2007 Aldenham Tournament

Graham Pulsford reports:

The twenty first Heath Tournament took place on a beautifully clear and warm spring morning. The line up included the usual suspects; a combination of Heath regulars and a number of invited guest players. This year's newcomer was Cameron Grant (Aldenhamian).

This year was special. For the first time the winners would receive a trophy, the Jim Fredenham Cup, kindly presented by Lady Nancy Fredenham to the Aldenham Eton Fives Club.

The four best players were kept apart and the random draw then produced its normal series of unusual pairings. The odds on favourites were judged to be either John Caudle/Pete Scholey or last years beaten finalists, Paul Kendall/Simon Randall. The tournament was started in the traditional manner; the whistle on this occasion was blown by our lady referee, Miss Louisa Goad.

The early rounds produced some fine fives but no unexpected victories. The closest match saw Richard Dennis/Cameron Grant test Andrew Fraser/Graham Pulsford in a match that was notable for the number of long back court rallies. (a cunning ploy to tire Richard?). Paul Kendall/Simon Randall decisively defeated another top pair, Chris Cernusci/Rubel Malik, in a surprisingly one sided match; a close encounter was expected but it was obviously "too early" for the McDonalds duo!

As last year by the time the semi-finals started the weather had turned from warm to hot. Both semi-finals were close fought but the results never in question. In the first semi-final Paul Kendall/Simon Randall overcame Neil Margerison/Matt Woods in a match that was played at speed; Simon Randall hitting the ball hard and decisively time after time.

The second semi-final between Andrew Fraser/Graham Pulsford and John Caudle/Pete Scholey remained close throughout and, although there were never more than three points between the pairs, the older pair were always in control (just!).The final was therefore between the two pre tournament favourites Paul Kendall/Simon Randall and John Caudle/Pete Scholey. Both pairs looked nervous during the early rallies; the glint from the Jim Fredenham Cup on the trophy table obviously not helping. The scores remained close throughout the match with neither pair gaining a significant lead. With five minutes left there was only one point between the pairs. Then a final combination of pace from Simon Randall and precision from Paul Kendall saw the younger pair win through by two points.

The Jim Fredenham Cup was presented to the winners by Graham Pulsford. Paul Kendall/Simon Randall also received the coveted Heath Shirts, this year in bright purple!

The players and spectators then enjoyed a relaxing barbeque in the sunshine. Martin Lindsay produced the largest lambburger ever seen by the writer, Neil Margerison showed off with a "posh" steak, and Pete Scholey kindly provided us with a varied and enjoyable selection of beers! My thanks to both Andrew Fraser and Louisa Goad for their invaluable assistance.