Alan Barber Cup: Old Olavians Fifteen Year Winning Streak Finally Comes To An End
14/01/19: After an astonishing and record-equalling fifteen successive years of winning the Alan Barber Cup, the Old Olavians finally tasted defeat in the quarter-finals at Eton yesterday, losing 2-1 to the Old Harrovians in a thrilling encounter.
The Old Salopians have been the closest challengers in recent seasons, but the Old Harrovians have not been far behind and it was the Harrow side who finally managed to achieve what no other side has done since way back in 2003. With Matthew Wiseman out injured, the Olavians were already without one of their multi-title winning galacticos and with James Toop withdrawing on the morning of the match as his wife went into labour (congratulations to the Toop family by the way!) the tie was in the balance from the start. Jamie Fleming & Qassi Gaba were too strong for Harry Ravi & Prajeeth Sathiyamoorthy at third pair but Tony Barker & Howard Wiseman levelled the scores with a 3-1 win over Ross Bryan and Nick Shaw at second pair. Fittingly the match came down to a titanic battle at first pair between the two top players in the country with Tom Dunbar partnering Oxford University player Oskar Denby for the Harrovians and Seb Cooley alongside 2018 schools' champion Kieran Walton for the Olavians, Dunbar & Denby eventually coming from 2-1 down to win the fifth game 12-7 and finally end one of the greatest winning streaks in the history of Eton Fives.
The Old Olavians thus match the fifteen year winning run in the competition, achieved by the Old Cholmeleians from 1977-1991 and remain four wins behind the Cholms in the overall standings. I am sure they will be back next year to try and regain their title and close in further on the overall record.
The Harrovians will now play the Old Westminsters in the semi-finals, the OWs having themselves won an impressive 3-0 away victory against Lancing last weekend to reach what we believe to be their first ever semi-final.
The other half of the draw sees a Midlands derby between the Old Wulfrunians, winners at home against a weakened Old Etonian side and the Old Salopians, comfortable winners over the Old Aldenhamians before Christmas, who will now be hunting a possible league, Alan Barber Cup and EFA Trophy treble with renewed vigour.
The semi-finals take place at Eton at 2:30pm on Sunday February 10th. You can see all of this results in the competition HERE