2004 Mixed Championships

Howard Wiseman reports:

This event was run along side the Ladies Nationals. Whilst in recent years it has been possible to run these two events through to their conclusion on one day, it now seems appropriate to separate the two events so as to properly recognise the very high standard of the ladies game, and indeed to now provide two separate events that are needed as key competition dates for what is now a large number of players.

Twenty-four pairs entered, filling the top courts at Highgate. There was representation from:, Goddington Club, Old Berkhamstedians, The Village (of old!), Park Avenue Club, Emanuel School, Lancing College, Westway, St.Olave's school, Berkhamsted School, City of London School, Westminster School, Old Aldenhamians, Old Olavians, Shrewsbury Monday Club, Old Cholmeleians, Old Etonians, Old Ipswichians and Old Dunstonians. It was especially good to see so many ladies come back for this event who have left school during the past few years and who are presently not able to play Fives on a regular basis due to being at university for most of the year.

The pairs broke down into four pools of six, with the top two pairs qualifying for the quarter-finals. The "Wiseman" mixed doubles rules now seem set to stay, having been used now for some five years or so in this tournament. Simply, the mixed doubles rule allows the man to remain in the serving position for only one rally, hence taking away the possibility for him to try and dominate play for his team.

There were some great matches - the last eight pairs being of a very high standard indeed in which no concessions seemed to be required or indeed given - a ferocious bloodbath in which many of the men took a real battering from the ladies!!

The quarter-final line-up was as follows:

Charlotta Cooley & Chris Cooley v Marianne Rees & Alex Knight
Fiona Barnes & David Goldschmidt v Anneke Wells & Paul Jeffries
Anita Ganguly & Seb Cooley v Helen Toop & Peter Kennedy
Dominique Redmond & Howard Wiseman v Kerry White & Mark Herring

The final resulted in a clash between the Cooley brother and sister partnership, against Kerry White and Mark Herring. Mark had been on a ruthless rampage of destruction on the Fives court all day and it was good to see Charlotta Cooley out-do him in this department! Charlotta displayed the gutsiest cut-return and top-court interception imaginable - of course wonderfully assisted by her brother Chris, to overcome Kerry and Mark 12-5 in the final.

A great day of Fives - an event which always sees good attendance, and which will probably continue to grow for years to come. Many people are now very used to playing mixed Fives, and with the standard of play being so high in the ladies game this tournament is just a pleasure to play in - it no longer holds a sense of awkwardness that it sometimes did in the earlier days.