2012 Kinnaird Semis: Top two through

As was widely anticipated, the top two seeded pairs made it through the Kinnaird Cup semi-finals at Eton yesterday but the two losing pairs both managed to give good accounts of themselves.

Top seeds and defending champions Tom Dunbar and Seb Cooley were made to work extremely hard in the first game of their match against Ed Taylor and Will Sorrell with the Taylor left-handed haymaker being used to good effect and Sorrell confirming that the high level of Fives he produced in the quarter-final was no fluke. The fact that Ed and Will played so well in the first game and still lost 12-7 also shows just how strong a pair Cooley and Dunbar have become; the pressure exerted by their speed around court, fast volleying and astonishing cut-returning and retrieving was subsequently just too much for the fourth seeds, who continued to produce some good Fives but were unable to make much of an impression on the scoreboard in the second and third games in the face of such an onslaught.

The other match was an interesting all-Olavian tactical battle with second seeds and former champions James Toop and Howard Wiseman taking on third seeds Peter Cohen - in his first ever Kinnaird semi-final - and David Mew. Cohen and Mew got off to a fine start, reining in some of their big shots and hitting deep to the back left in an attempt to create opportunities for them to unleash their trademark power shots. This disciplined approach took them to 11-7 up in the first game but in a crucial phase of play lasting numerous hands, they were unable to convert their game ball opportunities. One of the great strengths of the Toop and Wiseman partnership is their mental toughness and ability to dig in, not panic and play the long game. They did this impeccably here to come back and take the first game 14-11. This knocked the wind out of Cohen and Mew's sails as the second game went to the second seeds 12-2 and it took until early on in the third game for the challengers to recapture the form they had shown earlier in the match. The third game was tight all the way through but once again it was the slightly greater steadiness and composure of Toop and Wiseman that edged them over the line 12-9 and into the final against Cooley and Dunbar.

The final will take place at Eton at 2:30pm on Sunday April 1st. All spectators are welcome!

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