Geneva Tournament 2013: Zuoz youngsters star
John Reynolds reports:
There was a Fives revolution at the weekend: two members of the latest generation to come out of the Lyceum Alpinum Zuoz overthrew the old guard to win the Geneva International Fives Tournament for the first time. Renato Buechi and Kevin Michaelsen, recently graduated from the Swiss school, defeated former Kinnaird champion John Reynolds and partner Erkki Tammivuori in the semi-final, and then current Kinnaird champion Seb Cooley and partner Roland Knapp in the final.
Some 16 players travelled from all over Europe– including competitors from England, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerlandand Turkey– competed for the Benny Oei trophy, named after the late founding spirit of the Old Zuozers Eton Fives Club.
The ability of the youngest Old Zuozers at the tournament – Kevin, Renato and his brother Felix – is proof of the soaring quality of the Eton fives played in Switzerland, a product of many years of coaching at the school itself (English coaches have included Seb Cooley, Howard Wiseman and Matt Wiseman) and of the tournaments such as this one, which give younger players the chance to match themselves against more (sometimes much more) experienced players.
The tournament's formula – devised and organised by the indefatigable Filippo Variola – involved a series of all-play-all matches on the Saturday. The results of those matches on the concrete courts of the City Green sports club in Veigy were used to decide the pairings for Sunday's play-offs.
The English contingent this year was Olavian Seb Cooley, Old Citizen Martin East (who now lives in Bonn), Old Citizen Alex Kasterine (now resident in Geneva), Old Citizen John Reynolds and Old Cholmeleian John Robinson, who were all very generously treated by the Old Zuozers to a splendid supper on Saturday evening.