Veterans Tournament 2021: The Legends Return
Graham Pulsford reports: The Veterans Tournament is a satisfying finale to the Fives season and this year was particularly pleasing as we moved out of the shadow of Covid to take to the courts at Eton.
The Kinnaird final was being played at the same time and we were able to witness ‘just how well we had all used to play before we became legends’.
The result of the three Legends finals were:
Open Competition for the MJS-J Cup
Mike Hughes & Grant Williams beat Chris Austin & Adrian Simmons
The MJS-J Cup is an exceedingly difficult competition to win – unless you are Mike Hughes & Grant Williams. They confidently saw off all challenges including the one man ‘fives tornado’ that is Richard Tyler and the powerful Wulfrunian pairing of Chris Austin & Adrian Simmons. It was also nice to witness Alex Knight & Bill Emlyn Jones make their mark with a cleverly controlled 15-13 win in the last round robin game. Mike & Grant have now won the competition 11 times and 9 times respectively – officially making them Legends.
Over 50s Competition for the Chris Cup(s)
Pete Scholey & Graham Pulsford beat Tim Thurnham & Mark Gywnne
With Chris Davies & Chris Lloyd moving up level into the Over 60s competition the new challengers to Pete Scholey & Graham Pulsford were Tim Thurnham & Mark Gywnne. The final was a very open game and, after some initial probing by both pairs, it became the ‘Pete Scholey show’ as he took over the game and produced a masterclass of top court play. In third place, and just missing out on a final appearance with a single defeat, were Matthew Beard & Chiedo Nkwocha. As a scratch pairing, they managed to combine well and their smiles on court were an indication of just how much they were enjoying their afternoon.
Over 60s Competition for the Walters Cup
Peter Boughton & Simon Woolfries beat Chris Davies & Chris Lloyd
Normality was returned to the Over 60s Competition as Peter Boughton & Simon Woolfries added their names to the cup for yet another year. Peter sported a stunning new haircut for the occasion, but it was the Ipswichian pair's experience and guile that saw them outlast the two Chrises in a competitive, sporting and lengthy final. Andrew White & Martin Powell took third place as, following a close 15-13 win over Nigel Cox & David Pemberton; they missed out 15-10 to the eventual winners in a semi-final that was closer than the score suggests. David Cooper was confirmed as the oldest Legend to have played in the competition, a youthful 81, and with his partner John Cooley they boasted a combined pair age of 153 - another competition record.
Many thanks to those who helped make the day enjoyable by playing and to Eton College as hosts.
Note: - If you are over 40 you are eligible for these competitions
Note: - 2022 is the 38th Veterans Competition – the more pairs the merrier!