2006/07 Under 25 Tournament

Dan Hawkins reports:

A small but select group of players made their way to Harrow on September 9th to take part in the U25s Championship. There were 8 pairs in total - 5 in the men's competition and 3 in the ladies'.

There are certainly more young players around so a large entry for this competition is not beyond possibility. This new date in September suits students and recent schools leavers about to head off to university or begin their gap year. However, it coincides with the first week of the school term making it difficult to attract many sixth-form players without long term planning - a lesson learnt. Nonetheless (from my perspective at least) there were some new faces: two recent leavers from Westminster (Matt Woodhams and Ed Miles) as well as sixth-formers from Harrow (Will Jones & David ?), Lancing (Ashley Lumbard & Rosie Scott) and St Olave's (Emma Double).

Both tournaments were organised into single groups where each pair played each other over one set up to 15 points. As there were only 3 pairs, the girls played each other twice. The hot favourite in the men's was Tom Dunbar, recent Kinnaird winner, paired with Will Jones a Harrow lower sixth-former. They were given a small scare at the start of their first match by Ryan Perrie and Will Betts but won comfortably in the end (15-7) and went on to win all their group matches. Four sets up to 15 was a lot of fives and there were some well contested games. Ryan and Will defeated Charlie Jewkes and Ollie Cooley in the final group game to secure their place in the final against Tom and Will.

Ashley and Rosie, Girls School National champions last season, won all their group matches despite some tough games against Olavians Emma Wells and Kelly Johnston. Charlotta Cooley and Emma Double managed to beat their fellow Olavians in their final game, having lost to them earlier. However, Emma and Kelly finished in 2nd place on points difference.

Men's Final - Tom Dunbar & Will Jones beat Will Betts & Ryan Perrie 15-7

Ladies' Final - Ashley Lumbard & Rosie Scott beat Emma Wells & Kelly Johnston 15-8

Both finals were well contested but the strongest pairs in the group stages prevailed. Tom was very well supported by his 16 year old partner - I suspect Will may be the youngest ever U25s champion. Ashley and Rosie are already very experienced fives players having played for 3 years at Lancing and as veterans of tours to Zuoz. They will defend their schools' nationals title this season. Congratulations to Tom and Will and Ashley and Rosie. Although Tom will be too old to defend his tile, I hope that we can build on this enjoyable day and have a much bigger competition next year. Thanks to Ronald Pattison and Richard Barber for coming along to support the event and to Graham Dunbar for allowing us to use the courts.