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Richard Barber Cup: Three In A Row For Shrewsbury

16/01/24: Shrewsbury retained the Richard Barber Cup in association with Advanta Wealth at Aldenham on Sunday, winning for a third successive year.

With Eton and Harrow unavailable and Highgate hosting the U14 Individual tournament, Aldenham hosted the Richard Barber Cup (the three pair team competition for pairs of current and former pupils from a school or centre) for the first time on Sunday. The hoped for entry of six teams dwindled in the days leading up to the competition, with nine times champions St.Olave's unable to put a team together and Eton frustratingly having to withdraw due to their boys not yet being back at school due to flooding.

That left four teams to battle it out for the trophy - two from defending champions Shrewsbury plus one from Ipswich and one from Westminster. The Westminster team included Riki Houlden & Hugo Young, but their schoolboy contingent numbered only two, with Aldenham 6th former Frankie Manderson-Harkin seizing the opportunity to play. When one of the two remaining Westminster schoolboys became a late victim of illness, Peter Boughton stepped in to become the oldest schoolboy in the history of Fives, forning a non-counting third pair with Oliver Meredith. Ipswich had three of their excellent crop of sixth formers playing - Elliot Caldwell, Alex Phillips and Matthew Williams lining up alongside Jeremy Hughes, Charlotta Cooley and Peter Forrest.

The two Salopians sides demonstrated their strength in depth at both school and club with Seb Cooley, Sam Welti and Chris Hughes playing in the A team alongside Ed Clark and U16 pair Michael Draper and George Battersby, while Adam Morris, Luke Lloyd-Jones and Marc Quinn made up the B team with Oliver Parton, Louis Hursthouse and Louis Malanaphy.

The first round produced perhaps the most exciting set of matches of the day. Shrewsbury A took on Westminster, which meant Seb & Riki in opposition alongside Ed & Frankie, both of whom were doing their best to keep up with the pace. The format across the board was best of three matches, with the deciding set played to 8 in the event of the first two games being shared and the Westminster/Shrewsbury A first pair game went the full distance, Westminster coming out on top 8-5 in the decider. Shrewsbury won the second and third pairs comfortable, however, to get themselves off to a strong start. On the other three courts, the Shrewsbury B v Ipswich match was an absolute thriller, with the result ultimately having a decisive bearing on the final standings. Shrewsbury B got off to a good start, winning the first games in all three pairs, but Ipswich fought back hard to level at 1-1 in all three, leading to three third game first to 8 shootouts. Quinn & Malanaphy at third pair were first to strike, coming back from a 3-12 second game defeat to blitz their way to an 8-0 victory with a string of winners. Morris & Hursthouse at second pair looked in trouble at 0-4 down to Phillips & Forrest but squeaked through 8-7 and Lloyd-Jones & Parton completed the 3-0 with an 8-2 win over Caldwell & Hughes, who were left regretting losing the first game from 11-9 up.

The first round pretty much set the tone for the day; Westminster continued to win at first pair, with Manderson-Harkin combining with Houlden or Young to win all three matches, but Kieran Saujani-Lee, despite some close shaves, was unable to quite get over the line at second pair and with the third pair competitive (not least in a 13-14, 14-11, 7-8 defeat against Ipswich) but not counting, the Westminsters ended on three points. Ipswich continued to play well, but their chances of a high finish had been scuppered in the first round and they finished the day with two victories to their name, scant reward for some excellent play. Shrewsbury B continued to play well after their great start but in the end they were no match for the Shrewsbury A team, whose first round first pair defeat turned out to be their only loss in the whole tournament.

The small entry was a shame, but it did allow for the longer three game format, which turned out to be a real success, allowing matches to ebb and flow and generating some real jeopardy and excitement. All four teams had their moments and produced some excellent Fives but Shrewsbury A were clearly the class of the field and thoroughly deserved to retain the trophy.

My thanks go to Aldenham for hosting the tournament, to Advanta Wealth for their continued sponsorship and to all those who organised teams and came to play.




1. Shrewsbury A - 8 points

2. Shrewsbury B - 5 points

3. Westminster - 3 points

4. Ipswich - 2 points


Round One


Shrewsbury A beat Westminster 2-1

L 7-12, 12-9, 5-8

W 12-4, 12-4

W 12-2, 12-6


Shrewsbury B beat Ipswich 3-0

W 14-11, 4-12, 8-2

W 12-9, 8-12, 8-7

W 12-6, 3-12, 8-0


Round Two


Shrewsbury A beat Shrewsbury B 3-0

W 12-1, 12-4

W 12-1, 12-6

W 12-4, 12-5


Ipswich beat Westminster 2-1

L 1-12, 3-12

W 12-7, 12-9

W 14-13, 11-14, 8-7


Round Three


Shrewsbury A beat Ipswich 3-0

W 12-1, 12-1

W 12-10, 12-6

W 12-1, 12-3

Shrewsbury B beat Westminster 2-1

L 2-12, 6-12

W 12-2, 14-12

W 12-4, 12-1


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