Highgate win the 2012 Prep Schools

James Woodcock reports:

This year for the 45th Prep Schools' Championships, we returned to Harrow on the 15th March and were most fortunate to enjoy a warm and dry day. We had an entry of 39 pairs from 10 schools and welcomed Wetherby Prep for the first time.

Following much fog and traffic congestion the group matches were not played in order, but under Mark Collins’ kind supervision all matches were played and time was caught up. The group winners saw four Highgate pairs joined by the first pairs of Berkhamsted, Ludgrove, Summer Fields and Sunningdale.

Sadly for last year's winner Eve Smith Bingham, an injury to her partner playing as Highgate 3 this year meant that full mobility was not possible and Highgate 2 defeated them comprehensively. There were however three excellent matches at the quarter-final stage which all resulted in 2-1 margins. Highgate’s 1st pair enjoyed a titanic match, probably the pick of the whole competition, in defeating their fourth pair. Berkhamsted 1 narrowly lost to an improving Ludgrove 1st pair whilst Summer Fields 1, despite a strong start, made too many errors in succumbing to Sunningdale 1.

Ludgrove 1 were unable to make any headway in their semi-final winning a solitary point from Highgate 1, whilst Sunningdale 1, having conceded the first game tamely, fought much better in the second game against Highgate 2 losing 0-12, 7-12.

The final saw Highgate 1 defeat Highgate 2 by the margin of 12-3, 12-10. The rallies were excellent and the combination of the flair and steady shot making of Ingimar Tomasson allied to the aggressive skills of his left handed partner A.Randall made work hard for the second pair. In some ways it was a pity that the best matches were probably played at the quarter-final stage, but for Tomasson this was his second win at this level and he still has one year remaining.

The Jeremy Marston plate provided many excellent matches during the afternoon. Belmont 1 just edged out Orley Farm 1 in one semi-final whilst Summer Fields 2, having lost to Highgate 4 in their main pool, made easy progress to the final on the other side of the draw. Having opened up a healthy lead they closed out the match to win the plate 12-9. The quarter-final consolation final was won by Highgate 4 beating Summer Fields 1. The prizes were presented by Guy Smith-Bingham. This was a most enjoyable competition, played in good spirit and thanks are due to Harrow for kindly allowing us to use their courts.