2007 Aberconway Cup

Mike Fenn reports:

The seventeenth Championship took place at Eton College on a very hot Spring day, the hottest on record for April. For the second year running no mothers entered but with a nice round entry of twelve pairs life was relatively easy for the organiser.

One new player, Ollie Cooley, entered for the first time being the fourth family member to support father John. I suspect this will be a record unlikely to be surpassed. The players were placed in three groups with the Hughes, Walters and Worths seeded 1-3 respectively. The group matches were the best of three games setting at eleven with the best runners up to join the group winners in the semi-finals.

Group Matches

No surprises in Group 1 with top seeds Hughes comfortably winning their group. The closest match was between the Coopers and Cousins with the former winning 12-5, 8-12, 12-6. The Bests put up a solid performance to take second position failing narrowly to make the best runners-up. Group placings - Hughes(1), Bests(2), Coopers(3) and Cousins(4).

Group 2 saw the Worths taking top spot with the Blacks second, the Wilsons third and Baileys fourth. In an exciting tussle with the Worths the Blacks almost caused an upset in reaching game point in the first game only to lose 11-12 and the second to 5. However their strong showing was to ensure a place in the semi-finals as best runners-up.

As expected in Group 3 Tony and Anthony Walters reached the semi-finals relatively easily. The closest match of the morning was an almost 2 hour marathon between the Cooleys and Lindsays who managed to fight to an almost standstill with the Cooleys eventually triumphing 10-12, 12-9, 12-7. Their efforts were to cost them dear as in their following matches the Lindsays retired at 10-12 down to the Campbells and the Cooleys failed to make the semi-finals as best runners-up. Final placings - Walters(1), Cooleys(2), Campbells(3), and Lindsays(4).

Semi-finals

The Hughes made short work of the Blacks winning comfortably 12-1, 12-4. The other semi-final could so easily have gone to either pair. The closely fought games were played to a very high standard. Peter Worth and Rex took the first 15-12 coming back from a seemingly impossible position of 6-12 down and in the process probably determined the outcome of the semi-final. The second was almost a repeat of the first with the Worths attempting to come back from 5-10 down only to lose 9-12. The very high standard of play set by all four players was to continue into the third and final game. The experience of the fathers pitted against the youthful exuberance of the sons. Even stevens at 4-4 when two poor returns by Tony from the back court enabled the Worths to pull ahead and although the Walters rallied to bring the scores level at 9-9 they were unable to maintain the momentum and went down 9-12 after an amazing retrieve from Peter from the back court skimmed the buttress and dipped for an outright winner off the front wall. An epic encounter leaving Peter Worth, not a regular player, looking drained from his exertions and with doubts as to whether he could find the energy to give of his best in the final.

Final

The all Salopian final was judged likely to be a close encounter with Mike having the slight edge over Peter Worth and Rex over Chris Hughes. Against expectations, bearing in mind their tight semi-final, the Worths got off to a flier and were soon 5-0 up a lead that they were to maintain taking the first game 12-8. In the second the heat of the day and the pace of the game was beginning to take its toll with Peter muching bananas in between points to sustain energy and young Chris suffering from cramp. Nonetheless the game produced excellent all round attacking play by all four players with volleying, retrieving and rallies of the highest standard. All thoroughly appreciated by the dozen or so spectators. The outcome of the match was on a knife edge 2-2, 3-3, 4-4, 7-7 before Peter and Rex pulled ahead to take the game and the final 12-9.

In presenting the Cup to the winners Christopher Horne congratulated the Worths in winning the Aberconway at their third attempt and for creating a double record of becoming the first pairing to win the Aberconway as former winners of the Schools Championships, Peter in 1970 and son Rex the 2007 Champion. The Worths became the third Salopian pair to take the Championship defeating Salopian holders Mike and Chris Hughes in the process. In closing the proceedings Christopher thanked Mike Fenn for organising the day and congratulated the evergreen Salopian pairing of Tony and Anthony Walters and Lancing father and son Richard and Julian Black in reaching the semi-finals.

A most enjoyable day of Fives played in a sporting friendly atmosphere to a very high standard and watched by family members and supporters. After the mornings' play the players and supporters enjoyed lunch in 'the garden' at the Waterman's Arms.

Results

Group A

M & C Hughes Won 3 Lost 0

T & J Best Won 2 Lost 1

D & R Cooper Won 1 Lost 2

M & N Cousins Won 0 Lost 3

Group B

P & R Worth Won 3 Lost 0

R & J Black Won 2 Lost 1

P & R Wilson Won 1 Lost 2

T & C Bailey Won 0 Lost 3

Group C

A & A Walters Won 3 Lost 0

J & O Cooley Won 2 Lost 1

G & H Campbell Won 1 Lost 2

M & J Lindsay Won 0 Lost 3

Semi-finals

M & C Hughes beat R & J Black 2-0 (12-1, 12-4) 

P & R Worth beat A & A Walters 2-1 (15-12, 9-12, 12-9)

Final

P & R Worth beat M & C Hughes 2-0 (12-8, 12-9)