Barker & Ravi Win In Repton
30/10/18: The 2018 edition of the revived Midlands Tournament at Repton last weekend was won by Olavians Tony Barker & Josh Ravi, who bounced back from a 0-12 second game defeat to win the final 2-1 against Cholmeleian brothers Abhishek and Aroop Bhattacharya.
32 pairs took part in this year's competition, with Saturday's play mixing everyone in together to sort out who would qualify for the main tournament and who for the festival on Sunday. As happened last year, the competition was wide open at the start with several pairs fancying their chances: Olavians Tony Barker (a champion here back in 2015) & Josh Ravi (a late injury replacement for brother Harry) and Gwydion Wiseman & Prajeeth Sathiyamoorthy, Millhillians Charlie Plummer & Iain Kidd, Oxford students Hal Gibson-Leitao (defending his title) & Noah Caplin, the Bhattacharya brothers from Highgate and veterans Howard Wiseman & Peter Boughton. All of those pairs made it through to the last eight in relative comfort; first to fall were the old guard of Wiseman sr & Boughton, eliminated by the Oxford students and Plummer & Kidd, beaten 12-10 in the deciding game of a thriller by Wiseman jr & Sathiyamoorthy.
Barker & Ravi asserted their place in the Olavian pecking order with a routine win over the tired youngsters in the first semi-final, while Hal's title defence was ended at the same stage by Aroop & Abs, his second semi-final win over Hal in the space of 8 days after their Brookes v UCL Universities match at Eton last weekend. Abs was unable to go on and win the final on that occasion and a similar result looked on the cards this time as Barker & Ravi cruised through the first game of the final in comfortable style. The second game saw a remarkable switch around, however, with Abs suddenly playing like a man possessed, finding himself "in the zone" and hitting a stream of winners, with Aroop providing excellent support, cutting well and volleying crisply. Tony & Josh simply didn't have an answer as they were blown away 12-0 by the blizzard of Bhattacharya winners.
The big question between games two and three was could it last? The answer was clear right from the start of game three; Abs could no longer locate the zone (a bit like his brother trying to locate the correct railway stations to get him to Repton the day before) and the whirlwind became more of a gentle breeze. Barker took control again on the top step, refinding the dominance he had enjoyed in the first game, and Ravi started playing with renewed vigour, recovering quickly and well from the shock of the second game defeat. The Olavians moved ahead early on and were well in control when Abs caught a ball awkwardly in the eye and had to concede shortly afterwards to end an enthralling final.
Attention then turned to the neighbouring court, where Matt Chinery & Rachel Wood - after some crafty play on Saturday where they managed to miss out on a place in the last sixteen on points difference - were on the verge of winning the Festival tournament in a triumph of marital harmony with a convincing win in the final over Elana Osen and Old Zuozer Jessica Rees at the end of a long and hitherto unbeaten day for both pairs. It was especially pleasing to see Jessica back on court and playing so well after a lengthy absence and to see Rachel win her first Fives trophy just over a year after playing the game for the first time.
The other exciting discovery of the weekend was Repton's hidden thirteenth court, a very well-preserved and perfectly playable court in the playground of Roald Dahl's former boarding house.
Thanks as always go to Repton for hosting the competition and also to Howard Wiseman and Dominique Redmond for - as always - running such a successful weekend.
T.Barker & J.Ravi beat D.Redmond & L.Redmond 15-1
R.Morgan & C.Lumbard beat K.Hird & C.Cooley 15-9
G.Wiseman & P.Sathiyamoorthy beat M.Chibber & I.Ujoodia 15-7
C.Plummer & I.Kidd beat T.Gregory & C.Gregory 15-6
A.Lumbard & E.Scoones beat G.Hoskins & H.Asquith 15-14
Ab.Bhattacharya & Ar.Bhattacharya beat S.Kirby & R.Christie 15-1
H.Wiseman & P.Boughton beat S.Eglund Newby & M.Fisher 15-9
H.Gibson-Leitao & N.Caplin beat C.Tweedy & E.Carter 15-0
T.Barker & J.Ravi beat R.Morgan & C.Lumbard 2-0 (12-4, 12-1)
G.Wiseman & P.Sathiyamoorthy beat C.Plummer & I.Kidd 2-1 (10-13, 12-6, 12-10)
Ab.Bhattacharya & Ar.Bhattacharya beat A.Lumbard & E.Scoones 2-0 (12-3, 12-6)
H.Gibson-Leitao & N.Caplin beat H.Wiseman & P.Boughton 2-0 (12-8, 12-9)
T.Barker & J.Ravi beat G.Wiseman & P.Sathiyamoorthy 2-0 (12-4, 12-5)
Ab.Bhattacharya & Ar.Bhattacharya beat H.Gibson-Leitao & N.Caplin 2-0 (12-6, 12-9)
T.Barker & J.Ravi beat Ab.Bhattacharya & Ar.Bhattacharya 2-1 (12-2, 0-12, 10-2 ret)
Shared: T.Gregory & C.Gregory and G.Hoskins & H.Aquith
R.Wood & M.Chinery beat Cooper & Commercial 15-5
E.Osen & J.Rees beat Carron & Tait 15-12
R.Wood & M.Chinery beat E.Osen & J.Rees 15-4