REFCA U15s Individual and U14s Three Pair Cup

Howard Wiseman & Dominique Redmond report:

23/01/17: On Sunday the 22nd of January, two REFCA tournaments filled the 14 available courts at Harrow school.

The U15s individual competition saw an entry of 34 players from Harrow, Westminster, Aldenham, RGS High Wycombe, Highgate, St Olave's, Emanuel, Ipswich.

All the players competed together through six one-game matches; always randomly partnered up with different players against different opponents in each round - most frequently from other schools.

Most matches happened to be very well matched and it was noticeable how the standard of play improved throughout the afternoon as the confidence amongst all the players steadily grew.

At 5.20pm, six rounds had been completed and the top four scorers proceeded through to the final. The four most successful players were happily from four different schools. St.Olave's top scorer partnered a player from Ipswich School and they battled it out against players from Highgatel and the host school Harrow.

This was a fantastic, high quality and high scoring match. In the early stages the match was neck and neck. Great top step play and volleys from from the Highgate/Harrow combination allowed them to take the lead. The olavian and Ipswichian pair started to make a comeback with their back court play. Unfortunately some errors crept in and the Harrow and Highgate pair benefited from a run of points and won the match 12-7.

This was a fantastic performance from all players, especially the finalists.

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The U14s Three Pair Cup ran alongside the U15s Individual event. This was REFCA's fifth U14s three pair cup.

This year's competition saw five teams enter: Harrow, RGS High Wycombe, Ipswich, St Olave's and Highgate.

This was a closely contested competition. The talented RGS boys were very young and very inexperienced; but they held their own and competed with great spirit. Their quest to score more points than their other pairs spurred them on to remain competitive throughout the afternoon.

Early on in the completion two teams dominated and continued to do so. St Olave's, who were the previous winners, battled hard in a head to head with Highgate School. All three pairs ended in a nail biting 1-1 draw, so the final score between the teams was 3-3.

The remaining matches were played and all points mattered and the eventual winner would be the team with the most games won. As a result, all matches were hugely significant to the final result.

Highgate's last match against Ipswich was extremely close at first pair, with Highgate winning the first game and the second game going to the wire. Watching, were St.Olave's, hoping that Ipswich would take that second game to lead them to a clear victory, but the experience of the Highgate pair saw them to safety.

The top two scoring schools were therefore St. Olave's and Highgate schools, who were level on points/games won. The result therefore depended on the points won within each game in their head to head against each other, Highgate clinching the title by three points!

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Thank you so much to Graham Dunbar and Ian Hutchinson from Harrow School for allowing us use of the Harrow courts. A massive thank you as well to all masters in charge, especially Peter Boughton and Tony Stubbs who religiously enter all of our REFCA events, as well as David Mew/ Highgate school who made their first appearances this year in these events. It was also great to see RGS continuing to thrive, now under the new management of Anthony Silvey.

All our events for the season have been played and we will be running the same events and more in the 2017-18 season.

We wish you all success for the rest of the season and the Schools' National Championships in March.