2013/14 School Reports
Read on to find out how the Fives-playing schools saw their 2013/14 season...
The rebuilding process continues. With very few players at the top of the school the majority of the fixtures have been for year 7, 8 and 9. Fives largely occupies a space in the week for the non major games players to enjoy and compete. The majority of the players who play do not play another school sport and it gives them a chance to play fixtures against leading public schools. There are some limited opportunities for girls to play under the tutelage of Alex Smith.
This year we have played the boys have played 30 fixtures over the two terms, with a 40% success rate, and the improved standard has been shown by better performances in the prep schools and southern schools tournaments where we are able to make progress into the second stage of the tournaments. The progress would not be possible without the invaluable help of some OA’s who provide coaching support. Incidentally the success of the Heath club which runs on Tuesdays nights has now extended to the OA’s entering the Barber cup, the premier Old Boys tournament and the EFA trophy and Carl Rennie won the festival of the main old boy tournament.
Belmonthas managed to develop and encourage a good number of pairs to play this season. Although there were several Year 8 pairs the strongest players who are rapidly developing are in Year 7. Experience was gained by playing against a number of schools, including St Olave’s, Aldenham, Berkhamsted and Highgate. The Year 7 pairs often found themselves playing against Year 8s who tended to be bigger and stronger but the Belmont pairs acquitted themselves well.
Unfortunately our experience in the IAPS Eton Fives tournament at Harrow in March was rather short but it did help establish the usefulness of the top pair of Alfie Cicale and Charlie Bertolotti. This was then borne out by their play in the Marsh Insurance National Under 12 competition where they managed to reach the top 16 pairs in the country at their age. This bodes well for Belmont next season and the new coach, Andrew Rennie, is already busy setting up matches to ensure that Belmont Eton Fives goes from strength to strength.
Berkhamsted players at Cambridge; Girls Festival; Action from the Girls' Festival
Berkhamstedians at Repton; Berko's youngsters at Eton; in the original court
It is an exciting time for Fives here at Berkhamsted; at the time of writing construction has already started for three brand new Fives courts to be located on the Prep School site; the number of novices is up across all age groups and more girls are playing the game.
A substantial fixture list has helped to increase the numbers of players with new fixtures including Belmont, Ludgrove and St. Bartholomews. Over all we played 66 fixtures winning 29 of them, losing 28 and drawing in 9; two of our best results came from our U18 side that drew with Highgate and won against Harrow. The U12s have probably been the most successful year group playing 11 of the fixtures, winning 6, drawing 2 and losing 3.
Our Inter-House Fives competitions again took place from years 7 – 11 with numbers again up as 242 players descended on the courts in the first term.
Our senior players have been well represented in a number of adult tournaments and competitions including the Midlands, Turnbull, Ladies Championship as well as League 1 and 2 matches. In The Turnbull we entered a healthy six pairs, four of whom made the last 16. George Campbell & Olly Green and Jeremy O’Neill & Max Maciver both made the semi-finals but our hopes for an all Berko final were dashed by Shrewsburyand St. Olaves. For the Midlands we took along five school pairs but it was nice that Berkhamsted was represented across eight pairs with the old boys there also; creating these links with the old boys and the school is so key to a club’s success. Finally in the League Berkhamsted claimed the trophy in division 1 and finished a very respectable 3rd place in division 2; it was pleasing to see that four of our league 1 fixtures and 5 of our league 2 fixtures included school players in the sides.
The girls' game has seen an increase in numbers again this year, though it has still been frustrating to find enough fixtures for them. This is why we find the festivals of tournaments so important to allow them more match experience. We did however manage to arrange fixtures against Westminster, St. Olaves, St. Bartholomews, Stowe and Aldenham. We also held a large girls festival here at Berkhamsted which was especially well attended by Aldenham and Ipswich school.
The year culminated in the Schools Nationals held at Eton College where we entered 95 players overall across years 7 – 13 girls and boys. The U12s, U13s and U18 girls all made the quarter-final stages of their competitions, the most impressive being the U12s as they have only been playing for a term and a half. Our best success came from the U15s who made it through to the semi-finals stage and narrowly lost out to Harrow 1.
We look forward to next year and the addition of the three new courts at the Prep school will hopefully not only improve the standard of the Fives but also encourage more players, especially the girls, to take up the game as well as enable us to host more of the smaller tournaments here at Berkahmsted.
Bryanston take on the EFA
No report received
The Charterhouse fives team had a good season. The team was ably led by Tom Barley (g) during OQ and Sam Harvey (B) during LQ.
Last year's advance was maintained and we had matches for girls. Anna Ying (V) and Kidist Hailiemichael (P) were a strong pair. Next year we hope to extend girls fives further as Ms Hughes will help on this front. The school matches were supplemented, as in previous years, by a regular supply of matches against adult players who were, complimentary on the quality of both the play and the sportsmanship of our teams. This is a great feather to our caps and one that shows that fives is in a good state at Charterhouse.
The seniors all played well in matches and were the strongest for the last 7 years. Tom Barley and Sam Harvey went through OQ unbeaten. It was splendid to watch as they were occasionally taken to the wire by, for instance, Westminster, but were always came back to defeat them. The same story in the evening matches where the adults expected to win but for taken beyond their comfort zone by the pace and maturity of our top pair.
The second pair of Christian Crowson and Harry Criswell were, in contrast, an all action who shocked their opponents with their pace and aggression. Rarely have I seen fives ball it harder or recovered from more unlikely places than I have by Harry and Christian. They were less successful at the beginning of the season because they lacked a second level of play playing. By the end of the season they discovered this albeit by hitting the ball even harder. This technique was successful against many school and adult pairs.
By the end of the season we also had reliable third and fourth pairs predominantly from Verites. E Cobb and S Simmons (both V) played well progressing during the season. Matthew Buffoni (B) and William Legge (V) returned to the game and being natural sportsmen made rapid progress. They impressed the adults they played against with their ability to adapt to peculiar bounces of the ball from the hazards.
The Under 16s had great talent but found it difficult to get the time to practice together on Tuesday afternoons. This inevitably hampered their teamwork. The first pair of M Barley (g) and T Brown were particularly affected. They were able to hold their own against all the pairs they played but tended to lose important points because they were not completely familiar with each other's game. The remedy is simple. The practical nature of achieving it is difficult, given the busy lives that fives playing Carthusians lead. The second pair of R Henderson (S) and D Richardson (g) played well and were able to put all the pairs they came up against under pressure. They are strong partnership and will, next year, be able to take advantage of their approach play and finally kill the ball off.
The under 15s were led by led by the regular first pair of J Hockley (W) and J Hunter Lees (S) a yearling who showed remarkable talent. He was comfortable with the higher pace of the under 15 game. The second pair was, on most occasions, M Gimson (G) and C Jin (G) who returned to the game this year and played with increasing fluency. Next year should be a good year.
We had a good group of yearlings led by Jack Hunter Lees, who, as I have already noted, played in the under 15 so much of the year. When he was playing as a yearling is regular partner was initially T Mercer (R) and subsequently, S Brown (S). These played together much of the season and had good victories against Westminsterand Lancing. A Holmes (W) eventually settled down with C Pethick (g) as his regular partner. They were noted by the Eton master in charge as a pair to watch for the future. A Bowes (D) and E Henderson (B) played some of the most exciting games in this year group. I particularly remember their battling to victory at Harrow. Both of them have a reach which defeats many of their opponents when they think the ball has gone past them each manages to lean down and return the ball.
Of all the excitement of a very good season it was with great hope that we approached the national tournament, which took place at Etonin April. I have to report that this was somewhat of a disappointment. We took four senior pairs and four novice pairs to the tournament. The first pair had been praised throughout year and expected to do. They did not manage to get going at all and hence did not make the knockout stages. Not surprisingly, they were not motivated for the plate tournament in contrast to C Crowson and H Criswell (both V) who got to the final of the plate competition narrowly losing to a strong Westminsterpair. The second and third pairs gained experience ready for next year.
The juniors did better progressing with our first pair through the pools and the first stage of a knockout tournament. However, at this stage they came up against a very strong Etonian pair, who went on the unlucky losers in the semi-final. Everyone played well and will have learnt plenty from the experience.
In summary this was a year in which we played excellently in the school matches and the evening adults matches. We had a splendid coach, who helped all players make significant progress. I also wish to pay tribute to the enthusiasm of Gilles Gergaud and the excellence of his company on the court.
No report received
Fives at Cranleigh continues to thrive. The boys and girls at the Prep School play Fives as an evening activity during the Michaelmas and Lent terms and I am always encouraged and heartened by the number of children who are keen to play. We do struggle to compete at the very top end of prep School Fives but we are never too far off the mark which always strikes me as remarkable given the limited amount of time the children get to play in comparison to other schools.
The Year 8 crop was a very strong and enthusiastic group who continually pushed each other on and promise great things in the future as long as they continue to play consistently. The top pair of Louis Halstead and Jeff Olsen displayed slightly more awareness and understanding of the game and were capable of moments of brilliance but they were pushed hard from behind by the likes of James Green, Harry Hall, Louis Vaughan, Arthur Handscomb, Will Kirkham and Harrison Robbins. In the Prep Schools this year we were unfortunate to lose a few to hockey commitments but we were still competitive with James Green and Louis Vaughan reaching the quarter-finals and Louis Halstead and Harry Hall narrowly losing in the semi-finals of the plate.
The Years 7s also are making good progress and thoroughly enjoyed their day out at the U12 Nationals. There are a number of exciting prospects headed by George Ealham but I have also been delighted with the progress of Ella Job and Rosie Hope. It is a shame that more girls do not play.
At time of writing I have just started working with the Year 6s and although it is very early days there have the potential to be very good.
My huge thanks must go to Mike Till and Harry Thomas for their help and support over the course of the year.
No report received
Williams Cup winners; 2nd and 1st pairs in action in the U21s;
EFA Coach of the Year Mike Hughes; Open Winners James Cobb and James Piggot; U14 novices winners
This season has once again proved to be a very successful one for our seniors. Blessed with seven top class B and three equally talented C Blockers, Eton College fives has continued to go from strength to strength, buoyed by the successes of last half.
Highlights of the Lent half therefore have been notable victories over our biggest rivals, Shrewsbury (home and away), Highgate, St. Olave’s, Harrow and Westminster. The Keepers, James Piggot and James Cobb (both RDOC) have had a splendid season and have shown themselves to be the strongest pair at U18 level in the country.
The second and third pairs of Tom Weld (RS) and Tom Kirkby (RDOC), Sam Oppenheimer (RDOC) and Ollie Sale (COLL) have vied all season for the No.2 slot and as a consequence have benefited from this rivalry. Further mentions must go to, Jack Parham (COLL), Will Ponsonby (RDOC), Felix von Stumm (ML) and Ted Macdonald-Buchanan (RDOC) who have made up the rest of our senior squad and who have shown admirable commitment all year to a cause for which they all gained the ultimate recognition on March 9th, when (despite losing Jack to a back injury), all nine of the above played, won and so retained the National three pair Schools Tournament, aka the Williams Cup.
Elsewhere the U16s have also enjoyed noteworthy victories over Shrewsbury, Highgate, Harrow and Westminster and are improving all the time. To have so many players of similarly high standard has been great for team morale (they fear nobody) and they have all dovetailed between first and third pairs with grace and a determination to be seen as part of the top pair. To this squad of Max & Ollie Rowse ( JDN& AW respectively), Arthur Wellesley (AJC), Jack Capstick-Dale (AMM), Barnaby Harrison (AW), Tuppy Morrissey & Flinn Andreae (both RDOC), we have also been able to add Charlie Bashall (RDOC) and latterly Andreas Conte (AJC), both of whom have worked hard to compete with and be part of this group. The future for fives looks safe in these boys’ hands.
At U15 level we have continued to build on our squad from last year, and in Hector Hardman (RDOC), Crispin Straker (SAL) and Will Polito (AW) we have three boys of real ability. Very ably supported by Alex Lindsay (AW), Tom Loup, Oscar Middleton, Davy Turner (all RDOC), Luke Tritton (SAL) and Ollie Bradley (PGW), we have been able to give all the other schools where fives is a major sport, a very good run for their money, and home and away victories over Shrewsbury in particular is very encouraging.
Our U14 experts and novices have all performed admirably this half and along with established players such as Harry Thistlethwayte (JDN), Finlay Watt (TEJN), Leo Ljungstrom (RPDF), Ed Doughty (RDOC), Billy Cubitt and Freddie Corbet (both ASR), we have seen the emergence of some fine novices, in Juhno Choi (RPDF), Kit Penny, Nat Andreae, Charlie Lyons (all RDOC) and Will Bailey (JMOB).
Eton had a very successful entry into the National Eton Fives Championships which were held at Eton at the end of the Lent half. Two of the five major competitions that we entered were won, and there were strong performances in all of them.
The most impressive achievement was in the Open Competition by James Piggot and James Cobb (both RDO-C) who reached the final without dropping a game, including a strong performance against a talented Harrow pair in the semi-final. Highgate were our opponents in the final, and had a very strong, experienced and determined pair, who we had beaten twice earlier in the season, but who were on the top of their form in the tournament, and had the consistency and talent to cause us a problem. In the event, Eton won the first two games 12-6 , 12-5 playing with confidence and flair, and in particular cutting excellently, so that Highgate had few opportunities to score. Our opponents apparently had no answer to Cobb’s industry and consistently strong and athletic play, and Piggot had ample opportunity to demonstrate his flair, and full repertoire of left-handed shots played with variable pace, which regularly bemused his opponents. Highgate returned a significantly higher proportion of cuts in the third game, and so Eton were under more pressure, playing a slightly more defensive game. It was nip and tuck throughout the game as the score edged forward to 11-11, and the game was set to 14. A couple of good Highgate shots, with a little luck, saw them through to win 14-12, and the match was set up for an interesting finish (Highgate had been 2-0 down in their semi-final against Shrewsbury, and therefore had the belief that they could repeat the dose). Eton were stung into action, and immediately responded with a superb display of attacking fives, and cut much more effectively. The combination of these factors meant that a potentially nervous fourth game became a spree, and Eton won the game 12-4, and with it the Championship. The 3-1 margin mirrored the Under 16 final between these pairs two years before, and Cobb and Piggot joined a very small list of players who have won both competitions starting as Novices when Under 14. James Cobb was committed to major sports elsewhere in both halves, but in the final 3 weeks really worked hard to improve the quality and consistency of both his cut and back court play. James Piggot was unable to play major sports because of a long-term injury, and therefore concentrated on fives, becoming a really accomplished player with a wide range of left-handed shots which he controlled superbly, as well as having an utterly reliable right-hand; he was by some margin the best player in the tournament, and in the opinion of several experienced judges, one of the best schoolboys to have emerged in recent years. Sam Oppenheimer (RDO-C) and Ollie Sale (College) also reached the quarter-finals before losing to Shrewsbury1.
In the Under 16 competition Ollie and Max Rowse (AW & JDN) played above themselves to comprehensively beat Highgate 2 in the quarter-final, before giving the number 1 seeds a scare in the semi-final. Flinn Andreae and Charlie Bashall (both RDO-C) fought through to the quarter-final before losing to the number 1 seeds. In the Under 14 competition Harry Thistlethwayte (JDN) and Finlay Watt (TEJN) played well to reach the quarter-final where they lost narrowly to St Olave’s 1.
In the Under 14 Novices competition Kit Penny (RDO-C) and Will Bailey (JMO’B) reached the final without dropping a game, including a semi-final against an impressive Shrewsbury first pair. In the final against Shrewsbury2, they played with confidence and skill in the first two games to win 12-4, 12-7, cutting and volleying well, and making very few unforced errors. Shrewsburyrallied well in the third game, and Etonbecame rather defensive and lost 9-12. In the fourth game however, Eton found their attacking form once again and ran out easy winners 12-5. Remarkably both players had played hockey for much of the half, and so opportunities to play and practice fives were limited, however they improved enormously during the tournament, clearly enjoyed playing as a pair, and learned the match-play impressively quickly. By the quarter-finals they were clearly the favourites and thoroughly deserved their success. Nat Andreae (RDO-C) and Freddie Butler (ASR) and Sam Dawson and Frank Gordon Clark (both RDO-C) reached the quarter-finals before losing to Shrewsbury 2 and 3 respectively.
Eton entered 30 pairs in total, and all of them qualified from the pools stages of their competitions which showed that we have strength in depth. The competition will again be at Eton next year, where we will expect to challenge for top honours once more. Piggot and Cobb will however live long in the memory.
Mike Hughes/Mark Williams
This year saw a further consolidation of the growing position of Fives at Harrow. The numbers of boys playing continues to grow, and somehow over forty-five fixtures were crammed into twenty-two school weeks, which gave over ninety boys the chance to represent the school.
At senior level Tom Nevile and Tom Skinner made real strides at first pair, and the experience they gained will stand them in good stead as they move into the Upper Sixth next year. They played some outstanding Fives in their defeat to Etonin the semi final of the Schools Championships, and, if they can continue to progress, they will be amongst the favourites for next year’s Championships. The captain of Fives, Sam Curtis Green, regularly played at first pair and for the Old Harrovians. Over the course of the year he developed into a fine player and a highly reliable leader. His regular partner, Rohan Dhaliwal, found that his soccer commitments limited his playing time; whilst their victory at Etonshowed his potential, he eventually found himself replaced by Paddy Anson. Anson’s erstwhile love for the game was rewarded by their excellent showing at the Championships, where they came close to upsetting St. Olave’s first pair. They were supported by Tubo Adeaga, Tom Jones, Noi Omaboe and Fisayo Ayodeji, all of whom will depart this summer, and Kit McCrystal and James Tippett, both of whom were awarded their colours.
The U16s had mixed fortunes. Injuries meant that the first pair of Harry Newall and Teddy Short rarely played together, and when they did their rustiness was exposed. With regular practice they could achieve a good deal as Fives players – but that potential remains as yet untapped.
The real strength lay in the U15 year group. Rahul Wijeratne and Oskar Denby won the U15 title at the Championships without dropping a set, and at their best looked a class above their opponents. Next year will be tougher, but the potential that they have shown suggests that they really could become top quality players in years to come. Elements of their play in the final of the Championships suggests that they could be challenging for a place in the senior first pair next year. Part of the reason for their development is the large number of other talented boys playing the game, who have all pushed each other to improve throughout the season, especially: Alan Huo, George Reid, Alexander Nevile, Henry Collins, Joseph Ayoub, Andrew Taylor, Reuben Hembury-Stroud, Max Prasad and Ed Bayne. In other year groups any of these boys would form an excellent first pair. They will be a formidable force at the Williams Cup in a couple of years’ time.
The U14s had a core of keen and talented boys, who improved a great deal over the year through regular match play. The exuberance of Dita Jaja and Qassi Gaba at first pair contrasted strongly with the understated Benjy Menell and Max Tonkins at second pair, but they formed an effective top four. Menell’s play improved the most over the course of the year, to a point where he competed for a place in the first pair – if the other three boys were able to match the time he spent practising then they would make great strides. A quartet of Old Orleyans were regulars at the courts and showed a real love for the game: Alby Tremlett, Nikhil Shankar, Kian Amaan and Amit Armon; the latter two did well to win the Plate Competition at the Championships. The beginners could not quite match the success of their predecessors, but they showed enough ability over the course of the year to suggest that they could become decent Fives players in years to come – especially William Downes, Felix Hall, Abdullah Nazir, Saif Durrani, Otis Brankin-Frisby and Sebastian Flame.
Eve Smith-Bingham & Amira Reimer; Eve Smith-Bingham & Olivia Hirschfield; The Black Cup winning team
We have enjoyed a very successful season.
In the Michaelmas Term our Girls won the National Ladies U.25 Championship (E.Smith-Bingham and O.Hirschfield) and the Black Cup (a three pairs team competition) beating the team from North Oxford in the final- (Team - E.Smith_Bingham , A.Reimer, P.Bracken, M.Briscoe, O.Hirschfield, G.Allen and C.Valensise).
During the Lent term E.Smith-Bingham and A.Reimer won the National U.21 Championship beating P.Bracken and M.Briscoe in the final and they have progressed to the final of the Ladies Open, which they lost.
We have just finished the Schools National Fives Championships and what an exciting week it has been for our Fives players. We reached the final in eight of the nine competitions we entered, winning five.
Boys Open Final – C.Noble and C.Blackaby lost to Eton
Boys U.16’s – M.Holdsworth and B.Hopkins lost to St Olaves in the semi final.
Boys U. 15 Final – A.Baleanu and M.Andrejevic lost to Harrow
Boys U.14 Final – O.Light and J.Hopkins beat St.Olaves
Boys U.13 Final – J.Abramovich and K.Steele lost to Rydal
Boys U.12 Final – J.Avigdor and A.Sharp beat J.Sochor-Grethe and C.Coleman
Mixed Final – E.Smith-Bingham and C.Noble beat A.Reimer and C.Blackaby
Girls U.15 final – E.Smith-Bingham and P.Bracken beat A.Reimer and M.Briscoe
Girls U.18 final – E.Smith-Bingham and M.Briscoe beat A.Reimer and P.Bracken
We also entered the Prep Schools U.13 Championship in early March where our boys were in top form. In the final I.Abramovitch and D.Gran beat L.Perl and H.Jenkins 15-14 in the third and final game to win 2-1.
Ipswich's Richard Barber Cup team; Graves Cup winners
Fives at Ipswich is a spare time pursuit, fitted in at lunchtimes and on a couple of days a week after school. The success of the game at Ipswich in recent years owes a great deal to the commitment and popularity of coach Tony Stubbs and it was great to have him nominated for the Coach of the Year Award this year. We are also indebted to the support of Old Ipswichians, particularly David Leach who has continued to coach whenever he can. Howard Wiseman’s Rugby and Eton Fives Coaching Agency tournaments are invaluable in providing us with opportunities for competitive fives. Eton College has very kindly given our senior players a couple of fixtures again this season and as always, the annual Seb Cooley master-class was fantastic value. The Eton Fives Association has also been an ever-present support and encourager.
At the lower age group (U12/13) the year has been successful in having 80 pupils who played across the year. With three courts this proved somewhat problematic but certainly spurred the keenest to do their utmost to get time on court, inevitably there were others who were disappointed. We were pleased to provide a winner in the REFCA U12 Tournament for the third successive year but probably lack of consistent practice was behind a disappointing showing in the U12 Marsh Schools’ Championships. The U13s did better with six pairs in the last 32, 3 in the last 16 and first pair reaching the quarter-finals. Our fifth pair (clearing wrongly labelled) had a remarkably close match against Rydal Penrhos that will remembered for a long time on both sides.
We were delighted that two of our U13 girls reached the semi-final of the Ladies Festival, just reward for the work they have put in to their game and which was an inspiration for other girls to take to the courts.
The Year 9s had one pair reach the second round of the U14 Schools’ Championships and two pairs to the same stage in the Beginners. U15s Gray and Clough lost out on a last 16 place by one point in the Marsh Championships and went on to win the Plate.
Cameron Lyle and Arthur Patten provided the highlight of the Schools’ for us, trying hard to better St Olave’s in the quarter-final of the U16 Competition but although they got stronger as the match went on they couldn’t quite take the game that could have changed the balance.
In the Richard Barber Cup, Isaac Wagland, Arthur Patten and Cameron Lyle enjoyed playing with OIs, Gareth Hoskins, Tom Fletcher and David Leach in what was a keenly contested event with some long matches. Ipswich just missed out on a semi-final place by a single point, but came back to win the Plate Competition.
In the Graham Turnbull Trophy in November Isaac Wagland and Gareth Hoskins (OI) played well to reach the quarter-finals, but succumbed to the Olavians. Arthur Patten and Tom Fletcher (OI) were very unlucky not to qualify from their group after losing two matches 11-12 but they went on to win the Plate Competition in true Ipswichian style
At the Northern Tournament, Cameron Lyle and Arthur Patten and Sam Clark with Fergus McKay (all Yr 11) played superbly to win the Tournament Plate and Festival Plate Competitions respectively.
Despite the unavoidable pressures on time in a day school the game continues to thrive at King Edward's Birmingham, thanks to strong support from the Chief Master and the Head of Sport. This is particularly the case in the younger age groups - years 7 to 9 - where Fives is very popular and attracts some enthusiastic and talented players. In the Autumn Term 2013 the school again hosted the Midlands Under 14 Competition, and also played its first ever fixture against Summer Fields Oxford on their impressive and enviable indoor courts.
Highlights of the Spring Term 2014 were a fixture with Stowe after a gap of some years, Mark Yates' enjoyable Spring Fives Festival at Shrewsbury, and the Schools' Championships at Eton- the opportunity for much valuable experience.
There are however some clouds on the horizon. In the gales of February this year the roofs of some courts were damaged and the remaining courts then had to be de-roofed. It is not clear at present if re-roofing will take place before the courts are demolished and replaced in a planned new sports centre, for which no date has yet been set. The courts are only to be used when dry, so it could be very difficult to run the sport next season.
Lancing Fives Club has had a good season especially at senior level. At U16 level there has been real progress and enthusiasm and the U15s have been very keen and are becoming a good prospect for the future. There has been a very loyal band of players who have worked hard at helping the juniors learn the game.
All four courts are full 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, creating a very good club atmosphere. We hope to run a regular club evening next year and hope that any local OLs can come and join us. More details of this can be obtained from AJB. We say goodbye to an enthusiastic and loyal band of UVI players this year and I would like to thank them for their help and support.
Ludgrove started Michaelmas 2013 full of hope and expectation after 2012-2013 had produced some very promising Under 12 players for the new season. Practices came and went with the usual Ludgrove zest for competition and we played two tight games against Sunningdale in the term. Our second and third pairs played with great credit in the Quadrangular tournament at Eton and we looked forward to the Lent term with enthusiasm after Wellingtonhad dominated the Sets Fives.
Sadly, Our Keeper, Jamie Hardy was ruled out of the team for the term by a knee injury so it was left to Alexander Farquhar to step up to the plate and fill the breach. Alexander and Charlie Robertson played brilliantly against Berkhamsted in January, and then played their best fives in the quarter-finals of the Prep Schools Championship to beat Summer Fields. Charlie, in particular really rose to the challenge and retrieved numerous lost situations and returned many cuts.
The School Fives Cup was won, in great style by the third pair of Goodwin and Pearson and the Colquhoun Cup was won also in great style by Perry and Burges-Watson. Well done to all concerned and thank you to those who made Thursday afternoons such fun.
Last, but not least, many sincere thanks to Mike Hughes who came over and taught the boys many skills, strategies and helped the boys' enthusiasm.
Lyceum Alpinum Zuoz
Photos from the Queen's Cup in Zurich - Winners: Niklas Doebler & Dieter Buechi, Runners-up: Jessica Rees & Curt Schmitt
Zuoz had a good, albeit rather short season again in 2013/14. The greatest boost to fives at our school has been the support of Matthew Wiseman over the last few years. We are looking forward to welcoming him again in June/July and at the beginning of the new school year. Matthew is a tremendous coach and he has attained legendary status at Zuoz, for all the right reasons. The fives season was limited to the matches against the Zuoz Club (our alumni) in early September, which the Old Boys won easily as usual. The following day Daniel Haering organised the Engadin Challenge Cup after a few years’ absence and it was a terrific day for all. Matthew Wiseman and Zuoz Old Boy Michael Kuenburg won the main tournament, while Peter Suess, chemistry teacher at the school and a great fives enthusiast since joining the school, won the Plate. The only other fixture before Christmas was a weekend with the Old Boys in Zurich, which ranks among the most hospitable locations in any sport. The same fixture started the season in mid-April, when another group of students travelled to Zurichfor the Queen’s Cup. At the time of writing David Mews and Dominique Redmond are touring Zuoz with a large group of St Olave’s boys and we are looking forward to keeping this tradition alive next year. Most of all, it would be excellent to bring a Zuoz team to the Schools Championships in the spring of 2015.
Extra help with coaching this year allowed us to offer an official Eton Fives slot in the week's training schedule. The U14s who were trained up there enjoyed their first ever match in February, at St.Bartholomew's, under the guidance of old hands Toby Finley and Archie Wheeler. It was novel to have an away match, and to play on a new Fives court, and to play against opponents under 40. None of which detracted, of course, from the pleasure of welcoming an EFA IV to our courts in January. We also took on and beat the Town club before Christmas. By recent standards, then, a record three fixtures in one season - a feat we intend to emulate in the years to come.
The Millhillian version of Σοφία; Mill Hill players in action
The Mill Hill squad; Official team photo; the Brains Trust
Another busy but enjoyable season with 20 school matches played of which 13 were won. The Senior 1st pair of Gareth Kong, Captain of Fives, and Raph Levy always looked good and threatened more than they achieved, reaching the octo finals of the championship. Gareth’s athleticism and reactions are ever impressive and entertaining. The other senior pairs enjoy their Fives in true Corinthian spirit but as yet have not ignited the world of Spartan Fives with their skills or results. The game is popular at U15 level, ably spearheaded by the ever improving Harry Rapley and ably supported by Benedict Balcombe. In the U14s the game’s future looks bright with considerable interest and popularity. Charlie Plummer and Jonathan Becker at 1st pair had an impressive season: as a pair they were unbeaten until February, winning the Southern Schools Championship, both being finalists in the REFCA U14 individual competition and reaching the quarter finals in the national championships.
It is also good to see some U14 girls playing Fives encouraged by the energy and enthusiasm of Andrew Rennie who does so much for the sport at Mill Hill. My thanks as well to Ian Hutchinson who continues to provide expert coaching and support.
No report received
The Orley Farm team at Harrow
I continue to be indebted to Harrow school for allowing us to play regularly on Tuesday evenings on our fives hobby and also for allowing us to use their courts as home matches. The players that have been our most successful team members this term are Timothy Wallace (Capt), Joe Bone ,Tristan O’Niell, Dilan Pindoria, Prakanta Khanal ,Omar Majaumdar , James Chalk, Jordan Cordice, Aman Ghai in year eight, And we hope that they will continue to play in their senior schools next year. For the future we hope to see Kinan Issa, Joseph Gasper & Vivek Nanwani of year seven and Matthew Harrison and Ben Harrison of year six step into their shoes.
In March 2014 we had our house competition with 10 pairs in each of the four houses that lasted the whole of an afternoon and ended up with the runaway winners Hopkins followed closely by Julian's, Hastings and Broaddrick.
Although up at Harrow for the championships we did not manage to get into the final stages the boys enjoyed their time and their matches against some very powerful opponents.
No report received
There were unfortunately no school fixtures at Repton this year - the penalty of having the U16 & U14 hockey teams to the National Finals and the Under 18s to the Midland Finals. We held an internal competition that was well-fought and to a reasonable standard.
RGS High Wycombe
The Captain of Fives this year was Ben Varnam, with Malavan Sreemurthy, Vice-Captain. We had the excellent support of David Mew, from REFCA, to coach the several teams. As in previous years, we carried over a significant number of experienced players in each age-group and began the year with vast numbers of U12s, eager to learn the sport.
As the season progressed, we saw those large numbers decline, until by the time the National Schools tournaments came round, we had some 12 or 13 active pairs. This, of course, bodes well for the future of the sport at RGS.
We still only have the two courts, despite regular encouragement of the senior team to consider adding extra courts to meet the demand from the players. In the gales in February, the roof of one of the courts was damaged and it was out of action for the rest of the season. It has been repaired, ready for the new season in September.
The U14s squad went to Harrow for the REFCA U14s tournament in November and a novice pair of Danny Beard and Connor Rebello, won that category. This encouraged the rest of the year-group and there was strong competition for team places for the rest of the season.
Full teams were entered for all ages of the National Schools tournament from U12s up to U15s. Some excellent lay was experienced and a few of the pairs made it into the knock-out rounds after the initial pools, in all age-groups. We were still weak in the U16s and senior teams, and this will continue into next season, corresponding to the hiatus when Fives was not played at RGSfor 3 seasons 2007 – 2009.
This coming year will see the progression through to U16 of the novices from the year that our courts were refurbished and re-opened by Richard Barber.
Accordingly, we will have plenty of U13s, U14s, U15s and U16s. Unfortunately there are no regular players in the U18s category, except Nathan Turnbull, and he has no regular playing partner.
There will, I hope, be plenty of U12s later in the autumn, but since most will not have even seen a Fives court, glove or ball before, I am not expecting any great performances until they have had a term of practice.
We have been fortunate to have developed excellent working relationships with some of the other Fives-playing schools and now have regular fixtures against them. We are planning to expand this set of opponents, year on year. Last season we took part in the Rossall tournament for the first time.
One innovation, which is gaining momentum: combining fixtures for Fives with fixtures for Squash. We now have matches for both sports at Bryanston and Summerfields, Oxford, and are looking to expand this in the future.
Players at the Welsh Open; Winners Will Sissons & Tom Cotterell; Rydal players at Shrewsbury
U13 Winners Will Sissons & Jack Jones; Coach of the Year nomineee Mike Leach
This year Fives has seen great talent and boundless improvements throughout the age groups. The year was kicked off by the Inaugural National Welsh Fives Championship held at our very own Rydal Penrhos School. The winners of which were, in the Students tournament, Tom Cotterell and William Sissons and in the adults tournament Seb Cooley and our very own Mr Leach. Although Rydal Penrhos has participated in many tournaments throughout the year ranging from tournaments in Shrewsbury to London, what has been most impressive is the improvements shown by the Year 7 and 8s, especially in the Year 7 and 8 Fives League. Special mention must got to Ewan Luke and Zach Blomeley both of which came on leaps and bounds this year and also to Finlay Hare who has shown a strong devotion to Fives training every day after school.
There have been many highlights throughout the year, yet the one that stands out as the climax to the year is the Eton Marsh Insurance Nationals. In the U16’s Shaswath Ganapathi and Tom Cotterell succeeded in making it to the last 16 pairs, Tom showed lightning fast reactions with a bit of magic on top step, while Shaswath showed real control and consistency in his back step play. In the U13’s both Will Sissons and Jack Jones showed themselves to have remarkable talent for two so young and they went on to win the U13’s Marsh Insurance Nationals, in what was described as a “Historic moment” in Fives history both for Rydal Penrhos School and for the Fives world.
Well done to all those who participated in the Fives season throughout the past season.
At this time of year the EFA hold an awards dinner where nominees are voted for by the fives “public”. These cover a variety of awards and include amongst others, individuals and individual team awards from schools who have attended tournaments throughout the year, and following our successes as just mentioned, our school team have been nominated as has Will Sissons as young player of the year and Mike Leach as Coach of the year.
Mixed Plate winner Cicely Colthurst with coach Dave Mew; The successful Ladies festival team at the Schools' Championships
A very productive first 12 months on the new fives courts at St Bartholmew's. Coach David Mew has attended the school on Fridays and Paul Bowden has set up a Sunday club. After a coaching day learning the game with the coach, the PE department has rolled out taster lessons to all year 7 pupils throughout the season and this has helped spread interest and knowledge of the game to a good number of players outside of the time available through the coaching on a Friday. This coupled with the targeting of year 9 initially has produced a growing playing squad capable of playing school matches. David was helped this year by the fact that the current upper sixth were the last year to play the game at the old school site, helping to generate interest and provide coaching at other times of the week. Thanks to Berkhamsted who provided the first opposition for a school match.
Players entered the Nationals at u14 beginners, u18 Open, and on the Main and Festival Ladies days, and although most found the going pretty tough, a good time was had by all and improvements made by all players. Success was found in the Ladies Festival, where after a strong showing in their first competitive setting in the Open the day before, Cicely Colthurst and Tamara Yeung overcame more experienced pairs to win the Festival event. Colthurst then teamed up with David Mew to win the Dossi Dish at the Mixed tournament.
Moving forward the school looks forward to now really kicking on after such a good start, rolling out more lessons to the lower years and sixth form and by really hitting the ground running next season in respect to school matches. Matches are needed and can be arranged at u13, u15, Open Ladies and with possibilities for 6th form beginners. Masters in charge are very welcome to contact Mr Paul Turner at the school in respect to this. Any players wishing to experience the lovely new courts for themselves are encouraged to contact Paul Bowden and come join in the fun on Sundays.
St Bees players at Shrewsbury
No report received
Richard Barber Cup winners; Midland Plate winners; Northern Festival winners
No report received
Shrewsbury players at Eton; Sage Advice; Richard Barber Cup team; Ladies Festival winners
2014 Season Sonata
Hyperbole. The average sports report contains more hyperbolae than you’d find slicing through the top sports scholar’s hat: “the hottest record since summers began” and so on. Although, on paper, our senior fives team was stronger than it was last year across three pairs, this was not a hyperbolic year. There were glimmers and flashes, certainly, in the form of some impressive results, but without the headline successes to which we’ve become accustomed.This is not to say the season was a wet fish from start to finish; indeed I almost get the feeling we started too strongly. Our play in the January matches had an intensity and intent that brought some excellent results: a 3-0 destruction of a good Highgate 1st pair; a gritty, determined effort in the same fixture at 1st U16 that eventually ground down the Cholmeleian challenge. A full quorum of 3rd and 4th form enjoyed their first big weekend of fixtures, last year’s having been snowed off. As starts go, it was more Sebastian Vettel than Usain Bolt.
That first weekend took a different format to previously as Highgate have lost their junior school courts. The fixture was split, with seniors and U16s playing at 1pm, U15s and U14s enjoying 3 lessons before travelling down for a 4pm start. The seniors then travelled across to Eton for a Salopian Fives Festival: we were joined by a number of recent leavers who ensured another high quality fixture before we all went for a curry. The juniors meanwhile received their traditional trouncing at the hands of Highgate’s more experienced pairs before sloping off to the Slough Travelodge and a Pizza Express supper.
Sunday morning’s fixture against Eton has become a key test for all age groups. At the top end of the seniors we were competitive against the U16 champions of 2012 but maybe lacked the energy – after a lot of fives on the Saturday – to find a decisive bit of bite to our game. However with Tom Breese and George Panayi stepping up from U16 to play at 3rd senior we won 2nd, 3rd and 4th pairs, so won the seniors 3-2. The absence of the talismen from the U16 group cost us all three pairs there, though the matches were good. We were given a target by the Etonian U15s and U14s, who had already been playing for a term. We won a pair at U15 and another at U14 (and Brunskill and Zaza went to a fifth, deciding game). The floodwaters were high and rising at the time; it turned out that Eton’s pitches were out of action for most of the term, a misfortune from which the fives courts benefitted.
And, as is par for the course for us, Shrewsbury’s fives courts too were packed to capacity, the capacity of the staff for finding imaginative solutions to overcrowding suggesting that INSET was probably based in Rio this year. We were not beset by waterlogging as the grass sports were, or by flooding as the boat club was. The quality of fives in training sessions was high across three courts of seniors and the sheer numbers of U15 players never ceased to amaze me on my occasional forays to the Chapel side of the courts. I began to suspect some of the 4th form actually live in those courts. They were always expertly marshalled by Torin Morgan from deep inside a very large and very serious-looking jacket, assisted this year by Paul Andrews, cricket specialist and all-round good sportsman who lent both technical and technological dimensions to the coaching. The third form showed some real quality at the top end, again hugely down to Matt Barrett’s superb coaching (and the fact that several of them were on the courts after Top Schools on most nights)
The rewards started coming in mid-season: our juniors recorded good victories against Westminster, Berkhamsted and Rydal Penrhos and the girls had close-fought battles against Wolverhampton Grammar. Pairs from U15 upward gained lots of experience (partly in avoiding frostbite) in the Northern Championship at the start of February; Tom Breese played for the Old Salopian side in the EFA trophy tournament over the half term weekends and they came home with the silverware. The highlight though was in our results at the U21 Nationals at Eton: our top two pairs reached quarters (but were drawn against each other) and Lewis and Blofield beat Eton’s top pair in two close games in the semi to book a final place. Tom Breese and Ed Holroyd won the plate. It was a strong development.
The nationals are always the epic finale of the fives season. We were 3rd and 7th seeds in the Open Competition and 1st seeds in the U16s.
In the first competition, the U15s Chapman and Aslam-Baskeyfield were beaten by the number 1 seeds Harrowin the quarters of the U15s. The senior master of Harrow, coach to a 10-time Kinnaird winner, remarked how well both our boys played and made a special mention of Aslam-Baskeyfield: one to watch for the future. We think these two have a lot of potential: they certainly showed the desire throughout. The U15s are not yet a group of huge ability but they are a very large group of similar standard who are competitive; I see a great deal of potential and possible finalists in a few years’ time.
After the U15s the logistics really kicked into action to get Shrewsbury’s finest down to Etonto play in the various competitions. An armada of minibuses, a fleet of cars and even at one stage the great carrier HMS Longmynd were called into action. Heading things up, Commodore RHMorris and Admiral SKPCooley took the mileage award with three return journeys each through the week. As the revolving doors of arrivals and departures whir steadily, all remaining competitions build to a Saturday morning climax.
On the last day of the championships Shrewsbury School girls started to blossom and showed how quickly they had progressed in their very short careers. The two stand-out performances came from our first two pairs: Jo Cull & Charlotte Harris progressed to the Festival Semi Final and lost by the narrowest margin to Wolverhampton GS in the deciding set they lost on step by one point and missed out on their aim of reaching the Festival Final. Similarly Eliza Wood & Charlie Perkins played some great fives and also won through to the Festival Semi Final where they lost to the very athletic St Bartholomew’s 1st pair.
Whilst our 1st & 2nd pair produced our best results the rest of the girls pairs were simply outstanding in their commitment and quality. All but two pairs progressed out of their groups into the main event. Ciara Murphy & Alice Sykes Waller were worthy winners of Plate C and Honor Turpin & Emily Wood progressed to the Plate A final where they lost a close match. Antonia Schueler & Phoebe Barboza played the longest matches and showed commendable strength and fitness in eventually losing in the Plate C Final. Perhaps the most commendable performances came from Raphaela Major & Ellie Dolphin, together with Georgia Bruce & Millie Dean, who progressed and improved more than any other pairs on the day and played fives at a level way above that expected of them.
Our U14s had a great beginners’ tournament: five pairs in the last eight became three pairs in semis. Sadly George Garrett and Harry Wasdell, though they took a game, could not find enough answers for Etonin the final. Nonetheless I see a very strong year group with a large number of good pairs and I see as-yet unfulfilled potential at the very top of it.
In the U16s we’d had three pairs in the last 16. Matt White and Stéphane Cotty, after one of the matches of the tournament to squeeze past Berkhamsted 12-5, 12-7, 8-12, 9-12, 12-10, drew second seeds Highgate 1 and though they lost, White and Cotty took a game. Second pair Luke Lloyd-Jones and Jack Fox then met the same Highgate pair in the quarters. They will, next year, be looking for a seeding themselves to avoid such draws! Breese & Panayi powered on through.
In the Open we had had three pairs in the last eight; Jamie Humes and Ed Holroyd were knocked out at that stage by top seeds Eton; Nick Pearce and Samson Yick drew second seeds Highgate 1 and were also overpowered; Henry Blofield and George Lewis pulled out a good performance to dispatch Eton2. On Friday, Breese & Panayi and Blofield & Lewis were simultaneously in action in semis. It was not our finest day. From 2-0 up (12-6, 12-4) against Highgate, Blofield and Lewis let Highgate back in and lost in 5. Breese and Panayi were enjoying themselves so came closer than necessary to a scare; their straight-games win showed, though, that even when not playing their best they are better than other pairs in their year.
There is rarely a tournament we leave without a trophy. This year our superstars were Breese and Panayi, who found discipline in the final to show that no-one could come close to them. Breese retains the trophy; a rare feat in the U16s and one only matched by Highgate and Wolverhampton, which start their players at 7 and 11 years old. To win the tournament in his second and third years of playing the game puts Tom, in this writer’s humble opinion, in company among the very best schoolboy players in history.
Over the last twelve months there has been an increasing interest in Fives. Five of the new Third Form Chatham have got the bug and represented the school in a number of matches. On a Friday we are still supported by a professional Fives coach, who has added value to the success and development of our players. In the Michaelmas term the senior house fives competition took place with Stanhope winning the girls event and Grenville winning the boys event. The Lent term saw the Junior house fives competition where the girls event was won by Lyttelton and the boys by Temple.
We are very close to being able to field three pairs of girls to represent the school in matches and are working towards a fixture or two during the next academic year.
It is always nice to see on most Tuesday evenings during the year a few Old Stoics returning to the school and using the Fives courts.
Some changes to the surrounding area are planned over the summer break which will result in a landscaped area just outside the courts.
No report received
Sunningdale boys in action
The Michaelmas term was tough for our young Fives team but we have had notable wins against RGS High Wycombe, Ludgrove and Eton. With an U11 in our first pair and an under 10 in our 3rd pair we were always going to find Public School opponents difficult. We defended our title in the 3 pairs competition at Eton near the end of term but by losing a few key points here and there we had to surrender our salver to Summer Fields. The boys can be proud of improving their play enormously this term with left hand volleys, back court strategies and better footwork.
The first pair in every match we played in the Lent term were unbeaten. James and Russell beat Eton twice, triumphed over Harrow, dominated Ludgrove in both fixtures and the U11 first pair (Russell & Hopton ma) beat Highgate. They have had a terrific term. Other team members performed well beating Ludgrove and Harrow. We had a good day at the Prep School Fives, losing only 1 point in the initial round robin round but then came up short against Summer Fields in the quarter-final. In the U12 Championships, Russell and Hopton ma lost to Highgate in the semi-final of the main event. We had a promising start but they were too powerful in the end.
All in all a great season but much to look forward to with our young team.
No report received
If at any point anyone had felt that Westminster Fives this season would be a shadow of the previous one, they would have been proved very wrong. The ability and the enthusiasm with which Fives was played have been undiminished.
At U14, Benson and Koksal emerged as a first pair with commitment, athleticism and talent in abundance; but Christie, Muminoglu, Young & Shine pushed them hard and showed that this is an excellent year group, able to produce quality pairs over the next few years. Victories accumulated as the season progressed and experience and confidence grew, with particularly successful outings against Berkhamsted and Emanuel. But the undoubted pinnacle of the season was the fantastic performance of Benson and Koksal, both new to the sport, in progressing to the last 16 of the Nationals in the Open category, playing against players of significantly greater experience.
Whilst the U15 squad had been weakened by defections, Guttenplan and Amin at 1st pair remained reliable and competitive; other players, notably Gallagher, Beanland, and the two Zacharys (Seddon Deane and Stanley) stepped into the breach admirably. Victories may have been hard come by, but perseverance was rewarded by winning performances against Lancing and Charterhouse. This squad will continue to improve with greater practice and a more focused approach to the technicalities of the game: better movement around the court and shot selection and execution are the key.
At U16 the disadvantage of comparative inexperience diminishes noticeably. Shah, Lim, Malik and Black have all dedicated lots of time to improving their technical game, tempering the exuberant physical strength they have at their disposal with greater subtlety. Consistency has proved a bit elusive, but there is no doubt about the talent, enthusiasm and determination these top two pairs have. They played in various combinations and between them produced good victories against pairs from Lancing, Emanuel, Charterhouse and Harrow. In this they were regularly and ably supported both by Jones and by Sharpe. With similar improvement over the 2 years to come, these players will all contribute excitingly and the future is bright!
The Senior squad has worked very hard and produced some excellent results over the season. Stewart and Merrett continued to make very encouraging progress at first pair and were rewarded for their efforts by being made 8th seeds in the Schools Nationals. Ismail and Lewin combine aggression and competitiveness with their natural abilities and were a very potent 2nd pair who could well challenge at the highest level in their final season of school-boy competition next year. Both pairs won some excellent games over the season, and, through their valiant efforts enabled Westminsterto field two pairs in the last 16 of the Nationals – a notable achievement! Great progress was made too by Critchley and Ratiu – whose season was crowned by victory in the Plate A competition at the Nationals – and by Sinha and Capstick; all four have developed into fine players through their dedication and hard work. Next year they will form a dynamic core of what may prove to be a squad to match the best from the recent years. Although Westminster will always be challenged to match the top pairs from the top Schools with significantly greater resources, it is gratifying that we can compete meaningfully amongst the best and that we appear to be punching above our weight, given the number of courts and individuals involved. Many thanks are due to Matt Wiseman for this; his inimitable combination of talent, patience and professionalism as coach are an invaluable education and inspiration to the players.
The WGS girls in action at Eton; The WGS team; Action at Eton; The Black Cup team
2013-14 has arguably been our best season yet for fives. We have been much more successful in matches, beating our local rivals Shrewsburyon multiple occasions and have also strengthened our squad with new members from year 7. It’s been a pleasure to watch the year 7s, Sophie Pye and Hannah Parlane grow in confidence and skill, representing the school in the National School Championships at Etonin March. They scored an impressive 15 points overall during the course of the day, playing much older, more experienced players from around the country, allowing them to leave the competition with their heads held high. With continued determination, we know that they will improve as they progress through the school and will be reaching the National Championship finals before too long.
The Boys Fives Team have also been successful, with John Price and Robert Pye beating many of the Shrewsbury teams in local matches as well as competing in tournaments up and down the country, improving both their match play and skill. The Boys First Pair, Tom Aston and Silas Lawrence have also had a successful year, making it to the semi-finals of the Plate A Competition in the National School Championships where they unfortunately lost a close game against a very strong Shrewsbury pair.
In terms of the Senior Ladies Fives Team, we have played in matches and tournaments throughout the year, with Eve Cowan and Emma Morley winning the plate competition in the National Ladies Festival Competition in February and Tejas Netke and Beth Parlane winning the Autumn Fives Festival back in October. More recently, at the closing event in the fives calendar - the National School Championships at Eton- we put the skills acquired throughout the year into action, playing pairs from around the country. Emma Morley and Lara Fraser missed out on qualifying for the knockout stages, but played well and got through to the Plate A competition where they dominated and collected winners shields. The second pair, Eve Cowan and Ellie Frith made it into the knockout rounds, losing to Shrewsbury’s third pair, but going through to the Plate B competition which they won convincingly. Tejas Netke and Beth Parlane made it to the semi-finals of the Competition, where they met their rivals Shrewsburyfirst pair, resulting in an inevitably close match, which Tejas and Beth won in the third game, 12-11. In the finals, they faced St Bartholomew’s first pair and played a close first game losing 12-10, before losing the decider 12-6. However, reaching the final alone was a huge achievement for the WGS pair.
As the senior team begin our final year of fives at WGS we hope to continue to improve our own game, while recruiting new members for fives at WGS so our school can once again be considered serious competitors in the sport.
Season 2013-14 saw the continuation of Monday afternoon Fives for the Lancaster students. The group who tried their hands at the sport during the Christmas term made excellent progress, with three of the boys representing Wrekin College at the U14 Midlands Schools Competition at King Edwards School, Birmingham. A small cohort adopted Fives in the Lent term and all improved their hand-eye, balance and coordination during the practise sessions. Hopefully we can introduce more continuity to the Fives programme at Wrekin College as the young Lancasters move up through the school.