EFA Awards 2019: Vote Now!
As is now traditional, the EFA Dinner on May 17th will see the presentation of the EFA Awards for the following categories: Player of the Year, Young Player of the Year, Team of the Year and Coach of the Year as well as the Advanta Wealth Unsung Hero Award, which will be chosen and presented by our sponsors.
Simply read on to see the list of nominees in each category and then email Gareth Hoskins directly or by CLICKING HERE with your choice of the winner in each category. Each registered website user, member of the EFA or member of the EFA Facebook group is allowed one vote per category and the winners will be announced at the EFA Dinner. Entries are now open and will close on Saturday May 4th.
Player of the Year
Despite having a frustrating time at the individual tournaments this year, Laurie has had a magnificent club season for the Old Westminsters.He has won nine of his eleven first pair matches to lead the team to second place in Division 1 including wins over Tom Dunbar, Jonny Ho, George Campbell, Andrew Joyce and Sunil Tailor and also spearheaded the team's run to a first ever Alan Barber Cup semi-final.
Seb's form has been as good as ever this year as he and Tom Dunbar have continued to show that they are head and shoulders above any of their challengers, winning the Northern and London tournaments yet again as well as a ninth consecutive Kinnaird Cup. Seb also added another Mixed title to his already bulging trophy cabinet alongisde his sister Charlotta. He can also be frequently found playing with and encouraging lesser mortals and keen youngsters on courts all over the country from Rydal to Ipswich and all points in between.
Charlotta has had a vintage season, playing seemingly better than ever before. She has performed strongly all season for the Old Ipswichians in Division 2 and crowned her season with a record thirteenth mixed title and an eighth ladies championships win, with her current run standing at seven in a row.
Tom long ago cemented his place as one of the all time greats of the sport, but he continues to play as well as at any time in his long and illustrious career. Still only 36, Tom has now played in eighteen consecutive Kinnaird Cup finals since leaving school and has won an astonishing fifteen of them, including nine in a row now with Seb Cooley. Together they also won the London and Northern tournaments yet again, while Tom managed to break new ground this year by leading the Old Harrovians to their first ever win in the Alan Barber Cup.
The 2018 player of the year has had another exceptional season, winning yet another ladies title - a seventh in a row - and continuing to make her mark in the wider game, establishing herself as a regular member of the North Oxford Division 1 side and winning a large number of matches in both Division 1 and 2 of the league.
Jonny is now established as one of the top players in the game and has had another fine season, reaching the finals of the London and Northern tournaments and the Kinnaird Cup as well as recording a high win percentage for the Old Cholmeleians in Division 1 and winning the Turnbull Trophy for Highgate back in December.
Riki has had another fantastic season, winning eight of eight Division 1 league matches for the Old Westminsters, reaching the London, Northern and Kinnaird finals with Jonny Ho, winning the Under 25 title for the fourth year in a row with a fourth different partner and playing a key role in taking the Old Westminsters to a first ever Alan Barber Cup semi-final.
Ed has been around the Fives circuit for a long time now, but appears to be playing better than ever, playing a key role in the Old Salopians side that won Division 1 for the first time in over 20 years and reaching the semi-finals at the Northern Tournament with Sam Welti and the Kinnaird with Sunil Tailor.
Young Player of the Year
Winning the U21s, U25s, Universities and Universities Mixed titles in the same season is an impressive feat. To do it for a second successive season is exceptional and Marjolaine has also found time to play and win at first pair in the Varsity Match and reach her first ever senior ladies semi-final.
Oskar has had a superb season for both the Old Harrovians and Oxford University. He won the Universities title for Oxford back in October alongside Arthur Wellesley and then played a key role at first pair alongside Tom Dunbar in the Old Harrovians successful Alan Barber Cup campaign.
Berkhamsted's Bethan is one of the rising stars of the women's game and having dominated the younger age groups for the last three years has now begun to make her mark at senior level. Having retained her U15 title for the third successive year with Lola Hannah, Bethan also made the quarter-finals of the girls open at the schools' championships and won the plate competition at the senior ladies nationals as well as making her league Division 1 debut and reaching the quarter-finals of the senior mixed tournament with coach Ant Theodossi.
Andrew's game has been steadily improving year on year and he has continued to progress in 2018/19, winning the U25 title at the start of the year with Riki Houlden, putting in good performances in the London and Kinnaird Cup with Charles Plummer and becoming a key part of the Old Millhillian Division 1 team.
Prajeeth has been one of the stars of the 2018/19 season and has quickly established himself as the next big thing in Olavian Fives. Some eye-catching league results for the Old Olavians have been followed by a succession of fine tournament performances, culminating in a Schools' Open semi-final, a Pepperpot Trophy win and an unexpected and hugely impressive win in the Under 21s with Sachin Balaji.
Will first came to prominence when he was nominated for this award back in 2014 as winner of the U13 competition when at Rydal Penrhos. Now at Shrewsbury, Will has proved himself to be a top player in the making this year with a strong early season showing in the Turnbull Trophy where he made the semi-finals and then a stellar week at the National Schools' Championships where he and Dan Humes won an epic Open final against Eton before Will edged past Dan in the final of the mixed - in another magnificent match - the following day.
Team of the Year
Eton have had another extremely successful season as the coaching baton has been passed on seamlessly from Mike Hughes to George Thomason. The school senior and U15 teams both retained their team titles in the Williams & Hughes Cup respectively and at the National Schools' Championships there was a win in the U16s for Milo Russell & Seb Hopkins and final appearances for the U14 beginners and the open pair of Xander Watt & Alfie Backhouse.
The Old Harrovians have been slightly inconsistent in the league this year having finished second and first in the previous two seasons, but the story of their season has been a first ever OH triumph in the Alan Barber Cup in the 54 years of the competition, including a stunning victory at the quarter-final stage over the Old Olavians, unbeaten champions for the last fifteen years.
In only their third season back in Division 1, the Old Salopians have dominated the top flight this year, giong through the season unbeaten to win the league by a significant margin, testimony to their quality, sense of purpose, consistent team selection and strength in depth, which has also been illustrated by their second team still being in with a chance of winning Division 2 at the time of writing and the club also reaching the finals of both the Alan Barber Cup and EFA Trophy.
At the end of the 2017/18 season, the Old Westminsters were struggling and contemplating whether or not to even continue in Division 1, finding themselves bottom of both the first and second divisions. One year on and things look very different, with a renewed management team leading the first team to second place in Division 1 and the second team to a top three finish in Division 2. The club also won tough fixtures against the Old Cholmeleians and Lancing to make it through to a first ever semi-final in the Alan Barber Cup and all of this has been achieved with a 100% OW squad, the vast majority of whom are still under 30.
Last year's award winners have had another fantastic year, once again sweeping the board at the University men's, women's and mixed competitions as well as dominating the Varsity Match and retaining the EFA Trophy with a win in the final against the pre-tournament favourites the Old Salopians.
Shrewsbury School Girls
The girls at the top end of Shrewsbury School have been improving as a group for a number of years now and this year saw them dominate the opposition at the National Schools' Championships, producing three of the four semi-final pairs, all of whom were capable of beating each other. With more talented players in the lower year groups, the future for Shrewsbury girls Fives looks bright.
Coach of the Year
Andy Barnard/Gwen Davies
Andy & Gwen are the architects of the success story that is Shrewsbury girls Fives, producing both finalists and three of the semi-finalists in this year's senior girls competition at the National Schools' Championships as well as the runners-up at U15 level. The squad also made their mark at senior level, with two pairs making it into the last eight of the senior ladies championships.
Seb is known throughout the game as an outstanding player, but this year he has made his mark as a coach as well, guiding the Shrewsbury first pair of Will Sissons & Dan Humes to a magnificent victory in the final of the Open competition at the National Schools' Championships.
Already a nominee for this award once before, Mark has continued to do an outstandingly good job with limited resources at Cranleigh Prep School. This year he has produced a pair who won the U12 qualifying competition at the National Schools' Championships and also an U13 girls pair who came within a whisker of defeating Highgate in the final of that particular competition.
Ian has followed last year's successes for Harrow at the National Schools' Championships with further progress this year, producing the winning pairs in both the U14 and U15 competitions to establish Harrow as a coming force in senior school Fives over the next few years.
A wonderful player in his time at Highgate School in the late 1990s, Jamie has returned to the sport this year in a coaching capacity and has immediately made his mark, helping to produce a large group of enthusiastic players at QE Barnet and taking a lead role in the development of the Westway junior programme where his work is already bearing fruit.
Since starting work as the EFA's Regional Organiser for Newbury and the Thames Valley, Will has had an enormous impact on the development of Fives in Newbury. The number of school and adult players on the St.Bartholomew's courts is increasing all the time and the standards improving thanks to Will's coaching and organisational input with an increasingly strong Newbury presence being seen at EFA tournaments throughout the year.
Following Mike Hughes at Eton was never going to be easy, but George Thomason has hit the ground running this year, building on previous successes and maintaining the high standards set. The Hughes Cup and Williams Cup were retained in fine style by George's team and the National Schools' Championships saw the Eton U16 pair win their competition, with finalists in the U14 beginners and also in the Senior Open, where the Eton pair performed with distinction before finally losing 15-12 in the fifth game.