2006/07 Club Reports
These reports first appeared in the Eton Fives Association Annual Report 2006/07
Played 7 Won 6 Lost 1
The Emanuels had a successful season taking the League 3 title for the first time in several years. We had had a very strong team led by Anthony Theodossi and myself winning six out of the seven matches, narrowly beating North Oxford by one and a half points to take the title.
The Fives within the school goes from strength to strength. We are now at a point where we have enough Old Emanuels to enter the Alan Barber Cup in 2007-2008. This team will be lead by Anthony Theodossi who will have the responsibility of bringing together the Old Emanuels to play in this prestigious event.
Next season the Emanuels team, mainly comprising Westway players, will be renamed as "The Westway Club". The Old Emanuels will be introduced as and when there is a large enough pool of players to run a pure old boys team. Although the Emanuels will not have a strong presence this coming season they will be around and preparing for the 2008-09 season.
Lancing Old Boys
Played 9 Won 7 Lost 2
I am pleased to be able to report that the OL Fives Club continues to be well supported by its stalwart members. During the last season, between September 2006 and April 2007 we played regularly in league and cup matches, and often quite successfully. Our matches usually take place at Westminster, Highgate, Westway or indeed at Eton itself, and this means that London based players find it easier to join in. It is true that we constantly need to replenish our list of active members. The pressures of careers, and the demands of family life, mean that we always need new players to join our teams as the long-standing members often find it difficult to meet the challenge of playing regularly.
The new season will be starting early in September and our initial matches are against the Old Reptonians and Westminster's Abbey Club as well a our regular annual get together on OL Day at Lancing. It would be great if we can field some new talent to add to our stock of experienced devotees. Fives is a wonderful way to keep fit for all those who are office-bound, and the invitation to join us of course extends to both lady and gentlemen players. We look forward to welcoming you soon.
Played 16 Won 7 Drew 2 Lost 7
The highlight of this season was the success of Alex Burrows and Justyn Comer in winning the Pepperpot Trophy at this year's Kinnaird Competition. Alex and Justyn battled manfully to overcome some stern opposition to achieve their thoroughly deserved victory. Otherwise it was a somewhat disappointing season in the league, and we hope to fare better in 2007/08. The pressure mounts on those players who have played consistently over the last few seasons, and my personal thanks to those particular players. It is hoped that the new impetus at Charterhouse will produce new players in the forthcoming seasons but in the meantime any OCs who wish to play are most welcome.
Old Citizens (Established 1893)
Chairman: David White. Captain: John Reynolds
For the fifth successive year there were Old Citizens in the Varsity Match. This year Nick Gill (first pair) and Bobby Friedman (third pair) were in the Cambridge side which beat Oxford in both the Blues match and in the fixture overall. Roman Heindorff and John Reynolds also took part in the first-ever fives tour of France, playing on the courts in Veigy, just outside Geneva, and on Nigel Cox's courts in Grillon, Provence. Old Citizens have been visiting Europe to play fives for more than 50 years, since club members visited Switzerland and Germany in the 1950s. The club's own tournament for the Adams Cup, held since the 1920s, attracted sixteen players and was won by Aidan Kong and James Burke. The OCEFC held no fixtures against other clubs, but might return to the circuit for the 2008/9 season.
Played 13 Won 2 Drew 3 Lost 8
The Old Edwardians had a mixed season. The league 1 side satisfyingly fulfilled all of it's fixtures in full but without quite the quality in depth to avoid relegation for finishing in last place. For some seasons the Eds. have countered a diminishing player base by recruiting players from other clubs who wanted to play League 1 Fives but whose home club did not have a suitable side. Regrettably the proposed move to division 2 left the Eds. unable to continue to do this and we will field no league side for 2007/8. Perhaps the future will see a return.
For lack of players the Eds. also withdrew from the Barber Cup in 2006/7 but are entering in 2007/8 along with a modest intended programme of friendly matches.
Fixtures at and against King Edward's School were reintroduced during the past season and were enjoyed by all who participated. The possible recovery of the club lies only down a path of improved recruitment from school, something which both school and club have not done well for some time, and matches at KES are an essential step in that process.
Played 21 Won 10 Drew 5 Lost 6
The Old Etonian Fives Club played 21 matches over the season, and in addition fielded players in the 12 Fives Ladder fixtures. In Division One of the League we finished fourth out of six (2005-6, second), but our results of 6 wins and 4 losses was enough to earn a higher position before penalty points. In the Barber Cup we once again reached the semi-finals, losing to the eventual winners, the Old Olavians, and we look forward to rejoining the EFA Trophy competition next season.
Played 13 Won 8 Lost 5
No report received
Played 19 Won 11 Drew 3 Lost 5
Sixteen O.I.s, three School pupils and two guests played for the Club during the season. In terms of silverware it was a disappointing season for the Old Ipswichian�s team; however there were some notable success stories as well as an excellent nucleus of school boys coming through this year. We have really strong hopes to see these boys continuing to play during and after University.
On the team front there was the usual nail biting scramble for places to the finale of the League 2 Season, but ultimately a strong Old Westminsters 1 team came out triumphant. We lost too many games at crucial stages in the run in and finished in 3rd place.
We gave a good account of ourselves in the Alan Barber Cup losing to the eventual winners (Old Olavians). The team had done extremely well to survive an earlier round against the Old Millhillians after a particularly good celebratory dinner in Pimlico the previous evening in honour of the formal founding of the OI Eton Fives club some 40 years ago and to mark the Secretaryship of Mike Fenn for the whole of that time.
The 40 Celebratory Dinner was organised by Sue and Simon Woolfries ably assisted by Peter Boughton, John Caudle and others. A wonderful evening of nostalgia with players, partners and friends in an informal setting with plenty of fun and laughter epitomising what the O.I. Fives Club is all about, although it has to be said that the timing of the fixture the following morning could have been better planned - blame me the new Secretary I suppose!!
The Ipswich Tournament on the first weekend of 2007 witnessed an excellent if somewhat exhausting two days of Fives and associated social events, splendidly organised by Peter Boughton who was also a member of the winning pair.
Gareth Hoskins had a really good season and did well to make the quarter-finals of the Kinnaird - only the 3rd OI to do so, with John Caudle and Mike Fenn being the other two. He also represented the North Oxford side in League 3 gaining promotion, which will hit us hard next year as his services will not be available to us in the League. Peter Boughton has looked increasingly sharp and this has paid off winning the Plate B of the Northern Tournament with John Caudle, as well as reaching the Plate A final of the Kinnaird (again with John).
Played 16 Won 8 Drew 1 Lost 7
A fortunate coincidence for the OMs was the opening of the stunning new facility of three new courts at Mill Hill School with the bicentennial anniversary of the school. In September Richard Barber formally opened the courts and thus began another season albeit a mere 31st year for the club with for the first time 3 of its own courts.
In the league the OMs finished a respectable 3rd but proudly boasted that it never dropped a pair in any game. In the Barber Cup the Old Ipswichian side, despite their club dinner the night before and the insistence by the OMs that the match was played early the next morning, proved too strong and knocked the home side out of the competition. Few friendly games are played these days except against the Jesters and the School.
The club, however, operates its own friendly Club Nights, based at Mill Hill on Tuesdays and held approximately every 2 weeks. This has proved a great success especially with the younger members of the club but it would be good to see any other Fives players who would simply like to turn up and play some friendly Fives. The dates are published in the fixture list and will be available on the website.
Of the players Vishal Bhimjiyani continues to mature and improve and learn from Ian Hutchinson whose appearances are too rare these days; it is hoped that Justin LeFort will return from exile in Channel Isles soon and join a promising group of players under the age of 30. Indeed the Club is "strikingly alive" as Gladstone described Mill Hill in 1879!
Played 35 Won 22 Lost 13
Another successful season for the Olavians in the team competitions, securing the Alan Barber Cup,the Keeble League Cup and the schoolboys showing their potential with an excellent win in the EFA Trophy. With two teams in the first division, we are fortunate to have a steady stream of reliable players come through the school system and keeping playing through University and this was reflected in the 3rd place finish in the top flight for the second team. The club also made its presence felt at the Ladder, accumulating the most points as a club and some very creditable individual performances from Howard Wiseman (joint 1st), Peter White (5th) and Peter Cohen (10th).
The club's top players were ever present in the major tournaments but failed to win any of the London, Northern or Kinnaird despite making the final of each of them. An all Olavian Kinnaird semi-final showed the club's strength, with James Toop and Matthew Wiseman beating Howard Wiseman and Seb Cooley to the final.
As we continue to work on the club's depth, it is pleasing to report that a communication to all registered Old Olavians has seen some players from the dim and distant past express their desire to return to the courts to re-discover some of the old magic. Our beginning and end of season tournaments continue to produce more players than we have spaces on court, which ensures that a healthy balance between the competitive and the sporting sides of the events are maintained.
Played 7 Won 6 Lost 1
Although the League Tables do not indicate much improvement on the last season, the team has a lot of which to be proud. Not only have we seen a massive improvement in the quality of the side but we have also seen an increase in the number of players participating - the latter being a marvellous result considering that a few years ago we were on the verge of collapsing.
Our continued relationship with the Old Stoics has proved a fruitful one. Special thanks must go to Mike Skjott of the Old Stoics for his continued assistance, and also Anne Wiseman who for the last four years has been organising our matches to much success, and whose efforts have ensured that the club is still here. Anne, you have the players' unequivocal thanks.
Simon Warren-Thomas' performance in the ladder warrants special mention as he not only performed most admiringly, but single-handedly took the Old Reptonians to a most respectable position. Simon, many thanks for all your hard work.
Lastly, we hope that next season will prove to be as enjoyable as this one has been. With the quality improving and new faces amongst our squad, the team's new found resurgence can only lead to a more active role in the future.
Played 16 Won 8 Lost 8
An accomplished process of team building and strengthening of depth would aptly sum up this past season. Many times over the past few seasons, trophies have been lost through our lack of strength in the crucial third pair. So it was encouraging to see some young (and not quite so young) blood coming through and making a solid impression in our performance, especially at League level. The likes of Pete Nichols and James Pollack just began to get back into their stride toward the end of the season and with Francis Nicholson, Ben Walker, Al Taylor and Brad Hyett constantly improving the outlook next season seems promising. It was a shame to loose Craig Webster to injury, just as he reached the peak of his game. Overall though, the Club had a solid return to the League, and hope to build on this next season.
It was extremely encouraging to see the increasing numbers participating in the Club Nights and the Ladder Competition. Some great games were had during the Club Nights. The Ladder Tournament saw strong Salopian support for this new and exciting Fives format.
Old Salopian fathers got a chance to put in a great deal of hard work in the annual Fathers and Sons competition this year. It was great to see three Old Salopian pairs in the semi- final of the competition. With Rex Worth fresh from his National Schools victory, the Worths proved just a little too strong for the Walters pair. With Mike and Chris Hughes confidently winning their semi-final Peter Worth looked like the heat of the balmy April day might take its toll. But in a fantastic final, the Worths just managed to clinch the match 12-8, 12-9.
With an improving team and a growing base of players the Club looks forward to a successful 2007/8 season.
Played 14 Won 3 Drew 3 Lost 8
In 2002, having merged with the Old Reptonians, The Old Stoics Fives team re-joined the London league. Following a fantastic season in 2003/4, when the combined Stoic/Reptonian team won league III, an Old Stoic team was formed to play in League II, regaining the position they left 5 years ago. This was certainly helped by the strong relationship formed between The Old Stoics/Old Reptonians on and off the court. The occasional bout in the pub as to who was buying the next round only encouraged this!
Promotion to League II was certainly a moment of pride for the team, however, it was soon realised that in order to excel, let alone play in league II, the Old Stoics would have to compete at the highest possible level.
This has been the second season in League II and whilst two teams exist in the overall League, there is still a reliance on a core number of players to compete in both leagues. This season has seen a great contribution from two players in particular, James Ware (Old Reptonian) and Charlie Robinson (Old Stoic), both, through their commitment in practice and competition, improved their game significantly.
Michael Skjott continues to be the centre of enthusiasm, harassing ("encouraging" is probabaly more appropriate) players to participate in the league. Many times this played an important part in putting out three instead of two pairs which undoubtedly helped to avoid incurring unnecessary penalty points.
However, there continues to be great pressure to recruit new players, placing a large dependence on the valiant few. Rod Tait at Stowe has been doing a superb job leading the revival of Fives at the school. Increasing sponsorship will raise the competitive level of the sport while hopefully ensuring a steady stream of interest in Old Stoic Fives from school leavers.The Old Stoics Fives Club is grateful for the commitment the school is making to Fives and the Club looks forward to supporting the ongoing development of Fives at the school. The Club will be playing its first round match of the Barber Cup at the school and is arranging friendly fixtures as well.
There is one last, all important fixture to be organised, and that is the post season social event, to be held in London. Doubtful that Michael Skjott will have to harass players on this occasion!
Played 25 Won 18 Drew 1 Lost 6
Season 2006/2007 was perhaps the best in terms of results that the OWs have enjoyed since the Secretary was in short trousers. Old Westminsters One was victorious in all but one of their Division Two fixtures, which won them the title and promotion to the First Division next season. The last time we were there even Mike Fenn was in short trousers.
The credit for this performance must go largely to our young(ish) top four, Giles Coren, Ed Rose, Saul Albert and Nick Fry, who were able to commit to playing in virtually all the matches. This gave us two excellent pairs of equal ability - a luxury we haven't enjoyed for some time. They were ably supported by a variety of other players, notably veteran Neil Margerison, still able to hack it though now sporting more hair on his chin than on his head...
North Oxford Fives Club
Played 17 Won 10 Drew 5 Lost 2
The Jesters Club
Played 36 Won 19 Drew 2 Lost 15
In the last year I am pleased to report that we managed to increase the number of games played. Of particular note is the successful weekend visit to Oakham and Uppingham that were conducted in liaison with the EFA. This development of the game in areas not so blessed with players remains an important focus for the club. Indeed the Jesters Committee kindly supported this venture and partially funded the costs incurred. The Committee is strongly behind this type of initiative and co-operation with the EFA. I would hope that we can replicate this success elsewhere and more routinely in the coming years.
The numbers of active Jesters rose this year and the quality and depth of the team is continuing to improve. This trend needs to be maintained if we are to regularly fulfil such a fixture list. I would encourage any Jesters of any ability to be proactive about contacting match managers. We now have a set of matches that cater to all abilities, timetables and geographies.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the match managers who support the special format of fives that the Jesters can offer. Your help is invaluable!