2022/23 School Reports
Read on to find out the schools' views on their 2022/23 seasons. Missing reports will hopefully be added shortly...
Vargas Trophy & Bowden Bowl winners
Aldenham Fives continues to grow post-Covid. Our year 7s and 8s numbers are healthy and there is lots of potential there for the future progress and plenty of fixtures.
I was delighted that our seniors were able to enter two teams in the Vargas Silva with the first team claiming victory in a nail-biting finale. The u15s were a keen group and despite coming across an extremely strong QE team on several occasion (future national champions), we manage to persevere, and the improvements promise much as they move to senior level. they too secured a team trophy this year winning the Bowden bowl in March.
At the nationals, whilst progress in the main competition remains tricky for many of our players, I was delighted to note the individual progress of under 13, under 15 and senior students who manage to secure final places in the plate competitions. There is a big challenge ahead to replace a keen group of upper sixth who have been stalwarts of the program for many years, and I hope many of them will continue to find ways to enjoy the game in the future. However, every challenge presents an opportunity and I’m sure the under 15‘s U16’s and lower sixth will step up and represent School in a similar positive manner., whilst also being ambassadors for the game.
I must extend my thanks to Mr David Goodchild who continues to support the game, introduce it to the younger years and inspire the older ones.
The 2023 Aldenham fives season was a resounding success with players and teams displaying talent, commitment, sportsmanship and dedication. The Aldenham fives community can reflect on the season with great pride as the sport continues to thrive in the school.
Derek Whitehead Trophy players; Preparing for action; Pett Plate and Hughes Cup winners
It has been another jam-packed year for Berkhamsted Fives spanning all three terms! With the number of players ever increasing, the fixture card in turn has been expanding, so much so that this year we saw a record 161 fixtures played from Y5 – Y13 and 245 players taking to the courts from the Kings, Castle, Sixth and Prep sites. We had a wide spread of opposition including Ipswich, Eton College, Chesham Prep, Queen Elizabeth Barnet, Harrow, Ludgrove, Holyport, Mill Hill & Belmont, Repton, Sunningdale, RGS High Wycombe, Westminster Under, Aldenham, Summer Fields, Cranleigh Prep, Lancing College, Charterhouse, Highgate, St. Olaves and Sunningdale. It was also pleasing to have some more cross-over Rugby Fives fixtures (another variation of the game) playing against Bedford, Bedford Modern and Tonbridge schools.
Fives kicks off the annual Inter-House Sport programme, and this year we were able to run tournaments across all boys’ senior school year groups. Another record was broken with 411 pupils taking part – a truly staggering number! The standard across the board was extremely high all the way through the year groups with lots of the competitions seeing extremely close matches from the quarter-final stages onwards. Some notable results came in both the Y7 and Y11 competitions. In Y7 we had, for the first time ever, a player who was new to the school in September reach the final stages; in the past the finalists had always been made up of players who had taken up the game early at the Prep, so this was quite the achievement for young Rufus H in Tilman. History was also made with Ben S & Charles C winning the Y11 competition meaning they are the first pair to have won the Inter-House competitions every year from Y7 to Y11. Ben S also adds an extra notch to his belt having won the Prep House Fives event in Y6 as well! The illustrious Paul Dicker Cup for overall House winners across Y7 – 11 was once again claimed by Tilman, making this their sixth year in a row!
Due to growing success in schools throughout the country, the Nationals has adapted over the last few years to see the number of competitions almost double with the introduction of Qualifier events to help cope with the huge numbers. These have proven extremely popular as they allow schools to enter pairs at the right level into the right competitions. Once again Berkhamsted pupils paved the way for success across the year groups in both the Main and Qualifier events with 247 students taking part from January to the end of March. Although not quite the haul with last year’s best season in the history of the school, Berkhamsted still came away with seven national titles of which we can be extremely proud.
CLICK HERE for the full detailed report on each year group.
No report received yet
Burford at the Turnbull Trophy
It's been another busy year for the Burford Fives team with what was almost a fixture a week in Term 4! These have ranged from official Eton Fives Association tournaments, to friendly fixtures and we're grateful to all who have hosted us throughout the year. The team began the season by travelling to Repton School at the end of February for matches against their Year 9, this allowed some of our younger players the opportunity for some serious game time. As always, the hospitality at Repton was second to none and after lunch, there followed more time on court mixing the Burford and Repton teams, an excellent way to forge relationships with a strong Fives school.
The very next day the same team travelled to the U15 qualifiers at Harrow. Group stage match results varied, however two pairs, Ziga & Daniel and Reef & Alex, recorded no loses in the group stages and proceeded into the knockout stages. It was Reef and Alex who managed to make it into the last 16 before being knocked out at the final hurdle. However, we also need to bear in mind that Alex is still U13 and several other Burford players are still only in the U14 age group, which should give the boys confidence going forward and into the same tournament next year.
Early March we headed up north to Shrewsbury School for a small tournament/festival. Another great opportunity and saw us gain valuable match time particularly important for some of the boys that are still too young for the majority of competitions. The following week the team travelled to Berkhamsted School for a friendly fixture, again the boys gained a huge amount of experience on a variety of different courts, where they found the ball moving slightly differently, as well as a range of opposition with very different styles of playing.
Our final fixture of the term was played on 21st March, when four pairs travelled to Aldenham School for the Bowden Bowl. Having attended this tournament in 2022, at a time when we had only been playing a few months, we enjoyed the experience but failed to record any wins at all. I hadn't actually realised how far we have since progressed and it was clear to see a vast improvement in our style and management of the game. Taking home some silverware in the future may not be a dream for much longer, which was something commented on throughout the day by the wider Fives community in attendance.
To sum up this season, there has been huge improvement in playing styles and technique, however, the most noticeable differences involve discipline, emotional regulation, integrity, humility and passion. I really look forward to seeing what we can achieve next year.
Charterhouse pairs in action at the National Schools' Championships
The Charterhouse Eton Fives team had an exciting season, marked by significant growth and development. Our U14 squad showed great promise, and our older players also made progress. We played against some strong opponents, including Sunningdale, Eton, Cranleigh, Westminster, St Olave’s, The Brigands, Berkhamsted, and Highgate, making for enjoyable matches. Although the win count was not as high as we would have liked, every match was a valuable learning experience, allowing our players to grow and gain valuable insights. Alongside the dedicated coaching of Alex Knight and Tom Leach our players have made great strides forwards in shot selection, execution and a general awareness of how to play! It was particularly exciting to see some of our U14 pairs perform so well at the Nationals in March, as well as filling all 8 courts in home fixtures on a few occasions too
Looking forward, we are optimistic about the team's future. Retaining the current crop of U14 players as U15s and nurturing their progress will be crucial. We also aim to attract new talent at the U14 level next year to safeguard the sports future at school.
City of London
CoL boys with the Old Citizens
This has been a year of rebuilding after the previous years meant little fives was played. Thankfully this year’s cohort have taken to the intricacies of this fine game with much enthusiasm. Our small squad of 11 students is still split across years 11 to 13, which makes the arrangement of fixtures a near impossibility! We have benefitted immensely from the coaching and watchful eye of Swastik Gupta in our weekly sessions at Westminster.
We are also generously supported by the evergreen John Reynolds and the marvellous OCEFC, enjoying several Thursday evening knockabout sessions as well as playing in the young vs old annual match (a narrow defeat for the youngsters).
City of Norwich
No report received yet
Cranleigh's top pair at the National Schools' Championships
Fives continues to enjoy a faithful following in the school. There were inter-school fixtures against Lancing and Charterhouse and house matches were played at senior and junior levels involving both girls and boys. Three pairs took part in the Open national championships with the top pair reaching the plate final. The top girls pair made it to the semi-final of the Girls’ Open. They will return next year seeking to go at least one better.
Cranleigh Fives has quietly been on a very good run over recent years. Six National Finals and one National Championship in the last seven years represents huge success for the school particularly when pitted against the resources some of the schools we are competing with enjoy.
At the Prep School this term we have just come to the end of a very enjoyable and busy term on the Fives Courts which has seen us off to Highgate for the U13 Girls’ Nationals and the U13 Qualifiers, to Eton for the U13 Nationals and the U12 boys Nationals and finally to Harrow for the Prep Schools championships.
If success is to be measured by achievement then we have had a very good season with special mentioned going to Quinn H and Isaac C (Plate winner -13 National Finals, Q-finalists Prep Schools) and Ruby P and Matilda F (National finalists). Ruby and Matilda did exceptionally well to reach the final and lost by the narrowest of margins in a well contested final against Berkhamsted.
However, sport and Fives is not all about winning and I sincerely hope that every single one of the Fives players have enjoyed their timer on court, improving their skills and embracing all the game has to offer in terms of sportsmanship and fair play.
Thank you to all the boys and girls for making it such an enjoyable and successful year and a special thank you also to my partner in crime Mr Thomas for all his help, support, time and good humour.
No report received yet
Turnbull Trophy pairs; Open and U16 finalists
No report received yet
Harrow's first pair in action
This has been another exciting and busy year for Harrow Fives.
Many boys have been continuing their Fives, with many Year 9’s having a go and taking up the game. Together they have formed a great little group of keen players and show great promise for the upcoming years.
Recent leavers and the upper school boys have also been competing for the Old Harrovians in Leagues 1 & 2, a great transition and experience for the school boys.
The Shaftesbury Enterprise programme continues in full swing, with many boys teaching the local primary schools the basics of Fives, with weekly sessions happening throughout the year.
It has been great to host so many tournaments at Harrow this year and we look forward to hosting again for the upcoming year.
Highgate's U14, U15 and U16 champions
Highgate has had a transitional year on the Fives courts, but this has not dampened the enthusiasm of the school’s top players, who have continued to train hard and enjoy their opportunities to play competitive fives. New Deputy Director of Sport, Billy Bolton, has done a superb job of getting to grips with the game this season, and pupils have hugely valued his thoughtful advice.
Our U12 and U13 pairs played with energy and determination, particularly enjoying the new qualifying tournaments, and it has been particularly pleasing to see the number of pupils new to Highgate in year 7 who have committed their sports afternoons to Fives wholeheartedly. Pairs competed at the nationals across all age groups from U12 to U16, and demonstrated their abundant quality and skill, which will be all the better showcased next year thanks to the experience gained through some chastening results this time around.
The highlight of the season was undoubtedly the clean sweep of Roxburgh and Kirstein in the girls U14, U15, and U16 events: their 3-2 victory in the u16 final was, simply, one of the most exciting games of Fives I have ever had the pleasure to watch, and they deserve great praise for overcoming the determined challenge of their opposing finalists from Shrewsbury.
We have been particularly delighted this year to welcome Niifio Addy and Vatche Kassardjian from the OC club in for Fives masterclass sessions with junior players. All the pupils were lucky to benefit from the experience of these two outstanding players, and we are grateful to them for all their engagement in school fives. We are keen for any interested OCs to continue to be involved in coaching and fixtures this year.
No report received yet
Ipswich players at the Midlands; winners of the Vargas Trophy; Richard Barber Cup team
Ipswich at the Northern Tournament; U12s
Following two years of lower numbers than usual taking up the game in Year 7 we made a special effort to encourage interest amongst the 2022 U12 cohort. The success was rather overwhelming with over fifty percent of the year group giving the game a go and a substantial number carrying on playing regularly. As a result we now have a keen nucleus of both boys and girls, several of whom look promising.
The year started well with a mixed Years 11 & 12 team winning the Vargas Salver, something we had been told we shouldn’t do – whoops, and of course we did the right thing later in the season when the Salver was replayed at Aldenham, losing by one point to the hosts. Will Woods and Henry Gardner won the Midland Festival on the fabulous, refurbished, courts at Repton, setting a trend for Ipswich players doing well at the festivals. Caldwell and Garrard reached the London Festival final, Gardner and Matt Williams the same at the Northern and Caldwell and Gardner were Kinnaird Festival finalists.
As always we were indebted to the EFA for organising the many tournaments that give our pupils the chance for competition. Our most significant success coming in the U14 competition at Repton, in which we had three pupils make the final.
Three of our senior girls played well to help a combined School / OI side to the final of the Black Cup. We were also pleased to turn out sides in the Boughton Bowl, or combine with OIs to play in the Graham Turnbull, EFA Trophy and take third place in the Richard Barber Cup.
In the Schools’ Championships we managed eight pairs of quarter-finalists (pleasingly including the Open), one semi-final pair in the Girls Open and finalists in the Girls Festival. If anyone ever questions the worth of the Schools’ Festivals, please consider the words of a Year 12 girl who has always lacked confidence in herself – “Thanks Mr B. [for taking her to the Festival], I had the best day ever! I can’t stop talking about it and my parents are really fed up with hearing about it.”
Sincere thanks to fellow fives coaches Tony Stubbs, Charlotta Cooley and Tim Wyndham for always going the extra mile, or perhaps that should be 100 miles.
KES at the Turnbull Trophy
With the departure of the popular coach Tim Wyndham last September, the future looked bleak until another coach was found (yours truly).
The good news is that the nucleus of the squad of 2022 has continued to develop and the early signs are there of real progress being made. It has taken some time to get one’s feet under the table and we are looking forward to trying to arrange fixtures and entering tournaments next year. Not being a member of staff nor being able to drive minibuses are issues that still need resolving but the boys are always happy to play and get better.
With no roof on the courts and the gradual degradation of the walls as well as the School’s stance of the offering of Fives to pupils being an issue, the future is not so much as bleak but rather uncertain.
Although Fives is at a low ebb at Lancing College, recovery is underway, with the appointment of Matthew Beard as fives coach from September 2022. A carousel system operates where all new pupils have a couple of taster sessions, which is a start, but the pull through into competent players remains a challenge. Further dark clouds are gathering over fives at the school with the probably loss of two courts, despite strong and persuasive arguments put forward to the school by Richard Black.
Ludgrove had a great fives season winning both the 3 pairs competition (a team competition between Sunningdale, Summer Fields and Cranleigh) at Eton in December and the U12 Nationals also at Eton in March. Bear Robinson and Alex Steel defeated Sunningdale in the final of the U12 National Championship and boosted the U13 team considerably in the three pair competition. Our joint captains and first pair Arjan Sundavadra and Will Wates are a talented pair and complemented each other well. Matches were well fought by the whole team against Sunningdale, Eton, Summer Fields and Berkhamsted with many victories.
School Fives was won by Will Wates and Toby March Phillipps de Lisle and the Colquhoun Cup victors were Alex Steel and Ameyaw Osei-Sarkodie. Wellington won the Sets Fives cup.
Lyceum Alpinum Zuoz
Zuoz players in action at Shrewsbury
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Mill Hill players at the Summers Cup; The school first pair in action; Mill Hill players at Shrewsbury
The fives at Mill Hill foundation has taken another step forward this year with the most promising enthusiasm coming from Belmont. In addition to the Prep school clubs (age 9-13), Fives has been added to PE, Games and Active-X lessons throughout the year which has tripled the number of young pupils who will have played fives on a regular basis therefore resulting in oversubscribed clubs. We took multiple boys and Mixed pairs to U11, U12 and U13 qualifying and national events as well as taking eleven pairs of girls to the U13 girls nationals held at Highgate.
The numbers didn’t stop there. Mill Hill’s U14 fives team has a squad of up to nine pairs rotating in training and matches throughout the first two terms of the year. Our first pair of beginners this year reached the U14 Beginners' Qualifying final, narrowly losing to a very strong QEB pair whilst our fourth pair won the Plate in a nail-biting three game thriller against another QEB pair. It was indeed a good day for NW London.
Higher up the school we had very busy games afternoons as well as a packed fixture list. In only the first eight weeks, we had already seen 125 pupils from Mill Hill school down at the fives courts during games lessons with roughly 50 boys and girls coming down at lunchtimes for club sessions. From this cohort, 24 boys and girls represented MHS in fixtures and tournaments in these those first few weeks alone. Within the many fixtures and tournaments throughout the year there were a few highlights that stood out. The first being The Summers Cup help in October which saw a very high standard with eight pairs of current a pupil partnering Old Millhillian. There was a wide range of ability from top first division Old Millhillians through to new U14 players. This resulted in a good final between Edgar (Lower 6th) / Jack (OM) and Sam (Upper 6th) and Justin (OM). Sam and Justin prevailed in a sudden death finish after a long gruelling match.
Another highlight was Mill Hill's first ever Rugby fives fixture against Alleyns School in Dulwich. Our Senior team had a rocky start whilst getting used to the different layout of the court but as the fixture went on there were more Mill Hill wins! We rounded up our season with the school’s nationals week held up at Shrewsbury school. Mill Hill’s 1st U18 pair consisting of young Edgar and Charlie narrowly lost to Ipswich’s first pair in the last 16 whilst our U16 pair, Oliver and Harris lost in the last 16 of the U16 category. Finally, our top two U14 pairs also got to the last 16 of the U14 main competition despite three of them only starting their fives career this year.
Outside of the school fives programme, we must congratulate Billy, Charlie and Sam for competing in the open Eton Fives league representing the Old Millhillians in various first and second division matches over the year.
The development of Mill Hill Fives over the last few seasons has put it in a really strong position going into the 2023/24 season with many opportunities, fixtures, and tournaments. Mr Wiseman’s trip to St Bees school in Cumbria for a fives masterclass has rekindled the historic connection between the two schools, leading to the possibility of a residential trip up to St Bees School in the near future. Many thanks must go to Steve Plummer, Aaron Liffchak, Lotte Goldthorpe, and Rhys Thomas for their support of the programme across Belmont and Mill Hill. A final big thank you to Mark Collins who has played a fundamental role in the success that Mill Hill has had this year with all the hours he has put into the school fives programme.
This year has seen really productive fixtures, showcased skills and provided more formal competition which was great to see. Successful days of sport in the Winter term in fixtures with Uppingham showed encouraging signs with a number of wins. This provided a good level for some of our pairs, resulting in the loss, and later retrieval of the ‘Challenge Cup’. We also welcomed Repton School for a challenging day all round but enjoyable high-quality sport, and excellent competition meant lots was learnt. Thanks to Berkhamsted for hosting a very useful networking event, allowing new techniques to be tried and implemented. We have two notable leavers in Form 7, who have been excellent ambassadors for the sport, so I wish Aleksandra and Yat Fei well, and hope they will find a nearby court wherever they move on to.
We have been running a Fives Club at Prestfelde for a while, but this year we held it consistently every Monday night for the first two terms of the year, and with great success. Pupils from Years 6 & 7 came along and immediately showed promise. We have consistently had eight players and sometimes more, but four boys emerged as Fives players with great potential. We organised matches against Shrewsbury School and Wrekin College and the competition has enabled them to develop their game, one time playing against both at Shrewsbury School in a successful round-robin.
It was decided that we should, for the first time ever, enter two pairs into the National Tournaments at U12 level down at Eton. Both pairs made it through the Pools to the Knockout stage: our second pair fared well, and despite finding their match in the first round, nevertheless went on to get through several further rounds in the plate competition. Meanwhile, our first pair continued to beat pairs who had been playing with vastly more experience, winning against an Eton pair and a Berkhamsted pair, before very narrowly being pipped in an exciting three game match against a stronger Berkhamsted pair, but all who watched agreed that it could have gone either way. This success meant that we were then invited to the Main U12 Fives Tournament the following week. Both pairs continued to improve and make excellent progress but succumbed to very much stronger competition after the Pools stage.
This success has been an incentive for the school to enter more competitions and play in more matches next year and we look forward to consolidating and improving on our position as an establishing Fives playing prep school. All power to the boys’ hands this year!
The QEB squad; U15 champions; EFA Team of the Year
QEB players; U14 Novices finalists
The Eton Fives team at Queen Elizabeth's School has enjoyed an immensely successful season, building upon the achievements of the previous year. With a growing squad of over 50 players, the team's dedication and hard work have culminated in outstanding results, including a triumphant victory in the U15 national competition and a commendable run to the final of the U14 beginners' tournament. This report highlights the key players, contributions, and the overall positive outlook for Eton Fives at Queen Elizabeth's School.
U15 National Competition Triumph: The U15 team's exceptional performance in the national competition exemplified their skill and determination. Through a combination of rigorous training, strategic play, and unwavering team spirit, Yash and Zayn emerged as champions. This remarkable achievement is a testament to the relentless efforts put in by each player; the pair’s success brings great pride to Queen Elizabeth's School.
U14 Beginners' Tournament Final: In addition to their U15 victory, Queen Elizabeth's School's Eton Fives program made its mark in the U14 beginners' tournament. The team displayed commendable progress and reached the final of the competition. Ishaan and Veer’s exceptional performance against tough opponents demonstrated the talent and potential within the squad. The U14 team's achievement is a promising sign for the future of Eton Fives at Queen Elizabeth's School.
Key Players: Pratham Bhavsar and Indrajit Datta, both senior players of the Eton Fives team, have played a pivotal role in the success of the younger age groups. Their leadership, experience, and guidance have been invaluable in fostering a positive environment within the team. Bhavsar and Datta have consistently demonstrated exceptional skill and sportsmanship, serving as role models for their teammates. Their dedication to mentoring and developing younger players has been instrumental in shaping the team's achievements this season.
Year 10 Squad: The Backbone of Success: The Year 10 squad has been the driving force behind the continued success of Eton Fives at Queen Elizabeth's School. Their commitment, passion, and skill have been evident throughout the season. The team's consistent performance, coupled with their ability to adapt to different playing styles and challenging situations, has been commendable. The Year 10 squad has truly embodied the ethos of teamwork, providing the foundation for the team's accomplishments across various age groups.
Proud and Positive for the Future: The relative achievements of Queen Elizabeth's School in Eton Fives this season have instilled a sense of pride and optimism within the school community. The dedication, teamwork, and talent exhibited by the players, supported by the teaching staff, have set a high standard for future teams. The continued growth of the Eton Fives programme, with over 50 players involved, reflects the increasing enthusiasm and support for the sport at Queen Elizabeth's School.
Acknowledgments: A heartfelt thank you goes out to everyone involved within the Eton Fives community. The support on the Fives Association and staff from other Fives playing schools has allowed our pupils to have some very special experiences this year.
Editor's Note: The season ended with QEB winning the "Team of the Year" award at the EFA Dinner.
Turnbull Trophy squad; U14s at Eton; U15s at Harrow; Vargas Trophy squad
Success at Shrewsbury; Black Cup squad; U15 semi-finalists; Old Reptonians v The School
Fives continues to grow at Repton and the arrival of Karen Hird has boosted opportunities and expertise. We are lucky to have one of the premier player-coaches in the country on the staff and it has been heartening to see the pupils recognising this and engaging deeply. The following would not have been possible without their Reptonian willingness to give things a go. To demonstrate the strides forward, some statistics are as good a vehicle as any. With fives usually, but not exclusively a sport done on top of regular sports options, 80 students (and at least one from each house) have come down to afternoon training sessions which are open to all. This has paved the way for 42 pupils to represent the school across 22 fixtures over the two terms and some frequently so.
In the Michaelmas term, after enjoyable fixtures with OREFC, Shrewsbury and Uppingham, the highlights were larger tournaments, the Vargas Salver, Black Cup and Graham Turnbull trophy. The Vargas Salver saw the Repton team finish fourth of six and progress well. The first ever Repton entry to the Black Cup saw eight Reptonians head south to play with and against ladies and school teams from around the country. There were notable wins against the novices from Cambridge and Oxford University and a Plate Final triumph over Shrewsbury’s second team. In December, the Graham Turnbull Trophy provided another good day for ten Repton pairings. Henry B-S and Charles Plummer (ex-staff) made an impression on the main competition reaching the Quarter Final having played some fine fives in their Last 16 match. Other pairings enjoyed the day and competed in various plates with Rob H, Charlie T and their partners picking up a plate win as did Claudia T and her partner Karen Hird!
In the Lent term, fixtures were arranged with Midlands Schools, and we hope that they start to build their programmes too. Oakham, Wrekin, Wolverhampton Grammar School and Burford were visited or welcomed to Repton with positive results. Two more excellent fixtures with Shrewsbury resulted in tight matches too and thanks must go to Shrewsbury for matching up so well. This all paved the way for some Repton pairings entering National Schools competitions. The highlight in these competitions was the Under 15 pairing of Bri H-H and Hattie L who performed brilliantly to reach the Semi Final of their competition before succumbing to the eventual winners from Highgate. This was the first time that a Reptonian pairing has made it to this stage of a national competition since 1981, they are a pair who have committed wholeheartedly to training or fixtures and have lots of potential for the future. In all, it was a tremendously rewarding season and the future looks bright with lots of juniors taking up the game.
RGS High Wycombe
No report received yet
Players and winners at the Welsh Invitational
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St Bees at the Northern Tournament; Coaching weekend in Cumbria
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Open champions; EFA Young Player of the Year; U16 champions
Turnbull Trophy winners; Williams Cup champions; New floor!
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Shrewsbury winners in the Girls Open; Mixed; Richard Barber Cup and U14 Novices
Shrewsbury have enjoyed another successful season, as there continues to be a healthy amount of players coming through the ranks at Shrewsbury. The club has found itself challenging for honours the majority of the Schools’ National Championships. The season started with a Salopian side made solely from school staff & students narrowly missing out on a place in the Richard Black Cup final. In December Seb Cooley and George Hughes reached the final of the Graham Turnbull Trophy. One month later the same pair overcame St Olaves 15-14 in the deciding match to help Shrewsbury retain the Richard Barber Cup. It was a privilege for Shrewsbury to host the Schools National Championships. In the National Championships, there were all Salopian Finals in the U18 Mixed Open Tournament and the U18 Girls’ Open, and Shrewsbury’s 1st Pair won the U14 Beginners for the first time since 2019. Shrewsbury’s U14, U15 & U16 Girls first pairs reached the final of their respective year group tournaments before being defeated by an extremely talented Highgate pair. We were delighted that Rachel Ellis, our captain of Fives, was nominated for the Young Player of the Season award after her achievements this season were recognised by the EFA.
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U11 Champions; Prep School Champions
Another excellent Fives season comes to an end and it has been extremely successful and enjoyable. Once again, the boys have enjoyed an enormous amount of success and Sunningdale continues to punch well above its weight on the Fives circuit. Sunningdale won both the Prep School’s and U11s National Competition, whilst also reached the final of the U12s National Competition, another fantastic achievement for all involved with Fives at Sunningdale. The House Fives competitions were both successful events, with some excellent Fives on show from all the houses. The senior and junior Fives competition were both won by Sheepshank.
At U13s, our first pair of Boyo and Logue ma have been superb all year. They’ve won all their competitive fixtures culminating in a brilliant victory in the Prep schools National competition. They have proven, time and again, to be the leading pair across the U13s age group through some exceptional attacking and dynamic Fives against Eton, Highgate, Berkhamsted, Harrow, Ludgrove and Summerfields. They have had a wonderful season and thoroughly deserve all their success.
The first pair were brilliantly supported by: Witt, Robarts, Corn ma, Xu, Herratt, Stopp, Burnham, Godman & Guest. All of whom demonstrated great levels of ability throughout the season. At U12s, Witt and Guest managed to reach the National Championship Final. Having beaten Berkhamsted first pair in a marathon match in the semi-finals, they fell just short in the final against a very strong Ludgrove pair.
The junior Fives team had a very successful season, demonstrating ample talent and strength in depth. It is always pleasing to see how many of the younger boys have shown a keen interest in Fives. Our top U11s pair of Hoare and Guest, had a fantastic year and deservedly won the U11s National Competition in a thrilling final against Berkhamsted, fighting back after being one set down.
In the same competition, our second (Doyle & Logue mi) and third pair (Lintott & Dougherty) played extremely well and made it through to the semi-finals & quarter-finals respectively.
Comprehensive victories over Ludgrove were one of the highlights of the season, where all three pairs only lost a combined six points across the whole fixture.
Well done to all the Fives players for their hard work and success over the season. I very much look forward to seeing how the boys progress over the coming years. My thanks go to Mr Dawson & Mr Guest for their continued support and time supporting the boys with their Fives. Their efforts continue to be integral to the high standards of Fives at Sunningdale.
The boys who have represented the school in fixtures are as follows:
Seniors: C. T. S. Robarts, A. Boyo, A. A. Witt, A.J. Logue, H.G.T. Burnham, J. Godman, T. J. Stopp, I.P. Corn, M. Herratt, L. B. Guest, Y.Xu
Juniors: L. B. Guest, R. Doyle, C. M. Brogan, N. Lintott, T. S. Logue, H. M. C. Hoare, R. Sasegbon, R. Nishikawa, M. J. Dougherty, G.W. Campion, N. Thapar, R. C. K. Myles, Q.Xu, R. Blundell, P.S. Bathurst
Uppingham has enjoyed some fine fixtures this term travelling to both Oakham and Repton to compete. Always hotly anticipated is ‘The Challenge Cup’ (competed for in every fixture between Oakham & Uppingham). This year, both schools shared the spoils, with Uppingham winning the event on home turf in October and Oakham returning the honours in November. The age-old rivalry is in fine fetter for the years ahead.
There were also some closely fought games up at Repton, with new joiners Sergey Teliatnik and Eli Birch proving a formidable duo and producing some fine Fives. It’ll be particularly exciting to see them progress over the coming years as their enthusiasm, passion and knowledge of the game will only grow.
As always, we were particularly pleased to welcome back the OUs. Ever joyous, the event saw many pupils mixing in with the ‘old timers’ and much fun was had by all. My personal thanks to Adrian Lewthwaite (OU) in helping to arrange the event so successfully.
Andrew Aitken Trophy winners
With another chapter in the history of Westminster’s Eton Fives squad coming to a close, I’d like to reflect on a great year. Every year group has had some success on the courts, and trips to play against other schools have seen a great number of fun and exciting matches. At St. Olave’s, Harrow, Aldenham, and of course Eton, Westminster pairs had some excellent wins, with an U14/15 team winning 3-0 at Mill Hill, a brilliant result! At home, the Abbey club hosted some great games, giving us the chance to compete against adults in a competitive league and to play alongside Old Westminsters. The fact that we finished in the lower half of the table with two wins and five losses does not reflect the quality of our team or the fun we had playing late into dark Thursday nights. Sacha Hunter (CC) deserves mention for dropping his prep and rushing to help the team at very short notice, crucial to our win over the Newbury Club. We competed at tournaments too, sending a team to the Richard Barber Cup at Eton, of Sacha, Kieran Saujani-Lee, and Alex Weiss (GG), who secured the only point we won on that cold January day. Pranav Shah (RR) and Freddie Cowling (MM) went to the National Schools’ Championships and played brilliantly to progress through the qualifying round.
Of course, match results and tournament performances are only one part of the Westminster Fives experience and the true joy of Fives at this school is the relaxing fun of spending an afternoon with your friends on the courts by Ashburnham Garden. With the coaching and assistance of Mr Charles and Mr Wiseman, experienced Removes and talented Fifth Formers alike have developed skills, learned new shots and marvelled at the glorious unpredictability of the Eton Fives ball. Indeed it always seems like the new cohort of Fifth Formers is the most talented yet, seeming to quickly find their rhythm in a new sport with ease, and this year is no exception. Credit should be given to Seb Miyake (HH) for giving extra time to help train the younger players. Ask anyone who’s seen the team playing and they’ll tell you that the future of Westminster Fives can only be great, with the team growing every year and finding strength and enjoyment through our unique sport. I for one can’t wait to get back on court and see what next year brings for Westminster’s excellent Eton Fives team.
Wolverhampton Grammar School
The highlight of the year was the participation of three U14 pairs in the beginners competition at Shrewsbury. Two fixtures against beginners from Repton and Shrewsbury were also played. A start has been made and with a good number of years 7,8 and 9 playing the game at an after school club hopefully more fixtures and more pairs taking part in competitions will happen next year.
The Fives Club has now been established for the second consecutive year and is slowly gaining ground. Whilst there is still no direct Fives playing member of staff, practices have been taking place regularly on Friday slots after school with varying success. By now over 25 pupils have now tried their hand at the game and there is an emerging team who played in matches against Shrewsbury, Prestfelde and Repton over the course of the year, and have enjoyed the occasional encouraging win.
The main challenge is accessibility to the courts, for there are gates which are locked in front of the courts, and I have been steadily attempting to challenge the need for this to happen and for at least the gates to be opened at the beginning of each day, a battle which is still yet to be won. A good relationship has been set up with the Director of Games and it is hoped that next year a Fives co-ordinator will be appointed from the staff to work alongside me, as coach.
At the end of the season two pairs of boys and one of girls was entered into the Girls and Boys Festival Tournaments at Shrewsbury and this saw some encouraging play by both boys and girls. The high achievement of the day saw the girls’ pair reach the semi-finals and play some excellent Fives, which caught the eye of several coaches and competition organisers. All three pairs will be eligible to play again next year and so we look forward to further success in both matches and Tournaments. It is hoped that more will be done with Wolverhampton as well as Prestfelde, Repton and Shrewsbury in order to ‘join the dots’ in the West Midlands.