North Oxford Win The Boughton Bowl
Elana Osen reports:
14/10/21: The second edition of the Mixed Team Tournament in association with Advanta Wealth - now with gleaming silverware, courtesy of the inimitable Peter Boughton - took place on Sunday 10th October 2021.
Seven teams of three mixed pairs turned out for a packed day of fives, as did the sunshine, which swelled from strength to strength as the tournament progressed - much like the quality of the fives on display. The only hint of inclemency came in the form of the shared solitary changing room/toilet, which switched gender designations in a frenzied whirlwind throughout the course of the day, not unlike the frequent rotation of server with the Wiseman rule in force.
Three North Oxford sides, the Old Ipswichians, Old Cholmeleians, Oxford University and a hybrid Cambridge University/Holyport School team (with a rotating Old Ipswichian ringer for good measure) rollicked through a full round robin of games to 12 in their mixed pairs.
Just shy of 1000 points were played in sorting out a pecking order to determine teams’ progression. Despite not being able to rest their seventh player as anticipated, the Old Ipswichians laid down four 3-0 drubbings, and Oxford University registered impressive scores in even the matches they went on to lose, whilst the other team showed themselves to be convincing plate contenders.
However, North Oxford A and the Old Cholmeleians established superlative dominant form early on, and their final round match against each other transmogrified into the planned best of three game final, which was an absolute banger, full of twists and turns of fortune and fate. The Old Cholms third pair got off to a flying start with a 12-4 win only to be dismissed in the second and third games by North Oxford’s Rachel Wood and Pete Scholey. The first pair match was close from the get-go, but Karen Hird and Noah Caplin of North Oxford seized the pivotal moments to take the match 15-13, 12-9. It was a crying shame that this then turned the second pair match, which was still going strong in the next court, into a dead rubber. However, this did not dim the shine of the Old Cholms, who forced their way ahead in the third game and held on to refuse North Oxford the clean sweep they had been threatening to produce all day.
Meanwhile, in the 3rd/4th playoff, the Old Ipswichians demonstrated their experience over the (mostly) younger Oxford University side to claim a well-deserved third place, and their stalwart, the man of the hour - Peter Boughton, he of the Boughton Bowl itself - arrived. As befits this plate specialist, he kindly stepped into the fray to give the Cambridge/Holyport side their much-needed sixth eligible player and helped them steam to victory over the shellshocked North Oxford B and C teams (notwithstanding an unfortunate eye-injury-mandated retirement from Kirby Clayton of North Oxford B in the plate final). He then stepped forward to present the new and gleaming Boughton Bowl to North Oxford A, the winners of the second Mixed Team Tournament.
Many thanks to team captains Karen Hird, Andy Bishop, Mandie Barnes, Charlotta Cooley, Emily Scoones & Jonny Ho, Freya Butler and Sophie Wisa; to Eton for hosting; to Advanta Wealth for their sponsorship and to the players for playing.
Round Robin Results
North Oxford A - 15 (last match not played)
Old Cholmeleians - 14 (last match not played)
Old Ipswichians - 13
Oxford University - 8
North Oxford B - 6
North Oxford C - 3
Cambridge University/Holyport School - 2
North Oxford A beat Highgate 2-1
K.Hird & N.Caplin beat E.Scoones & J.Ho 2-0 (15-13, 12-9)
H.Asquith & A.Abrahams lost to C.Vos & J.Marks 1-2 (15-11, 8-12, 9-12)
R.Wood & P.Scholey beat L.Valensise & M.Kovar 2-1 (4-12, 12-5, 12-5)
Old Ipswichians beat Oxford University 3-0 (12-6, 12-5, 12-3)
North Oxford B bye; Cambridge University/Holyport School beat North Oxford C 2-1 (12-6, 4-12, 12-7)
Cambridge University/Holyport School beat North Oxford B 2-1 (12-4, 10-12, 6-4 ret.)