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2010 Aldenham Tournament

Graham Pulsford reports:

Twenty four invited players battled for the Jim Fredenham Cup at the Aldenham Heath Fives Club on Sunday 9 May in the club's annual tournament. Congratulations to finalists Simon Turpin and Gareth Hoskins who defeated Paul Kendall and Matthew Woods 12-4, 4-10 at the end of their 30 minute game.

As the players warmed up there was the usual friendly banter and expectation of enjoyable Fives to come. This year’s line up was the normal combination of Heath regulars and a number of hand picked guests. We were pleased to welcome Spencer Chapman, Gareth Hoskins and Carl Rennie for the first time, and were doubly pleased to welcome Charlie Farquharson-Roberts and Vanda Scholey as our first ever lady entrants. Our Tournament has obviously become a ‘social event’!

The rules are designed to keep the games flowing and to prevent any standing about waiting for other games to finish. Each match lasts for 30 minutes using normal game scoring and the team with the most points in total over the 30 minutes is the winner. If points are tied the match moves to sudden death and the next pair to achieve a match point is the winner. This format allows little time to relax as all pairs play back to back matches until the tournament is over.

The draw produced some interesting pairings with the mouth watering opportunity of playing against combinations such as Blistering Bob Pace/Phil Lyndon, Rubel Malik/Carl Rennie or Chris Cernuschi/Charlie Farquharson-Roberts! The pre tournament favourites were judged to be either Chris Austin/Neil Margerison or Paul Kendall/Matt Woods with Rubel Malik/Carl Rennie as the potential ‘gatecrashers’. Traditionally if the favourites ‘fall’ this occurs in the opening round and this year was no exception; having installed Chris Austin/Neil Margerison as clear favourites they were then narrowly beaten 10-8 by Spencer Chapman/Andrew Fraser in a tense, absorbing and highly sweaty match.

By the time the final was reached there had been some notable victories. Richard Dennis/Martin Lindsay and Blistering Bob Pace/Phil Lyndon won all but one game in their respective groups; Pete Scholey/Vanda Scholey played together and remained married; Paul Kendall/Matt Woods devastated all comers. Ollie Lawton gave an extraordinary high decibel impersonation of Monica Seles that put off ‘friend and foe’ alike (caused by a severely pulled shoulder from the warm-up; he gritted his teeth and played through to the end) and Martin Lindsay managed the near impossible: to wedge the ball in the top of the buttress after a powerful left hand volley.

The final was between the two best pairs on the day - Paul Kendall/Matt Woods and Gareth Hoskins/Simon Turpin. The 30 minutes play was divided into two distinct passages of play. In the first the high speed volleying of Gareth Hoskins backed by Simon Turpin’s forceful back court play stunned their opponents who crashed to a 12-4 first game defeat. In the second the match was turned ‘on its head’ and the fightback began. Paul Kendall and Matt Woods changed their tactics; Gareth was starved of the volley and Simon was put under severe pressure. The score moved along swiftly but at 10-4, as Paul Kendall/Matt Woods were pushing for quick points, the 30 minutes were called and Gareth Hoskins/Simon Turpin were overall 16-14 winners.

The presentation to the winning pair was sportingly made by an exhausted Paul Kendall. This year’s Heath winners shirts were put away for next year; both too small to have fitted Simon and it is doubtful that even the larger one would have fitted Gareth! We have ordered two colourful new shirts to fit.

The players and spectators then enjoyed a relaxing barbecue by the courts. This could have been improved by the appearance of the sun but as Jonathan Lindsay wisely commented ‘when you stand in the courts you don’t have to wear your second fleece!’. Blistering Bob Pace's nickname became Beaming Bob Pace (possibly due to the beer but more probably due to his victories). Thanks to Andrew Fraser for his assistance and provision of the BBQ, and thanks to Philip Wood for his assistance as time keeper and whistle blower.

In 2011 we have our 25th Heath Tournament. The continued success of this Tournament reflects mightily on the hard work of Martin Lindsay, for 23 years our Secretary, in encouraging players to turn up week after week. Many thanks.

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