REFCA Youngsters Aim High
Howard Wiseman & Dominique Redmond report:
Nov 2016: The season has got off to a great start and November is a busy month for REFCA's school tournament scene.
On the 13th November REFCA ran our U14s Tournament. This is one tournament that is very popular and has been running for over 15 years. Throughout the time the tournament has run I think that we have had the majority of the Fives-playing schools enter and schools have travelled far and wide from the north coast of Wales, Birmingham, Ipswich and many more.
This is a unique event which allows schools to enter players on an individual basis. Players are given a number and are randomly drawn up and against different players from the other schools that have entered. This type of system is great for making friends in other schools, playing with and against different styles and characters as well as promoting sportsmanship and getting the best out of your partner.
Due to this event being in high demand and attracting entries of up to 86 players we have now successfully introduced this event in the U12, U15 and U16 age brackets and will be offering U18s next season also.
In our recent U14s event we had players from St Olave’s, Emanuel, Harrow, Ipswich, RGS High Wycombe, Aldenham and also Alleyn’s School, who play Rugby Fives.
All players in this event play 6 one set matches with the top 4 players playing in a final. This year’s event was exceptional with a very high level of play with only 1 player winning all their matches; the 3 other finalists only dropped a few points across the 6 sets.
The final was the closest to date with 4 different schools in the final – it was Ipswich School and Alleyn's School facing St Olave’s and RGS High Wycombe. This match was neck and neck all the way with Alleyn's and Ipswich snatching the win by a point to win 12-11.
The improvement, and indeed excitement, was evident in all of the children throughout the day.
On Thursday 17th November we held the “Southern Schools U14s Championships”. This was hosted at Harrow School to whom we are very thankful - a special thanks to Graham Dunbar and Ian Hutchinson for all their help.
Since re-introducing this tournament over 7 years ago as a pairs beginners’ event, the number of entries has ballooned. This was originally hosted, wonderfully, at Charterhouse (very many thanks to John Troy for this), but more courts were needed, hence the move to Harrow. This move allowed us to also introduce an “experienced” players section.
This year’s event saw 11 pairs compete in the beginners' section and 16 pairs in the experts' section.
All players played loads of Fives and the event finished as expected at 6.05pm.
The beginners' final was contested between Ipswich 1 and Aldenham 2. The Ipswich pair were very consistent and won all their matches and Aldenham 2 reached the final by 1 point with Charterhouse’s 2nd pair in close contention. The last round of matches decided who took the 2nd spot in the final. This was a fantastic match that showed a very high level of fives for just one term’s play. Ipswich’s small, but very powerful and skillful pair took the title with a 12-6 win.
The experts' final was contested by 2 pairs that won every pool match, dropping very few points. This set up what was an exceptional final between Ipswich 1 and St. Olave’s 1. The match was neck and neck all the way. The St. Olave’s pair managed to get a run of points at 9-9 to reach match point. There were several tense rallies and St. Olave’s 1 managed to secure the win.
This was a great event which offered plenty of Fives for all. It was great to see so many beginners playing to a great level and to have so many schools take part (Aldenham, Charterhouse, Emanuel, Ipswich, RGS and Emanuel).
Thank you to all the Masters-In-Charge for giving up their time and making the effort to come to these events for the benefit of your pupils.