2005 Aberconway Cup

Mike Fenn reports:

The fifteenth Championship took place at Eton College on a bright sunny Spring day in complete contrast to the miserable rainy day of last year. Sadly, thinking perhaps of the atrocious conditions of 2004, few spectators took advantage of the good weather to spend a day watching the Fives. At least the participants appeared to enjoy the warm conditions with all matches played in an excellent spirit and to a high standard.

No mothers turned out this year but the fairer sex was represented by Charlotta Cooley partnering father John. Several regulars failed to make the day with the second Dunbar pairing of Teresa and Tom, the Walters, Hornes, Blacks, Coopers, Marriotts and Pitts all indicating their intention to return in 2006.

Mike Hughes and son Chris entered for the first time and it was good to see Peter Dunbar, 2005 Kinnaird finalist; William Betts, winner of the Graham Turnbull Trophy; Rex Worth, Schools Under 16s Champion and Charlotta Cooley, Ladies Championship finalist all participating in the Aberconway.

Martin and Jonathan Lindsay were forced by injury to withdraw at the last moment leaving the organiser with the simpler task of preparing a draw for an even twelve pairs four in a group each playing three matches to the best of three games sudden death at eleven. The winners of each group and best runners up pair continuing through to contest the semi-finals. The Dunbars (Graham and Peter); Worths (Peter and Rex); and the Knowles (Peter and Jonathan) were seeded 1-3 respectively with the potentially strong pairings of the Hughes, Bournes and Bests placed in separate groups.

Groups

The Group matches went much as expected with the three seeds progressing to the semi-finals with relative ease although a close tussle in Group 3 between the Worths and Bests meant that Tim and Jonathan Best appropriately filled the fourth semi-final spot as best runners up!In Group 1 John and Charlotta Cooley had a good win against Garry & Paul James and did well to take seventeen points off Mike and Chris Hughes, losing the first game 11-12. By so doing they denied Mike and Chris the opportunity to reach the semi-finals as best runners up.

The second Group featured the closest matches and the only one that went to three games with George and Jonathan Nosworthy narrowly losing to Colin and Steve Spurrell 11-12, 12-3, 11-12. Two wins by Richard and Nick Bourne ensured an overall joint fifth placing with Group 1 runners up Mike and Chris Hughes. In Group 2 Trevor and Charlie Bailey found themselves somewhat outclassed by three good pairings, this group providing two semi-finalists the Worths and the Bests. The Baileys appeared to enjoy the experience of facing tough oppositon and Andrew and William Betts did well to record their first Aberconway win.

Semi-finals

In the first semi-final the Bests soon found themselves 0-7 down in the first game losing it 2-12 but deserved better with Dunbar senior getting away with several lucky shots which could and perhaps should have provided the Bests with a few more points. In the second game the Bests fought back with Tim, well supported by Jonathan from the back court, getting the measure of shots into the buttress. However the effort of continous retrieval whilst under sustained Dunbar pressure took its toll and with Peter Dunbar stepping up a gear the score moved rapidly from a closely contested 5-5 to 5-12 and the match 0-2.The second semi-final was played at a fast and furious pace and the scoreline of 12-3, 12-6 to the Worths was not a true reflection of the closeness of many of the rallies. The Knowles fought hard coming back strongly in the second game but were unable to counteract the power volleying of Rex and the array and skilful retrieving shots of Peter.

Final

The Worths got off to a flier immediately cutting down both Dunbars and taking the first two points. Unfortunately their good start could not be maintained. The effort expended by Peter in their group match against the Bests and the semi-final against the Knowles had taken its toll. Rex's volleying power and the many masterly shots by the 'old' pro Peter were unable to combat the attacking and consistent play of the Dunbars and in fairly quick time Graham and Peter Dunbar ran out worthy Champions 12-3, 12-0.

The day, including lunch at the Waterman's Arms, was much enjoyed by those taking part. In the absence of Chris Horne, Mike Fenn presented the Cup to the winners. The Dunbar family and in particular Dad Graham continue to dominate the Aberconway with seven wins for Graham, four with Tom and three with Peter.

Results

Group 1

G & P Dunbar won 3, lost 0

M & C Hughes won 2, lost 1

J & C Cooley won 1, lost 2

G & P James won 0, lost 3

Group 2

P & J Knowles won 3, lost 0

R & N Bourne won 2, lost 1

C & S Spurrell won 1, lost 2

G & J Nosworthy won 0, lost 3

Group 3

P & R Worth won 3, lost 0

T & J Best won 2, lost 1

A & W Betts won 1, lost 2

T & C Bailey won 0, lost 3

Semi-finals

G & P Dunbar beat T & J Best 2-0 (12-2, 12-5)

P & R Worth beat P & J Knowles 2-0 (12-3, 12-6)

Final

G & P Dunbar beat P & R Worth 2-0 (12-3, 12-0)