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Nov 2014: Toop Turns The Tables in the Turnbull

17/11/14: Fives fans have become used to the sight of Seb Cooley and James Toop taking each other on in major finals; in recent times Seb has had the edge, but yesterday at Eton saw James turn the tables in an all-Olavian Turnbull Trophy final, partnering Tom Gallagher to a narrow victory over Seb and Josh Ravi in a thrilling match.

16 pairs took part in this year's competition, representing St.Olave's, Berkhamsted, Ipswich, RGS High Wycombe, Wycombe High (the only girls pair taking part and with 100% of their known active Fives players there!), Cranleigh, Emanuel and Westway.

The group stages produced some terrific matches, with several fine performances by some of the younger and more inexperienced players and a couple of exciting key matches to decide the qualifiers for the quarter-finals. The Ipswich contingent in particular were involved in some exciting tussles, Steve Burnell and Sam Christopher making it through with a 15-11 win over Phil Roper and Kieran Walton in Group B and joined in the knockout stages by Gareth Hoskins and Isaac Wagland, who lost out 15-14 to George Campbell and Milo Skelton of Berkhamsted in the match to decide the winner of Group C. The two top seeded Olavian pairs - Cooley & Ravi and Toop & Gallagher - dominated their groups as did Berkhamsted's Ant Theodossi and Charlie Nicholls in Group B. The other qualifiers were Westway's Ryan Perrie and Dan Arwas and Berkhamsted's Doug Foster and Matt Dight.

The Ipswich pairs both put up a good fight in their quarter-finals but were no match for the two Olavain pairs; in the other two quarters, team mates George Campbell and Doug Foster went head to head, Campbell and Skelton coming out on top. There was a similar story in the final quarter-final as regular partners Ant Theodossi and Ryan Perrie played out a terrific encounter, with partners Charlie Nicholls and Dan Arwas playing a full part. In the end it was a 15-13 win for Berkhamsted over Westway in one of the best matches of the day. Theodossi and Nicholls were unable to follow that up in the next round, going down to a heavy defeat at the hands of the impressive Toop and Gallagher; Cooley and Ravi had to work rather harder to see off Campbell and Skelton, but came through to set up the widely expected and hotly anticipated all Olavian final.

The final was a fantastic game of Fives with two of the giants of the game taking each other on, ably supported by their two young partners, who both responded superbly to the challenge of playing at that level. Cooley dominated the first game, helped by some terrific back court play from Josh Ravi, and it was hard to see at that point how Toop and Gallagher could turn things around; this they did, however, with James beginning to find his volleying range and trademark mid-court spin shots as well as producing some outrageous back court retrieving. Tom Gallagher, already a finalist at the Midlands tournament this year, also began to step his game up, cutting superbly and playing with impressive maturity in his shot selection. The third and deciding game was a treat to watch for the spectators; always close, always with a spectacular rally or winner just around the corner. Predicting a winner was nigh on impossible right up until the final shot, with Toop and Gallagher the victors 12-10.

As always, there were plate competitions galore happening alongside the main tournament, with more close games ensuring everyone got their money's worth. Plate A was won by Phil Roper and Kieran Walton and Plate B by Joey Prior and Charlie Stocks, completing a pretty successful day for the Olavian contingent.

Thanks to Eton for hosting us, to Anthony Theodossi for his organisational work and to Richard Black for running things on the day. Hopefully next year will see a larger entry for this competition from a wider variety of schools as this is a tournament that provides some terrific Fives for adult players and school players alike and helps build that all important bridge between the school and club games.



St.Olave's 2 (S.Cooley & J.Ravi) beat Ipswich 2 (S.Burnell & S.Christopher) 15-4

Berkhamsted 2 (G.Campbell & M.Skelton) beat Berkhamsted 3 (D.Foster & M.Dight) 15-8

Berkhamsted 1 (A.Theodossi & C.Nicholls) beat Westway 1 (R.Perrie & D.Arwas) 15-13

St.Olave's 1 (J.Toop & T.Gallagher) beat Ipswich 1 (G.Hoskins & I.Wagland) 15-8


S.Cooley & J.Ravi beat G.Campbell & M.Skelton 15-11

J.Toop & T.Gallagher beat A.Theodossi & C.Nicholls 15-3


J.Toop & T.Gallagher beat S.Cooley & J.Ravi 2-1 (5-12, 12-7, 12-10)

Plate A

1. P.Roper & K.Walton (St.Olave's)

2. J.Doe & M.Doe (Berkhamsted)

3. D.Redmond & W.Carew (St.Olave's)

4. J.Fagan & T.Lelean (Emanuel)

Plate B

1. J.Prior & C.Stocks (St.Olave's)

2. C.Turnbull & N.Turnbull (RGS High Wycombe)

3. J.Skelton & C.Briggs (Berkhamsted)

4. K.Hird & F.Turnbull (Wycombe High)

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