2007 Veterans Tournament

Graham Pulsford reports:

The twenty-third Veterans Tournament was held on Sunday 22nd April at Eton College. Thirty two combatants prepared themselves for an enjoyable and politely competitive afternoon of fives in warm and sunny conditions. The usual suspects were joined by the welcome addition of the youngsters Tom Goodman, Jamie Hepburn and Spencer Chapman as well as the more experienced, and slightly older, Jeff Hartstone, Peter Bennett and Richard Barber. Martin Lindsay was playing in his twenty-third consecutive tournament and Derek Whitehead set two tournament records; firstly as the oldest entrant, secondly slightly later as the oldest entrant to win a match (this sets a challenge!).

Each pair played four rounds of one game up to fifteen points and the two unbeaten pairs then contested the final. The Cox Coefficient was in use to give the older pairs a small "assist"; this will be enhanced in 2008 with further input from Nigel!

Matches were keenly fought with all players entering the spirit of the competition. The closest of the early skirmishes saw the number three seeds, Marco Rimini and Patrick Gibbs, narrowly defeat Paul Kendall and Phil Lyndon 15-13. Martin Lindsay and Richard Dennis defeated the pink shirted pair Jeff Hartstone and Steve Plummer, and Richard Black and David Cooper played clinically enough to defeat Phil Corn and Andrew Mitchell.

Some of the best, and certainly the noisiest, fives was played in Group B. Nick Bunyan and John Caudle, and then Peter Boughton and Pete Scholey played exceptionally well but both succumbed to the combined power and precision of Grant Williams and Mike Hughes. No one in this Group could complain about the lack of competitive fives!

In the first semi-final the holders, Courtney Friend and Graham Pulsford, had their annual meeting with Nigel Cox and Neil Margerison. True to form the holders pulled through 15-11 but this time only after some long, tense and exhausting rallies. In the second semi-final Marco Rimini and Patrick Gibbs started well but were steadily overhauled by Grant Williams and Mike Hughes who ran out comfortable winners 15-7.The final was therefore as anticipated, Courtney Friend and Graham Pulsford against the "youngsters" Grant Williams and Mike Hughes. The combination of Grant's precision volleying (six dead in the box) and Mike's relentless probing proved too much for their tiring opponents. After an even start the younger pair pulled away to a 9-5 lead which led to a comfortable 15-10 victory; undisputed winners for 2007.

The MJS-J Cup was presented to the new holders by Richard Barber. The players then retired to the Watermans Arms for liquid refreshment and good conversation. An enjoyable early evening was had by all. Finally my thanks to all competitors for taking part and to Peter Bennett for demonstrating the spirit in which the game should be played.