150 Up for REFCA

28/11/16: Two more hugely successful REFCA junior tournaments took place over the weekend, with Sunday's U12 Individual Tournament their 150th competition.

Howard Wiseman & Dominique Redmond report:

The 7th REFCA National U13 tournament took place at Eton College on Friday 25th of November.

Ipswich School, Sunningdale, Summer Fields, St.Olave's, RGS High Wycombe and Holyport all took part.

All sixteen courts were full with 70 girls and boys competing for the title, which had been won the previous year by Sunningdale. It was particularly pleasing to welcome Holyport for the first time. The event started with qualifying pools which streamed pairs into either the "Main" event, or the "Festival". In this way, all players were busy competing throughout most of the day, with only semi-finalists gaining another round whilst the rest of the field either watched or played friendlies. The Festival semis featured Ipswich 4 vs Sunningdale 7 and Sunningdale 4 vs RGS 3. The result was a final between RGS 3 and Ipswich 4, which was won by the RGS boys in a superb contest.

The Main tournament provided two nail-biting semi-finals. Sunningdale 2 managed to defeat Sunningdale 1 in a most hard-fought and dazzling display of Fives. The level of skill for players so young was most impressive. 15-14 was the almost inevitable scoreline in a match that could have gone either way. Meanwhile, Summer Fields 1 won 15-9 against St.Olave's 1; a great match displaying very different styles of play and just a few too many errors from the less experienced Olavians.

The final was another amazing display from both pairs! Summer Fields were forced to play the best fives of their young careers so far to keep up with the now supremely confident Sunningdale 2nd pair. Great cut returns and decisive volleying flowed from both pairs, but Summer Fields pulled away towards the end and won the trophy for the first time with a 15-11 victory.

It was a fabulous day of Fives, and a pleasure to see so many young players enjoying themselves so much!

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REFCA U12 Individual competition – Sunday 27th November

On Sunday 27th November REFCA ran its 150th tournament

This tournament was the U12 individual event which saw over 100 players entered (97 on the day) from:

Ipswich
Emanuel
Highgate
Belmont
St. Olave’s
RGS High Wycombe
Berkhamsted Prep

Although some usual entrants were absent, we recorded our highest entry to date with a very large number of both boys and girls. It was particularly pleasing to welcome Highgate School for the very first time.

This tournament runs in the same way as the U14s event; all players are given a number at the beginning of the day and were set to play 6 one set matches with the top 4 scorers making it to the final. All players are randomly partnered up and against different players from different schools for each round.

As always, there were many players that had won all their matches up to the penultimate round. The 6th and final round is full of surprises and always causes havoc and dashed some players' chances of making the final. This year was no different.

At the end of round five, 12 players had won all their matches. At the end of round 6, this number had been reduced to 8.

As always, when we have more than four players winning all their matches, it is then decided by a "penalty shoot-out". This involves each player having two chances to hit the ball from back court into the buttress having hit the front wall first. After a brutal shoot-out, four boys finalists prevailed; these coming from four different schools: Emanuel, Ipswich, Highgate and Berkhamsted Prep School.

This was a very closely contested match with a very nervous start. The final saw some amazing cut returns from the Ipswich player, amazing volleys from the Berkhamstedian and great back court play from the Emanuel and Highgate players.

The match was eventually won by the Emanuel and Ipswich combination, 12-7.

Due to the large number of school girls in the draw; a girls final was played. Three girls had secured their place in the final with one spot up for grabs through a penalty shoot-out. This would decide the fate of the three players in joint fourth position.

The final consisted of two pairs that were both a combination of an Ipswich player partnering a Berkhamsted player - much to the delight of the relevant coaches who enjoyed the sensation of guaranteed victory. This final certainly did not disappoint; all girls on court showed a great amount of skill and played some exceptional fives. You could say that no school lost but the pairing of the two Millies won.

Today's tournament ensured lots of fives for all; and all coaches could see the improvement of their players throughout the day. This format is fantastic as it really does promote interaction between schools, fair play and allows the players to play with and against others of different styles and characters!

The trophies were awarded by the EFA Chairman, Richard Black. We thank him very much for his support on the day.

I would like to thanks Mike Hughes and Eton College for allowing us to use their courts. I would also like to say a big thank you to the parents and Masters-in-charge and coaches for giving up their Sunday to take part this is event and support the children - thank you all!

Our next REFCA tournaments are on the 22nd January where there will be an U15s Individual event and an U14s three pair team cup.

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