Kinnaird Cup 2004
Another Kinnaird and another low entry despite the efforts of several parties to drum up support. This said, we were a third up on last year with 24 pairs and, to be fair, several regulars were known to be on the injured list. At least the evergreen Mike Fenn was there for the 38th consecutive year. He needed to be evergreen as well, for his first round match ended up being a five game marathon that, sadly, failed to have a happy ending.
This year, we had straight knock-out with the eight seeded pairs receiving a bye through to the second round. Losers in both the first and second rounds then qualifying for the Pepperpot Trophy. The latter was eventually won by Alick Varma and Hedi Young (Hedi had won it last year partnering Sanjaya Ranasinghe) after a long and hard fought five games against Dan Hawkins and Will Powell. In fact, in the final game, Alick and Hedi were at one time 8-1 down.
Main Competition - Second Round
Back to the main Competition. There were no shocks with all the eight seeds making it through to the quarter-finals, although Richard Tyler and Mike Hughes (6th seeds) needed the full five games to overcome Dan Hawkins and Will Powell. James Toop and Chris Cooley (2nd seeds) also dropped a game against Courtney Friend and Mark Graves.
There was not much to report on the quarter-finals either, with the top four seeds all reaching their respective slots in the semis in fairly comfortable fashion. Only the 4th seeds, Seb Cooley and Karl Rudman, dropping a game.
For the first time, the semi-finals and final were played at Westway. The semi-finals were held on 4th April and, again, the seedings were spot on with Robin Mason and Tom Dunbar, defending champions and 1st seeds, overcoming Seb Cooley and Karl Rudman and James Toop and Chris Cooley, 2nd seeds, overcoming Eddie Wass and Jamie Halstead, 3rd seeds.
Whether or not Karl Rudman and Seb Cooley were extra nervous by the occasion we shall never know but within two changes of hand they were 0-7 down in the first game against a rampant Robin Mason and Tom Dunbar. It was not until 0-8 that we witnessed two excellent shots, one each from both Rudman and Cooley, which settled the nerves and enabled them to outscore the first seeds before going down 6-12.
A similar pattern followed in the second game with the 4th seeds losing the first five points before rallying to 7-12 and again in the third losing the first eight points before unforced errors from Mason and Dunbar allowed them to claw back to lose 5-12.
On the day Rudman and Cooley had no answer to the power play of the top seeds. Although they fought hard throughout the match they found themselves continually under pressure and on the defensive as they were outplayed by the superior all round play and tactics of their opponents.
James Toop and Chris Cooley’s win over Eddie Wass and Jamie Halstead was far easier than the majority of pundits had expected. In fact, many had felt the Seeding Committee had placed these two pairings in the wrong order. Toop and Cooley comfortably won the first game by 12-2, mainly due to a chapter of unforced errors from Wass and Halstead including three smites straight out of court. The second game scoreline of 15-11 in favour of Toop and Cooley was obviously a much closer affair although the 2nd seeds always seemed to be edging it. Further, they particularly appeared to single out Eddie Wass whenever he was in the back court and this proved quite profitable for them. The third and final game was also fairly close with part scores of 3-3, 6-6 and 9-9 before being clinched by Toop and Cooley 12-9.
The Final was played on Easter Monday.
After complaints at the semi-finals about the shiny and slippery floor surface, one court was specially sand-blasted during the week and the general view of the finalists over the result was extremely positive.
Of the match itself, it was exciting without being a “classic”. Robin Mason and Tom Dunbar were never headed in the first game and took it 12-10 after being 11-5 up. The difference between the pairs being the number of unforced errors by James Toop and Chris Cooley, this, despite their late rally.
In the second game, Mason and Dunbar lost their cohesiveness and struggled with their returns of serve. In fact, they never really got into the game and succumbed 12-5.Despite briefly leading 5-4 in the third game, Mason and Dunbar continued to look and play as if strangely out of sorts. Frankly, at this stage, there was only one winner but, at 9-5 down, they found another gear from somewhere and picked off the next seven points to take the game and change the face of the match.
The fourth and, ultimately, final game, continued as the third left off with Tom Dunbar really excelling himself. This said, Toop and Cooley refused to go quietly and the game and match was only conceded by a 12-10 scoreline.
Our grateful thanks go to Eton College for allowing us to use their courts and facilities up to and including the quarter-finals and to Westway for hosting both the semi-finals and final. In addition, Westway and Howard Wiseman are thanked for providing the tented accomodation for the spectators and an excellent tea after the final on a day when they would normally be closed.
First Round (Eton):
E Thompson & O J N Cooley beat N J T Gill & T S Fletcher 12-15, 12-6, 12-9, 12-8
M Rimini & P M E Gibbs beat D G Mew & D E A Redmond 12-0, 12-3, 12-4
A S Varma & H Young beat C W Sorrell & S A Randall 12-1, 14-11, 12-7
D L Cox & J Lawrence beat G B Bates & M Lindsay 12-9, 10-12, 12-10, 12-9
A Theodossi & A Field beat M R Fenn & R W Freeman 15-14, 7-12, 12-5, 5-12, 13-10
D R Hawkins & W E Powell beat J A Caudle & T L Fletcher 12-4, 12-2, 12-1
S E Korris & M Korris beat T G A Wyndham & A Dunlavey 12-7, 15-12, 9-12, 14-12
C K Friend & M Graves beat D S Davis & G Eleftheriou 12-9, 12-5, 12-5
Second Round (Eton):
R A Mason & T G Dunbar (1) beat E Thompson O J N Cooley 12-3, 12-0, 12-0
N O Addy & S Rasheed (8) beat M Rimini & P M E Gibbs 12-0, 12-1, 12-8
H M E Wiseman & J P Reynolds (5) beat A S Varma & H Young 12-6, 12-4, 15-12
S K P Cooley & K Rudman (4) beat D L Cox & J Lawrence 12-3, 12-3, 12-7
E A Wass & J C Halstead (3) beat A Theodossi & A Field 12-2, 12-2, 12-1
R C Tyler & M P Hughes (6) beat D R Hawkins & W E Powell 12-7, 5-12, 12-8, 6-12, 12-6
A D Walters & J J Walters (7) beat S E Korris & M Korris 12-1, 12-1, 12-0
J P Toop & C J P Cooley (2) beat C K Friend & M Graves 12-5, 8-12, 12-5, 12-7
R A Mason & T G Dunbar (1) beat N O Addy & S Rasheed (8) 12-1, 12-5, 12-0
S K P Cooley & K Rudman (4) beat H M E Wiseman & J P Reynolds (5) 12-9, 12-8, 7-12, 12-8
E A Wass & J C Halstead (3) beat R C Tyler & M P Hughes (6) 12-6, 12-5, 12-2
J P Toop & C J P Cooley (2) beat A D Walters & J J Walters (7) 12-8, 12-5, 12-7
R A Mason & T G Dunbar (1) beat S K P Cooley & K Rudman (4) 12-6, 12-7, 12-5
J P Toop & C J P Cooley (2) beat E A Wass & J C Halstead (3) 12-2, 15-11, 12-9
R A Mason & T G Dunbar beat J P Toop & C J P Cooley 12-10, 5-12, 12-9, 12-10
A S Varma & H Young beat D R Hawkins & W E Powell 12-3, 11-13, 12-5, 10-12, 12-8
Report by Martin Samuel and Mike Fenn