Berkhamsted "Scholars and Rogues" 2016

Anthony Theodossi reports:

24/06/16: On Thursday 23rd June we held the 10th annual Scholars & Rogues tournament where there were a number of ‘first time ever’ occurrences. The entry kicked off this trend with a huge 36 pairs taking part breaking our previous record of 30; an incredible stat to see 36 different staff across the 6th, Senior Boys & Girls and Prep school all participating.

With almost all the pairs turning up turning up on time (bar some SMT who were late!) the tournament kicked off with the players split into 6 pools each consisting of 6 pairs across the 6 courts. The games were to be short 5 minute quick-fire matches as there were 15 rounds to get through; it would be the top two from each pool who would progress into the quarter-final stages.

The groups certainly threw up a few surprise results; in pool B last years’ Scholars & Rogues Champion and seeded pairing of MiC Martin Pett, this year paired up with Josh Harrison (8Ti), narrowly missed out on the 2nd place spot which was claimed by Richard Falder & Tom Alexander (7Ti) while the top-spot was swiped by the dark horse paring of Larry Eaton & James Green (9Ti). Pool D was also hotly contested with nearly all games being close calls; seeded paring of David Vila & Kofi Cripps (8Lo) progressed out of their pool reasonably comfortably in the 1st place spot, while the 2nd place was swiped by Scholars & Rogues veteran Ted Savill & Anders Davis (9Gr). Pool E was possibly the biggest upset with seeded pairing Robin Pritchard & Joe Hubbard (7Ti) being pushed into 3rd place and out of the competition while 2nd was claimed by Head of House Rob Moseley & Jack Pemberton (7Co) and the 1st place slot taken by ‘Gorgeous’ George Campbell & Bethan Miles (7Wo), Lord Campbell kindly stepping in at the last moment as Bethan’s original partner, Head of Boys’ Sport David Gibson, was recovering from a cricket injury. Pool F also produced some tight matches; Swifts maestro Doug Foster & Harry Longbottom (7Sw) took the top spot reasonably comfortably, but the surprise result came from Head of House Dr Andrew Harker & Oly Farnell (8Fr) stealing 2nd place just beating Head of Rugby Ben Mahoney & Oliver Webb (7Gr) in a tight match 2 – 1 pushing them into 3rd position.

After about an hour and 30 minutes of play we had our following quarter-finalists set up with the attached results also; these were to be quick 8 minute matches. There were a few last minute changes at this time with Pengelly & Pritchard replacing Savill & Stallard respectively as duty called them away.

Quarter-Finals

Mr T. Gayton & Charlie Doe BEAT Mr O. Pengelly & Anders Davis 5 – 2

Mr L. Eaton & James Green BEAT Mr R. Moseley & Jack Pemberton 4 – 2

Mr J. Cooper & Miles Doe BEAT Dr A. Harker & Oly Farnell 9 – 2

Mr D. Vila & Kofi Cripps BEAT Mr B. Evers & Alfie Lyons 4 – 1

Mr G. Campbell & Bethan Miles BEAT Mr R. Falder & Tom Alexander 11 – 3

Mr D. Foster & Harry Longbottom BEAT Mr R. Pritchard & David Saunders 5 – 3

From here the remaining 6 pairs were split into two mini-pools of 3 where only the top from each would progress into the final. Matches were again quick-fire 5 minute games. In Mini-Pool 1 we had Gayton & C. Doe, Eaton & Green and Cooper & M. Doe while Mini-Pool 2 consisted of Vila & Cripps, Campbell & Miles and Foster & Longbottom. Both pools threw up some exciting matches; in pool 1 Eaton & Green finally met their match losing both their games putting them out of the competition, but a fine run to the semi-finals is nothing to be sniffed at. It then came down to a battle of the brothers with Doe and Doe both pushing each other hard while the staff Gayton and Cooper played minor supporting roles. In the end the younger Doe managed to get the better of his older sibling in one of the best games of the tournament putting Gayton & Charlie Doe through to the final. Mini-Pool 2 also was to quite the thriller with 2014 Champion Vila thrown into the mix facing off against former Lancing School pairing Campbell and Foster. Vila & Cripps were first swept aside in an 8 – 0 thrashing with young Bethan Miles playing the leading role; she must have won at least 7 of the 8 points while Campbell merely played a minor supporting role. It was certainly a sight to behold as young Miles returned Cripps’ fearsome smashing cuts one after the other (a feat many of the staff had struggled with across the day!) and then returned the favour dominating both Vila & Cripps as they were unable to get any of hers back into play denying them any chance of getting on the score board. Vila & Cripps then found some consolation in nicking the game off of Foster & Longbottom 4 – 3. It then all came down to the final match up of former school partnership Campbell and Foster; it was a tight game all the way with some incredible rallies played in the short 5 minutes given. Longbottom threw himself into every rally, diving head first into floors, walls and buttress to retrieve some incredibly tough shots. In the end It was Campbell & Miles who came out victorious just edging them out 3 – 2.

Semi-Finals

Mini-Pool 1

Gayton & Doe BEAT Eaton & Green 9 – 2

Cooper & Doe BEAT Eaton & Green 4 – 1

Gayton & Doe BEAT Cooper & Doe 5 – 2

Mini-Pool 2

Campbell & Miles BEAT Vila & Cripps 8 – 0

Vila & Cripps BEAT Foster & Longbottom 4 – 3

Campbell & Miles BEAT Foster & Longbottom 3 – 2

The stage was set, and for the first time ever we had not one, but two year 7s taking part in the final, a promising sign of things to come with many pupils now playing the game coming through the Prep School. It was to be a timed 8 minute game, and though Campbell and Gayton were certainly giants of the game it was once again the pupils who took the lead roles. Gayton & Doe drew first blood going 1 – 0 up thanks to some fine top-step defence from Gayton allowing Doe to secure the first point with a kill shot into the buttress. Campbell & Miles were unfazed however and upon going up to serve took the lead 2 – 1 thanks to some fine cut-returning from Bethan and support play of Campbell at the back of the court. Two booming cuts from Charlie Doe then put them back up to serve and again they pushed ahead 3 - 2, the first point coming from a slamming volley from Gayton against Campbell and the second from Doe off his left hand over the top of the buttress, a very difficult shot to pull off well! After some long and high quality rallies Campbell & Miles went back into pole position; Campbell found a comfortable ledge sitting under the wall as his partner dominated the game from the back of the court taking on mid-court vollies left and right handed, some into the buttress while others pushed Mr Gayton deep off the back of the court to retrieve. This resulted in two quick points for them taking them ahead again 4 – 3. With time ebbing away Gayton & Doe had one last chance to push ahead but unfortunately couldn’t manage to kill the ball allowing Campbell to make use of his go-go-gadget arms to lean out and retrieve many of the loose balls off the buttress face. The final whistle went and for the first time ever we had a female winner of the prestigious Dossi Dish.

FINA

George Campbell & Bethan Miles BEAT Theo Gayton & Charlie Doe 4 – 3

There are number of individuals I must thank for making this such a wonderful event as always; firstly to the catering staff and Aramark for putting on the BBQ for all to enjoy. To Catherine Dow and James Morrison (11Be) for taking the time to come along and take all the wonderful photos and video footage. To Ryan Perrie for helping make the tournament run so smoothly and efficiently. And finally to all the players, staff and pupils, who took the time to come along and support the event.

We’re hoping 2017 will be even bigger and better, with many secret allegiances being formed already!

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