2015/16 Club Reports
Read on to find out the clubs' views on the 2015/16 season...
Aldenham Ladder players; Fancy Dress Fives; Over 50s winner Graham Pulsford (R); Heath Tournament winners Darshan Patel and Phil Lyndon
The Aldenham Fives Club (The Heath) had another busy year with our ladder competition retaining its popularity.
The ladder is played every six weeks with four to five courts regularly filled. Each winner is awarded the Phil Marsh Trophy which they retain until the next ladder competition. This is currently held by Paul Kendall.
The annual Heath Tournament was won by Carl Rennie/Graham Pulsford who narrowly beat Josh Rose/Richard Dennis in a tight and taught final.
The new 12-0 Cup, presented to the latest pair to be defeated 12-0 on home courts, is currently held by Rubel Mallik/Bob Pace. This has changed hands consistently through the season and adds a touch of humour to our otherwise competitive spirit.
With fixtures against the Brigands, Westminster, North Oxford and the Jesters, there was plenty to keep Aldenham’s players busy.
“Our enthusiastic players will continue to turn out every Tuesday evening over the summer. Players from other clubs are very welcome to join us,” says club secretary Phil Lyndon.
Our thanks to the school for revamping the courts and making improvements to the lighting. These remain the best courts in the London area!
Team of the Year winners; Ryan Perrie cuts; U25 winner Andrew Joyce (L)
Lucy Pugh & Emily Mann at the Ladies Championships; Tuesday night players; Doug Foster & Charles Holroyd at Repton
The OB Fives club is going from strength to strength each year and this season is no exception; a great run through the Alan Barber Cup, strong performances across Division 1 & 2, numerous individual successes and more players stepping on court than ever before.
The season kicked off in September with the inaugural Derek Whitehead Trophy, a new event to the Fives calendar commissioned by the OB club in honour of Derek Whitehead who has been backing Old Berkhamstedian Fives on and off the court for 60+ years. Old Berkhamstedians were paired up with current pupils and it was Mark Blundell & Oliver Green having the honour of being the first pair to have their names etched onto the prestigious trophy.
The Midlands tournament is always the first major event of the year and was well represented with Old Boy Charles Holroyd paired with Berkhamsted coach Doug Foster losing out in a very tight quarter-final match to the eventual winners. M-i-C Martin Pett also had success with Coach Anthony Theodossi reaching the Final of the Festival event before also eventually losing out in three very close games.
Old Berkhamstedian Andrew Joyce defended his U25s title for his final year making it his 5th in a row, this year partnered up with Old Westminster player Riki Holden; an incredible achievement.
Berkhamsted have also officially claimed the Division 1 title with a comfortable 6 ½ point lead. The core side has been made up by OBs Jeremy O’Neill, Andrew Joyce, Dave Smith, Alex Rattan as well as Berkhamsted coaching staff George Campbell (Captain), Doug Foster, Ryan Perrie and Anthony Theodossi. One of the most pleasing aspects has been the inclusion of one of our top school players, Charlie Nicholls (Year 12, Churchill) into the adult side; he has played in all but one fixture, a pleasing sign of things to come with hopes to include more senior school players across the years.
At the time of writing Berkhamsted are also currently top of Division 2 as well, though this is likely to change with other clubs needing to complete some fixtures. It has been pleasing to see the side have a wide inclusion of players with lots of Old Boys and Girls mixing in with other regular club players from the Fives circuit to make an enjoyable and social, yet still competitive team.
One of the highlights of the season, however, was the impressive run from the Alan Barber Cup side; Andrew Joyce captained and led the way with an impressive 3 – 0 win over what was a potential tough draw against the Old Wulfrunians with wins coming from Andrew Joyce & Oliver Green, Jeremy O’Neill & Charlie Nicholls and Alex Rattan & Charles Holroyd. In the second round they were certainly the underdogs against a strong looking Highgate side, who were tipped to be semi-finalists for this year; there were certainly a few heads turning when Berkhamsted then rocked up for the semi-finals having dispatched the Old Cholmeleians in a very impressive 3 – 0 victory, the only change to the side being Charles Holroyd being replaced with Ali Leighton. It was here, however, the run ended against the implacable Old Olavians, who then went onto to win the event for the 13th year in a row. This was however an incredible achievement with Berkhamsted not making it to this later stage in a number of years.
The other major highlight of the year was the growing numbers of Old Girls also representing the OB Fives club well; Kate Sophoclides, Margerite Boyle and Melody Chan all took part in the Universities Competition where Sophoclides & Boyle reached the semi-finals losing out to the eventual winners. Ellie Casey & Sarah Wiggill took part in the all-girl team tournament, the Richard Black Cup, under the Eton Fives Association banner where they made the semi-final stages and then won the 3rd/4th play-off. A special mention must go to Emily Mann, who has been a stalwart player for the OB League 2 side across the season, as well as her representation in the Ladies Championships paired up with Old Emanuel Lucy Pugh where they just missed out on winning the Main Tournament Plate final.
One of the success of the OB club is its balance between competitive match play while also creating a fun and enjoyable social side; a fine example of this has been the inclusion of a club night taking place every Tuesday night where a mix of OBs, parents and staff come together for friendly match play with all standards and abilities welcome.
This success does not come out of thin air however. Thank you firstly to George Campbell for again running such a successful League 1 side and encouraging many of the senior players to step into the adult game; to our treasurer Doug Foster for managing and funding money across the season which has been key in allowing many young OBs the opportunity to cover travel costs and expenses to participate in many of the major events; to Ryan Perrie for his coordination and organisation of the hugely popular and successful Tuesday club nights. And finally to all the players, both OBs and guests of the club, without whom many of the above highlights would not have come to fruition.
We look forward to the 2016-2017 season and hopefully welcoming even more players back into the game to join what is currently the most successful OB sport and growing.
Richard Bourne Cup winner; The Silver Salver
A good season for the Brigands.
We averaged 3 courts on club nights, with ages ranging from 6 to a fair bit older.
We played friendly matches against Charterhouse,(h&a), our friends at Aldenham, the Heath, N.Oxford, and of course the Old Carthusians. If memory serves, we won across the board. Sadly, the first Tuesday of the month match against Cranleigh School has not been possible this season. We hope that this enjoyable fixture will be back on the list very soon.
The climax of our season heralds the Richard Bourne Trophy, a handicap tournament. In the tenth anniversary of this hard fought competition, Nick Jones emerged the worthy winner. There were 23 others who narrowly missed out, but enjoyed the contest.
January saw the inauguration of The Silver Salver, a tournament to reward the best players within the club. Of the 20 players who entered, Alex Knight and Simon Wolfries came through as winners, beating Glenn Robinson and Harry Turnbull in the final.
The grand finale was our End of Season Dinner, and AGM. The former was enthusiastically attended by nearly forty members, wives and girlfriends.
The Brigands Club play fives at Charterhouse School from September to April, 7-9 p.m. All are welcome no matter age or standard. Restauration afterwards, at our clubhouse, The Stag on the River, Eashing, is optional, but highly recommended.
The Chroniclers on the Cambridge courts
The Cambridge Chroniclers….(‘Cronies and Chronics’) are writing the next episode of Cambridge’s history of Eton Fives and announced their arrival on the Fives circuit in January 2016. We now have a group of 5 regular members, all existing Fives players, and often joined by 2 regular visitors - from North Oxford and Ipswich, as well as regular appearances from the University players. Evening games are held on Wednesdays and we are now trying to establish a late Saturday afternoon session.
Plans are also well underway to launch beginner and taster sessions, and with the introduction of Fives membership as part of the 400 squash members’ package, we anticipate a healthy increase in numbers for both Rugby and Eton Fives, given that the former have 3 courts alongside the Eton courts.
In addition three schools, new to Fives, have signed up for regular taster and coaching sessions: The Leys, St John’s Prep and King’s College Prep, all of whom are introducing the sport to a variety of their pupils.
We are fortunate that James Powley, a highly regarded and rated Squash Pro has embarked on his Fives coaching courses (both codes), and will be presiding over the schools’ and beginner programmes. Plans are also underway to invite some State schools to the centre as well as students from Anglia Ruskin University.
Fives will be played throughout the year, and for the first time, the University CUEFC have chosen to continue playing with the Chroniclers throughout the Summer term. The Chroniclers are proud to announce their first match fixture against the Old Ipswichians on 18th June with 3 strong pairings with the offer of a 4th, but lament the fact that the opposition were unable to raise a 4th pair – which would have been played on the Magdalene Court.
Next term we hope to host visiting clubs from around the country who wish to experience the unique indoor first floor setting of the new Cambridge courts and challenge themselves against the experience, skill and finesse of the mighty Chroniclers! All will be made most welcome.
The Varsity squad; Midlands winners Tony Barker & Riki Houlden; London Festival winners Alistair Stewart & Sudhir Balaji; Cuppers champions Homerton
2015-16 was another very strong season for CUEFC, with impressive performances across the whole club. Tony Barker and Riki Houlden topped a competitive entry at the Midlands Tournament, and Alistair Stewart and Sudhir Balaji claimed victory at the London Festival Tournament. There were also a number of narrow misses, with CUEFC coming Runners-Up at the Ladies Universities Tournament (Sophie Kelly and Hannah Rapley), Northern Festival Tournament (Nathan Turnbull and Will Reid) and Under 21s Tournament (Riki Houlden and Alistair Stewart).
These results, together with widespread enthusiasm at regular weekly training and fixtures, culminated in the performance at the 2016 Varsity Match. This was a resounding Cambridge success, with victories for the Half Blues, Penguins and Ladies 2nd teams. Five members of the Ladies 2nd team and the entirety of the Penguins team were newcomers to CUEFC this year, showing incredible promise for the future of the club in years to come. The 2016 Varsity match marked the last for Tony Barker and Jamie Abbott, both of whom have played at first pair for CUEFC for 2 years. Their 3-0 victories at 1st and 2nd pairs respectively, which produced an overall Light Blue triumph, were a fitting end to their illustrious fives careers during their time at Cambridge, and we hope to see their continuing success beyond university.
The 2015-16 CUEFC Committee has worked very hard to create a wide variety of changes on and off the court in the club and in Cambridge more generally. It has been wonderful to see these developments, and we are excited to see fives in Cambridge continue to go from strength to strength. This has been due in no small part to Rodney Knight, who has announced his retirement from the role of CUEFC President this year. With the Vice Presidents, Dale Vargas and Peter Reynolds, he has helped to ensure the survival of the club since the closing of the fives courts at Portugal Place up until the present day; Cambridge fives is thriving at the newly built courts of the University Sports Centre. We are all very grateful for their work, and thank Rodney wholeheartedly.
Cambridge University Ladies
No report received yet
Westway Superleague Winners
Well Ronald and I enjoyed our season. I hope we are reasonable barometers of the general sentiment…. We have been fortunate this ‘term’ to enjoy well subscribed games against congenial opposition. Success has been more difficult to measure this season, since the focus has been ever more to secure good games of fives. We have found that this pairing flexibility has allowed us to play ever more closer matches. Perhaps too it has helped the après-fives. This element of the season has been more regular than ever, which is additive to our brand of Eton Fives. We are encouraged that this season we are not stopping our season as spring arrives, but thanks to Will Scjøtt, we are participating, in the Summer SuperLeague. Over the years, Westminster has become our home, and that remains firmly the case. However, since there appears to be a growing appetite for Jesters Fives, we have two new fixtures for the coming season at Emmanuel School in Clapham. Last season the Jesters managed to play 4 of their sports on the same day at Cambridge; this excellent venture is another important part of the club collaboration between codes. Ronald & I hope that this fixture will again be well supported in November. Finally, a thank you to our fellow match managers, for tirelessly turning out competitive sides - this job has been considerably easier in recent years due to the support of so many of you - for which I am most grateful. Finally, we do encourage any of you to apply for games; we now have a good spread of options, in terms of locations and capability.
Alex Illingworth and Ronald Pattison
Lancing Old Boys
OL Ashley Lumbard winning the Kinnaird Festival and the Mixed Plate
The Club has had an enjoyable season with a good mixture of League and friendly games.
We went out in the first round of the Barber Cup to a strong and resurgent Old Cholmeleians side. This was a disappointment as we had progressed to the later rounds in previous seasons. We did field our best side but perhaps one or two were short of top-level match practice.
We do not have sufficient numbers of higher level players to field a team in either Division 1 or Division 2, so our best players play for other sides. The great thing is that they are still playing Eton Fives. Hopefully, at some point we can recruit enough high-level players to consider entering a team in our own right in one of these divisions.
We have fulfilled all our fixtures in Division 3 , following a policy of trying to give everyone games rather than going all out for victory by fielding our best side every time. This has meant that we have built up a small but happy squad with a Lancing identity (we are indebted to our guests over many season but we now regularly have sides made up entirely of OLs, a distinct advance on previous seasons). We ended up mid-table, a good position.
We entered the EFA trophy, a second-level club knock -out competition for the first time under the name of The Lancing Lionhearts.
We played both Oxford and Cambridge Universities in two very successful friendly matches and played other friendly matches, for example against The Jesters and the Old Westminsters. These games are precious because both match managers can arrange sides of equal ability, thus ensuring a well-matched contest.
We played in the Summer Superleague at Westway. One of the brightest developments is that two Lancing College pupils came up regularly from Sussex to play. Another welcome development has been the establishment of a Sussex-based club which meets every Tuesday evening at the College. Not only will this club encourage current pupils to continue playing after leaving school but the club gives some non-OL players who are based in Sussex the chance to play. The new master-in-charge , Nat Payne, is leading a revival in the game at the College with the active support of the Headmaster. The OL club has to ensure that it recruits a proportion of College players into the OL Fives Club so that we can grow a larger playing membership and expand our fixture list beyond the 20 fixtures which is realistically the maximum that we can support at present.
We are holding an Eton Fives Festival week-end on 3rd and 4th September at the College. This will be chance to club members to play fives in a friendly, non-match environment. There will be an informal gala dinner on the Saturday evening at a restaurant in Worthing which will bring together present and past players and masters-in-charge. We have a few places for non-OLs – anyone who would like to play is welcome to contact me.
We are grateful for the generous support of the OL Club.
This has been a very successful third season for the Newbury Club. It is still very much a youth club, populated mainly by the pupils of St Bartholomew’s School, but we now have a core of regular attendees who are enjoying playing and improving their standard.
Unfortunately, we have not been able to entice any of their parents to try the game, nor have we managed to discover any other adults in the Newbury area, either current or ex players or beginners who would like to come and play. This is a great pity as neither Paul Mason, whose enthusiasm and dedication have ensured that momentum has been maintained, nor myself live in the area.
What we are particularly looking for is players of any standard or none, living locally, who would like to be involved in playing and helping to run and promote the club. There are three lovely new courts just waiting to be played on. This could be a great Fives centre outside London. I am sure there must be players out there who would enjoy a game. If that is you, please do get in touch at newburyfives atgmail.com (Paul Mason) or paulrayb at hotmail.com (Paul Bowden). We would love to hear from you.
Meanwhile we shall encourage young people to enjoy the game. Sessions are every Sunday morning during term time from 11.00 a.m. until 1.00 p.m.
Black Cup runners-up; Over 50s winner Pete Scholey (L); NOEFC v Highgate; A typical Div 2 team
Coast to Coast tour; Playing at Torry Hill; NOEFC on film
This has been another enjoyable and successful season for North Oxford EFC. We played a record 41 fixtures, in Divisions 1 and 2 of the league, in the Black Cup and EFA Trophy and in various friendlies. As usual a policy was pursued of playing as many matches as possible in as many different places as possible with as wide a rnage of standard as possible and this resulted in over 40 players turning out for us during the course of the season.
On the competitive side of things, our second season in Division 1 was as tough as the first, but there were signs of improvement - promising debuts from Oxford students James Cobb and James Piggot, a couple of wins, most notably a 2-1 home win over an Old Olavian side that included three Kinnaird winners and a finishing position of one off the bottom. Onwards and upwards! The second team were always competitive in a very tight Division 2 competition and next year we'll be playing in all three divisions as Andy Bishop leads a North Oxford third team into Division 3. The North Oxford girls were again outstanding all year, contributing hugely to the team's successes and once again reaching the final of the Richard Black Cup, only to lose out to Highgate School in the final again.
The club is about a lot more than competitive Fives, however. Monday nights at Summer Fields continue to thrive, with new players - Jake Ryde and Charlie Cook both impressing hugely this year - coming in all the time to play alongside the old favourites, the Aston House teams continue to grace the Superleague and the start of season curry, christmas dinner in Cibo's and summer barbecue were all well attended.
NOEFC has also acquired a reputation over the years for going where other Fives clubs don't; this year's follies included a trip to Kent to play the annual unusual courts fixture against the Old Eds at Torry Hill and High Elms, the annual cross code fixture against Marlborough, this year played at Iffley Road, and finally the Coast to Coast tour, with eight intrepid North Oxonians playing ten games in two days, travelling from Colwyn Bay to Ipswich and playing at all points in between. The European version is in the planning stage, while the Christmas three code challenge will be back for a third edition in December.
I would like to thank everyone who has played for us this year, in fixtures and on Monday nights especially those who turn out game after game, whenever and wherever. I'd also like to very much thank Summer Fields School for their continued support in allowing us to use their courts and for providing us access to their production line of good Fives players!
Over 60s winner Ronald Pattison (L)
No report received yet
The OCs in Division 1 action
The OCs jumped back into the deep end of competitive league fives during the 2015/16 season after a recent hiatus. Expectations and excitement had been buoyed by a taster of success in the Westway summer league but, predictably, these were different beasts. With the help of some solid performances from OCs and school players alike the team scored results and moves toward building a stronger squad for next year. Notable mentions go to Ollie Light and James Hopkins who saw much improvement throughout the season as well as to the team who secured victory against Lancing in the Barber Cup. The club looks forward to welcoming back some recent graduates for the upcoming season.
The Old Citizens at the Wood Plate and Adams Cup; playing in the league and the Barber Cup and at their annual dinner
This season we earned a nomination for the EFA’s team-of-the-year award, some 30 years after we lost our home courts at Blackfriars.
The club - involving about 60 Old Cits and friends over the past 12 months - has played hundreds of games in three countries (England, Switzerland and France) and attracted scores of players to compete for its own trophies: the Adams Cup (in its 90th year) and Wood Plate.
We won our first-round Barber Cup tie against the Old Edwardians, and finished in the top four in both second and third national divisions.
We also staged an old-versus-young match (youngsters were those who left CLS after the year 2000; this time it was won by the veterans).
Several of us have featured in the EFA’s new publicity film (although how much of the footage now lies on the cutting-room floor remains to be seen).
And that’s to say nothing of an Xmas bash at our adopted courts in Highgate and an end-of-season dinner in St James’s attended by a combined 56 Old Cits and guests.
Every Thursday at Highgate we hold a friendly knockabout, followed by a beer at The Bull (let Ralph Morgan know if you’d like to come along).
No report received yet
Universities and Under 21s champions James Cobb and James Piggot
Last season’s strong performances were always going to be a difficult act to follow, and with significant changes to both the playing and administrative teams, this was a transition year for the OEs. Several of our best young players are now part of a joint team with North Oxford in Division 1, and, once this core of high quality players emerges from university, the club hopes to be able to field a stand-alone team in the top division once more.
There is certainly no shortage of talent being supplied by the School, with Eton once again winning not only the Public Schools championship but also the Williams Cup, the latter for a record-breaking fourth time in a row. Indeed, early season guest appearances for the OEs from recent leavers Jack Parham, Matt Asquith and Tom Kirkby prior to the start of university term, the last fresh from his Public Schools win, got the club off to a flying start, and with OEs comprising more than half of this year’s Varsity players there is much to look forward to. Oxford University in particular seems to be the preferred choice for recent OEs, and a mid-season friendly match against OU at Oxford, followed by a dinner kindly hosted by Michael Constantinidi and David Robson, was a real highlight. The annual St Andrew’s Day and AGM fixtures against the school were once again very well attended, and friendly fives continues to be a key part of the club’s activity.
Although difficulties of player recruitment towards the end of the season led to a drop in form, with Jamie Abbott taking over as Secretary from next season the future of the club has never looked better. On a personal note, it has been a great privilege to have been OEFC Secretary for the last 10 years, and I have very much enjoyed being a part of Eton’s recent fives resurgence. I look forward to continuing to play, and any OEs wanting a game can still contact me at alex.knight at altiumassociates.com or Peter Eckersley (Membership Secretary) at eckersley.peter at yahoo.co.uk.
Kinnaird, London and Northern Champion Tom Dunbar (L)
Another challenging season in terms of honouring commitments due to long term injuries to both Ross Bryan and Jamie Fleming and study/work commitments many miles from Harrow for Peter Dunbar, Zikomo Smith, James Lawson Baker and Tom Nevile.
It is therefore a tribute to the loyalty of all the OHs but particularly Nick Shaw, Alex Poole, Ed Hewens and Tom Dunbar (and Richard Tyler,Old Edwardian) that we managed a highly respectable League position, a great Barber run that ended with a 13-12 defeat in the deciding fifth set of the third pair match in the semi final and an entry in to the Richard Barber Cup.
The highlight was certainly Tom's record breaking 12th Kinnaird victory and it was great to witness a fittingly complete performance in a high quality final.
Graves Cup winners James Gray and Oli Watts; Graves Cup dinner; Universities Champion Sarah Frost (L)
No report received yet
Vish Bhimjiyani & Suil Tailor; Ian Hutchinson & Charlie Plummer; OMs in action
A difficult season that promised much at times but ultimately failed to deliver. Whilst the club is in good shape overall, and we were in contention in Division One for a while, the aging demographic of our players and the concomitant diversions of wives, children and, in one case, the activities of Messrs Assad and Putin, meant that we uncharacteristically struggled to field full teams in some of our Division 1 and 2 fixtures this year. However, we are optimistic that various steps taken over the summer should mean that we are in much better shape for the coming season particularly as a result of the emergence of fifth form (!) schoolboy Charlie Plummer as a strong addition to our Division One team, the return of two talented former schoolboys from University and three Division 2 regulars coming back into the fold after various adventures. We are also launching what we hope will be a more efficient match management system that will defeat the encroachment of five-a-side football, rugby training and cricket nets into our players' time.
Beyond the emergence of Charlie Plummer, there were two other highlights of the season. In the Kinnaird, Vishal Bhiimjiyani and Sunil Tailor reached the quarter finals again. After beating Howard Wiseman and Tony Barker in an epic five setter in the round of sixteen, they were defeated in the quarter finals by finalists and former winners, Matthew Wiseman and James Toop, despite fighting back strongly in the third set to narrowly lose 13-12. Hopefully, they can go one step further this year. Ed Taylor (Old Salopian) and Ian Hutchinson rekindled the partnership that reached the final in 2000 but were unlucky to meet the ultimate winners in the semi-finals. The final highlight was our ability to get a team out for a weekend morning fixture for which all players were in a fit state to drive.
As has been the case for many years, the club continues to benefit from Steve Plummer's sterling work developing pupil players and guiding them in the club's direction at an early stage so that they are already established OM players before they leave school. Over 25% of the new additions to our squad for the coming season are either current schoolboys or "returners" from University. The club will continue to reap the fruits of his development work particularly through the introduction of Fives to the Belmont schoolgirls and the introduction of Fives to all pupils, boys and girls, when they join Mill Hill in the Fourth Form. We look forward to the Mill Hill schoolgirls playing their first competitive fixture and the Old Millhillians fielding a Ladies player for the first time. A "Muirfield" scenario is not a risk. The club's governance model is dictatorship rather than democracy. In all his efforts, Steve has been superbly supported in the last couple of years by Andrew Rennie, who has also been a strong addition to our squad, and Ian Hutchinson (see later). Thanks to the generosity of the Old Millhillians and our alumni, both schoolboys and club members continue to benefit from the recent purchase of a Stinger based at MHS. Socially, both the Christmas dinner at the Griffin (not that one) in Farringdon and our annual dinner at the Bleeding Heart were great successes.
Thanks to Ed Taylor and Rex Worth who have helped establish the club as a division one side over recent seasons but are returning to the new Salopian team in Division One. We wish them the best of luck, except against us. Interim thanks to Ian Hutchinson who has been a stalwart of both schoolboy and Old Boy Fives at Mill Hill for many years and was a key team member in 2013 when we won Division One and Club of the Year. Ian is off to Harrow in September as Fives and Cricket Coach but will play one last season for the OMs this year. More fulsome thanks in due course once he has actually left!
Kinnaird, London and Northern winner Seb Cooley (R), Barber Cup winners; London finalists; Turnbull winners Seb Cooley and Tom Gallagher
Mixed winners the Cooleys; Midlands Festival winners Tim Leech and James Rumble; Aberconway Plate winners the Wisemans
A really enjoyable and successful season! The weekly Saturday morning club brought back many players who haven't played since leaving school, and enabled a number of school players to integrate with the Old Olavians. In competition, Olavians again dominated all the major events. Matt Wiseman, James Toop & Seb Cooley all appeared in the Kinnaird final again. James paired up with Tom Gallgher from school to reach both the London and Northerns Finals, again against Seb and his Harrovian partner, Tom Dunbar. This was fantastic experience for young Gallagher, who played outstandingly well.
Charlotta Cooley defended her Ladies Title, as she did in partnership with Seb Cooley to defend the Mixed Nationals title.
The most important event for the Team as a whole, is of course the Barber Cup. This was won again this year, and with some new, younger players being brought into the squad: Tony Barker and Tom Gallagher.
We were delighted to hear that David Mew was appointed as the Fives Professional at Highgate school towards the end of the season. Charlotta Cooley was also appointed to the staff at Ipswich School where she is heavily involved with helping the flourishing Fives programme there; congratulations to her too!
We look forward very much to next season and are galvanising ourselves to help fund new courts at the school, which will be used to benefit the Sport as a whole by introducing many more players to this sport from the local community.
No report received yet
Aberconway finalists; Barber Cup runners-up; Veterans winners
Pepperpot winners; Kinnaird semi-finalists Ian Hutchinson and Ed Taylor
2015-16 was another season of progress for the Salopians. We lost in the Alan Barber Cup final (again!) against the Old Olavians. This is the pinnacle of Old Boys fives and our consistency and strength and depth in the squad is fantastic. There is great determination to win this competition soon and with the players we have, as well as having age on our side, it is only a matter of time.
In the EFA trophy we also lost in the final but it is a widely attended competition and the result further evidences the enthusiasm and the strength of OS fives currently.
In the League we finished mid table but we have very recently agreed with the EFA that from next season we will have both a League 1 and a League 2 side which is great news for the club.
No report received yet
Andrew Aitken Cup winners; U25 champion Riki Houlden (R); Over 60s winner Neil Margerison (R)
This has been a superb season for the First Team. Playing in a highly competitive division 1, they stand on the brink (with one match remaining) of securing an all-time high 9 wins from 12 matches, amassing a record points total, and securing a second place finish. During the middle of the season, the team put together a six match winning streak, and highlights of the season have included an away victory over Mill Hill as well as doubles over Harrow, Highgate and North Oxford.
Although the team has benefited from some ringers, the “core” of the side remains Westminster based, with Laurie Brock and Ed Rose fixtures at first pair, supported by Giles Coren, Harry DeQuetteville, Sam Williams, Callum Brock and rising stars Ismail Salim and Matthew Lewin.
The Second Team’s season was not quite as successful, although it was great to see a good breadth of players, including Rosie Scott & Elana Osen, playing in many of the Division & Friendly matches. Thank you to William Illingworth, Alfred Jackson & Majid Mostafavi for their help arranging matches.
Outside of the leagues, Westminster players have also enjoyed success at major tournaments. At the London Tournament Westminster had three of the four players on court in one main quarter-final, with Brock and Rose narrowly defeating Riki Houlden and his Cambridge partner, while Alistair Stewart triumphed in the Festival. Brock and Rose also reached the semi-final at the Northern and the quarter final of the Kinnaird.
The strength at the younger end of the club was recently confirmed at this year’s Varsity Match, with no fewer than four Westminster players featuring in the top four mens’ pairs (and three of them emerging victorious, including a terrific win for Riki at first pair for Cambridge).
Part of the reason for such strength in depth (along with the tireless efforts of Matt Wiseman as coach at the school) has been the inception of the Westminster Cup, now a well-established season opener and re-named, in what is now its fifth year, as the Andrew Aitken Trophy, in memory of Andrew’s incredible service to the club over more than 30 years. This year’s winners were DeQuetteville and schoolboy Nathan Malik, who narrowly beat Rose and schoolboy Kotka Lim 15-13 in a thrilling final.
Laurie Brock & Freddie Krespi
The Wulfs in EFA Trophy action
One of the best parts of the Fives season for me and even though I love playing Fives, I also love finding out who (and where) I'll be playing next. So to rival football's FA Cup draw, Eton Fives has it's very own (but slightly smaller) equivalent.......the Barber Cup draw! Previous recent seasons had seen us travel to Ipswich and Highgate which gives us all a chance to play some competitive Fives at some schools that aren't on the regular tournament circuit and find out just how sketchy your memory actually is about what the courts and surrounding were like....or is that just me? Anyway, this season was another one of those exciting draws as it pitted us against Berkhamsted - a school we hadn't visited for between 25 & 40 years, depending who you were on our team. It was a reasonably close affair for the most part, but AJ's younger charges emerged victorious and so he kindly treated to us to a beer at their local to drown our sorrows! Bring on Lancing next year!
If it wasn't to be our year in the Barber Cup, then we moved swiftly onto the EFA Trophy. Since our resurrection we have qualified for Finals Day every season, but as is the increased strength in depth of the players turning out at these tournaments regularly now that this season that changed and despite our best efforts we didn't quite make it but we are already in Summer training camp in readiness for next year's tilt at the trophy! Special thanks must go to James Brazier who plays about once every 2 years and Tom Weston who travelled a long way at short notice to come and answer our call when we needed him to play.
The improved strength in depth of tournament players was also evident in the Northern and Kinnaird where Mark Yates and Sid/Chris respectively all fell at the first hurdle in their endeavours.
Andy and Tom Husslebee had another good tilt at the Father/Son tournament this year getting to the semi-finals and putting up a good fight against the perennial finalists, the Williams'. Both are playing some great Fives and if both can keep playing regularly then I'm sure they will have a good shot in the coming years.
The season finale was the Veterans Tournament and for a fair few of us over recent seasons this hasn't been an option........until this season that is, where all 'Old' Old Wulfrunians were now eligible. After a bit of arm-twisting and cajoling we managed to muster 3 pairs out of a 10 pair field which is no mean feat considering 5 of us were Midlands/Shropshire-based. The standard again was extremely high with some of the games highly ranked players turning out in the Open and all 3 Wulfrunian pairs (Greg/Phil, Mark/Dave & Sid/Chris) had 4 tough, close group games. Sid/Chris managed to sneak through their close group games to get a final showdown with Grant & Mike. Despite a slow start, Sid & Chris asserted themselves on the game to get up to a 14-12 lead but their opponents hadn't won this tournament multiple times without reason and they were able to keep calm, edge closer and finally take it by a single point. Next season we hope to bring even more Wulfrunian pairs to this and see where that takes us!
In summary, this was an extremely enjoyable, challenging and adventurous season which we hope to build on for the coming season with the continued support of the younger Old Wulfs again and the organisational expertise of Mark and Greg.
My own personal goal is to address the declining numbers who attend the Royal Oak after our Thursday sessions - I'd better get to work.......
EFA Trophy winners; Varsity Squad; Universities Mixed winners James Piggot and Izzy Watts; Universities and U21 winners James Cobb and James Piggot
Oxford Fives have enjoyed a vintage season, although much like a 2009 Bordeaux, it will almost certainly be eclipsed by next year’s harvest. That is not to say that this season’s efforts were not full-bodied in their own right. The season began brightly with the arrival of a pepper-pot full of Etonians, all from the same house, and including 3 national schools champions from the previous two seasons: James Pigott, James Cobb, and Thomas Kirkby. Perhaps it was their familiarity with the courts, perhaps (more likely) the carbohydrate boosts provided by frequent visits to Eton’s Café Sub Zero, topped up by liberal use of their old school house’s toast making facilities (managed superbly by Sam Oppenheimer and Will Ponsonby), but Pigott and Cobb in particular looked unstoppable in the early events of the season, winning the U21s, and the Universities’ Tournament. The rest of the side were also looking good. Kirkby and Flowers might even have challenged for the Universities’ had they not “let Piggy and Cobby win the semi-final”, whilst the squad was buoyed by the rapidly improving banter of Ollie Sale, and the arrival of several exciting beginners.
OUEFC have particularly enjoyed the EFA trophy in the last few years, and ever since a final tactically arranged to nullify our potency the morning after the Post-Varsity Match dinner, the club has been desperate to win the tournament. Indeed, many of the players from that 2014 final defeat at the hands of the Old Salopians appeared on court for the 2016 tournament. Sam Welti, the self-appointed captain of the one man Oxford Brookes Fives Team, was particularly desperate to avenge the 3 years of chat that he had received from his former school coach Grant Williams. The qualifying rounds had almost sunk our campaign before it had begun: losing to the Monday Knights on courts that had been converted into ice rinks meant that only some final set heroics from Stephen Thatcher saved us from falling at the first hurdle. Defeating the Old Salopians in the semi-final proved to be a similar skin-of-the-teeth job: Welti having fallen prey to Williams’ mind games at first pair, and a comfortable 3rd pair victory left the game nicely poised at 1-1. Captain Flowers and Secretary Sale at Pair 2 were involved in a 5 set thriller, ending with a comeback from 10-2 down that will be sung of at many an OUEFC drinks party. The final offered the team a chance to lay down a more convincing performance, which they duly did against North Oxford in what was billed as the “gown vs gown derby”.
Returning to wine (as the club has done on many an occasion over the last few months) the final bunch of grapes to be added to this season’s rapidly maturing brew was the Varsity Match, and alas, it remained elusive. Cambridge started extremely brightly and never let their foot off the accelerator, running out convincing winners. Like the proverbial England manager would say, however, there were plenty of positives to take away from the game. Ollie Sale declared the Oxford side the runaway winners in Varsity Banter, whilst Sam Oppenheimer took great delight in leading a guided tour of Oxford’s watering holes for the Cambridge Women’s team later in the evening. Next season really does promise great things. Ably led by new captain Will Ponsonby, the team should have every confidence in retaining their current silverware, and hopefully adding a first Varsity trophy in four years to the cabinet. Off the court, James Cobb has promised great things as the club’s new social secretary (all enquiries to james.cobb at sjc.ox.ac.uk ) and has already delivered by christening a new club drink, “The Rappers™” (equal parts cointreau and alcoholic ginger beer).
Oxford University Ladies
Black Cup team; Varsity squad
This season we saw great improvements in all players - beginners and old hands alike. We had pairs competing in the Universities Tournament, U21s, Mixed, Ladies National Champs, as well as the Varsity Tournament. At Varsity our first team won 2 pairs to 1, but we sadly missed out on a second team victory. This year also saw the inaugral Mixed Varsity Tournament and it will be exciting to watch it grow and flourish in future years. Meeting both personal and squad goals throughout the season, everyone should be very proud of their achievements and very excited for next year!
EFA Award winner Andrew Ibbetson; Freddie Rowe and James Caplin
The Westway Fives Club continues to progress.
Numbers playing are pleasingly up and with three teams in this year’s league we thought transition would be our watchword. We were wrong. We ended up winning the Division 3 title under Chris Wheeler’s captaincy and Darshan Patel and Will Betts retained the Division Two title. Pleasingly that also gives Will another year to find the trophy. Ben Young is hammering away with our other Division 3 team, success there is building and his mutterings are thought to be the beginning of an acceptance speech.
Our Sunday Senior Sessions have grown to be very popular and watching grown-ups limp around in slow motion is an ocular treat.
The end of season tour we call Summer Superleague roused us at the last moment and with two teams in the semi’s – facing each other – a finalist is guaranteed. By the time you read this the next sentence will be one of: We wuz robbed!/Told you we could do it/Its only a social event/We thought the opposition were a bit OTT/We must be magnanimous in victory (yeah, right!)
Enjoy the summer everyone, we hope to cross gloves with you soon.
Windsor & Eton
Mixed Plate B winners Ian Mitchell and Mandie Barnes
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