Williams Cup Shared by Eton and St.Olave's
Mark Williams reports:
06/03/18: Eton and St Olave's shared the 2018 National Schools three pair team competition for the Williams Cup, where each school plays every other school in a round-robin over three pairs in two game matches.
It was a shame that Shrewsbury had to pull out, unable to travel because of the weather conditions, but there was plenty of fives at a high standard, all completed in good time.
Harrow were unable to bring three of their senior players, but nonetheless fought gamely all day; their first pair almost taking a game off Highgate, and their third pair almost taking a game off St Olave's.
Westminster beat Harrow and drew with Highgate; their first two pairs played very well all day, their first pair extending both Eton and St Olave's and taking a game off Highgate, and their second pair beating Hghgate.
Highgate beat Harrow and drew with Westminster, their first pair extended Eton and narrowly lost the first game against St Olave's, and their third pair competed strongly in both games against St Olave's.
Eton and St Olave's gained maximum points against the three weaker teams, both were missing one key player through injury and both included a young player in their strongest team: U16 Sathyiamoorthy for St Olave's, and U15 Russell for Eton. They had significantly more depth than the three other teams, and were extremely well matched in the final round. At third pair, St Olave' started well, but Eton reached step first in both games, before St Olave's rallied and stole both 12-11. At second pair, Eton won a well contested first game, before pulling away in the second before St Olave's retired through injury. At first pair, Eton led 7-5 in both games; in the first, St Olave's pulled away to win 12-9, but in the second Eton did not concede a further point. Thus the match was drawn, and both coaches agreed to share the trophy rather than decide it on points difference: a sensible and fitting conclusion.
St Olave's retained the trophy they won last year after a long gap, and won all four of the games they played on the day which finished 12-11. For retiring Eton coach Mike Hughes, it meant that Eton had won the trophy in five of his seven years at the College: an outstanding achievement.
Eton team: J.Thistlethwayte, F.Watt, K.Penny, F.Gordon-Clark, X.Watt, M.Russell and A.Backhouse.
St Olave's team: K.Walton, P.Sathyiamoorthy, S.Ujoodia, C.Stocks, W.Carew, S.Balaji and L.McLean.