2008 Ipswich Tournament
Gareth Hoskins reports:
The first weekend of 2008 saw the usual assortment of wannabes, has-beens and never-weres descend on Ipswich for the annual Ipswich Tournament. This year saw the big breakthrough on the OI Fives scene of a new generation of talent, with recent leavers Alex Yusaf, Will Gibbons, Oli Watts and James Hicks all featuring in the latter stages.
The youngsters may have impressed, but they can still learn a trick or two from the veteran generation. Not for the first time in the history of the Graves Cup, John Caudle played an ultimately successful game of brinkmanship, declaring himself unfit and unable to play but selflessly putting himself on standby in case of late withdrawals. Those who have witnessed this kind of Caudle tactic in the past were not surprised, therefore, to see JAC lining up on the Saturday morning having secured himself a place in the draw partnering two-time champion Tim Gregory.
Having made it through to the semi-finals, Caudle and Gregory easily saw off the challenge of Yusaf and Mike Fenn - playing in his 174th consecutive tournament* - and moved on to play against Watts and Simon Woolfries in the final. Despite Oli Watts having dosed himself up on the OI performance-enhancing drug of choice (that's port to those of you who've never taken part in this festival of Fives), Gregory and Caudle proved themselves to be too strong in the final, with Tim in particular showing the sort of fitness, court coverage and finishing that the OI Fives Club would love to see on court on a much more regular basis.
Thanks as always go to Peter Boughton for doing a splendid job organising the weekend and to the School caterers for providing an excellent meal in the Pavilion on the Saturday evening.
* This is, of course, untrue and completely libellous. Mike did in fact miss the 1894 tournament due to injury.
T Gregory & J Caudle beat A Yusaf & M Fenn 12-5, 12-4
S Woolfries & O Watts beat beat S Burnell & J Hicks 8-12, 12-4, 12-7
T Gregory & J Caudle beat S Woolfries & O Watts 12-6, 12-7, 12-10
Plate A Final
M Graves & A Watson beat P Boughton & H Fletcher 13-10, 12-13, 13-11
Plate B Final
W Gibbons & A Watson beat C Wilson & E Ward 15-13