2005/06 School Reports
These reports first appeared in the Eton Fives Association Annual Report 2005/06
Aldenham - Matthew Barrett
This year has seen Aldenham maintain its local fixture card. Matches were contested against Mill Hill, Queen Elizabeth's Boys, Westminster, Berkhamsted and Harrow. The popularity of Fives is improving, thanks in no small part to the energy of the outgoing Master in charge, David Gooderick. Many thanks must go to him for his hard work in maintaining the profile of Fives at the school over the past 9 years. Currently, there are a core of enthusiastic boys playing the game and the future of the game, at least in the short term, looks bright.
Aldenham entered fourteen pairs at the National Championships across three age groups, with six pairs in the beginners competition. There were mixed fortunes for the boys, but the Under 16 A pair (Williams and Grant) did particularly well to reach the quarterfinal stage. Next year there will be a ladder competition within the school and hopefully this will encourage even more boys, and perhaps even a few girls, to get involved.
Charterhouse - Ronald Pattison
The refurbishment program of three of the eight courts currently in use together with the introduction of new changing facilities immediately adjacent to the courts will hopefully help to bring fresh impetus to the Fives at the school. These should be ready for the start of the September term. An encouraging group of young players will form the nucleus of the School team in the 2006/07 season captained by Michael Manby (Davisites).
The school currently plays 8 or so matches and under the watchful eye of Gilles Gergaud, Master in Charge, together with assistance from John Troy who will be joining the teaching staff in September 2006, not to mention Howard Wiseman's Coaching Agency and the expertise of Mark Herring, there are encouraging signs at the school for the forthcoming season.
City of London - Howard Wiseman
City of London continue to play Fives on Wednesday afternoons on the Westminster courts with fifth and sixth-form students. In past seasons they have also received a weekly coaching session for junior players at the Westway Sports Centre - this may be resumed in the coming season. The game is popular with the sessions always over-subscribed, but it is difficult to create the momentum that home courts and a busy match schedule would provide. There will be a big effort in the 2006-2007 season to increse the senior fixture list. The Fives Captain, Micha Gatti has been a regular member of the Monday evening club at Westway Sports Centre and has become a regular player with the Old Citizens Fives club. Two pairs entered the schools' Nationals and there is every likelyhood that these players will continue playing for years to come. Tom Duley, the Master-in-Charge, must be thanked for giving up his time to travel with the team to training sessions every week (throughout the Summer Term as well!).
Cranleigh - Jon Carr
It has been another successful year for Cranleigh's fives players as the game has flourished both in terms of the number of students playing and the competitiveness of our teams against some of the best in the country.
Fives is quite a unique game at school in that it is one that a fair number of our new intake will never have encountered before. A great deal of help is therefore required in introducing students to the game and we are very lucky indeed to have Mark Halstead at the prep school who continues to enthuse so many students there. He has sent us some excellent players this year such as Peers Lyle, Tom Forster, Mike Haynes, George Cross and Andrew Goudie. Into that mix we can then throw talented youngsters who lack a fives background but who have the skills to prosper quickly such as Will Langmead and Harry Thomas. All these boys then benefit from regular coaching from our visiting professional, Alex Moore, and also the enthusiasm of resident cricket coach, Stuart Welch, who has been quick to seize on the mutual benefits offered by mixing cricket and fives.
The boys at Cranleigh have also played host to regular matches against The Brigands Fives Club, a motley crew of old boys from Cranleigh and other schools who have been a great asset in honing the match play skills of our players. They have enjoyed (I think) noting the boys' progress from one month to the next, and the fact that so many of our boys now even beat them on occasion must I'm sure be gratifying for them, if not mildly irritating too! We have Martin Powell and David Martin to thank for their continued support of Cranleigh fives and long may this healthy relationship continue.
We have participated in regular matches over Michaelmas and Lent terms and, for the first time, have begun to seriously test ourselves against some of the major fives playing schools. Particularly pleasing this season was an inaugural 16 pair match v Shrewsbury School which was played at Eton. We also enjoyed competitive matches against Eton, Charterhouse, Lancing, Westminster, St. Olave's and St. John's.
Of course the highpoint of the fives season is invariably the Fives Nationals and the Cranleigh team of some 20 pairs performed admirably over the course of the week. Highlights for us were Mike Roper and Matt Crump's achievement in reaching the last 16 of the senior event and Phil Roper and Harry Milburn-Fryer's efforts in reaching the last 8 of the U16 competition. Also pleasing was the performance of Harry Thomas and Will Langmead in reaching the last 8 of the beginners' tournament meaning that the future for fives at Cranleigh is looking pretty bright.
Emanuel - Dom Redmond
There were many highlights during the year for the Emanuel Fives team. The Fives programme was postponed until October half-term whilst the long-awaited court renovation was completed. It was well worth the wait - a new roof and freshly sand-blasted walls that removed the paint and brought the courts back to their original colour and rendered texture. Stage two of the renovation will take place in time for next season, and will see the three Fives courts turned into an indoor facility - they will be one of very few truly indoor Fives court complexes in the country and will provide the Emanuel team with the perfect venue in which to train and to host home matches against visiting opposition. This ambitious renovation plan, instigated by the Headmaster and Bursar, has benefited from a grant from the Eton Fives Association for which we are very grateful.
The main highlight actually on the Fives courts has arguably been the development of a year 7 squad for the first time. Some thirty year 7s responded to the coaching programme that had been publicised by the sixth-form players, and resulted in the Fives courts over-flowing with young players most lunchtimes and after school. Rohan Rajeswaren (Captain) and Rahul Prashra (Vice Captain) from the Lower Sixth played a key role in assisting the coach, Dominique Redmond, with this new development.
Without a doubt, it was the year 9 pupils who showed the most outstanding commitment - always playing at lunchtimes and after school and pestering for more matches!! Jamie Start, Joe Chadwick and Matt Conn were key players throughout the season from what is a large and talented squad - the whole group is to be congratulated on their development during the season. Everyone played particularly well in the Harrow Beginners' Tournament held just before Christmas. A couple of young Emanuels are taking part in a Fives tour to Switzerland during the end of the Summer Term - this will do wonders for their development.
More matches were added to the fixture list this season due to the rapid growth of the team, these included: RGS High Wycombe, St.Olave's, Westminster and Lancing College, who all provided excellent evenly-balanced matches. The Senior Fives team, combined with the Old Emanuels, took part in the Adult League 3rd Division in which they competed across the season with teams such as The Old Westminsters, Old Stoics, Old Reptonians and others from traditional Fives-playing schools. It would seem that our run of good results was sufficient to possibly win the League!! Congratulations to Rohan, Rahul and Charles Mead who all played a key role in this team and who were superb ambassadors for the school.
The National Schools' Championships always concludes the season and participation in it is the ultimate reward to school players for their hard work and commitment. The Emanuel team was well represented at most age-groups. We were unfortunately without our strongest senior player due to illness, but everyone played well, gaining valuable experience, and demonstrating that Emanuel Fives has taken another step forwards in both volume and in strength.
The new Fives coach, Dominique Redmond, has thoroughly enjoyed her first season at Emanuel. She has been especially pleased to not only see the courts full during Games lessons, but to see pupils from across all year groups, both boys and girls, enjoying sport together in their own recreational time.
The Fives team wishes to thank The Headmaster and the Director of Sport for their full support for Fives during this past season.
Eton - Mark Williams/David Griffiths
Eton had an impressive season in 2006. The highlight was undoubtedly Fred Burgess and James Rowland-Clark winning the Open competition at the National Schools Fives Championships, held at Eton in March. Henry Nicholls and Ted Morrison played well to reach the semi-final of the Under 16 competition, where they lost to Highgate B, the eventual winners of the competition. Further down the age range two pairs reached the quarter-finals of the Beginners competition, one continuing on to the semi finals. At the National Schools Team Competition Eton won all three of their matches yet were edged into second place.
Outside of the National Championships Eton competed well against a number of schools in block fixtures and always gave a creditable account of themselves, whether at home or away. The fixture list has grown with the re-introduction of fives to schools such as Lancing and Stowe meaning that more and more boys are able to represent the school.
As a consequence the House competitions have provided many excellent games of top quality fives. Over 140 boys entered the New Boy Fives competition, won by Tom Bates and Joe Sasada and the future of the game looks bright.
Harrow - Graham Dunbar
Harrow entered only two pairs into the HSBC Schools Championships at Eton. William Denehy and Adam Webb started unconvincingly in the U.16 tournament but improved steadily. The semi-final against Highgate's first pair, the finalists from last year, did not disappoint. Highgate's experience was to prove decisive but there was a great deal to build on. William Denehy's top step play cut the mustard at the highest level and his left hand volley has become a potent force. Adam Webb's cutting was arguably the most effective in the tournament. Weaker areas were exposed such as the lack of movement "off the ball" and consistency from the back court. More match practice will be needed to bridge the diminishing gap but prospects for next year at Senior level are brighter than for a few years. fter an excellent U.14 season it was a shame that Harrow entered only one pair. The first pair Alex Poole and Geordie Bowes Lyon had a very good tournament losing 2-3 in the semi-final. In fact Harrow dominated the first two games winning 12-3, 12-4 thanks to some accurate volleying by Alex Poole and steady back court play by Geordie Bowes Lyon. The opposition did play very well in the later stages of the match and this was an encouraging display overall.
High Wycombe - Howard Wiseman
This was High Wycombe's best year! Alex Moore, the coach for the year, did a great job. There were a committed and talented bunch of players who were coached each Thursday on the two open-air courts. Matches were played and won against St.Olave's and more matches are planned for next year. Four pairs played in the National schools' Championships and were clearly the strongest pairs that High Wycombe have forwarded so far. The Heads of Games brought their pairs to the Nationals and supported them each day. Delighted with how they had performed, he is now on-board for seeing how we might raise the money to build a roof on the courts - the game will take off if the courts are covered and re-floored. The courts are a war-memorial for the 1st World War, built by the Old Boys Society - as a result the courts are safe from any threat of demolition etc. so it is hopefully just a matter of time until we can get our much needed roof!!
King Edward's, Birmingham - George Worthington
Thank you for your invitation to pen a few lines about KES Fives successes. I have to say that in terms of the EFA Report we have no successes worth speaking of, beyond saying that Fives is in a healthy state at KES at the moment, with a decent amount of school time allotted to it and a good number of players taking part. But we cannot compete with the Big Four or Five on a national scale. Success for me this year has been to find equally-matched opposition in Uppingham and Stowe (both masters i/c,incidentally,are old Edwardians), to get the current Chief Master on court for a game, and to get rid of the infestation of pigeons in the courts(at a cost of over £3000!).
Lancing College - Andrew Betts
This has been another good season for Lancing. The College has been represented in many competitions at school and adult level and has performed well.
At the Nationals at Eton this year, we entered pairs into the U14 beginners, the U15 the Open and the Ladies' competitions. In all of them, Lancing pairs progressed beyond the pool stage, our U15 pair of Tom Betts and Mylo Young looking particularly promising. In the Ladies' competition, it was an all Lancing final with the previous year's champions Sophie Palmer and Juliet Browning being narrowly beaten by the LVI pair Ashley Lumbard and Rosie Scott in a thrilling and very high quality five game match.
We have sent pairs to the Kinnaird Cup, the London Competition, the Northern Championships and the Rossall Schools' competition where Will Betts reached the final in both singles and doubles but could not quite crown his school career with victory. Will Betts and Doug Foster (OL) were the runners up in the Graham Turnbull Trophy, Will having won it the previous year partnering Howard Wiseman. Howard Wiseman and I would like to thank Will Betts for his commitment to the game and his unfailing help and support in promoting it and in encouraging and teaching younger members of the club.
Lancing has continued to benefit from superb coaching from the Rugby and Eton Fives Coaching Agency, Howard and Matt Wiseman and Dominique Redmond coming down regularly on a Monday and Friday throughout the year. As a result of their efforts, there is a very keen squad of old stalwarts and new pupils who are enjoying their Fives very much. We have been able to coach pupils from Lancing College Preparatory School at Mowden as well and this will be an invaluable source of rising talent. Throughout the Lent term, groups of pupils from Angmering School have been coming to our courts and have received coaching from Howard. This has been a very positive move, opening up the game to a wider public. We hope that this will continue next year. We look forward to the new season with anticipation.
Mill Hill - Steve Plummer
Despite the absence of courts at Mill Hill - the old ones were demolished and the new ones were not ready until May - the school managed to play some of its matches and even practised at Aldenham. The opening match saw a close contest with Harrow which could have gone either way but a 3 - 3 draw resulted. There then came an unexpected 0 - 3 defeat against a strong Westminster side . However, the teams came back to form to defeat Aldenham 3 -2 and Repton 4 - 0. Against Eton the school put up a great performance and could have won the decisive game; unfortunately the school lost and lost the match 2 - 3. Not bad though for a 0 court school versus a 16 court school!
However, after Christmas the problems of practising, clashes with other events at school and an unprecedented confusion over matches led to little Fives being played. Matches were only played against Berkhamsted and Aldenham although senior teams were entered for the Abbey Tournament and the National Championship at Eton.
The senior first pair of Will Hughes and Joe Coakley impressed all season and won with ease the Abbey Tournament. They were seeded in the National Championship and reached the quarter-final before being knocked out by Shrewsbury's 1st pair.
In the summer term the new courts were finally completed and started to be used. They are certainly splendid: an excellent playing surface, good sighting and an exquisite setting. They follow a surprisingly long tradition of Fives at Mill Hill. The school's history records that Fives was about the only formalised game played at Mill Hill in the 1870s. However, it is not known exactly where the courts were situated or exactly how many of them there were. These courts were demolished and replaced in 1908 by the two originally unroofed courts which survived until 2005.
The new courts will be officially opened on Sunday 10th September on OM day and there are some exciting ideas and plans for the future of Fives at Mill Hill. There are plans to start Fives in the Community at Mill Hill: one evening a week will be given over to attracting members of the public, parents, friends and even other schools such as QEB to play the game whatever the experience and standard of the individual. The OM club will also stage some of its friendly Club Nights at the new courts instead of at Highgate.
Oakham School - Alex Aldous
This Spring Term has seen a steady number flowing through the Fives Courts "trying their hand" at this great game. An increasing number of third years are now playing and there is a very enthusiastic group from Jerwoods, headed up by Freddie Turner in Peterborough and we have, where possible begun to have practices after school on Saturday, along with the occasional lunchtime knock- around and the usual vibrant group on Wednesday afternoons. There is much promise amongst Jerwoodians and the makings of a good team for next season.
We always knew that in the Middle and Upper School this season would suffer from the departure of the keen nucleus of last year's Seventh Formers, but there are some good players coming through and this will bear fruit for the future. It is encouraging to see a number of girls playing, and special note should be made of Natasha Ley and Joanna Chilton who have made excellent strides in the game and who will provide great competition next year in Ladies' matches. Two home matches have been played: firstly against Uppingham and then a new fixture against Stowe, which has seen something of a welcome revival in Fives there.
We lost against Uppingham in early February after a very hard-fought game in all three pairings but had an excellent match against Stowe in March, winning by 77-43: in every match there was some excellent Fives being played and some well-deserved victories amongst the pairings.
Those representing the School:
Ronald Tam, Brian Ho, Daniel Bernhard, James Spence, William Moore, Graham Hill, Graham Lyon and Jack Graham-Lindsey.
St John's Leatherhead - David Wells Cole
There were three fixtures this term, the first a very exciting fixture against the Eton Fives Association on a gloriously sunny January day. This fixture ended in a close defeat, but our other fixtures against Cranleigh and Westminster resulted in resounding wins for the school by 150-63 and 154-120 respectively.
In the junior house ties, Surrey beat North by a wide margin of 108-50.
In the seniors, North retained their crown, beating Churchill with some ease.
St Olave's - Howard Wiseman
Fives continues to thrive at St.Olave's School. The Fives court complex continues to be used by the Old Boys, Goddington Club and Park Avenue club - this extra activity directly benefits the School by providing additional match and practice opportunities. There are roughly 140 regular Fives players at the school and many more who use the courts each week from the other clubs.
St.Olave's continues to provide school matches for girls and boys of all abilities, based on their commitment and level of attendance to practices. As a result, a well-balanced team can be assembled to play opposition of any level. Coaching takes place largely through lunchtimes and after school, and no one is obliged to play Fives - only those who choose to do so and to give up their own free time. As a result those who play always tend to be reliable and very committed. The Seniors run much of the Junior school coaching programme each year and are wholy responsible for the annual recruitment each September of new year 7 intake. The Seniors also run their own participation in the Adult League system - and many players guest for Old Olavian League Teams in the First and Second Division. Fives is the schools' most successful sport and has been credited by the Games staff as having assisted co-ordination skills of their top Rugby players, as well as having provided a steady stream of the schools' top Javelin throwers. Fives is also the most popular sport amongst the Girls who join St.Olave's in the sixth form. It is a fresh start for them with a new sport - and they pick the game up quickly since all training and matches are mixed in with the boys.
Much of the Fives played at St.Olave's is Rugby Fives - played on the scquash courts. This is an easy and immediate way of introducing new younger players to the game without the complexities of the hazards and cut returning. The court is also large enough to enable three or four-a-side matches whan the practices are over-subscribed. We have won the National Schools' Rugby Fives Championships in singles and Doubles at U13 age in recent years, and have featured in the Final of Singles Rugby Fives National Championships at U14 and U18 levels. Rugby Fives matches are played each year against several schools - including Christ's Hospital (who also come and play us at Eton Fives) and Tonbridge school (our most local fixture).
St.Olave's intend to play against every Eton-Fives playing school in England during this coming Season - yes, that includes St.Bees, Norwich, Aysgarth and Bryanston !! - all on their own courts!! In the coming season, there will be a special ceremony to officialy recognise the Fives Captains honours board which has been drawn up with the names of all past School Fives captains from 1928 until now. Fives pre-dates any other sport at St.Olave's and enjoys full support from the Headmaster and Games staff - it is the only sport in the school that brings girls and boys together from different years, no matter what their ability. In this respect it is a very social activity.
Shrewsbury - Andy Barnard
Fives at Shrewsbury continues to occupy & entertain a great number of boys and the school remains as one of the top performers in the country.
The Lent term was again difficult to manage not least because of the outstanding success of our 1st XI soccer team, their progress in the ESFA tournament reduced the number of hours our top six spent on court and thereby reduced the overall quality and intensity of senior practice and ultimately their performance.
During the term we played a record number of fixtures against other schools and an increased programme of double headers meant we could provide fives for a greater number of players. Despite only winning two major national titles we can view the real success of the season by the number of boys participating and representing the school teams.
Highgate & Junior Highgate dominated a great number of fixtures this season whilst Eton produced a fine pair of Open Champions but Shrewsbury found a niche in winning the Beginners & Under 15 National Titles. The National Teams Cup was the most closely contested event and we came within a whisker of retaining the title when our 2nd Senior pair had chances on step to clinch the deciding game but sadly just couldn,t press home their adavantage. I would like to praise the efforts of Oliver Heywood & James Franklin who played well throughout the Teams Cup event despite having played an extended quarter final for the 1stXI in the ESFA Cup at Wilmslow the day before.
Our record in all school matches this year is: Played 20 Won 14 Drew 1 Lost 5 Games Won 278 Games Lost 160
Our aims for next season are to
increase our court time through curriculum games
increase & introduce skills training to the Michaelmas term
seek extra support and coaching from the staff
seek extra support and coaching from the community
add more silverware to our trophy cabinet
Stowe - Rod Tait
Fives is enjoying a significant renaissance at Stowe. Experienced players have been coming out of the woodwork now that there is growing enthusiasm and now there are at least twenty players regularly in the courts and many players now own their own gloves and balls.
Matches have been played against King Edward's School Birmingham, Queen Elizabeth School Barnet, Oakham, Uppingham, and of course The Old Stoics and the Eton Fives Association and Jesters. Next year's fixtures will also include Berkhamsted and St Olave's and Stowe should be in a position to take both U15 and U16 teams to the National Schools Championships.
There are some talented young players and some good performances have also come out of this year's beginners in lower sixth as well as the third and fourth form.
Westminster - James Harrison
Westminster School Fives has once again had a successful year. It has been a year of expansion. The numbers playing on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons have grown, almost to bursting point: even with the use of the Westway courts every Thursday afternoon, the courts were still always full, with others always waiting at the back of the courts for a game. So, as the new Head Master sits back to survey the successes of his first year in office, foremost in his mind should be where to build some new Fives courts!
Given that we have such a disadvantage in the number of courts at Westminster, the fact that we are now regularly competing closely with the big Fives-playing schools is fantastic. For me, a key moment in the season was when we played a sixteen-pair match against Shrewsbury: the very fact that we were asked to play the match shows that Westminster is now seen as a force to be reckoned with.
The pupils themselves deserve most of the credit for the rise in success. There is always such a buzz around the courts on sports afternoons, and the enthusiasm and positive attitude of many of the players has not faltered throughout the year. Moreover, they are keen to spread the word about what a great game it is, and there are always new faces coming down to give it a go.
Another innovation of Mike Milner's has been to have a league team - the "Abbey Club". This has given our top players an excellent opportunity to play matches against more experienced pairs, and they have benefited hugely from this.
The season started very well with wins in Abbey Club matches. In particular, Matt Chen and Alex Leese, our first pair, looked very strong against some very stiff opposition. Also encouraging was the standard of our Under 16 team, which, earlier on in the season, drew against strong opposition from Eton and Aldenham, lost only narrowly to Shrewsbury, and then went on to beat Eton convincingly later in the Lent term. The Under 15s notched up some good results too, beating teams from Cranleigh and Shrewsbury, and narrowly losing against an excellent Harrow pair. The Under 14s, though less successful on paper, show great enthusiasm and promise.
The girls' team continued to grow in numbers and in enthusiasm, with a very strong first pair (Sasha Mitiukova and Beth Hardie) winning awesome victories over Berkhamsted and St. Olave's pairs; Eleanor Brooke and Matilda Hay had an excellent victory against a more experienced Cranleigh pair.
Enthusiasm for playing in tournaments has also been high. The London Festival tournament was dominated by Westminster: Ian Bott and Laurie Brock reached the final, losing narrowly in the final set to two old Westminsters, Danny Amliwalla and James Cook. Will L'Heveder and Ed Miles reached the semi-finals of the Festival tournament at the Northern Championships, while David Ader and Ben Cagan won the plate competition for losing quarter-finalists, and Kevin Loke and Abdul Odud won the other plate. At the Harrow Beginners' tournament, at the end of November, Napper Tandy won the Under 14 tournament amid very stiff competition, and Sam Williams won the Under 15 tournament.
Results at the Schools' Nationals Championships were slightly disappointing, especially for our Under 15 first pair - one of the players had to withdraw with an injury after only a few points. However, the Under 16 team showed that they are our strongest age-group, with three pairs making the last sixteen and a fourth pair winning the plate competition.
Thanks to all who have helped out with Westminster Fives this year: in particular, Matt Wiseman our coach has continued to do a great job with all the players and kept the standards high; Dave Mew has also been fantastic when the pupils have had sessions at the Westway. And all the opposition coaches have been really helpful and supportive in my first (and last!) year running the Fives at Westminster. Finally, huge thanks are owed to Richard Stokes, who is retiring at the end of the year after many years of unfailing support and service to Westminster Fives. He unfailingly sees the best in every member of the team, on court he is the most elegant of players, and the pupils love to play against him and learn from him - though they never get anywhere near beating him! Both on and off court his enthusiasm for Fives never falters, and it has been a real privilege to work next to him over the last five years.