2022/23 Club Reports
Read on to find out the clubs' views on their 2022/23 seasons. Missing reports will hopefully be added shortly...
Club silverware galore; Michael MacGeoch and the Pink Elephant Trophy
Fancy Dress Fives; Aldenham at the Midlands Tournament; and at the Veterans; Advanta Unsung Hero 2023
The Aldenham Fives Club (The Heath) had another busy year with our ladder competition proving ever popular.
The ladder is played every six weeks and is particularly popular with four courts regularly filled. Each winner is awarded the Phil Marsh Trophy which they retain until the next ladder competition. These evenings are rounded off with a meal at the Akash Indian Restaurant which is always well attended by players and non-players alike.
The club play every Tuesday evening throughout the year (only Christmas and New Year preventing the full 52 sessions) and players from other clubs are very welcome to join us.
We gained several new players is 2022 including two schoolboys and others returning to the game after many years.
2022 also saw the creation of the Michael MacGeogh Pink Elephant Trophy conceived in memory of Michael prior to his death from cancer. The trophy is awarded to a club member who has achieved something remarkable but is not necessarily related to fives.
This year, it was awarded to club stalwart Graham Pulsford following the news that his company, JPA Workspaces, was awarded the prestigious King’s Award for Enterprise – Sustainable Development.
The King’s Award recognises outstanding achievements by UK businesses with JPA being one of only 15 companies nationally to receive a commendation in the Sustainable Development category.
Editor's Note: The season ended with Phil Lyndon being awarded the Advanta Unsung Hero Award at the EFA Dinner.
Brigands at the Veterans Tournament
No report received yet
Bunch of Fives
A Bunch of Fives at Iffley Road; Club colours; Christmas awards
Our numbers continue to grow modestly and we do our best to encourage newcomers to the great game, but core players are still mostly drawn from those who first met a pepperpot half a century ago.
Spreading the word thus remains our top priority for the coming year and we hope to arrange more fixtures as part of this. Since April, however, Bunchers have been obliged to flirt with Rugby Fives - pictured - as the Eton courts at Iffley Road are being repaired and restored.
We have been gently promoting the idea of painting them blue as at the Old Zuozer courts in Geneva. Oxford Blue is a bit dark and Cambridge Blue probably unthinkable so the bright, almost Grecian blue of Geneva would surely be a happy compromise. But it’s a long shot.
Talking of blues, we held our first very modest but enjoyable Christmas lunch and awards mini-ceremony this year with Gareth as our guest of honour. The Bunch’s colours are dark and light blue quartered (not for august historical reasons but because that was the only games shirt we owned between us). The awards follow the same pattern, as pictured.
All warmest and hope to see you ere long.
Varsity Match teams; Cambridge squad at the University Championships; U25 Champion Jessye Tu
The 2022-23 season has been an eventful one for CUEFC, beginning with a large intake in numbers following a successful recruitment drive at the beginning of the year. The increase in number of both experienced and novice players alike, particularly for the women’s side, reflects the hard work and preparation of the committee heading into the new season, with high player retention throughout the course of the year. The hard work of Lewis Drummond, Isaac Gianfrancesco, Emma Spencer and the ever-dedicated Jessye Tu continued the successful collaboration with the Magdelene College Fives Club. Many beginners who were introduced to the game at Magdelene subsequently represented the university side on many occasions, supported by the invaluable weekly coaching sessions of Peter Boughton and frequent appearances of Simon Cass from the Cambridge Chroniclers.
The competitive calendar this year saw entries to the U21s, U25s, Universities’, EFA Trophy, and the Richard Black Cup. This was supplemented by a regular schedule of long-format fixtures, including matches against North Oxford, Ipswich School, Old Ipswichians, St. Olave’s/Old Olavians, and the Cambridge Chroniclers. We hope that this fixture list can be built upon and expanded in future seasons – please get into contact if your club may be interested in organising a fixture for the upcoming season! These fixtures culminated in the Varsity match against a strong Oxford side wherein both sides were able to field eight men’s pairs for the first time alongside the usual six women’s pairs, reflecting a positive and promising growth in the sport across both universities.
We want to thank the hard work of the outgoing committee and the participation of all the players this year and wish the incoming committee the best of luck in ensuring the continued success of the club.
Tom Xu & Alex Davies
No report received yet
Ladies Championships runner-up Ashley Lumbard
Social Fives continues to be played at Lancing by the regulars from the Tuesday night club, which are a mix of OL and non OLs.
Numbers have been boosted by the welcome return of Matt Davies and Henry Steele; guest appearances are sometimes made by Ed Habershon and Alex Abrahams , which changes the dynamic considerably- we all up our game !
Efforts to recruit more players continue and we have a recent part convert from Rugby Fives , Rustom Irani, who is responding well to conversion therapy. His power game works well in the back court and his returns of cut are improving weekly.
Any OL or Non OL Fives players that happen to be in the Brighton area on a Tuesday night and fancy a game are most welcome to come along to the Tuesday Night Club.
No report received yet
The Newbury management in action
No report received yet
North Oxford league teams; Black Cup winners; Boughton Bowl team
NOEFC Christmas Dinner; U25 champion Noah Caplin; Ladies Champion Karen Hird; Universities Champions Freya Butler & Rachel Wood
2022/23 has been another busy and successful season for North Oxford EFC, with nearly 50 matches played and every effort made to live up to the club’s mission statement of as much Fives being played by as many people as possible in as many different places as possible.
One of the unexpected delights of this season has been the number of new players we have introduced to the sport, especially at our regular Monday evening sessions on the courts at Summer Fields school. Summer Fields staff members Bee Millar and Emily Webb have both made huge strides since taking up the game at the start of the year and the Burford connection has given us the Saftoiu family (Calin, Catalina and Tudor following Burford school’s Luca onto the courts) and the talented Dan Lake, who is one to watch for next season for sure. There have been occasional forays from SF parents, gappers and staff at the local gym and hopefully some of those will also begin to turn into regulars next season. It is increasingly becoming the case that a majority of players on any given Monday will not have gone to a Fives-playing school and many will have learned the game with North Oxford on the Summer Fields courts.
The biggest problem is that we only have two courts to play on; with the beginners’ contingent, various OUEFC members (Nick Choustikov, Freya Butler, Ed Gosnell, Beau Swallow, Cyril Schroeder and Annie Calderbank especially), newly arrived superstars of the game in Andrew Rennie and Fred Prickett and regular Monday nighters of longer standing – Andy Bishop, Stephen Thatcher, Steve Gore, Stefan Nowinski, Ian Mitchell, Matt Chinery, Rachel Wood, Mandie Barnes, Robert Thorogood, Gael Guetard, Nick Shaw, various Scholeys, Stephen Jones, Chris Lloyd, Gareth Hoskins, Tom Hoskins, Kirby Clayton and assorted others. Even Spencer Chapman made the odd appearance. Luckily, a combination of several factors - indoor courts, plenty of short games and court juggling, a generally high level of bonhomie and tolerance, a bit of squash court Fives and the lack – so far – of an evening when everyone decides to turn up at once - has meant that we are still able to fit everything into one evening. The day can’t be far away, though, when we get 25 people turning up to play on two courts, having hit 19 on a couple of occasions this year.
As always, NOEFC’s activities extend well beyond the Summer Fields courts. Once again we entered a team into all three divisions of the league and once again we managed to play every single fixture without conceding a pair, a very pleasing achievement and 39 different players represented the club at least once in the league, an equally pleasing statistic. We even managed to play two Division 2 matches simultaneously at one point. All three teams acquitted themselves well; the Division 1 team suffered a little bit through injury – the McCahon knee, the Abrahams finger and the Caplin ankle depriving us of three of our young stars at various points of the season – but there were some dogged performances and occasional highlights. Steve Kaaber-Gore and Matt Asquith both performed to a very high level (a memorable win as a pair at Harrow will live long in the memory), Matt Chinery, Stephen Thatcher, Nirav Patel and Darshan Patel all began to establish themselves as Division 1 squad members and the ageless Graham Pulsford and Pete Scholey continued to defy medical science. Seb Cooley added some welcome stardust from time to time and if we can keep the star players fit and get a few more appearances out of the likes of James Piggot, James Cobb, Beau Swallow and Ben Hart then the signs look good for next season. The Division 2 team finished a very respectable third in the table, with lots of different people getting the chance to play a game or two, including rare league matches at Newbury and Iffley Road. The Division 3 team – led as ever by Club President Andy Bishop – had an excellent season, coming within a gnat’s whisker of claiming the Division 3 title, just missing out with a 2-3 defeat in the deciding pair of the deciding match at Newbury. We look forward to bigger and better things next year from the rapidly improving likes of Toby Bush, Sophie Clifford-King, Bee Millar and Cyril Schroeder.
There were other competitive highlights: we reached the EFA Trophy semi-finals once again, narrowly losing to the eventual winners; a relatively inexperienced Boughton Bowl team came third but put up a terrific defence of the title in a thrilling competition; and the Richard Black Cup was retained – a magnificent achievement made all the more remarkable by being done without our captain and star player from previous triumphs Karen Hird, who was heading up the Repton team. Rachel Wood and Harry Asquith stepped up to the mark, remaining undefeated at first pair all day; Francesca Turnbull and Annalise Whitehead gelled superbly at second pair (we need to see more of Annalise next year!) and Erin Leatherbarrow stepped in at the last minute and combined with Sophie Clifford-King to get us over the line in the crucial third pair game in the final.
We also did the usual assortment of other stuff – various club members trying their hand at different variants of Fives from the three-walled court at East Preston in Sussex, to Warminster Fives, Paume Artignoscaise, Welsh Handball and occasional forays onto Winchester and Rugby Fives courts. Spencer Chapman again ran two Aston House spin-off teams in the Westway Summer Superleague and we played matches or tournaments on the courts at Marlborough, Wolverhampton, Rydal, St Bees, Cambridge, Uppingham and Oakham as well as consuming a vast quantity of pub lunches and curries at venues up and down the country. And with an eye on the future of the club, Steve & Kirby and Matt & Rachel have been doing their bit to produce the next generation of North Oxford Fives players.
Boughton Bowl team; Alan Barber Cup team; Derek Whitehead Trophy; Division 1 & 3 teams
Midlands Champions; U21 winners; Over 60s Champions; Under 25 winners
The 2022-23 season has seen another action-packed year with players up and down the country taking to the courts to fly the OB flag. As usual the season kicked off with the annual Derek Whitehead Competition which gets the ball rolling for the season but, more importantly, also helps create those ever-important links between the School and the OBs.
We had a slight shift around also in our League set-up this season as we dropped the League 2 side and instead re-entered the top tier League 1 after a few years’ hiatus. The point of this side is for current senior school pupils to be exposed to extremely high-level Fives against some of the top players in the country. With the drop in the League 2 side, this also meant many of our talented OB’s got to strut their stuff in the top division also alongside the senior pupils. Regulars included staff players George Campbell, Doug Foster and Anthony Theodossi as well as OBs Jack Pemberton, Alex Rattan, Charlie Nicholls and Will Roen-Tate flying the flag. We expected to finish somewhere mid-table, so it was quite the shock that come near the end of the season we looked to be potently winning the 2022-23 title! Alas a few last points from other teams meant we came a very respectable third overall (just one point behind 2nd place and three points behind 1st place!) out of eight teams which is a huge achievement for not only a first foray back into the top division, but also to be playing alongside school pupils showing just how talented they are.
We also saw the newly formed Tuesday night club side taking on League 3 again for the second year in a row, though under new leadership of OB Adam Pemberton. Most Tuesdays four to six of the Berkhamsted courts were full of a rag bag mixture of schoolteachers, parents, old Berkhamstedians, visitors from other fives clubs, the odd current pupil and friends and relatives of all the above! Particularly satisfying was the mix of young and 'experienced' players taking part as well as a few newcomers who we hope will become regulars for the future. We are thankful to Dossi and Chris Davey for organising matches during term time providing beers, balls, and equipment for those who needed it and their coaching expertise getting those new to the game up and running and reminding the rest of us what we should be doing. Thanks also to Rob Doe for organising some club kit and a couple of 'off court' activities enjoyed by those in attendance if not remembered by all! Outside of term time a hardcore of 'renegade' players made sure that barely a Tuesday night went by without at least a couple of courts filled. The League 3 campaign was a slightly unexpected success with us coming out as league champions by a narrow margin. The most pleasing aspect was the variety of players we managed to put out in our six completed matches, 16 different souls by my count who all contributed something even if just saving a penalty point (thanks Dossi!). Also pleasing was the variety of club members taking part in various tournaments; the Midlands, Kinnaird, Mixed team and Individual, Under 21s, Over 50s, Barber cup to name a few with some success as holders of the Midland and U21 cups. Hopefully this trend will continue into next year. The club is genuinely open to all at no cost, so we hope to see some new and/or returning faces next season as well as the usual suspects.
Next year will see another slight change, with the addition of a second League 3 School side allowing more of the senior pupils the opportunity to play some top-level matches against lots of adult opposition.
Unfortunately, it was a swift exit for Berkhamsted in this year’s Barber Cup in Round 1. But that doesn’t take away from the team’s efforts. Providing a full team for a rainy Saturday morning fixture at Ipswich is no mean feat, and kudos should go to the depth, breadth, and camaraderie of the Berkhamsted squad that Ant Theodossi, Doug Foster, and Ryan Perrie have built in recent years. The team welcomed Jack Hodkinson and Bryce Wiles into the fray for the first time this season, alongside regulars Adam Pemberton, Jack Pemberton, Will Roen-Tate and Alex Rattan.
Despite losing the fixture 0-3, incredibly competitive fives was played throughout. Jack Pemberton & Will Roen-Tate at first pair battled their way to 2-2, before losing a tight fifth set.
The fixture wasn’t the only thing lost on the day, with a windscreen wiper exiting stage left on the journey up in the Pembertons’ car. Nevertheless, a huge thanks to the team for their efforts. We will be back stronger next season.
Once again, a large contingent of Berko crew made it up to Repton for the annual Midlands Tournament again with a mix of OBs, staff and parents taking part. Jack Pemberton alongside coach Anthony Theodossi managed to walk away with this year’s title managing to go through the whole tournament without dropping a set.
In the U25s we saw more OB success with Charlie Nicholls reaching the men’s final, while there was further success in the women’s where Freya Butler walked away with the 2022-23 title. The U21s was also won in style by Jack Pemberton adding more silverware to his every growing collection.
A Berko side also entered the Boughton Bowl for the first time, a mixed three pair team tournament. The entry had been put together purely for the fun factor, so it was quite the result to see we ended up coming second on the day only just missing out on the overall title by two points!
The end of the Schools Nationals week also saw the school running its annual OB dinner and there was a strong showing by the Fives, more so than any other sport.
The end of season EFA Awards also showcased the strength of OB Fives currently with three nominations including two for young player of the year for Freya Butler and Jack Pemberton, as well as team of the year for the Old Berkhamstedians.
All in all, Berkhamsted Fives is in an extremely strong position, not only within the Fives world, but still leading the way for OB sports across the board in what can be achieved with so many active players still enjoying the game. Roll on the 2023-24 season!
Adam Pemberton, Alex Rattan & Anthony Theodossi
Boughton Bowl winners; Division 1 action at Highgate; League teams; EFA Player of the Year Emily Scoones
Unfortunately the OC Fives team has been hit by a lot of injuries this season mean we have finished at the mid to lower end of Division 1 and 2. As a team this season we have had some good showings in the school/alumni tournaments and won the Mixed Team tournament. On an individual note, Jonny Ho and James Hopkins reached the Kinnaird semi-final and Marjolaine Briscoe and Emily Scoones reached the Ladies' semi-finals and final respectively. Vatche Kassardijan, a returner this season, also won the Kinnaird Festival competition with his partner and Carolina Valensise & Lorenza Valensise made the final of the U25s earlier in the season. In the mixed tournament, Marjolaine teamed up with OC Joe Marks to reach the semi finals, and Jonny and Emily made it to the final. Overall it has been a thoroughly enjoyable season and we are looking forward to an injury free 2023/24.
Emily Scoones & Jonny Ho
Festive Fives; Alan Barber Cup team; celebrating
On tour in Geneva and in Ireland; Old Citizens at the EFA Trophy qualifiers
More than 30 players have turned out for us so this season – in our practices matches, tours and trophies – of which 27 were Old Citizens or current schoolboys.
It’s been a busy season: in short, we reached the second round of the Barber Cup, achieved mid-table mediocrity in the national Division Three, enjoyed trips to Ireland and Geneva, attracted a draw of 16 players to our Wood Plate season opener, and are looking forward to our Adams Cup weekend in June – for which eight of our Swiss mates will join us – to finish everything off. The Cup itself has an entry so far of 28 players.
Many thanks go to our master-in-charge, Rahim Dharamshi, for his work in encouraging the boys to take up our game. He’s the latest in a series of lovely and inspiring masters who have championed the OCEFC (Robin Nagy and Peter Naylor before him did also did sterling work) and we wouldn’t exist without them. Bear in mind we lost our home courts nearly 40 years ago and it’s down to the masters at CLS that we are able to thrive in the way we do.
Etonians at the Turnbull Trophy and in league action at Eton
No report received yet
OH league action at Harrow; Kinnaird Champion Tom Dunbar
This has been a challenging season for the OH Fives Club in many respects. However, it was particularly pleasing to see Fred Prickett and Oskar Denby begin to make their mark and play regularly. With our older brethren struggling with a variety of ailments Nick Shaw, Ed Hewens and Richard Tyler were again at the heart of our teams and a special thanks must also go to Ian Hutchinson for helping us out in home matches with a number of promising players from the school. Unfortunately Tom Dunbar was injured for most of the season, so it was great to see him back competing at the Kinnaird and winning his 17th National Championship.
Next year we are hoping that by entering one League team only match managing will be slightly easier.
Black Cup finalists; Graves Cup winners; Richard Barber Cup team
The OI team enjoyed a much improved league season culminating in a creditable Division 2 finish of 7th with 8 points. The squad of players continues to expand across the generations, helped by the continued popularity of this great game at the School, supported by weekly club nights. There is real optimism that the season gone can be a springboard to greater success. It was great to see Cam Lyle come back out of retirement, Isaac Wagland playing more, three victories at 1st pair, which included the forever youthful Peter Boughton & Tim Gregory and just generally a greater number of fixtures being fulfilled. There was another appearance in the final of the Richard Black Cup, where the Ipswich team were only a few points away from a famous victory.
Ipswich hosted the annual Graves Cup, returning to its usual winter date in the calendar, after the previous July experiment. The two day competition and dinner were again very well attended by OIs, school pupils and distinguished guests. The pairing committee excelled themselves to produce a tournament of many closed games, with no single obvious early favourite The winners this year were Charlotta Cooley & Toryn Whitehead beating Isaac Weaver & Nadia Mason 3-2 in an epic final that was in keeping with a great tournament.
Summers Cup players; Kinnaird Pepperpot winners; OM Division 1 action
No report received yet
Barber Cup winners; Olavians at the Northern; Turnbull Trophy winners
Ladies Championships and Kinnaird Cup winners Charlotta & Seb Cooley; Aberconway Cup winners
No report received yet
Richard Barber Cup winners; EFA Trophy winners; Old Salopians at the Ladies Championships; Veterans Champions
No report received yet
Andrew Aitken Trophy; U25 champion Hugo Young; London & Northern Tournament winners Riki Houlden & Hugo Young
The Old Westminsters have happily seen continued growth of our club this season. We have had several OWs returning to the game after long hiatuses, including Riki’s school partner James Alster who won all three of his Division 1 league games this season despite warning that he would be “extremely rusty”! Nick Choustikov (Old Citizen) is our first non-OW to join the club since John Reynolds over two decades ago and has commendably played in six of our fourteen Div 1 games despite being based primarily in Oxford. We have also been fostering connections between the alumni club and current pupils at Westminster through our first Richard Barber Cup entry in several years and through the inaugural Spring Westminster Cup with a healthy entry of seven pupils, in addition to our annual Aitken Trophy which we run in September.
In terms of performance, we met our match in the Alan Barber Cup Semi Final against the Old Olavians but, motivated to overcome these titans, we will continue to train hard and look forward to entering this competition again next season. We were comfortably in the top half of the Division 1 leagues again and are hoping to challenge the Old Salopians in Division 1 and 2 next season. Most importantly though, the leagues have provided ample opportunity for many of our players of a wide range of abilities to have the chance to play and enjoy some competitive fives which has been a delight to see.
From an individual perspective, there have been a number of fantastic performances. Hugo Young and Riki Houlden won the London and the Northern and were runners-up in the Kinnaird, the first time in history an OW pair has achieved any of these feats. Riki won his first Mixed Championships and Hugo has added further Men’s Universities and U25 titles to his name, as well as captaining OUEFC to a whitewash Varsity victory, leading to both being nominated EFA Player of the Year (with Hugo still technically being young enough to be eligible for EFA Young Player of the Year!) Sahil Shah and Can Koksal reached the knockout stages of both the Northern and the Kinnaird this year and will be looking to build on this next season. Nick Choustikov was close behind, winning the Plate competition of the London and runner-up in the Pepperpot at the Kinnaird. Ben Merrett has also started to demonstrate his interest in the major tournaments, reaching the Plate SF of the Northern and winning the Kinnaird Festival for the first time.
Onwards and upwards!
EFA Trophy finalists; Veterans finalists; Wulfrunians on both sides in the EFA Trophy
The Wulfrunians' 2022/23 season has been a largely successful one with a healthy attendance at the regular Wednesday evening sessions underpinning the core of the team's competitiveness and fitness levels.
This year's EFA Trophy saw the first opportunity in many years for us to be able to field from all available players due to the lifting of an ineligiblity rule due to previous successes in the Alan Barber Cup. For the qualifying round we managed to field eight players - regular EFA Trophy participants Andy & Tom Husslebee, Dave Jones, Mark Yates, Greg Hammond & Sid Simmons,, plus debutants to this tournament Rob Pye and 1992 Kinnaird Cup winner Gary Baker. The luxury of having eight players is very handy on a long, tough day of Fives as rests were possible (and most definitely required!). Qualification for Finals Day was secured but only after an unfortunate ankle injury for Gary Baker in his first match, which he and Greg still managed to pull through to win!
On Finals Day, Chris Austin returned from injury to join Andy, Tom, Dave, Mark & Sid for a tricky morning semi-final against Oxford University. At second pair, Dave & Andy dominated proceeding in a routine 3-0 win. Mark & Tom at third pair managed to come through a tight match 3-1 after losing the first game. Chris & Sid at first pair lost the first 2 games to fellow Old Wulfrunian Ben Hart and his partner before managing to claw back the next two games. Mercifully, a fifth set wasn't required due to the other two matches having concluded and so a concession of this pair was the order of the day.
The afternoon's Final pitted us against the Old Salopians who proved to be too strong in all three pairs who ran out deserved winners.
Ben Hart again this season proved to be the busiest Wulfrunian by successfully helping Oxford University defend their Varsity crown and as Oxford 2 in the Universities Tournament got to the final only to lose to the very strong Oxford Varsity first pair. He also partnered Sid for his first go in the Kinnaird Qualifiers enjoying a good first round win before going out in the second round after meeting the eventual winners.
The Veteran's tournament this year saw Andy Husslebee partner the legendary Tony Walters in a small but very strong Over 60s section and Sid & Chris had another tilt at the Open title, but went down 15-13 in a tight final.
As mentioned earlier, our Wednesday sessions in Wolverhampton have been well attended by the regular cohort, but we hope to get more of the other local players down more regularly over the coming season.
It's particularly pleasing to see Rob Pye (Cambridge), Ben Hart (Oxford) and Chris Austin (Aldenham) continuing their exploits and development away from the Wolverhampton fives scene.
Finally, a huge thank you to all players for a great season and to Mark and Greg for their organisational support and everything they do for the club.
Universities Tournament domination for the women and men; Universities men's squad; U25 Champion Hugo Young
Under 25 Champion Freya Butler; Varisty Match squads; London Plate winners
This season was a strikingly successful one for the Oxford team, even by the high standards of the past few years. The first indication of the team’s strength in depth came in the Universities Tournament, with Oxford providing the top two pairs on both the Men’s and Women’s sides of the competition. Our ability to put out seven good pairs on the men’s side gave the captain a taste of how hard it would be to assign Varsity pairs later in the year… Oxford also had a good run in the EFA trophy, coming top of our group (above the eventual winners the Old Salopians) in the qualifiers, before succumbing to the Old Wulfrunians in the semi-finals.
The high point of the team’s season was of course the Varsity match. Oxford managed to emphasize our dominance with a clean sweep of every pair, without even losing a set. This feat was also combined with the fantastic development of an extra two pairs on the men’s side: hopefully this reflects an increase in player numbers which will continue in future seasons. We had a lovely dinner and managed in the end to get everyone back to Oxford on the last train in one piece.
Numerous players also had successful seasons as individuals. Freya Butler began the season by winning the Under 25s in a (slightly treacherous but forgivable) pairing with Cambridge’s Jessye Tu. Freya and Rachel Wood then won the Universities and reached the semi-finals of the Ladies‘ Championships. This all resulted in Freya coming third in the EFA‘s Young Player of the Year vote. Beau Swallow and Nick Choustikov partnered up for the London Tournament, winning the Tournament Plate. Hugo Young won the Under 25s and, together with Charles Plummer, the Universities. Hugo went on to victory at the London and Northern Tournament, and reached his first Kinnaird Final, earning a nomination for EFA Player of the Year.
The other aspect of the season which went well was the social side of the club. President James Green organised another successful club dinner with the OUEFC extended family. Mixed training sessions along with the occasional pub trip helped the club feel more connected. This culminated in a club trip to Grillon over Easter, which sounded like a success although its participants seem sworn to secrecy. After Easter, the season was cut short by building work on the Iffley Road courts, but we look forward to refurbished and more rainproof courts next season. Hopefully the team can go from strength to strength next year, continuing to expand our player base and extending our recent run of dominance in competitions!
Northern Plate winner Archie Cameron-Blackie
Fives at Repton has gone from strength to strength this year. The departure of school coach, Charles Plummer, left a void that few other than the incomparable Karen Hird could have filled. However, since her arrival the club has enjoyed the regular presence of one of the top women's players on a near weekly basis and we have greatly appreciated her input and presence on court.
We continue to host a regular contingent from the Derby Moor Rugby Fives club who, dare I say it, are growing to enjoy the code as much as those of us who are utterly devoted to it. Indeed, Lewis Keates has invested time this year in order to organise and run a cross-code tournament for both Rugby and Eton Fives, so we must be rubbing off at least a little!
Those who have enjoyed playing at the Midlands tournaments in the last couple of years will be aware of the wonderful state of the courts at present, so we would be keen to host any and all newcomers and veterans to our regular Wednesday club nights.
We are also keen to invite and play against other clubs in the region (or further afield), and we are scoping out fixtures for the coming michaelmas term against both the school and external opposition so drop us a line if you would like a game! I can assure all visiting players of the quality of the local pizza at the Bulls Head, and while not compulsory, the Après Fives is strongly advised.
Aberconway Cup runners-up the Caplins; Team Westway 1 in league action; Team Westway 2 at Berkhamsted
The Westway teams had some new blood this season which helped to bolster our league players in particular for division 3 with some folks returning to the game after several years. It's been a rare pleasure to have more keen players than spaces in a match!
The season started well for us with a win against Lancing - unfortunately, they withdrew from the league so we started over again in our bid for points with a 2nd win against Windsor and Eton. It continued to be a well-fought season and felt like we'd really found our winning stride wuth solid victories but there were 2 teams who kept us humble: North Oxford and Berkhamsted 2.
Nevertheless it was a very successful season for us in Div 3 with 5 wins to 2 losses - a marked improvement on the previous year and landing us in 3rd place overall.
Levels of enthusiasm have been high overall with many enjoyable matches and closely matched up pairs making for excellent sport. The can-do attitude in div 3 has been great all season even when a couple of fixtures had to be rearranged and players lent to fill out opposition pairings last minute.
A particular highlight was our friendly welcome at Berko, with very closely contended matches, despite their win, we all celebrated after (photo included).
With a focus on getting as many of the Westway player community into matches as possible and giving everyone a chance to compete, it's great to see that 14 individuals represented Westway in the div 3 team over the season including three women and even two students when scheduling allowed. The player list is comprised of some of our stalwart warrior regulars as well as some recent returners to the game and has an age range from 20s-60s!
Several players who have come back after long periods of absence from fives have now found a new fives home at the Westway - our courts are always open! (*always on club nights: Mon, Thurs, Sun).
Windsor & Eton
Northern Festival Champions; Division 3 league action
No report received yet