Richard Barber Cup 2015: Olave's On Top Again

Grant Williams reports:

12/09/15: Five teams entered the Richard Barber Tournament at Eton on Sunday, which was won once again by St.Olave's. The format of the tournament comprises three old boys and three schoolboys and is always a great chance for the youngsters to be introduced to senior fives.

The format was a round robin league, each match best of three games, each game counting for a point. To try and make sure the day ended in a timely fashion (as it had run on in previous years) the organiser introduced a time limit on each match of 75 minutes making the third game quite interesting on occasion with one match finishing 4-3.

The opening salvo saw Eton take on St Olave’s and Shrewsbury playing Emanuel, Harrow getting a bye in the first round.

Unfortunately, the organiser also ended up playing for Shrewsbury so there isn’t much in terms of a blow by blow account of the day’s fives. It was clear early on that St Olave’s were looking very strong with some of their senior school fives players in attendance looking very sharp for this time of the season. Shrewsbury seemed a little dazed by the early start and long journey but had wins over Emanuel and Eton. Harrow performed very strongly throughout the day although their disappearance at lunch threw a curveball into the competition timings!

After six hours of continuous play, St Olave’s retained the trophy which seems to have been theirs since the competition’s inception. Harrow deservedly came second with some excellent fives but there were spirited campaigns by Emanuel who fielded a very young side full of promise. Eton and Shrewsbury gave their all with a mixed bag of results. Of course we would like to say “it’s not the winning that counts” but I am sure St Olave's will take pride in being the best side on the day.

Richard Barber presented a new trophy to replace the one that was lost (many thanks Richard) to the victorious Olave’s group. All in all a great days fives was had by everyone and the main purpose of the tournament to introduce schoolboys to senior competition in a friendly environment was achieved. Tremendous fun all round under blue skies. Many thanks to Mike Hughes and Eton College for facilitating. Hopefully we can get back to ten or more teams in 2016.

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