aspersions about their age unwittingly cast by innocent passers by.
The other semi-final was a mouthwatering prospect - a first meeting between 2019 London Tournament champions and Kinnaird finalists for the last two seasons Jonny Ho & Riki Houlden and three times former champions James Toop & Matt Wiseman, back playing in the competition for the first time since the 2017 final. Neutral hopes of a five game classic were soon dashed, however, as James & Matt took control of the match right from the start, dominating in almost every area of the game and leaving Jonny & Riki searching for answers that they were never able to find. Jonny & Riki fought hard and never gave up but they couldn't find a way past a rock solid Toop and an inspired Wiseman, who rolled back the years to win 12-5, 12-7, 12-4 and set up a rematch with their old nemeses Cooley & Dunbar.
S.Cooley & T.Dunbar beat A.Theodossi & R.Perrie 3-0 (12-5, 12-2, 12-3)
J.Toop & M.Wiseman beat J.Ho & R.Houlden 3-0 (12-5, 12-7, 12-4)
The Final in numbers
The 2020 final will be Tom Dunbar's 19th successive appearance in the final; he was won 15 of the 18 he has played in so far. He already holds the record for the most wins in the competition. This year he will tie the record number of appearances in the final set by Tony Hughes.
Cooley & Dunbar are aiming to win their 10th successive final, which would equal the ten in a row won as a pair by John Reynolds & Brian Matthews from 1981-1990. Reynolds also won in 1991, so his individual record for successive wins will remain intact for one more year at least.
Next weekend's match will be James Toop & Matt Wiseman's 13th appearance in the final as a pair; they have won the competition three times together. James has appeared in a further five finals (W1 L4).