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Isaac and Mandie Weave Their Magic at Ipswich

11/01/24: Isaac Weaver & Mandie Barnes won the 2024 Graves Cup at Ipswich last Sunday, a first win in the competition for them both.

The Ipswich Tournament is now fully back and settled in its traditional first week in January slot after a couple of years of covid disruption and still one of the highlights of the Fives calendar.

Fives is booming in Suffolk at the moment and this year's tournament showcased the talents of the current excellent crop of sixth form talent at the school, as well as a few of the next generation below them, with the U13 girls taking a starring role. They lined up alongside the usual eclectic mob of OIs of varying vintages, school staff and guests, including a couple of multiple national champions, the uberveteran's uberveteran and one half of the eventual winning partnership.

Sixteen pairs seemed on the face of it to be a nice simple, logical, easily divisible number - perfect for a simple draw throughout the weekend. Indeed, anyone new to the Graves Cup wandering in on Saturday morning and seeing the carefully worked out four groups of four pairs would have been lulled into thinking that things would pretty much run themselves; those who have been turning up at this one for a while (a very long while in some cases) knew better, and with three courts, a variety of Saturday only and Sunday only players and certain Graves Cup traditions to uphold, the only guarantee was that it wouldn't be straightforward.

Armed with this knowledge in some cases or oblivious to the potential machinations in others, the Saturday group phase proceeded apace, sorting out this year's trophy contenders from this year's plate-eying Tony Stubbs wannabes (the man himself was nursing a knock and was chained to the kitchen sink all weekend - a taste of things to come perhaps with his wedding on the horizon?). Four group winners emerged from this process to take their alloted place in the Sunday quarter-finals - OI Alex Yusaf, getting close to a Sinatra-like number of comebacks, was first through, alongside youngster Daniel Ingram, who came to the Graves Cup with family pedigree, his grandfather having made the semi-finals in 1992. They were joined by the Tim Wyndham/Pete Forrest combo, who made up in experience what they lacked in hair, young tyros Elliot Caldwell & Will Carron and last year's runner-up Isaac Weaver, playing alongside Mandie Barnes and determined to go one better than in 2023.

This was the point at which things started getting complicated as the second and third placed pairs in the groups, plus some Sunday arrivals and some traditional "gloves-in-the-bowl" Ipswichian partner-swapping somehow got thrown together to produce three groups of three pairs playing partly on Saturday evening and partly on Sunday morning to provide the other four quarter-finalists. Magic.

The dinner on Saturday night - which was graced by Graves Cup and general Fives legend Courtney Friend - made everything seem much clearer and the Sunday quarter-finals produced some of the best and most exciting Fives of the whole weekend, with three of the four going right to the wire. Yusaf & Ingram came through in a 50/50 game against Jeremy Hughes & Sam Allen; Wyndham & Forrest managed to find someone even more experienced than them in Peter Boughton, but still found a way to get past him and Harvey Garrard; Caldwell & Carron had about 90 years on Tim Gregory & Nigel Cox but only managed to squeak through by two points. The dominant performance of the last eight came from Isaac Weaver, as Alex Phillips & Owen Free found themselves powerless to prevent the man on a mission, with Mandie Barnes calling "yours" beautifully but also chipping in with some solid shots when (occasionally) needed.

The first Weaver wobble came in game one of the semis as Caldwell & Carron came through 15-12. This just sent Isaac into overdrive and he took complete control of the second game before he & Mandie did enough in the third to win 12-9 and claim a place in the final. The other semi-final saw Yusaf & Ingram just about having the firepower to see off the canny Wyndham & Forrest, but could they find the weapons to disturb Weaver in the final? The answer was pretty clear from the start as Isaac continued to cover huge amounts of court and hit more winners than errors. When Alex & Dan did manage to get it past him, Mandie showed that this wasn't just a one-man show, defending doggedly and preventing Alex & Dan from ever getting their noses in front. The final was won 12-9, 12-7 and completed a real tour de force of a weekend from Isaac, who has the ability to become a major force on the national stage once he finishes his studies at Durham.

In the on court absence of Tony Stubbs, the plate was won - just about - by Gareth Hoskins and the impressive Millie Hodgkinson, who pipped her team mates Betsy Laws (playing with Karen Hird) and Isabella Wyndham (partnered by Isaac Wagland) to the coveted prize, while there were also good showings from Will Woods/Nadia Mason and Simon Woolfries/Luke Davidson. Plate B was won by Henry Gardner & Sam Cook, who were unlucky not to have gone further in the main draw.

As always this was a magnificent weekend, beautifully put together and run by Peter Boughton & Charlotta Cooley and our thanks go to them and everyone at Ipswich School for putting on the tournament dinner and hosting the weekend so well. We're all looking forward to January 2025 already...




A.Yusaf & D.Ingram beat J.Hughes & S.Allen 15-14

T.Wyndham & P.Forrest beat P.Boughton & H.Garrard 15-12

E.Caldwell & W.Carron beat T.Gregory & N.Cox 15-13

I.Weaver & M.Barnes beat A.Phillips & O.Free 15-8




A.Yusaf & D.Ingram beat T.Wyndham & P.Forrest 2-0 (12-7, 12-10)

I.Weaver & M.Barnes beat E.Caldwell & W.Carron 2-1 (12-15, 12-2, 12-9)




I.Weaver & M.Barnes beat A.Yusaf & D.Ingram 2-0 (12-9, 12-7)


Plate A


1. G.Hoskins & M.Hodgkinson

2. W.Woods & N.Mason

3. K.Hird & B.Laws

4. S.Woolfries & L.Davidson

5. I.Wagland & I.Wyndham

6. S.Burnell & D.Seymour-Howell

7. L.Free & M.Williams


Plate B

H.Gardner & S.Cook beat S.Cooley & L.Williamson 12-4


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