Kinnaird Cup 2016
22/02/16: The qualifying rounds of the 2016 Kinnaird Cup took place at Eton over the weekend; 29 pairs entered the main tournament and the depth of quality of the entry was the best seen for several years, with 29 of the 35 players featured on the current ranking list taking part, alongside one or two very strong players from outside that list. A further 24 pairs entered the Sunday competitions, which with a bit of doubling up meant a very healthy 49 pairs taking part across the weekend.
The strength of the draw meant that there were tough games right from the off, with some good pairs going out in the first round. The top eight seeds all made it through along with most of the other fancied pairs to produce a mouthwatering set of last sixteen games. Top seeds and defending champions Seb Cooley and Tom Dunbar made their usual serene progress through the draw and second seeds James Toop and Matthew Wiseman saw off young Olavian pretenders Tom Gallagher and Kosi Nwuba. Third seeds Anthony Theodossi and Ryan Perrie showed their continued improvement with a fine 3-0 win over the potentially dangerous Salopian pair of Tom Welti and Chris Hughes and fourth seeds Laurie Brock and Ed Rose also made it through against Guy and Grant Williams. 2014 quarter-finalists Jamie Abbott and Robert Wilson, back in action together after a lengthy lay off, found the going tough against eighth seeded Cholmeleians Jonny Ho and Joe Marks but the other three seeded pairs all fell at the second hurdle.
Olavians Howard Wiseman and Tony Barker went down in a five game epic against the Old Millhillian pair of Sunil Tailor and Vishal Bhimjiyani and the dark horse scratch pairing of former champion Peter Dunbar and Oxford's James Piggot took down sixth seeds David Mew and Richard Tyler, who have endured a difficult season, the younger pair's 14-12 win in the first game proving crucial. The other match saw fifth seeds Doug Foster and Andrew Joyce up against another tricky dark horse pair in Ed Taylor and Ian Hutchinson, Kinnaird finalists back in 2000 but playing together in this competition for the first time in a long time. The experienced Salopians lost the first game to 3, Foster and Joyce getting off to a flying start, but won the second to the same score to get back into the match before finally coming from 1-2 down to win the fourth and fifth games to 9 and progress to the quarter-finals.
In the Sunday quarter-finals Cooley and Dunbar quickly put Ho and Marks in their place and Toop and Wiseman also made it into the last four again in straight games, despite a stirring thid game performance from Bhimjiyani and Tailor, who lost it 12-13, leaving them hugely frustrated that they had been unable to take it to a fourth. The other two quarter-finals were affected by injury; what was shaping up to be a humdinger between Dunbar & Piggot and Theodossi & Perrie was curtailed when Peter Dunbar twisted his knee in the first game and had to withdraw. Meanwhile Ed Taylor had suffered a nasty looking toe injury towards the end of his last sixteen match against Foster and Joyce and was unable to play. Opponents Brock and Rose - in a highly sporting gesture - did not want to progress to the semi-finals with a walkover and it has been agreed that the match will be played at Eton on March 5th to decide who gets to take on Dunbar and Cooley in the last four the week after.
The Pepperpot Trophy plate competition for the first round losers produced some fine matches on Saturday afternoon but threatened to descend into farce with so few pairs able to come back and play on the Sunday as well. As this is increasingly the case, the format of the Pepperpot may have to be changed in future years but for this year a compromise was reached and the Pepperpot was competed for on the Sunday by those pairs still standing from Saturday's play and not in the quarter-finals plus the strongest pairs who had entered into the Festival. This produced two excellent competitions on Sunday, with twelve pairs battling it out for the Pepperpot and a further twelve looking to become Festival champions.
The two morning groups in the Pepperpot competition produced some fantastic matches; Grant & Guy Williams ended up top of one group and Etonian twins Max and Oliver Rowse saw off the challenge of Mike Hughes and James Skelton to win the other. Those two pairs met in the afternoon final and it was the more experienced Williams duo who came out on top, Grant thus winning the Pepperpot trophy for the second time, thirty-two years after his previous win in the competition. James Skelton suffered the ignominy of defeat by son Milo and his Berkhamsted partner Charlie Nicholls in the 3rd/4th play off and the plate of the plate was won by ladies champions Karen Hird and Charlotta Cooley. Noteworthy, too, was the presence in the competition of Nick Preston, an Old Uppinghamian returning to the game.
The format of the Sunday play meant that the Festival itself was opened up to several pairs who might otherwise have had their hopes thwarted by some of the professional festival bandits who instead found themselves in the Pepperpot competition. The results were delightful with the top end of the festival full of close exciting games and the lower end featuring some young (and less young) pairs gaining some fantastic experience.
At one stage an all-Ipswich final looked to be on the cards but veterans Peter Boughton and John Caudle ran out of steam against the younger legs of Ashley Lumbard and Chris Ballingall in one semi-final and Will Main and Tony Stubbs lost out by the narrowest of margins to Olavians Alex Tomlinson and Jamie Moore in the other. Lumbard and Ballingall then got off to an absolute flyer in the final and held on to win 15-10, while Westway's Freddie Rowe and Andrew Pilkington showed the Ipswich youngsters a thing or two to win the Festival plate.
My thanks go to Mike Hughes and Eton College for hosting the event and to Mark Williams for his administrative assistance.
T.Dunbar & S.Cooley (1) BYE
T.Cox & B.Alderson beat C.Austin & S.Simmons 3-0 (13-10, 12-8, 12-9)
J.Abbott & R.Wilson beat G.Hoskins & C.Rennie 3-0 (12-5, 12-6, 12-5)
J.Ho & J.Marks (8) beat B.Merrett & J.Parham 3-0 (12-3, 12-8, 12-3)
D.Foster & A.Joyce (5) beat K.Hird & C.Cooley 3-0 (12-1, 12-8, 12-3)
E.Taylor & I.Hutchinson beat K.Walton & J.Ravi 3-0 (12-5, 12-7, 12-0)
G.Williams & G.Williams beat S.Yick & I.Salim 3-0 (13-11, 12-3, 12-6)
L.Brock & E.Rose (4) beat A.Stewart & S.Balaji 3-0 (12-3, 12-3, 12-0)
A.Theodossi & R.Perrie (3) BYE
C.Hughes & T.Welti beat W.Betts & T.Betts 3-0 (12-5, 12-9, 12-5)
P.Dunbar & J.Piggot beat M.Rowse & O.Rowse 3-0 (12-4, 12-4, 12-5)
D.Mew & R.Tyler (6) beat B.Harrison & A.Wellesley 3-0 (12-1, 12-4, 12-7)
H.Wiseman & T.Barker (7) beat R.Morgan & C.Wheeler 3-0 (12-1, 12-1, 12-1)
V.Bhimjiyani & S.Tailor beat C.Stocks & J.Prior 3-0 (12-2, 12-2, 12-1)
T.Gallagher & K.Nwuba beat S.Welti & T.Kirkby 3-1 (12-6, 12-9, 11-15, 12-9)
J.Toop & M.Wiseman (2) BYE
T.Dunbar & S.Cooley beat T.Cox & B.Alderson 3-0 (12-0, 12-5, 12-0)
J.Ho & J.Marks beat J.Abbott & R.Wilson 3-0 (12-5, 12-0, 12-5)
E.Taylor & I.Hutchinson beat D.Foster & A.Joyce (5) 3-2 (3-12, 12-3, 9-12, 12-9, 12-9)
L.Brock & E.Rose beat G.Williams & G.Williams 3-0 (12-6, 12-7, 12-5)
A.Theodossi & R.Perrie beat C.Hughes & T.Welti 3-0 (12-6, 12-6, 12-6)
P.Dunbar & J.Piggot beat D.Mew & R.Tyler 3-0 (14-12, 12-4, 12-8)
V.Bhimjiyani & S.Tailor beat H.Wiseman & T.Barker 3-2 (12-9, 9-12, 12-5, 9-12, 12-6)
J.Toop & M.Wiseman beat T.Gallagher & K.Nwuba 3-0 (12-3, 12-7, 12-1)
T.Dunbar & S.Cooley beat J.Ho & J.Marks 3-0 (12-2, 12-1, 12-2)
L.Brock & E.Rose v E.Taylor & I.Hutchinson tba
A.Theodossi & R.Perrie beat P.Dunbar & J.Piggot 3-0 (10-6, scr)
J.Toop & M.Wiseman beat V.Bhimjiyani & S.Tailor 3-0 (12-8, 12-5, 13-12)
Final: G.Williams & G.Williams beat M.Rowse & O.Rowse 2-0
3rd/4th: M.Hughes & J.Skelton beat C.Nicholls & M.Skelton 2-1
5th/6th: K.Walton & J.Ravi beat N.Turnbull & A.Kane 2-0
7th/8th: T.Gallagher & J.Oxley beat N.Preston & W.Reid 2-0
9th/10th: K.Hird & C.Cooley beat V.Shetty & C.Plews 2-0
A.Lumbard & C.Ballingall beat R.Morgan & E.Scoones 15-12
T.Stubbs & W.Main beat L.Duffin & M.Li 15-11
P.Boughton & J.Caudle beat S.Kelly & B.Dovgyy 15-6
A.Tomlinson & J.Moore beat T.Liddemore & S.Gupta 15-12
A.Tomlinson & J.Moore beat T.Stubbs & W.Main 15-14
A.Lumbard & C.Ballingall beat P.Boughton & J.Caudle 15-10
A.Lumbard & C.Ballingall beat A.Tomlinson & J.Moore 15-10
I.Weaver & H.Dunnett beat B.Boxall & B.Howe 15-4
F.Rowe & A.Pilkington beat E.Carter & N.Mason 15-9
F.Rowe & A.Pilkington beat I.Weaver & H.Dunnett 15-9