2017/18 Club Reports
Read on to see what the clubs thought of the 2017/18 season. Missing reports should hopefully be added in shortly!
2017 Aldenham Tournament winners; Fancy Dress Fives; Easter Sunday Ladder
The Aldenham Fives Club (The Heath) had another busy year with our ladder competition proving ever popular.
The ladder is played every six weeks and is particularly popular with four to five courts regularly filled. Each winner is awarded the Phil Marsh Trophy which they retain until the next ladder competition. These evenings are rounded off with a meal at the Akash Indian Restaurant which is always well attended by players and non-players alike!
The annual Heath Tournament for the James Fredenham Trophy was won by Andrew Rennie and Karen Hird (helping her to become EFA Player of the Year). The 2017 winners’ shirts were bright orange and not for the faint-hearted.
The club play every Tuesday evening throughout the year (only Christmas and New Year preventing the full 52 sessions) and players from other clubs are very welcome to join us.
Silver Salver and Richard Bourne Trophy winners
The Brigands continued to attract locals to the fives courts at Charterhouse School. We meet on a Wednesday night from 7.00pm and fill about 3 courts from September to April each year. Fives is followed by a meal or a drink at the Stag at Eashing, Surrey.
Fives was played regularly with Charterhouse School thanks to the masters John Troy and Jonny Nelmes. Owen Chisholm joined Cranleigh School and we managed one match with them and hope to develop this more next year.
Other friendly matches are held at Eton against Aldenham Club, Windsor & Eton and North Oxford and end with a meal afterward down Eton High Street. The Silver Salver and the Bourne Trophy are our internal competitions held in January and March which were hotly contested and are reported on separately. The popular winners this season were Rod Smart and Mark Platt with Stuart Clarke winning the Bourne Trophy. Congratulations to them, all winners for the first time. The end of season dinner at the Stag was also a big success with about 30 players and partners.
From a standing start of just four players at the start of last season, the Chroniclers have steadily grown in numbers and now total 30 regular players of which two thirds have taken up the game from scratch.
Many started in October last year and are now playing regular games on Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings.
With the huge increase in the number of schools now playing regularly during the week in Cambridge, we expect that several parents will also start appearing. Our hopes are that we shall soon reach 50 regular players and expect this number to keep on growing such is the obvious popularity of the game and word of mouth now accounts for many more enquiring about playing.
Cuppers winners; Universities Finalists; Varsity Match teams
It’s been a good year in Cambridge fives starting with a strong intake of people from the Freshers Fair which led nicely into the reimagined Cuppers tournament – this year a cross-code competition for novices played across both Eton and Rugby Fives courts resulting in an interesting mix of styles from the respective clubs.
We had some good representation in the tournaments across the year with pairs entering the U25s, U21s, Universities tournaments. In another new fixture for this year, we had the inaugural match between Cambridge and the combined London universities with a total of 7 pairs taking part. Two weeks before Varsity, this proved to be a good benchmark of performance before the match against Oxford in which we can boast some success in the Ladies’ 6th pair. The rest of the matches demonstrated room for improvement, but I’m sure that’s exactly what will occur next year.
I can not claim to have a totally accurate record of games played but I can certainly attest to many occasions when the Jesters were triumphant. It must be said though that from time to time having 4 jesters on court did aid our ability to 'win'.
I think over the years we have developed a more nuanced approach to what constitutes success, with our basis firmly in the enjoyment camp. I hope we continued to deliver that brand of fives. Myself and Ronald Pattison have taken much pleasure from the whole season, seeing a number of new players contribute significantly and a strong contribution from our female contingent.
The number of games continues to creep up and I encourage anyone who would like to play or organise or suggest new ideas to be in touch. One solid piece of progress this year has been a firmer footing at Cambridge. Traditionally we have struggled to raise sides at that wonderful venue, but with the ambition and tenacity of Nick Preston I think we are once and for all getting there.
Finally a big thank you to Ronald for again steering us through the season successfully and to you all for helping make it fun. That is, after all, what matters.
Ladies Championships runners-up; The Ladywell trophy; Lancing Tournament players; Barber Cup semi-final action
The Lancing Tuesday Night Club 2017/2018 season has been a good one with experienced players combining with youth.
The year started with the highly successful and well supported Lancing September weekend.The newly commissioned Cathryn Black Ladywell Trophy was won by Hoskins senior and Wiseman junior.
An OL team took part in the EFA trophy at Eton in November and did not finish last.
Since then regular Tuesday night fives has been played with young OLs Ed Habershon and Matt Davis giving the older players a good workout.
A couple of days for your diary:
30 August 2018- New Lancing pupil fives induction day planned and orchestrated by Howard Wiseman .
Thanks must go to Lancing college for letting us use the courts and to Rob Cooper for keeping things going during the cricket season.
Tuesday night contacts:
London Universities team v Cambridge; London players at the Universities Mixed
No report received yet
We have been running two regular sessions on Sunday morning and Thursday since September 2017.
On Sundays we usually have two courts playing, with a mixture of students from St.Barts and adult players, many of whom are newcomers to the game. We have some 30 players on our Sunday mailing list, with a regular core group of around 4-6 players who play weekly or fortnightly. Over a third of our Sunday players are students from the St.Barts or from local schools in the area.
On Thursday, we have usually one active court, occasionally two. These are mostly adult players, again a mixture of new comers and some people returning to the game after several years. The Thursday list consists of another 5-6 players who come fairly regularly plus a few others who come occasionally, depending on business or family commitments.
There is an increasing trend, of people bringing friends to try the game, pupils at the school bringing parents who have never played and other word of mouth newcomers.
Following the successful bid with the Greenham Common Trust, we have recruited and selected a coach/organiser who will be working to expand the game within the school, and to continue to build a community of Fives players both in Newbury and the Thames Valley Area. He will be starting on June 1st.
Pre-Season tourists at Friston Place; 2017 Superleague winners; 2017 Richard Black Cup winners; Division 1 action at Aldenham
Easter Sunday Ladder at Aldenham; Over 50s Champions; Division 2 action at Highgate; EFA Player of the Year & Ladies Champion again
The notion of a Fives season is becoming increasingly anomalous for North Oxford as Fives becomes more and more of an all year round business.
The summer of 2017 saw a great deal of activity before the start of the competitive campaign, with an epic win for the Aston House Thoroughbreds in the Westway Summer Superleague – a first triumph for us in the competition since 2010, a weekend tour taking in the courts at Torry Hill, High Elms, Friston Place and Sunningdale, the annual club barbecue at Broughton Castle in Oxfordshire and a week in Provence for several members of the club playing in the Paume Artignoscaise World Cup.
Our weekly Monday evening sessions at Summer Fields in Oxford have undergone something of a renaissance this year with numbers high – over 50 different players have appeared on a Monday evening at some point during the year – and a welcome influx of new blood such as Summer Fields gap year coach Sam Mcloughlin (along with an enthusiastic and talented assortment of antipodean SF gappers), newcomers Rachel Wood and Ian Brown and Old Uppinghamians Robert Thorogood and Matt Chinery. There has also been a welcome return for the maestro himself, EFA Chairman Chris Davies, as well as more regular appearances from the likes of Jon Staley, Martin Fiennes, Jake Ryde, David Cox, Dharmin Naik, Faye Kerr, Joe Da Costa, Sarah Greasley, Noah Caplin and various Turnbulls. With long-standing regulars Gareth Hoskins, Andy Bishop, Chris Lloyd and Stefan Nowinski all donning the gloves more often than not, the discussion has tended to turn to when Summer Fields are going to build us more courts rather than where are we going to find new players from. Even Spencer Chapman has turned up occasionally.
With the player base as strong as ever we once again embarked on a season that saw us play around 50 fixtures and enter teams in all three divisions, finishing fourth, third and second respectively. The Division 1 side suffered a little from our resident professional Seb Cooley only being available for a handful of matches but when he did play he certainly made a difference. With Phil Roper also sidelined for much of the year due to injury and work commitments, it was left to the old guard and the Oxford student brigade to lead the charge and this they did in splendid fashion, just about exceeding last year’s Division 1 points total and putting in consistently competitive performances. James Piggot, Tom Kirkby, Sam Oppenheimer, James Cobb and Noah Caplin all produced some fine performances for the club – an Oppenheimer/Piggot five game win at first pair away to the Olavians in Orpington a particular highlight – while Gareth Hoskins, Chris “The Wizard of Wolverhampton” Austin, Robert Wilson, Karen Hird, “Grandad” Graham Pulsford, Chris Davies and Pete Scholey all played regularly, frequently (although not always) doing more than just making up the numbers, with Pete and Graham surely setting records as the first Over 60s to win in Division 1 together as a pair and the oldest players to win at first pair in the top flight (we like setting Seb a challenge sometimes). There were also important contributions from Ashley Lumbard, Chris Ballingall, Spencer Chapman, Nathan Turnbull and Charlotta Cooley.
The Division 2 title challenge was slightly scuppered by a Hoskins ankle, a Staley sniffle and a Scholey mechanical issue but was otherwise a roaring success with some cracking matches, a wide variety of players taking part and an astonishingly large number of sticky toffee puddings consumed. Now in its second season, our Division 3 team, led by NOEFC President Andy Bishop, settled nicely into its multiple roles of providing some highly sociable Fives, putting out sides with a 50/50 gender balance, giving competitive opportunities for our newer or returning players and producing a few Ws for the Bishop win percentage on the club stats list. These matches also shone the spotlight on a few players keen to improve and move up the ladder, with the likes of Stephen Thatcher, Robert Thorogood and Old Summerfieldians (and current Etonians) Alfred Backhouse and Ben Porter all catching the eye at various times.
Elsewhere, the club once again put in a solid performance in the EFA Trophy, the team of Sam Mcloughlin, Adam Aslam-Baskeyfield, Spencer Chapman, Karen Hird, Chris Lloyd and David Cox qualifying for the last four with a dramatic come from behind miracle draw against London Universities in the group stages. For the third year in a row, however, we came off second best in the knockout stages against local rivals Oxford University, who deservedly went on to win the competition.
The highlight of the season came early on with the team’s first ever win in the Richard Black Cup. After four successive defeats in the final against the all-conquering Highgate team, this was finally our year as the tables were turned with a convincing 3-0 win in the final over the same opponents. The team of Karen Hird, Harry Asquith, Sarah Greasley, Francesca Turnbull, Mandie Barnes and Faye Kerr were magnificent all day, coming top in Group A with four wins out of four before seeing off the dangerous Shrewsbury team 2-1 in the semi-finals and then hitting top form in the final to win the trophy. A magnificent achievement.
There were individual highlights too: Seb won everything as usual, Karen won her sixth ladies title in a row and was named EFA Player of the Year and the Chrises won back the Over 50s title for the first time since 2013. The Summer Fields production line of future NOEFC players was also functioning well with Alfred Backhouse winning the U16s, Henry Daly the U14s and Sebastian Corso & Gus Stanhope the U13s at the schools’ championships.
It is also embedded in North Oxford’s DNA that we try and play as many friendly matches in as many different places as possible; as well as the 2017 southern tour, we’ve also managed to play at the likes of Shrewsbury, Cambridge, KES Birmingham, Marlborough, Mill Hill and Charterhouse this year and this summer will see a northern tour, taking in Rossall, St.Bees and Sedbergh as well as a return trip to Artignosc.
Derek Whitehead Trophy players and winners; Mark Blundell & Alex Rattan in Division 1 action
No report received yet
U25 Finalists; Universities Winners; Richard Barber Cup team; Ladies Championships runners-up
Kinnaird & Northern runners-up; U21 champions; The OC Hucks Cup team; OCs at the Vets including champion Marco Rimini
The main take-away from the season was that we learnt how to make it snow. No dance or spell required, simply arrange a fixture against North Oxford. Three times our home Div 1 fixture was postponed, twice due to snow. Even our return leg against N.O at Aldenham was played in sub-zero temperatures surrounded by the white stuff. Coincidence? I think not. Next year we play on Christmas day.
The club is proud to have seen a variety of strong performances on this year’s tournament circuit. Highlights included the Bhattacharya brothers fighting tooth and nail in the Kinnaird and the underdogs Joe Marks and Niifio Addy vaulting into the London quarters. Jonny Ho, partnered with OW Riki Houlden, stormed into his first two major finals this season in the Northern and Kinnaird - a fantastic achievement. Emily Scoones and Ashley Lumbard also showed more impressive form in reaching their second consecutive Ladies National final. Despite falling at the final hurdles all showcased terrific fives and make their mark at the top of both women’s and men’s games.
Congratulations must go to the OC Ladies currently playing at Oxford University (Marjolaine Briscoe, Carolina Valensise, Helen Pugh and Georgia Allen) who have all thrived this year and contributed to Oxford University’s fives successes. Between them they boast an impressive haul of the U21, Universities and Mixed Universities titles. The only trophy they didn’t manage to get their hands on was the U25s which was won by fellow OCs Eve Smith-Bingham and Phoebe Bracken.
This seemed like another seminal season to further the club’s most recent renaissance, not least due to the club’s evergreen players. In the Vet’s Guy Chapman and Niifio Addy teamed up to make a very formidable pair just losing out to Maro Rimini and his partner in the Open category. Meanwhile, the Over-50s was won by current EFA president Chris Davies. We are thoroughly pleased to have seen great progress in connecting with more Cholmeleian players from all over the country and meeting some great names from the club’s history. This included the revival of the Hucks Cup, a historic match between the Old Citizens and the Old Cholms, which bore our team’s first piece of silverware of the season.
Although there were no top league finishes, the Old Cholmeleian squad can take encouragement into the next season. The club was represented at most of the tournaments and grows in size, strength and history. Thanks to all the players involved whose commitment and enthusiasm have made for an easy captains’ life.
The Citizens Hucks Cup team; EFA Award winner Chris Ballingall; 125 Not Out; JPR at Lord's
The OCEFC has been celebrating its 125th birthday this year. The central event was a gala dinner in the Long Room at Lord's. More than 180 Old Citizens, representatives from CLS and friends from around the fives world (including representatives from 16 old boy clubs) attended the event, which was even recorded on the ground's huge electronic score boards.
That weekend we also held our annual contest for the Adams Cup (which we've held most years since the late 1920s) which attracted 32 players, suitably enough for the eight courts at Highgate.
We also played a five-pair match against the Old Zuozers at Eton for the Hawken Garrett Cup, named after two pillars of the OC generation which brought the club back to life after the war and who started visiting Zuoz in the 1950s.
Earlier in the month a six-pair match against the Old Cholmeleians revived the Hucks Cup. This is a trophy presented some 50 years ago to be competed for by the two clubs but it's been languishing in Richard Smethers's cupboard for many years and it took Emily Scoones to retrieve it from him.
We were knocked out in the first round of the Barber Cup by the Westminsters, but came fourth in the second division of the league and won the third division.
In May we had another weird-courts tour to the West Country, the central feature of which was the splendid four-buttress court at King's College Taunton. We also toured some of the magnificent sandstone 18th and 19th century fives walls in Somerset.
The club has a knockabout every Thursday evening at Highgate - all eight courts are often full with ourselves, old and young Cholmeleians and others including a contingent from the LSE - and we welcome all-comers.
Anybody interested in joining us should contact Ralph Morgan or John Reynolds.
It has been another quiet season for the Old Eds, with very minimal activity. We are becoming better at gymnastics than Fives, as KES continues to find new hoops for us to jump through before allowing us on the school courts. There is reason for optimism, however, and we hope that we will be playing properly again before 2018 is out.
U25 winners; U21 champions; Universities champions
This year has been very difficult from start to finish for OEFC, with a host of injuries and students snowed under ahead of final year exams. There has been optimism about the future of OE Fives for a few years now given the calibre of recent school pairs - and next year should see the first of the golden years descend on London post-university. There is the project of better things to come. Encouragingly, players who have not represented OEFC in a while stepped into the breach this year; Guy Thompson, James Bingham and Ben Bygott-Webb were our most frequent representatives on court and have improved greatly. Additionally, Tom McCall and Walter Beckett paired up twice, defeating OW2 in their first run out.
In the Alan Barber Cup, the luck of the draw went against us this year, producing a fixture vs Old Harrovians in the first round. Harrow triumphed 2-1. Tom Kirkby and James Cobb represented us at first, but came up against the Dunbar treatment, losing out 3-0. Alex Illingworth and Alex Knight lost 3-0 at second pair, in a game which was much closer than that scoreline could suggest. Both sets 2 and 3 went to step at 12, but Harrow held on both times. At pair three, Arthur Wellesley and Barnaby Harrison produced a stunning performance to win out 3-2.
The match at Oxford University has become a real highlight of the OEFC calendar. Not three but four pairs took part, including performances from Mike Hughes and Ralph Oliphant Callum. The fixture betrays the startling rate with which OE fives players seemingly gain entrance to Oxford. Under Michael Constantinidi’s detailed oversight and generous patronage, this afternoon was a tremendous celebration of Oxford Etonian fives players.
150 Years of Fives at Harrow; Another London, Northern & Kinnaird "Triple Crown"; U21 champions
Another excellent season in many ways and it has been very pleasing to see Rahul Wijeratne and Oskar Denby firmly established into our first team.
The League was chaotic and the constant postponement of matches by opposition a complete frustration. A balanced programme is arranged and we ended up with six rearranged matches at non-ideal times but none of this detracts from a superb finale in which the deserved winners, Old MillHillians, won an excellent third pair match to prevent the Old Harrovians from retaining the trophy.
Attempts to organise a second league team failed this year but it remains on the agenda.
The Barber Cup draw was again tricky with away fixtures at Eton and Wolverhampton. Last minute illness meant that our weakened side lost 2-3 in the deciding pair in the West Midlands.
Tom Dunbar (and Seb Cooley) continued his run of successes in the major tournaments but was given a scare in the semi-final of the Kinnaird by Peter Dunbar (and George Campbell). It was a shame that this match was not seen by more spectators as it was the highest standard match of the tournament by a considerable margin.
The Old Harrovians are delighted with progress within the school and look forward to integrating the many promising players at Harrow into the ranks during the years ahead.
Graves Cup dinner; Richard Black team; Ipswichians at Repton
Richard Barber Cup team; Midlands festival winners; Over 60s champions
With three wins from nine matches, the OI's league results cannot be claimed as a roaring success, but the club's real chievement continues to be managing to turn out sides from a small player pool. These days OI Fives is more Ipswich based than used to be the case, with well attended Wednesday evening sessions throughout the year, so getting out three pairs for a midweek evening in London is not easy. Tim Gregory and Peter Boughton showed impressive commitment in this respect, travelling from Ipswich to play.
Eleven OIs played in the league and four eligible guests helped out at least once. The most appearances came from Will Gibbons (7), Tom Fletcher and Peter Boughton (6 each), Tim Gregory (5) and John Caudle and Nick Bunyan (4 each). Will, Tom and Tim were the bcakbone of the top two pairs on most occasions.
A home first round tie against the Old Cholmeleians prompted some thoughts of a rare Alan Barber Cup win but some key players were not available. Going down 1-2 hinted at what might have been.
To the club's credit, Ois and some Ipswich pupils featured well in most national tournaments with representatives in the latter stages of several plate competitions. In the Ladies championships, Tim Gregory's daughters - Charlotte and Natasha - came second in the festival and Eloise Carter (OI) confirmed her status as a leading player by reaching the semis of the main competition with Harriet Asquith. OIs dominated the latter stages of the Midlands Festival where Steve Burnell, with John Cooley, triumphed over Eloise and Will Carron. OI teams reached the semis of the Richard Black Cup and the EFA Trophy and Eloise Carter popped up again as Plate A winner of the Mixed tournament, this time in partnership with Ipswich pupil Isaac Weaver.Appropriately, Team Hoskins made it to the semis of the Mike Fenn plate at the Aberconway Cup. In contrast to the heartening achievements of sons, daughters and school pupils, Peter Boughton and Simon Woolfries retained their Over 60s title at the Veterans and remain the only pair to have won at each age group in that tournament.
The spirit of OI Fives is most evident at the annual Graves Cup in Ipswich in early January which has already been well reported. This year's winners were a promising youngster with an eye-cathcing flare for the game, by the name of S.Cooley, in partnership with the even younger schoolboy Harry Banks.
Summers Cup players and winners; Midlands Tournament champions; U21 Plate winners
League action on the Mill Hill courts; Division 1 winners
This was an outstanding season for the OMs, with the club winning Division 1 and finishing second in Division 2. The Division 1 side, led by Sunil Tailor had a strong top six of Sunil himself, Vish Bhimjiyani, Charlie Plummer (Upper VI), Andrew Rennie, Jitesh Patel and Oli Sander, all of whom played the majority of matches which meant that we were always competitive across the pairs. In Division 2 the side was slightly more varied, but was always stronger in the absence of the two senior pros, Chris Vincent and James Hutcheson.
Probably the most pleasing aspect of the season was that not a single pair was conceded across both divisions - this is perhaps the most reliable indicator of a club’s strength. That said, there still needs to be a focus on recruitment of younger players, with not enough recent leavers playing more than intermittently at best. There is a strong link between the club and the school, and schoolboys are given plenty of opportunity to play for the league side, but it is vital that we maintain contact with them when they are at university, and give them every opportunity to play on their return.
In terms of individual achievements, we had Kinnaird quarter finalists in Vish and Jitesh, and Sunil (playing with Ed Taylor of the Old Salopians). We are still waiting for an OMs player to break into the last four of one of the majors. Andrew Rennie (the school coach) and recent leaver Hal Gibson won the Midlands competition, beating Howard Wiseman (a former Kinnaird winner) and his partner in the final, so this was a fantastic achievement, and the first time a Millhillian pair have won the main competition of an adult tournament. Schoolboys Charlie Plummer and Iain reached the quarter final of the schools open competition, and although they were disappointed to fall at this hurdle they have had a cracking season, both for the school and for the OMs and we look forward to them both becoming mainstays of the club on their return from university (although I note Iain Kidd might play for North Oxford during his gap year as a fives coach - what exactly are the league rules on poaching, Gareth?)
Charlie also won the EFA Young Player of the Season award at the EFA end of season dinner which is a fantastic achievement.
Thanks as always go to Steve Plummer and Andrew Rennie for their efforts with the school players. There would be no players, and therefore no club without what they do.
We are looking forward to the 2018-19 season where we hope for more of the same!
Alan Barber Cup winners; London, Northern & Kinnaird champions; Ladies champions
Mixed winners; Richard Barber Cup winners; League action at Orpington
No report received yet
U25 Plate winners; Grant Williams Invitational; Alan Barber Cup runners-up; All-Salopian clash at the Northern
EFA Trophy finalists; Aberconway Cup winners; U25 runners-up; Veterans champion and Lifetime Achievement award winner
Highlights – Alan Barber Cup Finalists, EFA Trophy Finalists, Division 1 – 3rd place, Richard Barber Cup semi-finalists, Veterans Winners, Aberconway Cup Winners, Under 21 Finalist in both men and women's competitions, Under 25 finalists.
There has been a real sense of determination among the players to improve and kick on this year and our results have shown that hard work and dedication can get you far in this game. The OSEFC has always been sociable and has had pockets of success that have largely been intermittent with ‘almost’ years.
We are working hard to reach the goals of the club – notably to win the flagship tournament the Alan Barber Cup, and the second team version theEFA Trophy, while also building the club to cater for all standards and ages, bringing people who have been out the game for some time back, and finding new talent that has recently left school. The Salopian women’s game is thriving and although still in its infancy, this will grow considerably over the coming years and the results this year at school and Old Girls level have been outstanding. Furthermore, we have four Salopians in various teaching roles, allowing them to also coach fives.
We have built our ties with the school this year, playing competitions and a league match with the school boys, as well as introducing the Grant Williams Invitational which saw 56 Old Salopians, Shrewsbury students, and friends of fives for a fixture that filled all fourteen courts at Shrewsbury School. We have been focusing on building ties with the school (never an easy feat given the geography!) and this new weekend of fives will go a long way towards creating a link between current boys and old boys to ensure that OSEFC continues to flourish. We also resurrected the historic Salopian North v South competition in which the North were victorious. There are also rumours that the Salopians will be making a pilgrimage to Grillon in 2019.
A key part of our club is reconnecting with fives players who may have not played for some time and we continue to provide an environment to allow them to enjoy fives at any level. Two particular success stories were Jeremy Lees and Martin Griffiths, who had not played since 1984, taking part on the Grant Williams Invitational.
Thanks to all that have committed so much of their time to our club this year. We will once again celebrate our successes at our end of season dinner in June.
The Old Uppinghamians are playing regularly at the school once a term at least as a group and more and more OUs are playing regularly around the country and really enjoying it. The annual Dinner is increasing in popularity - we have over 60 coming to Cambridge in September and I expect about 30 playing on the day. We are also expecting about 20 to play in the OU game v The School in November.
Richard Black Cup team; Kinnaird & Northern runners-up; Richard Barber Cup runners-up; U25 winners
The Old Westminster Division 1 team faced the innumerable challenges of the topmost league head-on this season: highlights included a 3-0 victory over the Old Berkhamstedians, and a slew of 1st pair wins. It was particularly heartening to be joined on so many occasions by several of the top Westminster School players, who not only proved their mettle in the Kinnaird Cup and National Schools’ Championships, but also their enthusiasm for league fives, proudly representing Westminster’s particular brand of artfully lackadaisical schoolboy fives in both Divisions 1 and 2.
It was a season of two halves for the Old Westminster Division 2 side, with the main achievement being that these two halves did ultimately summate to produce a whole, completed season. In very British fashion, the OW team celebrated finishing the fixture list on a respectable nil points—rather than the negative double digits for which they seemed destined — after a series of administrative forfeitures were systematically undone. Grateful thanks go to the OWs’ fellow Division 2 clubs, whose magnanimity and generous fivesing spirit made this possible.
Our thanks are also due to Freddie Krespi and Laurie Brock, who, after several years each at the helm of the OW teams, are both passing on the reins as they look to expand their horizons beyond the Westminster courts.
Despite not necessarily reaching the upper echelons of the EFA leagues, the Old Westminsters were on great form at tournaments throughout the year. This was achieved both as a team — the mostly floppy-haired squad having ironic success in both Barber Cups despite their apparent aversion to haircuts, reaching the finals of the Richard Barber Cup in their debut, and making a strong quarter-final appearance in the Alan Barber Cup against eventual winners the Old Olavians — and individually, with stand-out performances in the Mixed Championship finals, the Ladies Championship semi-finals, and the London Tournament quarter-finals.
Particular congratulations go to Riki Houlden, who followed up a sterling appearance in the Northern Tournament final with Old Cholmeleian Jonny Ho by becoming the first OW to compete in a Kinnaird Cup final since TG Lund in 1936. Riki was also nominated for EFA Player of the Year, alongside OW Matt Lewin’s nomination for EFA Coach of the Year as a result of his outstanding efforts at Westway.
The Old Westminster Ladies made their presence felt this season throughout the calendar, from the Aberconway Cup to the Varsity Match. There were also plenty of breakthrough moments and a number of notable firsts: there was a female presence on court for all of the OW Division 2 games played this season; the Andrew Aitken Trophy (a.k.a. the Westminster Cup) had its first female recipient, with Elana Osen winning alongside organiser Laurie Brock; and for the very first time a full, bona fide Westminster team was fielded at the Richard Black Cup. Hopefully in the seasons to come these achievements will be commonplace as the OW ladies, and the OW contingent in general, continue to reach new heights.
The Wulfrunians in Alan Barber Cup and EFA Trophy action
2017/18 has been an exciting year again for the club.
In team competitions, there have been more highs than lows this season. Our best run in recent history to the Barber Cup semis was ground out with victories over the Aldenhamians & Harrovians on our own courts. The highlight of these matches was most definitely Mark Yates & Andy Husslebee's epic 5-set win in the 2nd round over the Harrovians (both of whom were Schools Open winners) to take us narrowly through to the semi final. This saw us up against the all-conquering Olavians and despite a strong effort, we came up short in the first 2 pairs with Mark Yates (Snr) and Andy Husslebee salvaging some pride with a draw at 3rd pair.
EFA Trophy qualifying was another tough day this year as the competition continues to improve it's strength in depth. We very nearly caught the Ipswichians to the 4th qualifying spot, but their 2-1 victory over us proved vital in putting us out of the tournament. Special thanks need to go to Andrew White & Tom Tsang for guest starring for us on a long, but enjoyable day of Fives.
In the individual pair tournaments, Andy & Tom Husslebee had a good run to the semi-finals of the Aberconway Cup to be beaten by the eventual winners the Hughes's.
Silas Lawrence had a great universities tournament and won through to the Plate B Final with his Royal Holloway partner to be eventually beaten by a strong Cambridge pair.
Chris & Sid had a blast in the Kinnaird again and got through a tricky 1st round match against Mylo and Tom from Lancing to then come across the 4th seeds in the next round who ran out comfortable winners.
The end-of-season Veterans tournament saw Chris & Sid have another tilt at a trophy that has been so close to their grasp over the last couple of seasons. Normally extremely well supported by the Wulfrunian contingent, this year only saw 4 pairs in total there to compete for the Open. An ankle injury to Sid in their second match meant that this year it wasn't to be again.
Our regular Thursday evenings have been given a further boost in numbers recently by the Lawrence family in regular attendance as well as the periodic return of Rich Ambler and so it's now very rare that we can't get a game on. Our expanding pool of players will be useful over a long season.
Andy Husslebee has also been making great strides within the school regarding the image and history of Eton Fives and this will hopefully help inspire the next generation of Wulfrunian fives players.
Thanks to Mark and Greg for their organisational acumen (as always) and all players for their continued commitment to the team.
Roll on next season!
Clean sweeps in the Universities and Under 21 competitions
Universities Mixed winners; EFA Trophy winners; Varsity Match squads
No report received yet
Royal Holloway playing and winning at the Northern Tournament
No report received yet
Division 1 action at Westway; Dan Thackeray, the new manager/coach at Westway
No report received yet
Windsor & Eton
Windsor & Eton players in action up at Shrewsbury
No report received yet