2011 Old Boy/Schoolboy team competition: A successful start
Mark Williams reports:
A most encouraging entry for this new competition which aims to unite school and old boy players over 3 pairs comprised: St Olave's (x2), Eton, Harrow, Shrewsbury, Emanuel, Berkhamsted and Ipswich. There was also interest and regrets from: Charterhouse, Highgate, Wolverhampton, King Edward's and City of London.
The teams were divided into two pools, and played each other over two games. St Olave's 1 and Shrewsbury dominated their pools, but there was fierce competition for the other qualification place: Harrow just pipped Eton, and Berkhamsted qualified with the same number of points as St Olave's 2 by virtue of winning the match between them.
The highlight of the initial stages was the match between Tom Dunbar/Alex Smith and Seb Cooley/Tony Barker; it was played in an excellent spirit with plenty of humour, the boys playing their part in a tight match between two of our current leading players, who are of course partners in the Kinnaird final: 9-12, 12-8…..what an experience for the boys, and the essence of the competition.
The less successful teams played in a Plate competition where Eton beat a young Ipswich team who battled hard all day 2-1 in the final.
In the main semi-finals, St Olave's and Shrewsbury had relatively comfortable wins against Berkhamsted and Harrow respectively. In the final, both first and third pairs were at 1 game all, and the second pair was always close, but St Olave's eventually won all three pairs to become the first ever winners of this competition.
The day was less about the winning however than the fun had and relationships formed between adults and schoolboys, both on court and in the pub at lunchtime, and players of all ages were unanimous in their endorsement of a thoroughly worthwhile day. It's hard to imagine a better way to initiate schoolboys into the world of adult fives, and it was noticable how much many of the youngsters improved during the day with encouragement from their partners.
Next year we hope that many more clubs will take this excellent opportunity to develop and nurture relationships with their school, and it should not be unrealistic to imagine at least 16 teams participating.
My thanks to Grant Williams (whose idea this competition was - he was allowed to play for Shrewsbury on that basis, and also because he organised their team), and to all the other team managers and Masters-in-Charge for providing such a strong response in this initial year.
St.Olave's 1 17
St.Olave's 2 7
St.Olave's 1 beat Berkhamsted 3-0
S.Cooley & C.Self beat J.O'Neill & S.Wiggill 2-0 (12-4, 12-2)
H.Wiseman & T.Barker beat A.Joyce & A.Rattan 2-0 (12-4, 12-2)
D.Mew & S.Kundu beat P.Bird & T.Savill 2-0 (12-6, 12-1)
Shrewsbury beat Harrow 3-0
T.Walters & G.Thomason beat T.Dunbar & T.Nevill 2-0 (12-3, 12-10)
M.Hughes & J.Tse beat A.Poole & A.Smith 2-0 (12-5, 12-7)
Harrow conceded third pair
St.Olave's 1 beat Shrewsbury 3-0
S.Cooley & C.Self beat T.Walters & G.Thomason 2-1 (1-12, 12-5, 12-6)
H.Wiseman & T.Barker beat M.Hughes & J.Tse 2-0 (12-7, 12-8)
D.Mew & H.Ravi beat G.Williams & B.Jones 2-1 (12-3, 5-12, 12-4)
Eton beat Emanuel 2-1
Ipswich beat St.Olave's 2 2-1
Eton beat Ipswich 2-1