2012/13 School Reports

Read on to find out how the Fives-playing schools saw their 2012/13 season...


Aldenham

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Aldenham's Andrew Rennie - with brother Carl - runners-up in the U21 Plate Final

There have been 30 fixtures over two terms mostly since Christmas. While positive results have been difficult to achieve the have been very close matches with some individual successes for pairs. The game provides the opportunity for students to represent the school probably for the first time and most involved in the programme are not main team games players it also provides them the opportunity to play against and visit schools like Harrow, Eton, Stowe and Westminster.

We have a pool of senior players many of whom are in their final year and then very few in the middle age groups but there is a growing interest and talent at Martineaus level (U13 ) and if they develop as expected will provide the backbone for future success. We have enjoyed plate and festival success at Senior and U13 level in end of term tournaments.

The Aldenham girls have also started taking to the courts and have been gaining experience of both Eton and Rugby Fives.

Andy Stephenson


Belmont

Belmont’s Eton Fives season started fairly slowly with a draw against Orley Farm, a significant defeat at the hands of St. Olave's away and only limited success against Aldenham away. The last match did give an opportunity for Year 7 and 6 players to have their first opportunity to play in a match. Our first pair of Charlie Plummer and Dita Jaja did well in all their matches, although losing at St. Olaves, and even managed to secure a victory against Highgate’s Year 7 first pair.

Belmont finished its competitive Eton Fives season with a flourish and in a most fitting place, the Fives courts of Eton. On Thursday 7th March our first pair travelled to the National U13 competition to play against a range of independent and state schools. Charlie and Dita played very well, winning in the group phase and progressing into the final stages for the main trophy. They lost narrowly to St Olave's 2nd pair in the semi-final and won a shield whilst the final was played between St Olave's 1st and 2nd pair.

On Monday, 11 March, four Belmont pairs participated in the Prep Schools' Eton Fives tournament at Eton. Again the first pair of Charlie and Dita won their group and then defeated Ludgrove’s first pair convincingly 12-4 and 12-2 to advance into the semi-final. This time they faced Highgate’s first pair and lost but this still is the best result for a Belmont first pair for many years.

Belmont’s second pair of Jonathan Becker and William Jenkins also did themselves proud, only losing one match to Summer Fields’ first pair in the group phase, thus entering the Marston Plate competition. They won their next match against Orley Farm 2 and just narrowly lost to Cranleigh’s first pair.

These and the other players enjoyed the occasions and the chance to compete against the best players in the country. Many thanks to our Fives Gap student, Adam Morris, who has worked hard with our players and attended both competitions.

Bob Pace


Berkhamsted

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The Berkhamsted squad at the REFCA U14 tournament

The Fives continues to improve here at Berkhamsted with each year taking a step forward. We played an impressive 41 fixtures across the year against a huge variety of schools as well as a number of friendly fixtures against the EFA, Cambridge University and the Jesters.

We recorded some positive results across the season with pairs winning against Eton, Highgate, Shrewsbury and Westminster. One of the best results came from our 1st senior pairing of Ali Leighton & James Hawkes who beat Shrewsbury 1st pair 2 – 1 in a tight fixture at Eton, a feat which hasn’t been done for a number of years.

Our Inter-House Fives competitions took place in the first term and we had a record entry of 214 boys taking part across years 7 – 11.

Our seniors and U16s represented the school well in a number of adult competitions and tournaments including the Turnbull Trophy, the Midlands Tournament and League 1 and 2 fixtures. In the Turnbull Ali Leighton paired up with coach Doug Foster and managed to reach the final again but couldn’t record a win for the second year running. In the Midlands we took a huge entry of 16 boys and girls to take part with Leighton & Hawkes winning the knock-out plate and U16 player Nick Woof reaching the semi-finals of the main competition paired up with coach George Campbell.

In the League we worked very hard to rotate as many players into the two teams as possible; after the success of last year's League 1 side we decided this year would be used much more as a training ground for our senior boys so it was very pleasing to see we still came 2nd overall. It has been key as well to help create strong links between the old boys and current seniors to keep them on board when leaving school so that they still play and enjoy the game.

In the girls game we began the year with no players, but thanks to the drive and enthusiasm of our Captain Ali Leighton he won over a number of players to take up the game and though the squad still needs a lot of coaching it is pleasing to see so many new players enjoying the game for the first time.

In the Marsh Schools' Nationals we had a healthy entry of 41 pairs of boys and girls from U12s – U18s; the U18 1st pair managed to reach the quarter-finals before going out against Highgate 1 in a close game. The U16s 1st pairing of Oliver Green & Nick Woof did one better knocking out 3rd seeds St.Olaves' in the quarters in an impressive 3 – 0 win before finally being knocked out themselves by Eton 1. Again it has been a long time since an U16 pair managed to push so far in the competition.

Anthony Theodossi


Bryanston

No report received


Charterhouse

Matches Played 14; Won 8; lost 6; drew 0

The Fives team had a good season. The fixtures are now set from year to year and against the best schools on the circuit.

The main advance this year was introduction of matches for girls on a regular basis. We have now introduced regular matches against adult sides. This reflects the growing reputation of the school so that teams such as the Jesters and Eton Fives Association are keen to send adults to play against us. We also had a game against Oxford University in celebration of Fergus Imrie’s (S 2007-2012) achievement in being appointed captain of the University side.

The results reflect a good season in which all those who played at the school were given an opportunity to play for the team. The main National Championships took place at Shrewsbury and a limited tournament was introduced at Eton for those who would be unable to go to Shrewsbury. We took one senior and three under 16 pairs to this. The first pair (S Harvey(B) and T Barley (g)) managed to progress to the last quarter-final beating a strong Highgate pair in the process but then knocked out by a good, though beatable Eton pair.

The seniors all played well in matches and are the strongest that we have had several years. Nic Walker was an excellent captain and saved his best for playing against the adult sides in the evening matches. He had to adjust to a number of different partners which he did with impressive ease and enthusiasm. He was also a reliable administrator and was able to run tournaments for the juniors in OQ. In both these roles he will be succeeded by Tom Barley for next season.

The other senior pairs were strong. Harvey and Barley were a solid first pair who won the majority of their matches often matched against second years who had been playing Fives from their time at prep school. We will see the best of them next year. We saw the full return to fives of H Creswell (V) who played with enormous enthusiasm and partnered Nic Walker by the end of the season. C Crowson Berney (V) demonstrated his natural talent and as he continues to play matches will become a formidable opponent. H Shore (B) continued to make progress but initially had difficulty in adjusting to the increased weight of shot at senior level. I have no doubt that he will be one of the stronger players on the circuit next year. H Clinton and P Harrison (both W) played in the evening matches as they found commitments to both major sports and academic work heavy this year. They both made a great impression against the adults they encountered.

Four girls played regularly and were able to hold their own against Westminster and Berkhamsted both of whom are known powers in the land. K Hailemichael (P) and A Ying (V) are both good games players who adapted easily to the requirements of fives. V Best (L) was victorious in her match against Berkhamsted. Magdalena Polak (G) demonstrated great talent and will be a strong player next year.

The Under 16s played well but did not make the strides that we had hoped for this year. A Cobb and S Simmons (both V) can, on their day, beat the best pairs in their age group. However, they were playing against pairs which practice more frequently and thus cannot hope to match them, in the long run, on talent alone. They played their best matches when called into action against the adult pairs when they felt on their mettle. M Buffoni(B) generally partnered W Matthews (G) were both able to match their opponents for ability that again did not spend enough time on court to make the progress that the coach would like to have seen. J Rees (P), B Balawi (G), E Boston-Townsend (g) and W Hartley (both V) all played for the team and will be able to make great progress next year as the skills they have learnt are developed.

The under 15s were again good players who were capable. M Barley (g) and T Brown were the strongest pair in their year group. They were able to hold their own against all but the strongest of the under 16s. R Henderson (S) made enormous progress and by the end of the season settled with D Richardson (g) as a regular partner. They played better and better and will make a strong partnership next year. A Ayling (L), H Docx (G) T Hunt and J Gulliver (both V) played matches whenever requested and showed they could master the game.

The yearlings were led by the regular first pair ofJ Hockley (W) and S Hurd (B) who dominated matches when they were at their best both with their touch and heavy shots to the back of the court. They came close to winning the Southern Schools championship which was played on the Charterhouse courts in October. By the end of the year we had a settled second pair of J Hughes- Morgan (B) and A Moju (H) who were able to beat those opponents who they did not push right to the limit. G D-R-Montefiori (B) is a thoughtful player who will progress enormously as he plays in the removes. His understanding of the hazards improved by leaps and bounds towards the end of LQ. A-Fatsis (g) and O Platts (g) played a number of strong matches towards the end and helped a Duckites team win the Jr house tournament. R Mokhtari (B) and N Palmer (H) were a good pair and will progress next year.

In summary this was a year in which we consolidated the progress made previously and introduced girls to the game. Next year we hope to consolidate the position of girls playing and make significant progress amongst the seniors. That this is possible is a tribute to the inspirational coaching by David Mew. He is a great player who is always enthusiastic whenever he is on court. I also wish to pay tribute to the enthusiasm of Gilles Gergaud and the excellence of his company on the court.

John Troy


Cranleigh

No report received yet


Cranleigh Prep School

2013 has been another busy year for Eton Fives at Cranleigh. Over the past few years the Fives at Cranleigh has seen a renaissance at the Prep School with many more students taking up the game and playing it to a very decent standard. There are many talented sportsmen at the school and the one frustration continues to be that we are not able to dedicate as much time to the game as I would like due to the pressure from the major sports. Operating on one optional session a week means that we will always struggle to compete with the super powers at a National level that are able to provide far greater exposure and time to this wonderful game.

The current Year 8 (Form 6) crop have made great strides this year with the first pair of Callum Job and Thomas Hemming particularly catching the eye. The top pair was ably supported from below by an enthusiastic and dedicated group comprising Nick Marshall-Turner, Jordan Corbett, Percy Walker-Smith, Nick Edwards, Clare Huttly, Alec Rogers, Leo Thompson and Josh Wilkinson. All of this group have made great progress and play the sport with a great sense of enthusiasm and enjoyment.

The next year group down have likewise made great progress and show promise for the future. They have been a very enjoyable group to work with. Amongst the boys special mention should go to Louis Halstead, Jeff Olsen, James Green, Harry Hall, Louis Vaughan, Arthur Handscomb, Harrison Robbins, Will Kirkham and James Thornton-Wood.

The Lent term saw us entering all the competitions on offer including the Under 12 Nationals, the Prep Schools and the REFCA Under 13 tournament. We performed well in all these tournaments without ever really threatening the Fives super powers who have far greater access and time on court but it was pleasing to see that we were still competitive with many of the schools on display. We reached the last 16s in the Under 12s - Halstead and Olsen, the semi-finals of the plate in the Prep Schools - Job and Hemming and got 3 pairs to the last 16 in the U13s. There was much to applaud about these performances.

Huge thanks must go to Alison Jolly, our head of sports, for all her continuing support and to Mike Till for all his efforts and encouragement this year.

Mark Halstead


Emanuel

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The Emanuel squad at the REFCA U14 tournament

No report received


Eton

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Participants in the 24 hour Fives marathon; Organisers Tom Hearn and Charlie Fairbanks-Smith; Eton's Williams Cup winning team ; The Etonian Richard Barber Cup squad

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House Fives winners James Pigott and James Cobb; U14 Beginners Finalists at Shrewsbury; U16 Finalists at Shrewsbury; U15 Finalists at Shrewsbury;


This year we have been building on the secure foundations laid by Seb Cooley and Mike Hughes over the last four years, and it has been a year of considerable achievement as well as intense disappointment at the very end of the season. In the Michaelmas half, a healthy number of novice players were recruited to join half a dozen more experienced players from Prep Schools in F, and there was an entry of 90 pairs for the New Boys Fives Competition which was ultimately won by Alex Lindsay and Noel George (AW). A full programme of internal House competitions was completed, and the Senior House Pairs was won by James Piggot and James Cobb (RDO-C).

We won all of our block fixtures against other schools, with a particularly strong and successful senior squad, and many of the junior players began to make substantial progress. The Keepers - Matt Asquith (DMG) and Charlie Fairbanks Smith (NJR) - both did an excellent job coaching the youngsters and organising practice. The highlight of the half however was the Fives Tour over the September Short Leave to Jeff and Nigel Cox’s farmhouse at Grillon in Provence, where they have converted their barn into two courts (one with the buttress on the right!). This produced some spectacular and innovative fives, and we enjoyed sumptuous cuisine and entertaining hospitality.

It was soon clear in the Lent that we had both quality and depth in our senior squad, with fifteen strong players, four of first pair standard. We won 12 out of 13 of our senior fixtures including Shrewsbury (both home and away), St Olave’s (twice) and Harrow (both home and away); the only exception being Highgate away where we were short of 3 of the best 6, and lost by 2 pairs to 3. However James Piggot and Charlie Fairbanks Smith played exceptionally well to win the senior first pair 3-1 (the first time that we have won this pair away in my time at Eton). The intensity of the Eton games programme meant that Charles Courtenay decided to give up Fives, despite having reached the quarter-final of the Open nationals last season, and so for the rest of the half Piggot, Fairbanks Smith and James Cobb rotated at first pair. We lost only once at first pair all season: to Harrow at home in five games, but got revenge in the away fixture by the same margin, and we were justifiably seeded 1 in the National Championships. Before that however came the triumph of success in the Williams Cup (the national 3 pair team event). In our pool, we convincingly beat Ipswich and Berkhamsted, but narrowly lost to Shrewsbury (11-12, 11-12 in the second pair) by 2 pairs to 1 because Shrewsbury juggled their stronger players productively whereas we played it straight with a less than full strength team. This meant that we had a semi-final against Highgate who were at full strength. Despite losing the third pair, our first and second pairs both played extremely well to win by 2 games to love, and we had avenged our defeat earlier in the half. The final against Shrewsbury was a nail-biting affair, but our first and third pairs both played positively to win 2-0, whereas we lost the first game in the second, but fought back well to win 2-1. This competition is in many ways the most satisfying to win, since it is rare that Eton has both the quality and depth to beat schools at which Fives is a major sport; to conquer both Highgate and Shrewsbury over three pairs on the same day was very impressive. Eton last won in 2003, and this was our third success overall.

Once again we won the vast majority of our block fixtures against other schools in the Lent, and many of our junior players considerably improved the standard of their play. At the end of the half, we ran a Festival competition for our boys and those schools who were unable to travel to Shrewsbury in the first week of the holidays for the main National tournament. In the Open/under 16 competition Tom Weld (DMG) and Tom Kirkby (RDO-C), both under 16, played fantastically well to reach the final, where they narrowly lost in 5 sets to Highgate 2 seniors. In the Under 15/under 14 experienced competition Arthur Wellesley (BC) and Jack Capstick-Dale (PJMcK) beat Flinn Andreae and Tuppy Morrissey (both RDO-C) narrowly in the final. In the final of the Under 14 Novices, Hector Hardman (RDO-C) and Will Polito (AW) narrowly lost a 3 game final to Harrow. This was a very successful exercise, much appreciated by the other schools, and was crucial to the development of several of our pairs.

Early in the Lent half we were approached by Charlie Fairbanks Smith and Tom Hearn (NJR) with the idea of holding a Fives Marathon for Prostate Cancer UK and other local charities. It says a great deal for their drive, energy and enthusiasm as well as the popularity of the sport that MPH and I had to do remarkably little to support this event. A collection of boys, Masters, Old Etonians and a couple of guests kept a match going for 25 hours and raised £3,500 in the process. This was a fine achievement by all who took part, as well as those who gave so generously, and was remarkable for being a boy inspired and organised event.

At the National School's Championships at Shrewsbury, we entered only a third of our potential pairs because it began three days after the end of the half, but all those that played had a thoroughly positive experience, and most of our strongest players were available.

In the Under 14 competition Crispin Straker (SAL) and Alex Lindsay (AW) beat a couple of good Highgate pairs to reach the quarter-final, where they lost to the eventual winners: Highgate 2.

In the Novices competition, Hector Hardman (RDO-C) and Will Polito (AW) defeated Harrow 2 in a tense semi-final, and played a strong Harrow first pair in the final. Eton won a close first game and narrowly lost the second, both pairs then won a game easily, and in the fifth it was nip and tuck with Eton leading 7-5 at one stage, but a couple of cruel edges on the back step turned the match Harrow’s way 12-10. This was nonetheless an outstanding performance by a pair who had spent much of the half playing other sports.

Our strongest pair had to withdraw from the Under 15 competition through injury, but it was a measure of both our strength in depth and how much they had improved by committing to Fives throughout the half that Arthur Wellesley (BC) & Jack Capstick-Dale (PJMcK) and Flinn Andreae & Tuppy Morrissey (both RDO-C) reached the semi-finals. The latter took a game off Shrewsbury 1 before succumbing, and the former won their semi-final convincingly with a strong performance before falling away a little in the final.

In the Under 16 competition, Tom Weld (DMG) and Tom Kirkby (RDO-C) reached the semi-final quite easily, and played some marvelously consistent attacking fives to see off a talented Berkhamsted pair 3-0. In the final against Shrewsbury, both pairs won a game 12-9, then 15-14, but Shrewsbury were always ahead in the fifth and ran out worthy winners. Both players are still quite small, and so their cutting remained a weakness, but Kirkby had been injured for the middle third of the half, so this was a terrific performance from two players who had improved the standard of their play remarkably over the season.

In the Open Competition Matt Asquith and Tom Weld (both DMG) upset the formbook by beating a strong Highgate 2 and Wolverhampton 1 in their pool to take the 8th seed position. They played extremely well to continue to the quarter-final where they gave our first pair a good run for their money, losing in straight games. This was a pleasingly strong performance from Matt Asquith who had been a loyal and effective Keeper despite his many other commitments. In the semi-final, Shrewsbury started well and won the first game, but Charlie Fairbanks Smith (NJR) and James Piggot (RDO-C) soon found their form and established a 2-1 set lead with some very fast, accurate and positive play. It was an absorbing contest played at a high standard. The score had reached 7-7 in the fourth set when James Piggot was hit full in the eye socket by a hard-hit cross court shot. It was immediately clear from the noise that this was a potentially serious injury, and after a visit to the local hospital, his vision was still blurred the next morning, so the match had to be conceded. Fortunately there is no long term damage to James’ eye, and he lives to fight another day next year. It was however a colossal blow to Charlie Fairbanks Smith who had improved his game to such an extent that several other experienced coaches rated him the best player in the tournament; he had also been a splendidly enthusiastic and innovative keeper who had unselfishly devoted many hours to coaching younger players. As number 1 seeds, in the position we were in, we will always believe that we would have reached the final and given the eventual winners, Harrow, a really good game.

Mike Hughes has continued to work tirelessly and efficiently arranging all of the fixtures and practices, as well as spending hours on court encouraging and exhorting players young and old to improve their game. He is still a fine player and canny tactician (National Over 40s Champion with Grant Williams once again this year, despite being over 50), and he has really grown into the role, achieving the nirvana of the coach: respect, friendship and abundant humour in his relations with the boys. Eton are extremely fortunate to have found someone with such qualities and energy, who so clearly enjoys the job and impresses his colleagues.

Fives continues to make headway and be popular with the boys who play at Eton. It is heavily reliant upon four or five House Masters who persuade their boys that it is worth playing. There are enormous frustrations when other activities get in the way of progress, and it is still fair to say that what has been achieved is more in spite of rather than because of the Eton Games Programme. However Mike and I believe that this is a struggle worth fighting because the enthusiasm of the boys, once they eventually get to the courts is infectious, and because the progress that those who commit to the game inevitably make is deeply satisfying to both boy and coach alike. Moreover, with Mike around, it is always fun.

Mark Williams


Harrow

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Marsh National Schools' Open Champions James Lawson-Baker and Zikomo Smith and U14 Beginners' Champions Rahul Wijeratne and George Reid

This has been a tremendously successful year for Fives at Harrow . A very large group of beginners in both the Shells and Removes swelled the playing ranks to levels not seen for fifteen years, and of the ninety-three boys who represented the school this year, sixty-one were debutants. Forty-one school fixtures were played with notable success – particularly at senior and U14 level.

At U14 level, a successful recruitment campaign, featuring Brad Pitt and Cheryl Cole, brought a glut of extremely talented games players into the fold, and these proved to be the match of any opponent all season. Alexander Nevile, Rahul Wijeratne, George Reid, Oskar Denby, Alan Huo, Joseph Ayoub, Andrew Taylor, Henry Collins and Rahul Shah all showed tremendous dedication, and will form an enormously strong backbone for Fives at Harrow for several years to come.

The U15s contained a core of experienced players, led by Harry Newall and Teddy Short, and supplemented by a large number of beginners to the sport. Newall and Short initially made good progress this year, but unfortunately both suffered injuries at important times, and they lost to pairs at the Schools’ Championships against whom they had previously won.

The U16 pair of Tom Nevile and Tom Skinner spent much of the year playing in the senior first and second pair. When playing together they lost only once in two terms, despite never speaking on court, and recorded excellent victories home and away against pairs from St. Olave’s and Eton.

In the senior ranks, there were several boys in the Lower Sixth who intermittently played some very good Fives this year – particularly Rohan Dhaliwal, Sam Curtis Green, Patrick Anson, Noi Omaboe, Tom Jones, Tubo Adeaga and Fisayo Ayodeji – all of whom were awarded their Fives colours. They were led exceptionally well by two tremendous servants of the game, James Lawson Baker and Zikomo Smith, who were exemplary in their commitment to Fives at Harrow. Much of the renaissance of the game can be attributed to the fine example they set to the younger boys, as well as the many hours both spent selflessly teaching the beginners the game.

Harrow’s achievements at the Marsh National Schools’ Championships this year, where it won two competitions for the first time in the school’s history, reinforced quite how successful this year has been for the Fives team. Nevile and Skinner were seeded first in the U16 competition, but lost in a decisive fifth set in the semi-finals to the eventual winners from Shrewsbury. In the U14 Beginners competition, Harrow provided three of the four semi-finalists. In a tense final, Wijeratne and Reid defeated their rivals from Eton and claimed Harrow ’s first victory at a national level since 2004. Later that same day, Lawson Baker and Smith defeated Shrewsbury in four games to deservedly become National Schools’ Champions – the first Harrovians to do so since the Dunbar brothers in 2000. This was a just and fitting reward for all of their many hours of toil, on and off court, and their unstinting dedication to the game at Harrow.

Credit is due to all sorts of people for their assistance in making this year so memorable. I am particularly grateful to James and Zikomo for all that they have done to benefit Fives at Harrow, and for their assistance in running the game this year; to Alex Poole for his invaluable coaching support; and to Graham Dunbar for his continued playing expertise and sage advice about the management of the game here.

James Poole


Highgate

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The Black Cup winning Highgate girls team; Highgate pairs in action at the National Schools' Championships

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U15, U18 and U21 champions Eve Smith-Bingham and Aimee Paul; U14 Champions Sam Tansey and Joseph Gibber; Mixed winners Eve Smith-Bingham and Charlie Noble; Mixed Finalists

Despite adverse weather affecting some important school fixtures this term this has been a very successful season.

It began in late September when Eve Smith-Bingham and Aimee Paul lost 2-3 in the final of the Ladies Under 25 Championship to the pair who this term won the Ladies Open. Later in November Eve and Aimee led our top three pairs to victory in the Black Cup (an open three pairs team competition for ladies) – the other girls in the team were Amira Reimer, Phoebe Bracken, Marjolaine Briscoe and Olivia Hirschfield. This term Eve and Aimee went on to win the Girls Under 15, the Girls Under 18 and the Ladies Under 21 Championships beating Amira and Phoebe each time in the final and in each competition Marjolaine and Olivia came third. These six girls are very talented but they are backed up by a fast improving group of girls including Georgia Allen, Nell Tindale, Sienna Sehgal, Thea Augustidis, Olivia Doody, Lola Katz-Roberts, Carolina Valensise, Minna Griffiths, Talia Augustidis, Bea Rayner, Juliette de Freitas-Vile, Gemma Smith-Bingham, Viva Ruggi, Cecily Turner and Daisy Goldman. We are sad to say goodbye to Hannah Rapley and Francesca Howell, our first Girls’ pair to win a Championship, and thank them for being so influential in establishing Girls Fives at Highgate.

Our boys, too, have enjoyed much success. Charlie Noble and Christy Blackaby reached the semi-final of the Open where they lost narrowly to the eventual winners from Harrow. However, they still have one more year. Charlie and Christy partnered Eve and Aimee respectively to the final of the Mixed competition where Eve and Charlie won.

Max Holdsworth and Ben Hopkins (both Under 15’s) represented the School in the Under 16 competition with great style and determination and although they lost to the eventual winners in a really tight match in the quarter-final they showed that they will be a strong force in this age group next season.

We dominated the Under 14’s with three pairs in the semi-final. James Hopkins and Oliver Light played brilliantly to beat Ingimar Tomasson (one of last year’s winning pair) and Alex Randall in a powerful display of all out attacking Fives and Joseph Gibber and Sam Tansey matched the power and strength of a very good pair from St Olaves and won comfortably in the end showing a much wider range of shots. The final was an excellent match played in the right spirit with both pairs playing superb Fives but it was Joseph and Sam who played the better shots under pressure, which ensured their victory.

Two weeks earlier Ingimar and Alex beat James and Oliver in the final of the Prep Schools Under 13 Championship in a thrilling match. We are lucky to have two exceptionally gifted pairs in this age group. With that victory Ingimar has ended his junior years winning three Under 12 Championships, three Under 13 Prep School Championships and an Under 14 Championship, which he won last year – an amazing record.

Again our Under 12’s were too strong for all other schools and our top pair, Harry Jenkins and Louis Perl, beat our second pair, Ivan Apukhtin and David Gran in the final of the National Under 12 Championship at Eton 15-12, 15-14, 9-12, 12-10 in a fantastic final, full of amazing and thrilling rallies.

The Championships at Shrewsbury were a huge success for us and our boys and girls were a delight throughout and it was heartening to see them get on so well both in the boarding house and supporting each other at the Fives courts.

A very satisfying and rewarding season!

Anthony Brunner


Ipswich

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Ipswich take on the EFA; Northern Festival Plate B winners Sam Clark and Tony Stubbs; The Ipswich Richard Barber Cup squad

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The Ipswich Black Cup squad; Ipswich players at the REFCA U14 tournament

No report received


King Edward's, Birmingham

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The Edwardian Richard Barber Cup squad

Fives at KES Birmingham is in a healthy state.Though not all age groups are represented (U14s and U16s are conspicuous by their absence), there is a solid core elsewhere, and up to twenty players at U12 and U13 level are regular and enthusiastic attenders at practices and school matches. A base like this is important, in order to maintain viable numbers when the inevitable pressures of an extremely busy day school kick in.

The Autumn Term saw a first for KES Fives - senior players competed in, and really enjoyed, both the Richard Barber Cup and the Turnbull Trophy. In the same term the school hosted a well-attended and well-contested Midlands Under 14s Tournament in November - thanks go to REFCA for this; and thanks also to Mark Yates for his organisation of a Spring Fives Festival at Shrewsbury, and to Shrewsbury for allowing the use of their courts. During the season various age groups were involved in 4 matches and 3 tournaments, and 24 boys took part in the Schools Championships in March - success was limited but enthusiasm was not.

Most encouraging of all is that the game at KES has the firm support of the Chief Master (to the extent that he drove competitors down to Eton for the Barber Cup!) and the Head of Sport - vital, since a new state-of-the-art sports facility is to be built in 2014. This involves the removal of, among other sites, the existing Fives courts, and would be a golden chance (as has happened in some other schools) to 'lose' the game. Fortunately, there is a strong commitment that the new facilities will contain at least 4 new Fives courts. This, and the fact that Fives continues to be played at House level and also features regularly in PE sessions, recognises its value as a developer of hand-eye coordination and team spirit. Its future in Birmingham seems secure.

George Worthington


Lancing

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The Lancing Richard Barber Cup squad

Lancing Fives Club has had a successful season especially at senior level, where we have, bar one match, remained undefeated on our home courts, playing a very good level of Fives. There has been a very loyal band of players who have worked hard at helping the juniors learn the game. Consequently, the juniors are coming on well despite not having great success in matches but we hope that this will come in time as they gain in experience.

All four courts are full to overflowing on all practice days throughout the season and we are very grateful to Matt Wiseman for his tireless support and help and for the excellent way in which he runs these sessions. We say goodbye to a particularly enthusiastic and loyal band of UVI players this year and I would like to thank them for their help and support. Another good crop of players is waiting in the wings.

Andrew Betts


Ludgrove

Ludgrove Fives was played with a very high level of promise and potential in 2012-13 due to some outstanding U12 players. They filled the first four pairs in our school teams and although they found it difficult against other schools they showed enough promise to be a real force on the circuit next year. The top pair of Hardy and Robertson won both our internal U12 and U13 competitions and face a lot of competition to be in Pair 1 next year.

Sadly we could not make the National U12 competition due to an exam clash but a lot of fun and good experience was had at the Prep Schools Championships at Eton.

We look forward to more fixtures and a lot of fun on the Ludgrove courts next year.

Paddy Buckley


Lyceum Alpinum Zuoz

Zuoz 1

Zuoz Fives players in Zurich

The Lyceum Alpinum Zuoz has enjoyed a good season, despite stalwarts like Jessica Rees and Katharina Kuenburg (two times semi-finalists at the Ladies Open at Eton) leaving the school. However, we are delighted that Katharina continued playing while a gap year student at St Bees, even reaching the final of the Mixed Tournament with former Zuoz Head of Games, George Campbell.

There have been two splendid tours to the Zuoz Fives Club Zurich in November 2012 and April 2013. Daniel Haering organised wonderful trophies for both events and there was a distinctly English atmosphere. In the meantime, ladies continue to dominate fives at Zuoz and it will be interesting to see the new team move through the age groups. The September 2012 matches against the Old Boys certainly looked promising. Matthew Wiseman was simply fantastic as coach in September in April/May and we are hopeful to recruit him again soon to keep the standard high and the spirit alive.

Unfortunately the traditional tour to the Schools Championships had to be cancelled due to too many clashes with other term dates, while we are also sad that Howard Wiseman’s 20-year run of tours to Zuoz comes to a temporary end this summer because of travel insurance issues. May I remind all other masters-in-charge at this point that Zuoz is delighted to host visitors from England any time between April and the end of October. I am looking forward to hearing from you!

Curt Schmitt


Marlborough

Marlborough
Marlborough take on the EFA

Numbers remain very small, but it was a pleasure to once again welcome the EFA for our annual fixture on a brisk February morning. They kindly agreed to pairings of old hand + student beginner, which made for an enjoyable and enlightening game for our pupils, three of whom were new to the game this year. I hope this interest in Year 9 gives us a better chance of developing some older players in years to come – and perhaps some more fixtures too.

Tom Kiggell


Mill Hill

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Mill Hill players learn from the experts at Shrewsbury; EFA Coach of the Year Steve Plummer

P 21 W 11 D 0 L10.

Highlights of the Michaelmas term included victories over Westminster, QEB and Aldenham as well as hard fought matches against Eton, Harrow and St Olave's. The top 2 senior pairs of Alex Holmes, Henry Goode, Gareth Kong, and Raph Levy were a real force to be reckoned with although at first pair Westminster, Harrow and Eton always proved too strong. There was some consolation in the Marsh National Schools' Championships, however, when Alex Holmes and Henry Goode won the senior plate competition.

At U16 level there is considerable interest in the game and the courts are generally full with players; quality could be better but Amit Chadha and Charlie Becker are improving and maturing as 1st pair. Alas we have no U15 boys playing and our promising girls pair has temporarily retired to concentrate on hockey! The U14s have several keen players, 6 pairs in fact, many of whom have taken up the game only this year; it is also good to have some U14 girls playing the game at long last.

In the Lent term wins were recorded over QEB, Aldenham, High Wycombe and even Harrow. The U14 boys and girls continued to train with enthusiasm, dedication and increasing success, helped by the valuable efforts of coach Adam Morris. Highgate and Eton were too strong across the board but in an eleven pair match against Eton, in which Mill Hill lost 3 – 8, the successes were at U14 level. Not everyone was available for the national championship at Shrewsbury but at U14 level Harry Rapley and Charlie Plummer, playing up a year, showed promise in getting to the last 16 and Benedict Balcombe, a beginner, and Dita Jaja, also playing up a year, won the U14 plate competition. Many thanks are due to coaches Ian Hutchinson and Adam Morris and to local opposition QEB and Aldenham who facilitate so many matches and occasions of fun after school.

Player of the Season: Henry Goode

Most Improved Player: Hal Gibson – Leitao

Steve Plummer


Oakham

Oakham 1

Oakham M-i-C Alex Aldous gets busy at Shrewsbury

No report received


Orley Farm

Our Fives season was filled with many memorable matches against very hospitable opponents and over two terms we managed to get more children playing in-house competitions and in matches against other schools than before. 12 pairs out against Harrow school was a particular pleasure especially as this had some Year Fives playing too.

Belmont, Highgate, Berkhamsted, St Olave's and Harrow were our opponents.

Peter Ryan


Queen Elizabeth's, Barnet

No report received


Repton

Owing to the foul weather and consequent re-arranged hockey fixtures (our senior pairs all play 1st XI hockey, and a lot of juniors) we were unable to fulfill any of our fixtures; let us hope that with the removal of January AS/A2 unit re-sits, we might manage to squeeze in a few fixtures next year.

To explain the difficulty I have, the U18, U16 and U14 Repton Hockey teams all qualified for the national finals - it does not leave a lot of time to fit in Fives fixtures as well.

Peter Bradburn


RGS, High Wycombe

The 2012-2013 season has been the best of recent years. A fairly full fixture list has been supplemented with entries in regional and national tournaments and competitions, with the result that many more players represented the School on a number of significant occasions and earned themselves School Colours for their efforts in behalf of this sport.

The well-established U13s squad from last season continued to develop their skills and experience and turned in some excellent results in fixtures. Players of note continue to include Manazir Najib, but also saw the rise of Robert Folker through the ranks to join established figures like Hartej Haer and Faiz Gulistan at the top of the year-group. Rishi Sharma, who had always shown some potential the previous year, has now shown that he, too, can represent the School well at this sport. Throughout the season, they were ably led by Laith Edris, completing his second year as Captain of Junior Fives. Robert and Faiz excelled at the National Schools championships at Shrewsbury, showing promise of better things to come.

The new boys from last year, the U13s, saw an elite squad develop as they travelled around the Home Counties, playing strong, competitive fives against teams with more experience and beating them. An extensive list of players have performed well, but the season’s best turned out to be Finn Jenkinson. He is joined at the top of the year by Saihdev Haer (brother of U14 star Hartej), Fabien Roberts and Andrew McDonald. Also in contention for the top places were Ben Carney, Ollie King, Connor Rebello and Liam Dudley. Indeed, Connor had shown early promise which had him tipped for the very top, but injury in late autumn put him out of the courts for a while. He is expected to be back in contention next season. The great prospect of this year-group is their versatility and ability to mix and match playing partners.

The new crop of novices came into an arena very different from that of two seasons ago. With established squads and strong pairs, the new boys in year 7 were at first almost bewildered by the prowess of these boys who only one or two years ago were as ‘green’ as them. Not deterred, though, the novices set to work to acquire skills and learn the rules of the game and were soon clamoring for fixtures. Of course, when they did get matches, they soon realized what hard work had been put into the game by those boys in the U13s and U14s squads. Nevertheless, the persisted and the season ended with a respectable reservoir of keen, hard-playing sportsmen who want to make their mark on RGSfives in the future. At the top of the group are George Higham and Freddie Cunnick, with Christof Hojer-Williams and Faris Umar close behind. Faris is going to have to make some hard decisions before long, as he is also in great demand for the School cricket team. Also with them are two other discoveries of the year: Sharky Iqbal and Oscar Nevin. All three years have a large collection of competent players, most of whom can be relied upon to turn out for a School match and any of which could be a star of the future.

The older players were reduced in numbers by the competing pressures of external examinations, but we still had reliable, dependable Nathan Turnbull in the U16s, joined this year by three new players, the principal strengths of which were speed, stamina and sheer determination to win. These were Haseeb Hussain, Hudhayfah Khalid and Ali Bokhari. They will all make positive contributions to the senior squad when they return to School in the Sixth Form.

This season’s senior squad suffered with the loss of Robert Wilson to CambridgeUniversityand Matthew Noyes to OxfordUniversity, where they made significant contributions as the respective Fives secretaries for their universities. The remaining players struggled against the superior performances of Lancing, Bryanston and Highgate. Will Field held the squad together as Captain of Fives, notably partnered by Richy Alexander or Angus Allman. Other regular players included Hugh Dickinson, Tommy Clarke and James McLaughlan. They all leave to go on to higher education. Newly commissioned in the sixth form have been the pairs of Ben Varnam with Malavan Sreemurthy and Waqas Gondal with Faisal Mahmood. We cannot rely solely upon these stalwarts and have several other players in the wings waiting for their opportunity to shine in the coming season.

Statistics for the season: Played 16 matches; won 8; drew 2; lost 6. Over 325 games were played and some of them went to sudden death after reaching a score line of 12 - 12.

In summary, then, it has been a season of significant growth, with a few trophies, but more importantly, lots of opportunities for boys to represent the School, to meet players from other Fives-playing schools, to emulate playing performance and develop friendships (and rivalries).

Richard Shreeve


Rydal Penrhos

Rydal 1  Rydal 4  Rydal 2  Rydal 6

Photos from the official court opening at Rydal Penrhos in September; Tomus Cotterell and Adam Sabri at the U25 tournament at Highgate

Rydal Penrhos welcomed the revival of the remaining two Fives courts this year at an opening ceremony in September, allowing the school to use all the courts to their full potential. Many exhibition matches were played and the students were given a training masterclass from the likes of Howard Wiseman, Seb Cooley and John Reynolds. From September, Fives has been running almost every day with an after school club run at five, with players of all abilities and ages able to turn up and improve their game.

Rydal has competed in many inter-school fixtures once again this year, competed in the Northern Tournament for the first time and recorded some very impressive wins. Our U14 1st pair (Adam Sabri & Jack Sissons) finished as runners up in the main competition in the Midlands Schools' Tournament while our U14 2nd pair (Tom Hamilton Pritchard & Tom McCloskey) were winners of the festival competition. Adam and Jack showed some real progress, reaching the quarter-finals of the U14 Marsh National Schools' Championships while Tomus Cotterell and Connor King reached the quarter finals of the U15 competition. The U12s and U13s entered the U14 competition this year and the likes of Henry Davies, Alex Benfield, Will Sissons and Jack Jones have gained priceless experience against older opposition.

I am extremely pleased to see a high number of U12 and U13 girls on the courts and the re-introduction of Rydal Penrhos girls to school fixtures this year. Our U13 1st pair (Samantha Randall & Olivia Williams), who played in their first National Championships, reached the final of Plate A, a very impressive feat for two girls who have played the game for less than a term.

Our main highlight has to be the fixtures against Shrewsbury School. Our U15 1st pair (Tomus Cotterell & Shaswath Ganapathi) are very experienced and have been playing since the re-introduction of Eton Fives at the school. With this long term experience, they managed to overcome a strong Shrewsbury pair over two home matches (2 – 1 DNF, 3 – 1) in which they played some magnificent shots at a fierce tempo that was pleasing to the eye. Unfortunately, this pair were unable to enter the U16 competition at the National Championships this year due to severe illnesses to both of them, but showed some outstanding talent that will put Rydal Penrhos on the medal table in the near future.

Looking towards the next academic year, the Welsh Open is an exciting prospect to be hosted at Rydal Penrhos in September 2013 that will broadcast Eton Fives to the surrounding population. We look to build on that by allowing other local schools to play the game and attend regular sessions at the school in friendly fixtures and training programmes.

The enthusiasm for the sport has been insatiable this year and this is a credit to the commitment of the pupils. I have enjoyed working with those that are new to the game and advising those that are already experienced players. I am glad to have been part of the rejuvenation programme that Abhishek Bhattacharya introduced and my predecessor George Thomason managed to extend. Rydal Penrhos has been a wonderful place to work and I am sure the future holds similar and more impressive victories for the school to be proud of.

Aroop Bhattacharya


St.Bees

St Bees 1  St Bees 2

St.Bees players in action at the Northern Tournament at Shrewsbury; Coach Katherina Kuenburg at St.Bees

No report received


St.Bartholomew's, Newbury

St Barts 1  St Barts 2  St Barts 3

The official opening of the new courts at St.Bartholomew's School, Newbury

No report received


St Edward's, Oxford

There has not been a huge amount of on-court activity on the Summer Fields courts this year, with the exception of some activity sessions with the new intake. The plan next year is to identify some talent early on in the year and concentrate on getting them up to the standard necessary to play a few fixtures.

Jonny Nelmes


St.John’s. Leatherhead

Fives has once again taken place in all three terms at St. John’s and the popularity of the sport amongst the fourth form has been growing. Girls have voluntarily joined the activity slots offered on a Tuesday and for the first time in St. John’s fives history there was a junior (fourth form only) competition which was played by all houses. In the final of the junior competition North will play Montgomery House which is a repeat of the intermediate final, where the Montgomery first and second pair shocked the previous year’s winners with a sublime performance of teamwork and reactions. The senior house fives was won by West House and was also an excellent affair. Fives captain Oliver Weston played well this term and led the St. John’s team well against the annual fixture against the EFA, whilst also helping with increasing the popularity of fives during Open Days by encouraging prep school pupils and their parents to don the gloves and try and hit the ball into the buttress! Overall this has been a very busy year on the Fives courts with only one day a week where the court is generally not in use and it is hopeful that the popularity of fives will continue to grow in the coming year.

Mark Sartorius


St.Olave's

St.Olaves 1  St.Olaves 2  St.Olaves 3

Olavian REFCA U14 winners; The Olavian Richard Barber Cup squad; Turnbull trophy winner Chris Self

No report received


Shrewsbury

Shrewsbury 1  Shrewsbury 6  Shrewsbury 5

Northern Tournament Festival winners Samson Yick and Nick Pearce; Aberconway Cup winner Guy Williams with father Grant; U16 winners at the Marsh National Schools' Championships George Lewis and Tom Breese

Shrewsbury 4  Shrewsbury 3  Shrewsbury 2

U15 winners Jack Fox and George Panayi; Open runners-up Guy Williams and Henry Blofield; Girls Festival winners Elen Murphy and Alice Paul

We anticipated a tougher season than last: we had lost a stellar group of players and, though there was young talent coming through, a few players were going to have to stand up and be counted if we were to achieve our aims: retention of the Williams Cup was one key one and we wanted to be in contention for the Schools Open National title.

The weather got us off to a stuttering start in January: our weekend fixture against Highgate and Etonusually give us the early impetus and motivation but was this year snowed off. It is astonishing what a difference this made to the quality of play and we felt our seniors were playing catch-up right up to half-term; this year’s was a strong field, which was widely considered to be very open. We hoped to be right in the mix but at half term this was not looking likely. Our U16 pairs by contrast were taking pairs by storm and suffered few or no losses. At U15 we were likewise strong and a big squad of U14s, superbly overseen again by Matt Barrett, seemed to be on the courts for every available hour of the day.

Fixtures picked up, and though our results at first senior pair varied from gutsy (a return from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 against St Olave’s) to painful, our depth might still pull us through the Williams Cup? Even this was not to be – a great run from the 1st XI in the Independent Schools cup meant that some of our players spent some of the term with this focus and were raw; Eton ended up deservedly doing for us in the final.

In the nationals we very nearly upset the entire apple cart of the season’s form: our second pair, both ambitious lower 6th formers, upset the seeded Olavians in the pools; our third pair ran the Harrovian top pair very close. Guy Williams and Henry Blofield got themselves to semis and indeed to the final after the Etonian opposition had to retire hurt – if only all three had hit that sort of form a few weeks earlier!

Our younger pairs blazed more of a trail though. Tom Breese was promoted from U15 to U16 1st pair; George Lewis showed real class as they took the title, albeit via five-setters in both semi and final! George Panayi, bereaved in U15 1st pair by Tom’s absence, found Jack Fox stepping into the gap with much more than just competence: they took the U15 title with relish.

Seb Cooley

Girls Report

The protracted winter weather ensured that the Lent term was particularly difficult for the SKORT BRIGADE. Despite a valiant effort by Poppy Beckett ‘the tan’ had gone and the ‘legging look’ was in. Nevertheless despite the sharp cold weather girls’ fives took another giant step forwards and all those who played, practised and competed can be proud of their contribution.

The resume of girl’s participation in Shrewsbury School Fives I sent out in January was not wasted on our L6th and they slowly emerged on the courts to play with real enthusiasm and skill. They have a strong act to follow but I am encouraged by the level of enthusiasm and skill shown to date to understand that next year we may well produce more national champions.

In the Ladies’ Open Rosie Parr (capt) & Hannah Pritchard advanced to the quarter finals, played brilliantly but narrowly lost (12-9, 12-11) to Highgate 3. The following day they beat Highgate 5 in a 5th/6th place play off to claim our highest ever finish and a Plate Trophy. Elen Murhpy & Alice Paul didn’t manage a quarter final spot but they also progressed to a Plate Final, which they won on the Sunday night. A just reward for all their hard work over two years.

In the Ladies’ Festival (replacing the U17s Beginners Cup) we entered five pairs (3 x U6th & 2 x L6th) and produced the winners in the shape of Elen Murphy & Alice Paul. Two successes in two days capped off their career at Shrewsbury and went a long way to overcoming the disappointment of losing to Rosie & Hannah in the U17s final in 2012. Becky Home & Tilly Whittingham, Holly Free & Cressida Adams, Jo Cull & Charlotte Harris and Gaby Byrne & Poppy Beckett all competed well despite the bitter conditions. Becky Home & Tilly Whittingham (U6th) produced their best fives for two years and won through to the semi finals, whilst beginners Jo Cull & Charlotte Harris made great progress in also gaining a semi final place.

In the Mixed Competition our 1st (Rosie Parr & Guy Williams) & 2nd pair (Hannah Pritchard & Henry Blofield) both progressed to the semi finals where they lost out to strong Highgate pairs. In this event we are getting closer every year but the girls still have a long way to go. Greater emphasis on technique will eventually bring success but it may be two or three years off. Our 4th pair (Elen Murphy & Harry Flowers) gained a quarter final spot before losing 12-3 to Highgate 1 the eventual winners.

This was a strong championships for Shrewsbury School and the L6th class of 2013 will do well to gain equivalent success next year but I am certain that the 14 ‘regulars’ that started off their career this year will do all they can to further raise the profile of the sport. As we prepare to accept 13 year old girls at school I am sure that Fives will continue to attract more and more girls to the courts. The presence of Sixth Form girls over the past five years have made our Fives courts the envy of all fives playing schools across the country.

Andy Barnard


Stowe

Eton Fives continues to thrive with three training session a week during the Michaelmas and Lent Terms.

One session per week is supported by a professional coach. During the Michaelmas term we had just the one away match vs Berkhamsted, but in the Lent term we had eight fixtures set up. Unfortunately due to the snow some had to be cancelled as the road conditions were not favourable.

In the summer term we had a match vs The Old Stoics on Speech Day which is always a great occasion. Having played the match the Old Stoics then mixed in with the boys and helped them in the art of Eton Fives. Inter house matches were well supported, and gave both girls and boys an opportunity to play.

John Skinner


Summer Fields

No report received


Sunningdale

With more Fives matches arranged than ever before, the Fives team had a busy few months with some great results. The highlight was in December when we won the 3 pairs tournament by beating Cranleigh, Ludgrove and Summer Fields at Eton. The match against Summer Fields was extremely tense as, after the 2nd pair had lost and the first pair had just prevailed the whole tournament rested on the result of the 3rd pairs' contest which was stuck at match point for both teams for almost 10 minutes!

Other notable moments in the Lent term were winning a match against Highgate, beating both Eton and Harrow in away fixtures and defeating Cranleigh 6-0. The main advantage we have at the moment is our strength in depth as pairs 2, 3 & 4 play to a very similar level and we have many more waiting in the wings (especially at the Junior end of the school). The boys have trained hard, learnt from their losses, progressed their techniques, improved their communication and most importantly raised their competitive spirit!

Sunningdale were crowned winners of the Prep School Fives Plate (Sunningdale 2 were Silva Alvear mi and James) and the U12 Fives Championships Plate (Sunningdale 2 were M Russell and Hopton). In the U12 Championships our first pair reached the semi-final comfortably and then ran Highgate I closer than anyone has for a while and in the Prep Schools tournament our first pair (Silva Alvear ma and Macdonald-Buchanan) lost by the narrowest of margins to Summer Fields I.

Guy Smith-Bingham


Uppingham

No report received


Wolverhampton Grammar School

Wolverhampton 3  Wolverhampton 2  Wolverhampton 1

Ladies Festival Runners-up at the Marsh National Schools' Championships; the WGS girls take on Wrekin; Mark Yates passes on some words of wisdom to school first pair Tom Husselbee and Matt Pritchard

The competitive season started with the Autumn ladder at Shrewsbury school. The format allowed everyone to add to their individual games and be stretched, in particular the girls playing alongside the boys. Tejas Netke was the overall winner in the girls’ competition, with John Price emphasising his improvement with a third place finish.

The Rossall School Championship proved to be a good test for the older players. In the Open Doubles, Captain of Fives Matt Pritchard and his partner Tom Husselbee reached the final, defeating Rossall's 1st pair in the semi-final. Whilst in the Open Singles, Ben Hart's use of smart tactics and drop shots saw him reach the semi-finals. Meanwhile in the U15 competitions, Tom Aston represented WGS and performed admirably. Thanks must go to the Aston family for supporting Tom and the team throughout both days.

The WGS girls team stepped up to play adult Fives in the Midlands Ladies Festival at Repton School and demonstrated just how far they have come in their Fives playing careers with Tejas Netke and Eve Cowan finishing in 3rd place and Beth Parlane and Ellie Frith in 6th.

The Turnbull Trophy at Eton College is for school boy and old boy pairs, offering the school players an opportunity to play adult Fives and aid transition to playing for the Old Wulfrunians in the future. Two Wulfrunian pairs made the quarter final stages and a third pair of Ben Hart & Greg Hammond were runners-up in the Plate. WGS also had its first all ladies match against Wrekin College before Christmas, a great achievement for both schools having recently introduced girls to the sport.

The New Year saw the WGS Fives team make their first foray across the border to a Fives match in Wales. Having recently refurbished two further courts Rydal Penrhos, Colwyn Bay, were ready for their first home match of the modern era. The WGS team was greeted with a hearty brunch in the dining hall overlooking the sea. The U15 boys’ matches went Rydal's way with their now experienced players demonstrating the benefits of regular practise sessions with their Gap year coaches over the past few years. However, in the ladies department WGS had the greater experience and were able to overcome the Rydal girls and some of the younger boys’ pairs. Following the on court action the WGS Team departed for Conwy en route back to the Midlands. With the minibus parked under the ramparts of Conwy castle, the team disembarked to acquire some of the world famous Conwy Mussels for a hearty Sunday tea. Hopefully this match will be become a regular feature of the fixture list, if only for an excuse to bring home some of the local seafood!

This year’s Northern Championships witnessed ten Wulfrunians, old and new, in competition at Shrewsbury School. Returning and new players are always welcome at the Club evening every Thursday. Meanwhile the younger players from WGS participated in the Spring Festival of Fives, taking the opportunity to blood some recent new comers to the game with some match experience. Aaron Dhaliwal, Conor Jordan, Haris Malik and Gurkshan Beghal all benefitted from time on court and improved throughout the day.

Fixtures with Shrewsbury School and KES Birmingham provided a good warm up to this year’s National Schools Championships. The highlight of the Championships was Tejas Netke and Beth Parlane reaching the final of the Ladies Festival - a fantastic achievement. Best wishes to our four senior boys who are leaving us this season and we look forward to seeing them back on court in Old Wulfs colours in the near future.

Mark Yates


Wrekin College

Wrekin 1
The Wrekin girls take on Wolverhampton

One of the highlights of this season was the first ever all ladies match between Wrekin College and Wolverhampton G.S. This offered the Wrekin girls an opportunity for more game time on court. Although the result went against Wrekin, the real winner was the sport of Fives, with all 12 players braving the freezing condition to enjoy a friendly fixture. The Wrekin girls all made successful debuts, each pair scoring points, with the closest game at third pair. The fixture was enhanced by having 'mixed' games after the competitive match with the more experienced Wolverhampton girls pairing up with the Wrekin ladies.

Wrekin College took part in the Spring Festival of Fives at Shrewsbury School; this offered the young team an opportunity to gain some valuable competitive experience. Elliot Evlyn-Bufton & Henry Davies performed admirably on debut, winning their first match against Wolverhampton G.S. and running some more experienced KES pairs close in subsequent games. Livvy Yeadon, Charlotte Nicol and Oliva Nicol improved throughout the day accumulating more points each time they played. Many thanks to all the Wrekin parents for supporting and transporting the team.

James Whitehouse, Captain of Fives, took part in the Open Championship at the Marsh National Schools' Fives Championships at Shrewsbury on Tuesday 26th March 2013. James's pool included strong pairs from Highgate, Shrewsbury, St Olave's and Queen Elizabeth's Barnet. James performed admirably with his standard of play improving with each match. It was fantastic to see Wrekin College represented in the premier competition for Fives at School level and it is an endorsement of James's commitment to Fives that he was able to fly the flag. James has been involved with Fives at Wrekin College since the very early days of its rebirth and has assisted with introducing many of his fellow students to the sport. He has been a committed Captain of Fives and has always endeavoured to ensure that the junior players are equipped with gloves and balls ready for action. I wish him every success for the future and look forward to seeing him on court again soon.

Although still in its infancy at Wrekin College, Fives should continue to grow in popularity with three recently refurbished courts available and a regular Monday afternoon coaching slot. In addition, the Old Hall Prep School, that shares the Wrekin College site, has introduced Fives to their sports programme under the stewardship of Tim Fearn.

Mark Yates