Kinnaird Cup semi-finals: Same Again!
13/03/17: There were no surprises in the Kinnaird Cup semi-finals at Eton yesterday as the top two seeds Tom Dunbar & Seb Cooley and James Toop & Matthew Wiseman comfortably won through in straight games in front of a large crowd to reach the final on April 2nd, where they will play each other for the fourth year in succession.
Toop & Wiseman looked in imperious form right from the start, producing a near-flawless and error-free performance in the first two games against Old Westminsters Laurie Brock & Riki Houlden, in their first ever Kinnaird Cup semi-final. The Westminster pair were simply unable to make any impression on the experienced Olavians, who conceded only one point in the first two games, before letting their foot off the pedal a little in the third as Laurie & Riki began to get into the match, which James & Matt eventually won to 7.
The other semi-final was the other way round to a certain extent as Ed Taylor & Jonny Ho produced their best Fives in the first game before fading later on against six-times defending champions Tom Dunbar & Seb Cooley. The large crowd were royally entertained by lots of exciting and lengthy rallies, with the unforced error count again remarkably low. Ed has plenty of experience at this level and knows his own game inside out, but this was Jonny's first appearance at this stage of the competition and he certainly didn't look out of place. It would be a surprise if we didn't see a lot more of him at the sharp end of this competition in years to come. Ultimately, though, the class and sheer relentless excellence of Dunbar & Cooley wore away the challengers' resistance and they advanced to the final 12-5, 12-2, 12-2.
It is a remarkable statistic that James Toop and Tom Dunbar have faced each other in every single Kinnaird final bar one since 2003; this year will mark James's 17th appearance in the final and his 11th playing with Matt Wiseman; for Tom it will be a 16th consecutive final appearance and an opportunity to extend his record number of victories to 13 while Seb will be looking to maintain his 100% success rate in Kinnaird finals as he and Tom go for their seventh consecutive win together, with thoughts maybe beginning to turn to the all-time record of ten consecutive wins set by John Reynolds and Brian Matthews from 1981-1990.
The final will take place at Eton at 2:30pm on Sunday April 2nd and all spectators are welcome. It should be well worth watching!
T.Dunbar & S.Cooley (1) beat E.Taylor & J.Ho (5) 3-0 (12-5, 12-2, 12-2)
J.Toop & M.Wiseman (2) beat L.Brock & R.Houlden (6) 3-0 (12-1, 12-0, 12-7)