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Pett Plate 2024

Seb Cooley reports:

24/01/24: Berkhamsted retained the Pett Plate (the schools U13 three pair team competition) on Sunday in a tight threeway battle.

Six teams entered this year’s competition: three from Berkhamsted, two from Ipswich and one from Summer Fields. All arrived for the 10:30 start time, with a quick phone-around from the Berkhamsted schoolboys rustling up a sub for a player who was taken ill on the morning.

An overnight increase in temperature from Baltic to Mediterranean caused significant condensation on the floors of the Castle courts which was admirably negotiated by all: the shot played on the slide was a feature on the Castle courts and clearly enjoyed by several players.

A round robin was played, with each fixture being two games. All were well played in good spirits and it was excellent to see the younger Berkhamsted teams (they had an U13, an U12 and an U11 side) battling against their own school’s older pairs and taking points. The day was, throughout, played competitively but in good spirit.

The Ipswich girls’ team and Berkhamsted’s U11s both finished the day on four points, Berkhamsted’s coming in the fixture between the two, the Ipswichians managing to pick up points at first pair against Berkhamsted U12 s and against Summer Fields, in the latter returning impressively from a 3-12 first set loss to take the second 12-11. The young Berkhamstedians will have learned a lot from the tournament and show that the future is bright in Hertfordshire.

Berkhamsted’s U12s finished on 13 points, the highlight here being a game pinched against their older side in the first pair fixture in an energetic and skilfully played match on a slippery court.

Only five points separated the top three teams. Summer Fields were chasing from the start, having started slowly and dropped four points to Ipswich in the first round. They stuck at their task with determination, no better illustrated than by their first pair coming through an incredibly tight first game finish in the final round against Berkhamsted’ first team to take this 12-11, then pressing home their advantage in the second game. Their players all put in some impressive performances through the day and returned to Oxford knowing that they can compete with all the pairs present.

Ipswich’s boys played very well indeed and missed out on the tournament win by just one point, the 2-4 loss to winners Berkhamsted 1 turning out to be decisive. Berkhamsted had looked the team to beat for much of the day and pulled out wins in key fixtures to get over the line despite dropping a point at first pair against their second team.

Many thanks to Berkhamsted for hosting this tournament and to Martin Pett for presenting his plate to the winners.