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March 2014: Eton retain the Williams Cup

Mark Williams reports:

Seven schools entered the Williams Cup this year, and so it was a round-robin event with each pair playing 2 games up to 9 in each match. This format meant that in each game the Fives was intense from the start, and lead to some exciting matches. One match point was scored from each game won.

Eton won the competition by four match points, winning all of their matches, four of them 6-0, and beating Highgate and Shrewsbury 4-2. A very strong squad of 9 players continued their success during the season where they have been undefeated against school opposition at senior level. The first pair James Pigott and James Cobb had a particularly successful day, dropping just one game against Highgate.

Both Highgate and Shrewsbury also had very strong teams in depth, and won their matches against all of the other opposition. The match between them was very close and won by Highgate 4-2, who finished second.

Harrow, St Olave’s and Westminster all had good teams who played well all day, and were much of the same standard. Harrow finished fourth on the same number of points as St Olave’s by virtue of winning the match between them, and Westminster were just one point behind.

Ipswich had their team decimated in the previous week, but still commendably decided to come with just 2 pairs for the experience. Their first pair had several close matches and finally won a game against Harrow in their final match.

It was a long day, but we were rewarded by a fitting climax at the end with the Eton v Shrewsbury match, Eton needing to win just 2 games to ensure victory.

It would be good to see more schools adopting Ipswich’s approach, since it is a way of paying plenty of competitive fives in a single day, and players invariably improve from the experience.