2015/16 School Reports

Read on to find out the schools' views on the 2015/16 season...

Missing reports should hopefully be added in over the course of the next few weeks.


Aldenham

Our first Pair of Theo Smith and Josh Roach played well to get to the semi-finals of the Forman Salver in the prep schools tournament and enjoyed some sudden death matches which finished in their favour once out of three tries. In terms of fives I can confirm that our players all had competitive games against established fives playing prep schools who, in the main, have a couple of years’ experience on us. All behaved impeccably off court and conducted themselves in a manner becoming the game on court. Other performers were

Pair 2 Rico Chralambous and Ben Purvess
Pair 3 James Stevenson and Oliver Cowles
Pair 4 Will Curtler and Gabriel Saunders

U16 Pair 1 (Rabin Selliah and George Reynolds) and Pair 3 (John Telensky and Eric Kemish) both qualified through the groups at the National Schools' Championships and the repecharge only to be drawn against one of the seeded 8 pairs and rather ran into a brick wall. However it was a great achievement to get that far in an open competition although it didn’t feel like that at the time. Pair 2 (Giles Hirst-Malin and Cam McGeary) and Pair 4 (Adem Arik and Harris Karagiannoglou) skilfully qualified for the plate and found the going calmer, getting to the semi-finals before being overcome by St Olaves 4 and Westminster 2. 

This is the first time we have been able to enter the U16 competition for a few years and whilst the going was tough the students conducted themselves really well and enjoyed the experience of the Shrewsbury boarding accommodation – even if it merely confirmed to a couple of our day boys that boarding was not for them!

Under 14 Pair 1 Jo Gaspar and Flynn Nicholas lost a deciding set 13-12 to Eton 2 in the last 16 of the competition - when we left Eton and Harrow 1 were entering a fifth set in the quarter final which really put our efforts into perspective. It meant that pair 1 and pair 2 were in the elite plate of pairs 9-16 and pair 1 finally lost in the Final to Eton 4 12-9. In plate A (for pairs finishing 4 and 5 in the groups) Rico Charalambous and Ben Purves reached the final before being defeated by Shrewsbury 5 8-12 - a great achievement. Meanwhile pair 4 (Theo Smith and Lucas Schreiber) lost an epic 3 set battle with Shrewsbury 6 10-12 in the final set.

Overall the programme is getting stronger and whilst we cannot fight on equal terms with the big boys I believe if we had been able to enter the U15 tournament (which excludes top 8 pairs) we could have achieved a shot at a quarter final berth for at least one of the pairs – sadly that is only speculation.

Overall we have fixtures against some top public schools, a success ratio of about 50% and over 50 students playing on a regular basis. For most of them it is their main and only sport. A number will go on to become regular and competitive club players. I believe it adds to the participation criteria in the school and this would not be possible without the help of a number of committed staff - notably Jack Travers and Howard Stafford Thomson, assisted at Martineau’s level by Alex Smith and Tom Hoskins. I must extend my thanks to them for their unwavering support and commitment. I would also extend my thanks to masters in charge of other schools who perform such a good job getting good match ups throughout the season, thus encouraging the game to thrive and expand. Whilst I don’t believe a tournament win is realistic I think we can aim to get to latter stages of some competitions and continue to provide a vehicle for the student who wants to commit to a school sport that offers so much in terms of values. It is interesting to see the wide range of Martineau’s students who are regularly practising. With the centenary of the courts this year it is great to see the courts being re-roofed and hopefully we can have a great event on OA day. An EFA team is due to come along in the Christmas term.

Andy Stephenson


Belmont

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 Belmont players in action; on the original court at Eton; on the courts at Mill Hill; U12 Plate B winners


Belmont fives has had a mixed season this year, with some very promising results and also some very challenging moments. It is fantastic to see such healthy numbers in fives now with more playing this year than recent years. With more and more regular fixtures against Berkhamsted, Emanuel, Mill Hill, Aldenham, Highgate, and St Olaves, everyone from years 5 – 8 had a chance to represent the school. It is very good to also see Year 3 and 4s now also playing regularly after school.

It was very good to see pairs at every age group at the national championships progress through the group stages with pairs at the U11 and U13 reaching the last 16 and U12 reaching the quarter finals losing to Berkhamsted in a close match. Belmont 3 at the U12 championships also managed to win Plate A beating St Bartholemews in the final 12-7. The summer term saw the house fives competition take place which saw 30 boys competing from the four houses, which ended with Jutes being the winning house, followed by Angles, Saxons, then Danes. Colours badges were awarded to a healthy number of pupils at the end of the term following representation for the school at a number of matches and tournaments. The new ‘Pace Cup’ donated by recently retired Master in Charge Bob Pace was a great addition to the end of term awards for the best pair.

Mill Hill are a constant source of support coming from Steve Plummer and Ian Hutchinson, as well as Mill Hill pupils also being a great help with coaching which the Belmont pupils benefit greatly from and enjoy a considerable amount. A good number of players will be going through to Mill Hill next year to play for them. With a lot of fixtures already planned for next year and other exciting events, it is looking to be a good one!

Andrew Rennie


Berkhamsted

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Yr 6 & 7 players at Eton; Girls Festival at Berkhamsted; Yr 7 inter-house finalists; Charlie Nicholls & Milo Skelton in action

It has been another busy year here at Berkhamsted, and for the first time ever we have had three terms of Fives, one of the few, if only sports, to play fixtures across all three of the terms.

This year the season began with the inaugural Derek Whitehead Trophy, a tournament set up by the Old Boys where an Old Boy pairs up with a current pupil to help try and establish links between the school and the OB club, which is so key to the success of our game. A healthy 10 pairs took part in the first event and there were certainly lots of competitive and high quality matches across the day.

Eton Fives also kicks off the Inter-House sports programme, with events taking place across years 7 – 11. Once again we broke the entry record with 310 pupils taking part, which certainly created a mathematical nightmare on some of the events with only six courts to work with! The Year 7 event was certainly a sight to behold as it was one of the most technical and accomplished events of all the year groups, a great sign of things to come as this was the first batch of players to progress through from our Prep School. It was Bees House that dominated this year winning the Year 7, Year 9 and Year 10 competitions, also allowing them to retain the prestigious Paul Dicker Cup for most successful overall House.

Across the three terms we played a total of 78 fixtures from U10 to U18; down on last year’s fixture total, but with a bigger effort being concentrated on coaching our players in more regular training slots similar to many of the major sports programmes. Of these we won 45, lost 24 and drew 9. The U14 and U12 squads have had the most success with 75% and 90% win ratios respectively.One of the most enjoyable and memorable fixtures was our large block fixture against Ludgove at Eton College, where we were able to cross over with the Prep school mixing in U10, U12 and U13 pairs, as well as our large block fixtures with Harrow and Eton College.

The Prep School continues to develop through its second year with year’s 3 – 6 having access to the game as well it the sport being incorporated into the PE curriculum for years 5 & 6. Matches took place for years 5 & 6 across the first two terms with the fixture card almost doubling with 21 fixtures this season up from 12 the previous year. There were some good wins against the likes of St. Olaves, Summerfields and Emanuel.

23 players also took part in the REFCA U12s Individual at Eton College where 7 of our players reached the final stages having won all their matches. The final was then made up of 3 Berkhamsted players with Charlie Doe & Matt Foster facing off against Jack Pemberton paired up with an Alleyn’s School player. The final went the way of the Berkhamsted pairing with Doe & Foster taking the win 12 – 9 in a very tight and high level final.

The timings of the Nationals meant we were unable to attend this year’s event at Shrewsbury, which was a shame, but we were well represented at the U13, U12 and new U11 Tournaments at Eton where we entered a total of 31 pairs. All age groups performed well with our top U13 pairing of Tom Noithip & Kofi Cripps losing out in a very tight Semi-Final match to Ipswich 1st pair, our U12 1st pairing of Charlie Doe & Jack Pemberton reaching the Final of the U12s, and the surprise result of our U10 pairing of Barney Baines & Sam Kaynama making the Semi-Finals of the U11 event.

Girls’ Fives continue to flourish. Again with the help of the courts at the Prep School players are coming through the girl’s senior school, now that they have been introduced to the game. Berkhamsted once again hosted its annual Girls Festival with 44 players taking part with representation coming from Shrewsbury, Stowe, St. Olaves, Charterhouse, Ipswich and St. Bartholomew’s. The standard was certainly higher at the top end of pairings, but it was still a very well balanced and enjoyable event where the players had plenty of matches across the afternoon.

Once again Fives continued its tradition of strong ties with the Old Berkhamstedian Club, where a number of senior pupils took part in adult competitions and the League. Charlie Nicholls and Milo Skelton represented the school particularly well in the London tournament, the Kinnaird Cup and the Division 1 & 2 sides. Charlie deserves a particular mention for playing in 11 out of the 12 adult League 1 fixtures where the Old Berkhamstedians claimed 1st place; a pleasing sign of the continuous strong ties between School and Old Boys Fives.

A big thank you must go to our leavers; from the girl’s squad of Vikki Wainwright, Verity Greenway, Annabelle Shipton, Valerie Boivin and Lucie Bultitiude for their commitment to the game despite only joining up in Year 11. Also to Hannah Owiredu-Yeboa who despite taking the game up in her final year has also become a committed member of the squad. And to our senior boy’s squad of Hamish MacCaig (Captain), Matt Allen, Ben van Vlymen and Jeremy Steed for their commitment and enthusiasm for the game. They were my first batch of players in Year 7 since I joined the school seven years ago and it has been a pleasure to work alongside them. We wish everyone all the best in all their future endeavours.

Minor Colours Awards: Hamish MacCaig (Captain), Matt Allen, Ben van Vlymen, Jeremy Steed, Charlie Nicholls, Milo Skelton

Anthony Theodossi


Bryanston

Bryanston's chief opposition this year has been provided by Lancing, RGS and the EFA. These fixtures have been competitive and played in good spirit. Fives thrives at Bryanston with many more students applying to do the sport than place available. But with only three courts, our numbers remain inevitably limited. Captain Alex Woodhouse has offered a burst of enthusiasm and skill to the sport at Bryanston and has led the team with characteristic verve.

Akshay Sanghrajka


Charterhouse

The three good things for this year were developments on the playing side. Firstly we had a very good group of novices starting the game. The highlight was the winning of the southern schools tournament at Harrow by the first pair (Hector Platt and Jamie Marmion. A group of four went up to Shrewsbury for the national schools and played excellently reaching the quarter-finals and winning a plate competition Secondly a group of new specialist boys took up the game in LQ. Finally we had a serious take-up by girls for the first time.

In general the matches followed a pattern whereby we pushed the best teams hard and won most of the rest producing a good set of results. The team was led by Mark Barley who was easily the best player hitting the ball immensely hard and pushing the strongest pairs we played against. I'm grateful to Mark for all the effort that he put in to leading fives this year. He had good suggestions about how tournaments could be better organised and was always prepared to help coach juniors when his own sessions had finished. His successor James Hockley has a difficult task filling Mark’s gloves.

The first senior pair in school matches was Mark Barley and Rex Henderson. The second pair was James Hockley and Jack Hunter Lees who were learning their trade at this higher level. Mark and Rex were an idiosyncratic pair. At some stages they played superbly and would take a set from the best of opponents (one set against Eton is particularly memorable when they set off like a train getting to a winning position before collapsing for no apparent reason); at others they seemed almost to be playing in a dream. If they could have maintained their highest standards they would have done very well indeed. A similar pattern afflicted James and Jack at second pair. The problem was less acute as they tended to be under less pressure playing less talented opponents. Their aim next season will be to ensure they do not throw points away. They are both excellent games players and aware that the critical point at this level is to avoid giving opponents easy points. Nick Kaba and Dominic Richardson also played some matches.

We were fortunate to attract four good games players from Fletcherites (Aamer Bijli, Qais Al Zubair, Ben Munden, and Ben Gardner) who took on the game with enthusiasm and were playing matches within days of starting the game. They learnt quickly and by the end of LQ were winning against other schools. They should do well next year.

Four girls also took up fives - Phoebe Stephenson, Lydia Vaughan, Caroline Smith and Ruby O’Kane - and all played a combination of matches and tournaments with great success.

Christian Pethick and Edward Henderson were the under 16 pair who suffered from the inconsistency which afflicted the senior pairs. In one Harrow match they just lost the first set, took the second set with ease only to lose the deciding set with equal clarity. The under 15 first pair (Robert Elston and Robert Parnham) had a number of close matches without winning until the last match of the season against Emanuel. The second pair (Aidan Chan and Ahmed Abdulai) suffered from lack of practice for justifiable reasons but were therefore unable to make significant progress during the year.

The yearlings as a group were rarely beaten throughout the year. I have already mentioned the winning of the southern schools tournament. Hector Platt and Jamie Marmion were separated during LQ as Jamie was unable to make the national tournament at the end of term. Hector then formed a strong partnership with Finlay McLellan and together they reached the quarter-finals of the national tournament at Shrewsbury in the first week of the holidays. The second pair of Charles Howard and Louis Thomson won the majority of their school matches (six wins and two losses) and went on to win the plate at Shrewsbury. The pairs were extremely difficult to select lower down as they were so even. This meant that the matches became increasingly one-sided to Charterhouse's favour as we moved down the pecking order. The determined Rumaan Ahmed generally partnered Augusto Subiotto,a very talented games player, to form a strong third pair who were rarely beaten. Jonathan McKrill and Edward Emeny payed together a strong Pageite pair. Archie Cresswell and Lorcan Conyers were a similar pairing complementing each other as did Keir Dawson and Ned Monkman.

In summary this was a year in which we played well in the school matches and made significant progress. We had a splendid coach, Julian Black, who helped all players make progress. TWL has been a great help encouraging Gownboy and Fletcherite attendance and developing skills. I finally wish to pay tribute to the enthusiasm of Gilles Gergaud , the excellence of his company on the court and the wisdom of his advice. This is the last year of GHMG’s formal involvement with the game as he moves towards retirement. His contribution to the game cannot be overestimated and he will be enormously missed. The final OC match of LQ was a tribute to him as the courts were filled with those he has taught over the years returning to play with him.

John Troy


Cranleigh

No report received yet


Cranleigh Prep School

Cranleigh Prep School have enjoyed another very productive year and there have been a number of notable firsts achieved. Although limited to access and time on court Cranleigh consistently produce some very good players despite the fact that we can not provide the court time to match some of our more illustrious rivals. Due to the sterling efforts of Mr Till, Mr Thomas and Mr Rigden a number of boys have managed to develop their skills and enjoyment of the game over the year.

The Form 6 group have been particularly keen this year and at the National Under 13 Fives championship at Eton we were able to provide the largest entry of 10 pairs - a fitting reflection of the efforts of both my colleagues and the children and an indication that fives is indeed flourishing in the prep school.

Our pairs began the day playing a round robin tournament in their various groups comprised of 4 teams. Four of our pairs successfully topped their groups and qualified for the finals in the afternoon a significant achievement when one considers that there are over fifty pairs playing.

Sadly none of our boys reached the next stage and all our teams were then entered into their respective plate competitions. In cold and windy conditions the boys played with great spirit and acquitted themselves well and all made it to the last stages. 2 pairs were runners up and Hugo Wyles and his partner Luke Cahusac won the plate B final, many congratulations to them.

We were also able to field 4 pairs at the U12 Nationals and from a field of over 80 pairs our top two pairs of Finn Tawse and Cameron Barr and Chris Becker and Tommy Ealham qualified for the final 32. Finn and Cameron went one stage further before going out to Highgate 1. The girls pair of Matilda Hamilton and Ruby Halstead also deserve special mention as they won 4 out of the 8 games they played as they mixed it with the boys.

The final tournament of the season was the Prep Schools which took place at Harrow this year. The boys had a series of group matches and where they finished in the group determined which competition they entered in the afternoon. Our pairs found the step up in quality a little difficult to cope with, but they all raised their games during the tournament and improved during the day. Our most successful pair of Theo Vaughn and Jacob Hathaway battled hard to get to the semi-final of the plate competition where they lost to the eventual winners. It is also worth noting that the other pairs only lost to those pairs that went on to reach the finals of their respective competitions. The boys played with spirit and determination throughout and showed great sporting behaviour. We were able to watch the final and this provided a great spectacle and I am sure that it inspired them to continue with their Fives and to strive to improve even more. It was a very pleasurable day and I congratulate the boys for their excellent behaviour throughout. My thanks to Mr Rigden for his help and support throughout.

Mark Halstead


Emanuel

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The Emanuel team at the Richard Barber Cup

No report received yet


Eton

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Open winners Max and Oli Rowse; Williams Cup winners; U14 winners Alfred Backhouse and Ben Porter; U15 winners Oscar Guy and Xander Watt

Building on the successes and challenges of the Michaelmas half, the fives club hit the ground running in Lent as fixtures came thick and fast. At the top end of the school we had plenty of strength such that when all of our team were available, Barnaby Harrison, Arthur Wellesley, Max & Ollie Rowse, Jack Capstick-Dale, Hector Hardman and Flinn Andreae, they would likely be a match for anyone, and they were to prove this conclusively later on in the term. Barnaby and Arthur, our two Keepers leading from the front, started the half as our first pair and had some notable matches against Shrewsbury, Highgate and St. Olave’s, our three biggest rivals, losing narrowly in all three, but showing that on their day they were a dangerous pair. Meanwhile the Rowses (Max & Ollie) and a combination of Jack, Flinn and Hector were rarely troubled at either second or third pair. This meant that we could also afford to rest players and blood a variety of talent throughout the season, and congratulations should also go to Andreas Conte, Alec Lindsay, Crispin Straker, Oscar Middleton and Ned Holland-Hibbert, who all represented the school with distinction.

Elsewhere we were fortunate to also have plenty of strength in depth at all other age groups. Charlie Lyons, Harry Thistlethwayte, Frank Gordon Clark, Nat Andreae, Finlay Watt, Will Bailey and Juhno Choi were the mainstays of the Under 16s and Xander Watt, Billy Lowther, Oscar Guy, Alex Carter, Charlie Pearson and Harry Lyons of the Under 15s. In the Under 14 age group we were able to boast last year’s Under 13 National Prep School Champions in Ben Porter and Alfie Backhouse which helped ensure a strong showing in all our junior fixtures. Given such depth we soon found some novices keen to rise to the challenge, and in Jamie Winterbottom, Freddie Morgan and George Gompertz and Henry Wilkinson we had two novice pairs who were very difficult to beat. Behind them we also had the likes of Louis Gordon Clark, Malachi Mills, George Brand, Dom Yorke, Oscar Glyn, Ferdie Newall and Xander Angelini-Hurll, who all made huge advances in a very short term. Highlights for the juniors were undoubtedly the hard fought victories against Shrewsbury – home and away – St. Olave’s, Harrow, Berkhamsted, Charterhouse and Mill Hill. By the time March came around Eton were well and truly ready to challenge for honours at all age groups, firstly in the Williams Cup and then at the National Schools' Championships up at Shrewsbury School.

In the weeks leading up to the Williams Cup (the National Schools 3 senior pairs championships), it was becoming clear that our second senior pair, Max and Ollie Rowse, were needing to be challenged beyond the second pair level that they had been thus far playing at. Their first appearance at first pair was against a highly fancied Highgate pair (both young at U16, but skilful beyond their years) at Eton. When 2 hours later, the twins emerged victorious, we all had to have a slight rethink and I felt it right that they be given an opportunity to prove themselves against another school, whose first pair were unbeaten and likely to be one of the top seeds for the Schools Championships. So it was that we went to play St. Olave’s, at Orpington in what may have been seen as a one sided affair. However, Max and Ollie were not there to make up the numbers! They pressurised the St. Olave’s pair from the off and were nip and tuck with them all the way. Eton won the first set, dropped the second and pipped the opposition to the third. Buoyed by this, the Etonians grew in confidence and victory in the fourth set ensured not just victory but psychological advantage over a pair who believed they could win the National Schools!

And so to the Williams Cup, a tournament that Eton have dominated over the past 3 years. Played over one day, all of the top fives playing schools play each other over 3 pairs, gaining one point per set won. It is a day of some high quality fives and some nail biting finishes, and this year was no exception. Eton (Barnaby Harrison, Arthur Wellesley, Max and Ollie Rowse, Jack Capstick-Dale, Hector Hardman and Charlie Lyons) proved their aforementioned strength in depth by retaining the cup, by some distance, having dropped just 2 sets all day. No school has ever won this trophy for four years in a row and they fully deserved their victory.

The following weekend we all decamped to Shrewsbury School for the National Schools Championships. This was again to be something of a record week for the college. We entered five competitions – Under 14 Novices, Under 14 Experts, Under 15s, Under 16s and Open – and reached five finals, which may well be a first for Eton.

At Under 14 Novices, Jamie Winterbottom and Freddie Morgan played some great fives all week to make it through to their first National final against a Shrewsbury pair very much at home on their own courts. Despite being hit in the eye during the warm up, Jamie maintained his high standards and Freddie continued to show what a prospect he is right until they began to tire during the third set, eventually succumbing 3 sets to 1. They were naturally disappointed by the final outcome, but I am only enthused and optimistic for the future.

The Under 14 competition, as we had thought, was a little one sided, with Ben Porter and Alfie Backhouse out cutting, volleying and scoring all of their opponents. The final, against a young but talented Highgate pair was no different and they ran out easy winners by 3 sets to nil.

At Under 15 level we had a scare just a few days before the start of the tournament when Billy Lowther, one half of our first pair had to pull out with a broken finger. This allowed Oscar Guy to step up and really test himself, which he did incredibly well. Playing with Xander Watt, a very talented, aggressive player they found their way to the final with very few problems. Once again Highgate were the opponents, and despite dropping one set, Xander, ably supported by Oscar, had too much for the North Londoners and closed the final out by 3 sets to 1. Congratulations should also go to Alex Carter and Charlie Pearson who were narrowly beaten by Highgate in the semi-finals. A great performance all week by them.

Charlie Lyons and Harry Thistlethwayte were our top Under 16 pair this year, and after a season where they kept on improving, they were eventually seeded at No.3 for the Nationals. Perhaps buoyed by some small disappointment at not being the No.2 seeds they set about their task with skill and flare, eventually coming up against the No.2 seeds and rivals, St, Olave’s in the semi-finals. Matches between these two currently stood at one all, each school having registered a victory against the other during the term. This time Eton were quicker off the mark and never let up, volleying with greater accuracy and making sure their cuts were at their very best. St. Olave’s had no answer to the Etonian tactics and so Charlie and Harry progressed to the final by 3 sets to nil. (in the meantime, Harry was also making his way up and down motorways to Queen’s Club where he was also progressing to the semi-finals of the National U16 Rackets Tournament!). The final proved to be a fantastic match between the Highgate 1st pair (who had also reached the Open final by this stage) and strong favourites. The Etonians gave absolutely everything in a high class display of cutting and volleying, and although they took the third set they could not quell the North Londoners’ aggression and quality, eventually going down by 3 sets to 1.

Finally, it was the turn of our seniors to take centre stage. The Rowses late surge in terms of results saw them seeded No.2 and Barnaby (Harrison) and Arthur (Wellesley) No.8 for the tournament. Unfortunately for the latter, the No.8 seeds came up against the top seeds, Shrewsbury in the quarter finals, and really could not get started against a pair who thrive on speed, aggression and hard hitting fives, and succumbed by 3 sets to nil. Meanwhile Max and Ollie were seeing off the dangerous Harrow pair by 3 sets to nil, an impressive display which the twins were keen to play down, as next up were St. Olave’s 1, the pair they had beaten the week before. This was to be a really well and hard fought 4 set thriller. Again the twins showed that they were continuing to learn all the time and were never really anything but in control. They nullified the hard hitting Olavians with some deft touches and clinical cutting. The outcome was the same as it had been the week before, Eton 3 St. Olave’s 1, and Max and Ollie marched ever more confidently into the final. Their opponents were expected to be Shrewsbury, who first only had to get past the U16 Highgate pair (also seeded No.5 for the Open). In a classic encounter of high class fives, the Highgate boys managed to upset the seedings and make it through to their second final of the week. a great achievement in itself!

The final was a tale of two very different pairs. One very athletic, aggressive pair, keen to take the ball early and heap pressure on their opponents, and the other, a determined, resilient pair equally resolute in not playing to their opponents strengths. No pair really managed to convincingly impose their style on the match. The Etonians took the first two sets with some accurate finishing, before the Highgate boys bounced back to take the third set. The fourth was a much tenser affair which went to 10 all, before the younger pair, having chosen to set at 14, made 4 uncharacteristic mistakes in a row. When Ollie then volleyed the next point into the pepper pot the death rattle of the ball signalled huge jubilation amongst the Etonian supporters, and Max and Ollie Rowse were duly crowned National Open Fives Champions for 2016. This was a truly wonderful achievement for two boys who have always done things their way and was a testament to all their hard work and devotion over their 5 years at Eton. Many, many congratulations to them both.

To end, it is very important that I thank the following people, without whom fives at Eton would not be where it is today. My comrade in arms, Ralph Oliphant-Callum who (as well as producing so many school players from his own House) so ably guides me and helps to keep the fives programme wide, inclusive, varied and above all fun for the boys. Alice Ford for all the hours she puts in helping the novices to achieve the standards they always do, and to Mark Strutt who is there at Fives Club practice every Tuesday and Thursday, ensuring that the Under 15 age group have a point of focus and an opponent on court.

Finally I would also like to thank Bill Norton (Head of Games) who masterminded much of the staffing logistics behind our successful week in Shrewsbury. 5 days, 8 coaches, 50 boys, 6 beaks…enough said!

Mike Hughes


Harrow

This was a very important year for Harrow Fives and there were many highlights.

• A Fivesathon with over 50 participants raised sufficient funds for five local Primary Schools to work with the Primary Shakespeare Company. Their performance of Macbeth is eagerly anticipated in late June.
• Ian Hutchinson has been appointed as a full time fives and cricket professional from this September.
• Rahul Wijeratne and Oskar Denby both performed well with the Old Harrovians in the Barber Cup and First Division Fives.
• Numbers of boys playing Fives is healthy in all age groups.

The Autumn term was again hugely enjoyable and we played a healthy number of home and away fixtures against schools and clubs. The Spring term remains a big challenge and it is to be hoped that we may find it easier next year with a full time professional.

In the Open Competition Rahul Wijeratne and Oskar Denby played impressively against Shrewsbury's top Lower Sixth pair to gain a comprehensive win in the last 16. The quarter final was disappointing from a Harrow perspective as we held leads at 10 and 11 in all three games but in the end the greater consistency and resolve of the Etonians proved decisive.

In the Under 16 tournament Qassi Gaba and Benji Mennel exceeded expectations by beating Mill Hill in last 16 and by taking a game against St Olave's in the quarter finals.

In the Under 15 tournament Hugo Rowse and James Cullimore played some high standard Fives against the eventual winners. There were also promising performances from Aria Shirazi, Ed Lewis and Ollie Wiggin.

Our under 14 pair of Theo Seely and Freddie Anton-Smith also exceeded expectations by reaching the quarter finals playing some thoughtful and effective Fives.

Rishi Wijeratne and Jake Shepherd lost to the eventual winners in the semi final. The titanic quarter final against Eton took its toll but there was much to be enthused about. Rishi Wijeratne is an outstanding prospect.

Finally my thanks to Alex Poole who has been an utterly reliable and highly effective coach for the past three years.

Graham Dunbar


Highgate

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U16 Champions James Hopkins and Oliver Light; Black Cup winners; Schools, U21 and U25 champions Phoebe Bracken and Amira Reimer; Under 11 winners

A strong season for the school, performing well in school fixtures and EFA competitions. In February the school welcomed David Mew to the coaching staff. The Junior squads continue to develop and enjoy the game, the season topped off nicely with a win at the National U11s for H.Leek & A.Rosenthal. Further up the ladder success continued with P.Bracken and A.Reimer winning the EFA U21 and U25 ladies competitions and reaching the adult ladies final.

At Shrewsbury, the squads performed amazingly well, mixing skill, mental strength and confidence. Highgate pairs reached the final of all but one of the competitions that we entered this year, winning the U16, Girls Open and Mixed Competitions.

Special mention must go to James Hopkins and Oliver Light, who came within points of becoming the first ever pair to win both the U16 and U18 competitions in the same year. They often had to deal with 8.30 am and 7.30 pm matches throughout the week. Knocking out the Shrewsbury U18 first seeded pair at the semi-final stage in the match of the tournament, before attempting to recover and win both finals on Good Friday ultimately proved too difficult, just coming up short in the Open final despite reaching set point in every game before their opponents.

Credit must go to the entire squad who worked well together and enjoyed spending the week away at the championships. Many players played tirelessly in their own competitions and helped other members of the squads during evening training sessions. The whole squad delivered performances of grit and determination in order to make the week an unqualified success for Mr Brunner in his last year as Master in charge.

David Mew


Holyport

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The Holyport team at the Schools' Championships in Shrewsbury

Holyport College has thoroughly enjoyed taking part in their first ever season of Eton Fives, even though the College is in its infancy, we have quickly taken to the game. With support from the EFA, Eton College and their coach Mike Hughes, we have been able to add the sport into our curriculum and complete nationally.

Our first fixture was late in the season against Aldenham, where our U14 boys played extremely well and won 5 out of their 6 games. The boys then travelled to Shrewsbury where their commendable efforts led to a very enjoyable day, they quickly picked up the game and we have high hopes for our U15’s next year.

With enthusiasm building amongst the students for Fives, our first ever girls fixture was at the National Schools Championships All the pairs thrived within the competitive setting that the National’s provided and they greatly improved throughout the day, this resulted in a Holyport head to head in the plate finial, with Claudia and Lucia coming out on top. The girls also travelled to Berkhamsted who hosted a lovely afternoon of Fives which was greatly appreciated. Our U12 and U13 competed in their first ever matches and although all pairs lost, it was a great learning experience.

I hope next year that we continue to develop, build on our successes, and embed the sport into life at Holyport College.

Faye Kerr

 

Ipswich

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Ipswich players at the Kinnaird Cup; London Festival Plate winners Charlie Tweedy and Tony Stubbs; Ipswich girls at Shrewsbury; U13 runners-up Charlie Tweedy and Charlie Coe

Over forty U12s introduced to the game means it has to have been a good year. U13 finalists in the Schools’ Championships, Girls U15 and Festival Semi-finalists, Girls Open, Festival and U13 Quarter-finalists and last 16 in the U11, U12 (x 2), U13 and U14 was a reasonable record. It was disappointing not to have had any pupils playing in the Boys Open or the U16s and to have only one pair in the U15s. Is it other distractions, pressure of work or the difficulty of finding court space? It was gratifying to see Lyle and Patten turn out in the Williams Cup, even if it was the only time they played together all year. Lyle did play a bit, reaching the last 16 of the Midland Tournament with OI, Isaac Wagland and going on to win the Plate.

We managed to play five matches overall, winning two and were once again hugely indebted to the EFA and REFCA for the organisation of the dozen tournaments in which we participated.

Some of the best moments were less high profile than the Nationals, such as U13s Garrard and Robson winning a 5 set marathon against Berkhamsted, completely destroying their previous casual, laid-back image. Or our U13 Girls pair in one match showing how to be assertive in a completely passive way. It was great too to see Jimmy Paul Levick partner his father to the Midland Festival semi-final.

We were delighted that Eloise Carter managed to find a new partner for the U15 Girls, and impressed that Nadia Mason, who only started playing in the second-half of the Michaelmas Term, helped them reach the semi-final.

It was without doubt Charlie Tweedy’s year, reaching the final of the REFCA U14 individual, winning the London Tournament Festival Plate with coach Tony Stubbs, playing superbly to reach the U13 Schools’ Final with Charlie Coe and helping Isaac Weaver to the last 16 in the U14 Competition. Very well done to him and to all our players.

We were massively indebted to Tony Stubbs for driving goodness knows how many miles over the year, he would be impossible to replace.
We were very pleased to take part in the inaugural U11 Tournament this year and perhaps a comment from one of our players sums it all up. When asked if he had enjoyed the day despite losing every game, he said, “It’s been great fun and I’m a much better player now than when I came.”

Peter Boughton

 

Lancing

No report received yet


Ludgrove

It has been a fantastic Fives season with a many matches and a huge number of boys on court. Highlights of the season include reaching the final of the U11 National Championships with our Under 10 pair losing in the semi-final of the same event. Winning the Jeremy Marston Plate at the Prep Schools Fives at Harrow and playing a 16 pair match against Berkhamsted and Summer Fields at Eton. The boys have made excellent progress with their Fives. The internal tournaments were intense affairs with some well-deserved winners.

U11 National Championships:
BRH Evans-Freke & AE Elvin reached the final and lost to Highgate 1
CO Hope & RC Acheson-Gray reached the semi-final and lost to Highgate 1

U12 National Championships:
MF Krefting & JHP Turcan lost to Berkhamsted 1 in the quarter-finals
PJE Goodwin & ARP Uniacke lost to Summer Fields 1 in the quarter-finals

Prep Schools Fives Championships:
RAP deL Dowsett & BE Hope won the Jeremy Marston Plate beating Summer Fields 4 in the final

Senior Top Step:
JHP Turcan ma beat RAP deL Dowsett
Junior Top Step:
CO Hope beat RC Acheson-Gray
Colquhoun Cup:
MF Krefting & PJE Goodwin beat JHP Turcan & ARP Uniacke
School Fives:
JHP Turcan & MF Krefting beat BE Hope & CO Hope

Guy Smith-Bingham


Lyceum Alpinum Zuoz

For the first time in many years, boys and girls represented the school at the Nationals in Shrewsbury, with four girls pairs and four boys pairs making the trip. They all gave a fantastic account of themselves, highlighting the ever-increasing strength of Fives in Zuoz. Once again, players practised throughout the winter months after snow and ice had been cleared and the assistance of Matt Wiseman at key times in the year was a huge boost to our programme. The upcoming Benny Oei Fives in Geneva is always a very popular trip and the Summer Games Festival versus the Zuoz Club will provide an end of year focus, taking place in July this year instead of the traditional September slot.

Thomas Butt


Marlborough

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Marlborough players on court; and with the EFA team

Marlborough enjoyed the usual small but enjoyable set of matches this season. Home and away games vs St.Barts were particularly good [pic1], with the spring fixture in Newbury finishing three games apiece. U6 Archie Wheeler captained the team with gusto, supported by L6 Henry Dunhill and Will Davies; it was also good to see new boy Hector Perry take to the court in a Marlborough shirt and play so well. The EFA put out a strong side, and taught the boys some new tricks. They put them into practice successfully in winning the trophy game against the Town club, just.

Tom Kiggell


Mill Hill

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The Mill Hill squad; Ian Hutchinson and Charlie Plummer

The game is relatively strong at Mill Hill at present but could be better. The school counts 15 pairs on its books for competitive matches, 24 being the optimum target, and numbers at U15 and U14 levels could be better. The game is open to everyone who wishes to play and there are some who prefer just to play for fun and do not want to play competitive school matches. The game still does not appeal to girls in NW7 although we have recruited a pair for next season.

Twenty competitive school matches were played with just about more matches won than lost [P 20 W 10 D 3 L7]. This was a good season for the Seniors and U16s who have both numbers and talent. Benedict Balcombe, captain of Fives, and Charlie Plummer played 1st pair while Hal Gibson–Leitao’s game improved greatly. The U16s were well led again by Charlie Plummer while Alex Grubb, Ian Kidd and Johnny Becker all vied for 1st pair and saw their game improve. The U15s enjoy their Fives but struggle in competitive matches. The U14s show considerable promise, especially Charlie Bertolotti and Alfie Cicale, but are hampered by their other commitments which affect their practice time.

Of the matches the best were against Westminster, Harrow and Eton. The National Championship at Shrewsbury was disappointingly affected by internal exams and logistical problems of transport which meant that only 6 pairs were entered. At U16s C Plummer & A Grubb were Octo finalists.

Ian Hutchinson and Andrew Rennie continue to make a fantastic contribution to the coaching and promotion of the game.

Steve Plummer


Oakham

No report received yet


QE Barnet

No report received yet


RGS High Wycombe

No report received yet


Rydal Penrhos

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Welsh Open players; and winners Will Sissons and Max Robinson

Welsh Open, September 2015

This weekend saw 23 pupils participate alongside adults in the Welsh Open Fives Festival. Some marvellous skills were on show throughout the day with many players improving in confidence and ability. Anthony Bowe was a standout player; he impressed after starting the sport only two weeks ago. Two girls were brave enough to play, Gowri Pradeep and Martyna Ruszkowska stood their ground with the male opponents and both improved their skills and knowledge of the game. Saturday was organised so that the pupils could improve as much as possible by playing lots of Fives with many different partners. Paul Bowden organised the whole tournament so it ran smoothly and everyone enjoyed themselves. After a morning of exciting matches four school boys emerged from the tournament as finalists. Will Sissons partnered Max Robinson and played Matthias Fiorita and Zak Speakman. Despite both sides being very able the game was rather one sided, with Will's experience shining through, 12-2 being the final score.

Sunday started with fewer players and had a more competitive feel to it. The format meant that the younger and less experienced players were put into their own smaller tournament, whilst the likes of Seb Cooley and Gareth Hoskins were allowed to play more freely in the stronger side of the competition. The standard of Fives was impressive, with players improving in both tournaments. Raffeez Mortuza developed his game throughout the day and played in a very calm manner and gave Will Sissons a scare in the semi-finals. Will and Sarah Frost beat Raffa and Karen Hird 12-11. On the other side Seb Cooley and Michael Thomas lost to Mark Yates and Richard Sabury 12-6. The final was an exciting match with plenty of support from the back court, Will Sissons played some clever shots with Sarah volleying well at the front court, this deadly combination saw Will win his second trophy of the weekend. In the junior section Iestyn Williams and Ben Purcell beat Anthony Bowe and Luke Davies 12-5.

National Schools' Championships

Rydal Penrhos entered into the boys U14s, U15s, U16s and U18s National competitions at Shrewsbury this year as well as the girls U15 and U18 mixed competitions. This meant that a record 28 players represented the school. As always the standard was very high and it took some time for all our pairs to adjust to the pace of the tournaments. Will Sissons and Jack Jones looked impressive at the U16 competition getting to the last 32, losing in 3 straight sets to St Olave's. However they only started to compete more favourably in the U18s where they knocked out a strong Eton 3 pair 2-1, again reaching the round of 32. Mark Williams quoted “It was the right decision that these boys played in the U18s, they don't look out of place”.

Finlay Hare was lucky enough to play in the U15s and U16s with Max Robinson and Rafeez Mortuza and with both players also reached the round of 32 and should really have gone through to the last 16. Finn and Max lost to a strong St Olaves U13 pair in the round of 32.

Michael Thomas and Matty Fiorita both played well however but lost their nerve against a strong Emmanuel 2nd pair again in the last 32. Mason Clarke and Miles Poller were our 2nd pair at the U15 age group. Mason played impressively considering it was his first tournament.

For the U14s beginners tournament we were quite unlucky. Anyone who started playing Fives in year 9 was able to enter so the standard was too high for many of the year 7s that we entered. However, the likes of Anthony Bowe and Josh Lynch still played competitively in the plate.

In the U18s mixed competition we had one late entry. Raffa and Elishia Phillips started strongly and won their first match 6-0. This was impressive considering Elishia had only played for 1 week.

Rydal Penrhos travelled to Shrewsbury 5 days in a row and competed against the strongest schools in the country many of whom play fives as their main winter sport. In total 510 pairs played in this year's national tournament representing 32 schools from around the country. It provided a tremendous experience and will certainly help as we try to move the game further forward in school.

I would also very much like to thank coach Isaac Wagland for his tremendous contribution. His enthusiasm, technical and tactical knowledge of the game - and in other disciplines, hockey etc – his manner with the pupils of all ages and his ability to communicate so warmly and effectively with staff has been a godsend!

Mike Leach


St.Bartholomew's, Newbury

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Sasha Howgate at the Ladies Championships with Ipswich partner Charlotte Gregory

Fives continues to prosper at St.Bart's and the year has seen matches with Summer Fields, Marlborough and Berkhamsted. We were also able to get some pairs to the Nationals at Eton and Shrewsbury, where we saw some success in the mixed competition from Poom Narongpun and Sasha Howgate and in the U14s from Poom Narongpun and Keian Ho and Alistair Swain and George Herne.

Paul Turner


St.Olave's

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U13 schools' champions; Ladies Festival winners; Northern Festival champions

Fives continues to thrive at St.Olave's. The numbers grow every year and well over 150 girls and boys represented the school this year in various fixtures. The senior fives team continues to be responsible for recruitment; both of year 7 and new 6th form entry also. The girls team was effectively re-introduced by the senior boys two years ago, and their hard work was rewarded with a win for two of their fellow pupils in the girls' Nationals Festival section, for those who started to play this year ( in the lower sixth).

St.Olaves were highly seeded in the Nationals in all major categories. The main achievement of the year was from the 1st U13's pair, Yoann and Isaac, who won both the Eton Fives and Rugby Fives Nationals. Isaac also won the National Rugby Fives Singles - an outstanding achievement.

Many school players continue to take part in adult fives, participating in all the adult tournaments and also the adult league. Again, Senior players won the Graham Turnbull Trophy and Richard Barber Trophy in partnership with Old Olavian players.

Our top senior players are already seasoned members of the Old Olavian Fives club, having been in the winning First Division team the previous year and having paired in with Old Olavians in major tournaments. Indeed, Tom Gallagher became the youngest ever finalist of both the London and Northern Championships, and was in the winning Barber Cup team for the second year in a row.

Planning permission was granted recently for the building of four additional Eton Fives courts at St.Olave's. There is every prospect of these being built within the next three years. The new courts will not just benefit the Olavian pupils: this will create a "Southway" centre where girls and boys from local schools can learn to play Fives on weekends.

Howard Wiseman


Shrewsbury

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Shrewsbury girls at the Ladies Championships; U14 beginners winners; U15 girls winners and runners-up; the Black Cup team

After last season, which was hampered by injuries, the club was firstly hoping for health and fitness: under these circumstances we would have a large, strong and motivated senior team to chase both the Williams Cup and the Open Nationals. Good news in this regard came over the Christmas holidays: George Panayi clear to play from the start of January, when previously late February or early March had been the medics’ estimate.

We had had the usual one or two outings in the Michaelmas term, though not enough to keep up with those schools who play for two terms: as ever, the late November fixture against Harrow was a good indicator of how much work was needed during the Lent. One wonders how more regular fives in Michaelmas might change things…. Meanwhile our carousel with the third form showed that there was some talent in the year, though how they perform over the season is always tough to predict.

Our big weekend to Highgate, Harrow and Eton was not as early as usual this year; instead we started with the seniors and the girls playing against Oxford and Cambridge Universities. Cambridge’s indoor facility was a particular joy for the spectators. The girls started the season as they had finished the last: in impressive style, winning all their matches. The boys had challenging matches (the Cambridge top pair have won Universities and U25 national titles; Oxford now have a young crop of high-class players) so the weekend was an excellent one which we hope to repeat.

The overall spread of fixtures given the later London jaunt was probably better than usual, the only disadvantage was that the London weekend coincided with the Northerns, so two big weekends for competitive court time became one.

The girls were still in Shrewsbury over Northerns weekend so many played over the two days, the highlight being the Final of the Festival Plate competition, in which our top two U15 pairs met each other. It was a very competitive match: indeed the highest standard we had seen from girls fives at Shrewsbury to that point, and it was pair two, Emma Graham and Katie Oswald, who eventually triumphed 15-14 over Lizzie Ware and Sophia Breese.

Despite a good build-up to the Williams Cup and full availability of the squad, we were beaten on the day by a strong Eton performance. At first pair we were not quite ready: Tom Breese and George Panayi were still making up ground having had six months off sport each in the last year; at second pair we suffered from Jack Fox and Luke Lloyd-Jones having had no competitive matches together due to various other commitments: though potentially very good they lacked any sort of consistency and had a bad day; at third pair we got off to the worst possible start but were in the end outplayed by a strong Etonian pair. We lost that fixture 5-1, putting Eton out of reach. The case grows stronger for Michaelmas fives – we simply weren’t ready.

We turned the tables on Eton the following weekend when they came up to us for a fixture. Breese and Panayi grew in confidence, Fox and Lloyd-Jones found a zone I’ve never seen to come back from 2-0 down to win, and Dan Orchard and Adam Aslam-Baskeyfield played some really high-class fives which almost put them in the frame for a seeding at the Schools’ Nationals. We won all three pairs. In the U14s meanwhile we were convincingly beaten at 1st pair, showing that two weeks of hard work would be needed before the Nationals if we were to challenge for the U14 beginners trophy.

The Schools’ Championships:

Unusually, the Schools’ Championships this year fell outside of our term time, allowing us to host, but within term for most other schools. The result was a tournament larger than it has sometimes been at Shrewsbury; given that it was a day shorter with finals on good Friday and a third girls’ tournament is now contested in this main week, there were a couple of late finishes in the evenings. The other side-effect of the later championships was that the fives team were all in lessons during the last week of term: this came as something of a shock to both the players and the staff who would not usually expect to see them.

The Championships started with the U15 tournament on Sunday 20th, the boys being joined by the U15 ladies in the afternoon. With Dan Humes not able to play having reached the quarter-finals of the U14s last year, our top pair were James Hinwood (fresh back from fencing in Poland) and Archie Mobbs. They played well, making quarter finals. This year group have certainly worked on their weaknesses through the season and I look forward to working with a good, large group of U16s next year. The ladies came in with a mission, though, and it was here that some of the matches of the day were played. Our third pair of Phoebe Wasdell and Issy Wong improved so much through the day’s tournament that they came back from 0-1 down in a fantastic late quarter-final against Highgate 1, in front of the largest crowd of the day, to book themselves a place in the semis. Phoebe showed great control of the game on top step; Issy contributed athleticism and some outrageous returns at the back of court. This result meant that Shrewsbury had three pairs in Monday’s semis, with Ipswich providing the fourth. Shrewsbury 2 (Emma Graham and Katie Oswald) saw off Ipswich on Monday morning; Issy and Phoebe found their match in pair 1 (Sophia Breese and Lizzie Ware).

So the final later on Monday was to be a re-run of the Northern Festival Plate final: Breese & Ware against Graham & Oswald. Sophia and Lizzie started strongly and went into a 2-0 lead and all seemed to be going to script. Katie and Emma are not easily beaten though: they fought back and won the third and had a lead in the fourth, indeed had game points which might have taken the match to a deciding 5th game. Sophia and Lizzie held their nerve and won the fourth and therewith the trophy.

The U16s came in on Monday morning, Tom Bromley-Davenport & Tom Brunskill the major hope, supported by George Garrett & Harry Wasdell and Jordan Zaza & Dan Humes. All three pairs easily got through their group and indeed reached the last 16 but it was only the first pair who reached quarter-finals, where they drew the top seeds, a classy Highgate pair who had too much for the Toms. These two nonetheless put in their best performance of the year so went out without shame.

We had major hopes in the senior tournament and three pairs who could trouble the later stages: Tom Breese and George Panayi were first seeds though not unbeaten in the season; Jack Fox and Luke Lloyd-Jones were not as polished as they would have liked but had shown a week earlier that they could pull out a serious performance and they were duly seeded 6; Dan Orchard and Adam Aslam-Baskeyfield, both southpaws (and the latter, one who could spot orthodoxy a mile off and would swiftly take a side street to avoid making eye contact with it), while unseeded were dangerous and had played some tremendous fives in the run-up to the competition.

Dan and Adam reached the last 16 without dropping a game, beating a strong Eton pair 3 on the way. In the last 16 they came up against a strong pair in Harrow 1. After a slow start in the first game they rallied but not enough to apply real pressure, losing 2-12, 7-12, 8-12. Their trajectory this season suggests they could very well be serious contenders next year.

Jack and Luke had an interesting route through to the quarters, as their last 16 match was delayed overnight after Jack took a ball to the eye while ahead in game three. They duly closed out the match the following morning, eye fine but now protected by goggles. In the quarters they met third seeds St Olave’s, who had been unbeaten until a week before the championships started. They didn’t manage to find the season’s best it would have taken to upset the seedings.

Breese & Panayi had swept through Eton 2 in their quarter final on Wednesday evening: they were beginning to look as impressive as we knew they could be, which was promising. Playing them in the semi would not be 4th seeds (St Olave’s 2) but 5th, Highgate, who had won this quarter-final. They are an impressive U16 pair: quick and athletic; much like Tom and George, they thrive on a fast game and this was what the semi-final was. Some of the best and fastest fives of the tournament was played in this match and while Tom and George played as well as they have all year, Highgate pulled out a “once in a hundred” performance according to their coach, going 2-0 ahead. Tom hit a purple patch to score 7 consecutive points which effectively won the third game and the scores were level in the fourth for over 10 minutes as neither side could score. Eventually it was Highgate who broke the deadlock and took the match 3-1, leaving us disappointed.

With the Championships taking place in the first week of the holidays, there were several regular U14 players who were unable to represent the school. Amongst the better players who were unavailable were Hiroaki Shu and Archie Turner, who might have made the top four pairs and Marcus Van Wyk who had to travel to South Africa on the day of the Beginners Competition and would have otherwise played in the top three pairs.

In all Shrewsbury entered 26 3rd form players to the Championships - 25 on each day with Marcus Van Wyk playing on Wednesday in the U14 and Issy Wong playing on Thursday in the Beginners’. There were 12 other players who were unavailable due to it being holiday time.

As expected only the top four pairs made it out of their pools on the first day of competition and of those pairs only the top pair made it past the third round to face one of the seeded pairs in the Fourth Round. Tom Castling and Peter Clark gave the ultimate runners up a scare in their first set leading 9-7 at one point, having played their best fives of the season, before losing 9-12, 4-12, 4-12. However, this was encouraging as the quality of their play was outstanding for beginners with excellent cutting and volleying the key to their game in the first set. Despite not being able to live with the accuracy of the Highgate pair as the game went on, they had put down a marker for the next day’s competition.

In the plate competitions, Tommy Price and Marcus Van Wyk made excellent progress in the main Plate to reach the final against Charterhouse 1, where they lost narrowly. Vaughn Wilcox and Ed Evans also had a good run in one of the Plates reaching a final. James Martin and Ben Hulme had a good afternoon in the Plates, playing some excellent fives and showing real potential for the Beginners’ Competition.

In the Beginners’ Competition, the top two pairs won their pools to go straight to Round 3, while Pairs 3 & 4 won through Round 2 to join them and Pair 5, Jack Goodall and Sam Holdcroft, lost a tough Round 2 match and went into the Plate. In Round 3 Shrewsbury 1 beat Eton 4 (12-7, 12-1), Shrewsbury 2 beat QE Barnet 3 (12-9, 12-6) and Shrewsbury 3 lost to Eton 3 (5-12, 5-12). However most impressive was Shrewsbury 4, who beat seeded pair Charterhouse 1 (12-14, 12-6, 12-10). In the quarter finals, Shrewsbury 1 beat Eton 3 (12-9, 12-0, 12-0) and Shrewsbury 2 beat QE Barnet 2 (8-12, 12-6, 13-10, 12-8), while Shrewsbury 4 couldn’t reproduce their excellent form from the previous round, losing to Eton 1 (5-12, 4-12, 6-12).

In the Plates, there were many good performances and several pairs progressed to the latter stages. Highlights were Jack Goodall and Sam Holdcroft who won the main Plate and Shrewsbury 12, Miles Lorente-Shyllon, Johnnie Dowd and Nathan Day who reached their Plate Final.

In the semi-finals, Issy Wong and Arthur Garrett at Pair 2 had a tough match against Eton 1. While the Shrewsbury pair cut well and kept the pressure on their opponents, they just lacked the accuracy needed in open play. The Eton pair hit the buttress more often and proved to be more consistent through each of the sets, beating the Shrewsbury pair 0-3 (9-12, 7-12, 7-12). In the other semi-final Tom Castling and Peter Clark convincingly saw off the Harrow 1 pair 3-0 (12-3, 12-4, 12-8).

The final took place on Good Friday. One of the Eton boys was struck in the eye by his partner in the warm up and the start was delayed for an hour. When the game did begin, Shrewsbury started slowly and let Eton get to 6-2 up after some inconsistent cutting. However, the boys dug in and slowly reeled their opponents back in and built a lead at 10-6, before seeing out the set 12-8. The boys found themselves down 5-3 again in the second set, before playing more accurate fives at the front, and cutting very well to take the set 12-6. Shrewsbury never really got into the third set, playing too defensively and losing focus to drop the set 3-12. However, Tom and Peter refocused their efforts in the fourth set, cutting well, hitting better approach shots more accurately and volleying more frequently. They built up a 7-1 lead and never looked like losing, eventually taking the set 12-5 and the match 3-1. They had been the best pair in the competition and thoroughly deserved their title after putting in a great deal of work since losing 0-3 to Eton 1 in the school fixture at Shrewsbury two weeks previously.

Meanwhile on the Wednesday we had six pairs in the Mixed competition. Our top boys’ pair did not play as they were focused on the Open but we were still competitive: Sophia Breese and Jack Fox were runners-up to Highgate (the strong Highgate girls are sixth formers; we anticipate success in this competition in coming years); Lizzie Ware and Luke Lloyd-Jones were semi-finalists and Emma Graham and Dan Orchard won the plate. Our overall results through that competition despite still having a young side shows what a force we already are amongst the co-educational fives schools.

The girls were now fully in the swing of the week as the Ladies’ Open tournament kicked off on Thursday alongside the U14 beginners. Our fourth formers, again, showed how well they rank nationally as Ware & Breese and Graham & Oswald both managed the impressive feat of reaching semi-finals, again only losing to the strong Highgate pairs who are two years their seniors. Clare Richards and Phoebe Wasdell won the plate.

Thanks must go to Andy Barnard and Gwen Davies, for their time and efforts with the girls, Grant Williams for his limitless energy and enthusiasm coaching the seniors, Rob Morris, Torin Morgan and Adam Shantry for their work with the U15s and U16s and Matt Barrett for showing, once again, that his analysis and coaching of the beginners is among the best in the country.

We are sad to say goodbye at the end of this season to Grant, who has been coaching for seven years and has been involved with Salopian Fives in one way or another for about 20 years! We hope still to see him on court from time to time. It is also the last season for Rob Morris, who retires from teaching this year. Travelodge and trips down the M40 will never be the same without these two stalwarts who have given so much of their time over so many years to fives at Shrewsbury. Many many thanks indeed!

A summary of the season would have to say that Shrewsbury remains a dominant force in Schools fives but that our seniors this year didn’t quite get the results that we would have hoped for. The girls’ fives, however, is a juggernaut of success, as uncompromising as Magneto and at least as good at attracting silverware.

Seb Cooley


Stowe

No report received yet


Summer Fields

No report received yet


Sunningdale

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Prep Schools and U12 winners

No report received yet


Uppingham

No report received yet


Westminster

westminster

Westminster Cup finalists

No report received yet


Wolverhampton GS

No report received yet


Wrekin College

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Wrekin players at the Schools' Championships in Shrewsbury

No report received yet