2007/08 School Reports

These reports first appeared in the Eton Fives Association Annual Report 2007/08

Aldenham

The senior boys have found results hard to come by this year, not least because there has been less activity time to practise this year. However, it is creditable that the boys have continued to represent the club and school enthusiastically. The A pair of Cameron Grant and Adam Williams found it difficult to get any form and did not look at their best in the few matches they played together this year. While they beat the top Mill Hill pair, they could only manage a frustrating draw with QE Barnet and lost out to Berkhamsted and Highgate (although an injury to Williams curtailed this match). Individually there was some success for the two boys; in the inaugural ladder competition at Aldenham, Williams won the overall event beating players from Bryanston, Stowe and QE Barnet. Meanwhile, in the Turnbull Trophy, Grant partnered OA Josh Rose to the quarter-finals before being eliminated by the eventual winners, Berkhamsted.

In the other pairs, Ben Weinberg and Tom Pettet played some determined and skilful Fives this year and it was a shame that they were unable to represent the club at the Nationals. Gareth Thomas and Jamie Collins continued to improve and Upper Sixth players Matt Wallace, Toby Bryan,James Charnley and Hamoun Jamali played their part in several school matches. From Year 11, George Mizel and Carl Rennie were unbeaten in matches against QE Barnet, Harrow and Mill Hill, losing only to Berkhamsted, while the other pair in this age group, Dan Jacobs and Dan Yardley, improved as the year progressed.

The Junior boys have played with much enthusiasm this year and they have certainly enlivened the atmosphere at the Fives courts through their positive attitude. Junior captain was Sam Bonnerman, who along with partner Max Potter, made up the B pair for the U15s. The A pair was made up of Ben Boothby and Chris Roach, who lacked time on court and never quite managed to match their clear potential. The club is grateful to Richard Hall, Max Raby, Stephen Kemp and Alex Blackman for stepping in occasionally to ensure fixtures were fulfilled. In the U14 age group several boys worked hard to improve their skill levels this year and they made encouraging progress.

Aldenham girls have represented the school on the Fives courts for the first time this year, mainly due to the pioneering efforts of sixth-former, and girls� captain, Abigail Shamah. The results of two matches against Highgate, unfortunately, did not reflect the enthusiasm shown by the girls.

Three groups made the long trip to Shrewsbury this year to attend the National Championships. Sam Bonnerman and Max Potter played in the U15 competition, where they progressed to the second round before succumbing to a stronger Shrewsbury pair. On the Monday the Seniors represented the club. In a relatively disappointing showing, only Cameron Grant and Adam Williams made it through the competitive pools stage, but were eliminated in the second round by a pair from St Olave's. In the Beginners' competition on Wednesday, 4 pairs played in a large entry and made good progress, with two pairs reaching the fourth round.

This year saw the first ever Martineau's matches, with triangular fixtures against Orley Farm and Belmont and a match against Berkhamsted. The matches were always keenly contested and at times the Fives was quite absorbing, but often our inexperience was evident and certainly in some matches our boys were outclassed by more experienced players. However, the club will certainly have benefited from the introduction of competitive Fives at this age group and signs for the future are encouraging. These players also got their first taste of tournament Fives at The Prep Schools' Championships at Harrow, which took place at the end of the Lent term.

Matt Barrett

Belmont

2007-2008 has been a year of rebuilding for Fives at Belmont. When the old Mill Hill courts were closed a few stalwart pupils kept playing at Aldenham, but only with the opening of Mill Hill's three new courts has interest really been rekindled for the game. Belmont pairs played friendly matches against Orley Farm and Aldenham during the year and several pairs played in the Prep Schools' Tournament at Harrow. With more pupils showing an interest it is hoped that more matches can be arranged for 2008-2009.

Bob Pace

Berkhamsted

The boys enjoyed another fine season of fives with fixtures against the majority of Eton Fives playing schools. We are lucky enough to have number of talented players reaching the top of the school. Highlights included a semi-final at U18 level for Andrew Joyce and Jeremy O'Neill in the schools nationals, Joyce retained the Turnbull with his coach D.L.F. while Tom Barnes and Andrew Joyce both reached the semi finals of the Midland tournament at Repton. Lower down the school, James Holroyd and Alex Rattan reached the semi-final of the U15 nationals. We look forward to joining the league in conjunction with the Old Berkhamstedians next season.

Doug Foster

Bryanston

This year Bryanston once again had the support of our very experienced and able coach Peter Knowles and the standard of play generally was very high, with matches against Marlborough and St Olave's producing clear wins for Bryanston. Lancing postponed and finally cancelled their match with us. This fixture tends to be one of the most enjoyable matches of the season, so the cancellation was a big disappointment. Likewise, our match against Charterhouse did not materialise.

The fixture with Eton was a much more successful affair than previously, Bryanston pairs scoring far more points per game than is usual. We expect a tough match against Eton, but the experience is valuable.

We took four Senior pairs and two Junior pairs to the National Schools' Championships at Shrewsbury in the last week of term and the boys did us credit, playing their best Fives ever. There was some illustrious opposition of course and it had to be an achievement that two of our pairs won enough matches within their pool to go into the next round.

Chris Poole

Charterhouse

The Charterhouse Fives team had a mixed season. We won more matches than we lost but ended the season with the feeling that things should have been better.

The seniors were devastated by injury. Edward Birkett,who was pushing for a place in the first pair was struck by glandular fever and was not able to play from the middle of the Christmas term. As we moved towards thechampionships Michael Manby, the captain, broke a finger in his hand. The juniors were also hit as Charles Rogers broke a thumb in the week we were due to go to Shrewsbury.

Despite this the seniors managed to test all the schools weplayed against. The gap left by Birkett was filled by Fergus Imrie, who made enormous strides this year.

The Yearlings were strong. C Rogers and T Julius combined technique with extraordinary determination. This was exemplified by Rogers wanting to play in the nationals despite his broken finger.

We hosted the Southern Schools' Tournament for novices in November. This was a great success and will be better next year as we will place it later in the season. The National Schools' Championships took place in Shrewsbury. We put in two pairs of Junior Colts who both got through the preliminary rounds before being put out by strong opponents.

We gained a new coach this year, David Mew, who was a great encouragement to players at all levels. Two OCs (Ronald Pattison and Alex Burrows) have come down on Wednesday evenings to coach. On top of this we have the knowledge and unfailing enthusiasm of Gilles Gergaud helping the sport. Next year we will have fit and experienced Seniors and a growing numbers of Juniors. The sport is in good shape.

John Troy

City of Norwich

After a successful season last year there were high hopes of further improvement this year at the school. The Fives team did expand - albeit only by 8 - and it shows that there is a desire to play the sport at the school. The students are keen and so are the parents, who were willing to drive the team to tournaments such as the Harrow Beginners and away fixtures at Berkhamsted, Highgate and Eton. St Olave's were also kind enough to bring a team up to CNS this year - hopefully this fixture can remain an annual event for many years to come.

The coaching was shared this year by Mark Herring and new recruit Will Gibbons, who has worked well with the students in the last few months. The parents have also helped form a Saturday morning club and have raised money to have the courts cleaned. They are even looking to take up One Wall Fives in their gym.

Jan Watson, the Head of Games, has been a huge help with all the Fives work done at the school; I wish her well as she is moving on at the end of the Summer Term.

Mark Herring

Cranleigh

Fives continues to form a popular part of the minority sports programme at Cranleigh in the Michaelmas and Lent terms. We now have a healthy cohort of students playing the game in each year group and this means we are now producing a good number of Old Cranleighan Fives players. It was therefore a fitting way to open the 2007/08 season with a match against last year's leavers. This saw a meaner and leaner schoolboy team beat our illustrious alumni and the once legendary partnership of Roper and Crump will now be licking their wounds until next year!

As ever, thanks to Mark Halstead's sterling work in the Prep School, we inherited a healthy group of Year 9 students into the Senior School programme. Jonny Pullar, Owen Quant, Dan Haynes, Charlie Cowdrey, Alex Thompson, Ben Roberts and James Evans were the pick of the bunch. The highlight for this group of players was a win against St. Olave's in the Michaelmas term. We do not shirk from playing the very strongest schools in the country and these boys will also have learnt a great deal from defeat at the hands of Shrewsbury in the Lent term.

In the U15 and U16 age groups we continue to progress well: Tom Batchelor, Matt Storey, Luke Hall, Ollie Davies, Harry Adolphus and Alex Knox make up a strong U15 team and with the likes of Harry Thomas, Will Langmead, Peers Lyle, Tom Forster, Andrew Goudie, Mike Haynes and George Cross our U16 team remains in good shape too. Whilst, with so many commitments elsewhere, it is not always easy to get the players practising regularly they have benefited from coaching from our visiting REFCA professional, Ryan Perrie. Ryan manages to combine fine skills with excellent repartee with our players and it has been especially beneficial this year to have been able to use him to coach the Prep School too. This bodes well for the future of Cranleigh Fives.

We have also continued to play regular matches against The Brigands, a locally based Fives club. These matches have done a great deal to keep competitive Fives ticking along at Cranleigh and it is instructive for the boys to see how they might continue to enjoy their Fives after Cranleigh. Whilst there is no doubting their possession of a competitive edge, The Brigands are always keen to stress the social side too and they have been most hospitable in entertaining our sixth formers for food and the odd drink in the pub afterwards!

Other matches outside of the regular inter-school games were, of course, the ever popular Common Room games. Rarely has a Master in Charge at Cranleigh had selection problems but this is beginning now to be the case and I am grateful to members of CR for their time, if not their skill, when they volunteer themselves for these ritual drubbings!

Of course in our minds we�re all still Fives legends, that is until we venture on court... I was struck by the comments of one member of Common Room observing these matches who noted the sense of fun in these games. Unlike many other sports at school Fives is played on a purely optional basis - this means that the players are there simply because they want to be and this does create a unique atmosphere amongst the players.

At senior level we probably had our strongest cohort of players during my time here. Phil Roper, Seren Waters, Archie Cameron-Blackie (Captain), Rob Storey, Harry Milburn-Fryer and Matt Goddard are all playing at a level which ranks them amongst some of the best in the country. The highlight for our top pair, Phil and Seren, was a win against a strong Shrewsbury pair in the run up to the Nationals. It was therefore disappointing that we were only able to get three of these top six players up to the Nationals in Shrewsbury in March - one likes to think that we might have had two pairs in the last 16 of the Open if we had. The rest of the 14-strong team was made up of Junior players keen to try their luck in the Open event and, as ever, they had a super day's Fives. At the top end of the team Archie Cameron-Blackie gamely partnered Phil Roper and they battled hard to get to the last 16 of the competition. A very respectable performance.

Sadly, this will be my last year in charge of Fives at Cranleigh. I am delighted to be handing over the battered leather gloves to Alex Forsdike who I'm sure will enjoy the job as much as I've done over the last five years. I wish him the very best of luck.

Jonathan Carr

Emanuel

This year the Emanuel Fives team grew even bigger. We have now established a Fives team in each year group within the school, who have competed in school matches, competitions and individual events. We have also developed a promising squad of girls from year 7 upwards who have been led by captain Stephanie White. Our girls squad have played many matches and competitions with increasingly promising results.

The Emanuel Fives teams have played in over 20 matches against Highgate, St Olave's, Lancing, Berkhamsted, St Bartholomew's, Rossall, QE Barnet, City of London, Westminster and Mill Hill across the two terms. The School has also entered players into different weekend tournaments such as the Harrow Beginners, the adults Northern Championships, The Ladies Nationals and the main event of the year - the National Schools' Championships, which took place at Shrewsbury and Eton.

The Fives at Emanuel has gone from strength to strength, now boasting a following of over 60 girls and boys across all age groups. Next year we hope for an even bigger team in terms of numbers, strength and depth. With the help of Howard Wiseman we believe that this is a realistic ambition. The future of Fives at Emanuel is bright and exciting.

Dominique Redmond

Eton

A good deal of high-quality Fives has been played this season, in both internal and school matches. The U16 Pairs competition was won by Thomas Witherow and Hugo Meakin, while the New Boy Fives trophies went to Angus McWhirter and Edward Brown. The highlight of the Michaelmas half was the first pair of Fritz von Guionneau and Jamie MacDonagh winning away at Harrow.

The busy Lent half produced more very good matches including a number of wins. At the Schools' National Championships in Shrewsbury, all the senior and U15 pairs qualified for the last sixteen, while the beginners pair of Daniel Byam Shaw and James Abbott reached the quarter-finals. The School Pairs was won by Fritz von Guionneau and James MacDonagh, whilst Mr Oliphant- Callum's house won both the Junior League and Senior House Pairs (Edward Morrison and Henry Nicholls).

David Griffiths

Harrow

Some very good Fives players leave Harrow this year although few would know this as opportunities for these boys to play Fives in School matches in the Lent Term are severely restricted. William Jones reached the final of the Northern Championships, taking a game of the Tournament winners and in term time William and Alex Poole (still U16) managed to win a game from the all conquering Highgate Senior first pair. William Denehy is also a fine prospect for the Old Harrovians.

The Colts age group is strong in depth and it was a shame that clashes with the Rackets at Queen's and Art GCSE prevented entry into the National Schools' Championships. In addition to Alex Poole, Tom Faber and Geordie Bowes Lyon both show real potential.

There is not so much depth in the first two years so there will be a great deal of work to be done with the Juniors next year.

Graham Dunbar

Highgate Girls

Fives was introduced to girls in Years 6, 7, 8, 12 and 13 this year and over 50 girls have played on a regular basis. Within three years, as our younger girls move up the school, we look forward to having Fives in every age group.

It has been both very pleasing and rewarding to witness so many girls taking up and enjoying this new sport. Most girls only started playing during the Lent Term and the standard they have reached in such a short time has been remarkable. Practices have been fun and well attended.

Ten girls' pairs were entered in the National Schools' Championships at Shrewsbury in the U19 competition - the only girls' competition. We were thrilled that one Year 6 pair (Lara Foch and Eloise Most) and one Year 12 pair (Connie Mantle and Jessica Varma) reached the quarter-finals where they lost to Lancing 1 and Westminster 1 respectively. However, two pairs, one from Year 8 (Connie Van Stroud and Maddy Williams) and our Year 13 first pair (Nina Sorensen and Dalia Cardenes-Trujillo) reached the semi-finals, which was an outstanding feat. Connie and Maddy lost to the second seeds, Lancing 1, but Nina and Dalia gave the favourites from Westminster a tough match, losing 10-12, 12-9, 4-12, 9-12. In the whole championships, and indeed for the whole season, they were the only pair to take a game off the eventual winners.

I would particularly like to thank Nina and Dalia for setting an excellent example and for inspiring our younger players. One of the most positive aspects of this game is that all the have integrated well with different year groups. Another advantage is that Fives is one of the few sports where girls and boys can play together. I have been impressed with the attitude of several boys who have helped put the girls through their paces in a very gentlemanly manner.

As well as the Championships, we had ten other fixtures against Westminster, Lancing, Berkhamsted, Aldenham, St Olave's, Emanuel and St Bartholomew's. We won eight of the ten.

Well done to all for a successful first season.

Ali Brunner

Highgate

This has been an exciting season at Highgate.We entered a team in the adult league division 2 with much success and a great deal of experience gained. We had a clean sweep in all the major boys' competitions at Harrow (Under 13 Prep Schools), Eton (National Under 12) and Shrewsbury (National Under 14, Under 16 and Open). And finally we shared the Williams Cup with Shrewsbury School. We have also played many school matches but none as fiercely competitive and enjoyable as our two fixtures with Shrewsbury.

Our seniors have been inspirational and one reason why so many boys have turned up to after school practices. Our first pair (Jonny Ho and Sam Little) have played brilliantly all season both in school and club matches and have represented the school with distinction. They were the star pair at the Championships and played like it. Our second pair (Alexei Yanovski and Tom Nicoll) improved tremendously during the season and reached a very high standard. They were a little unlucky to lose to Shrewsbury 1 in the semi-finals.

At lower sixth we have a number of talented players vying not only with each other but also with our all conquering Under 16s to see who will partner Sam Little next season. Conrad Ryan and Joe Marks (Sam's partner at Under 16) are the front runners and they have also played many matches at club level.

Our Under 16s and Under 15s are very strong in depth and we can boast seven excellent pairs. Both first and second pairs at Under 15 (Cameron Most and Matthew Kovar & Alex Pavitt and James Curry) and Under 16 (Ali Buchanan and Gregg Sulkin & Harry Hatchwell and Morgan da Silva) reached the semi finals of the Under 16s which is a school record. Ali and Gregg had won all their school matches at Under 16 pair 1 and were really up for the final against Matthew and Cameron who had entered the Open and had just won a famous victory over St Olave�s 1, but they were tired and a little sore. However, Ali and Gregg played with such pace and accuracy and volleyed to length, that try as hard as they did Cameron and Matthew could not get the upper hand. Ali and Gregg thoroughly deserved their win against the hot favourites. Matthew and Cameron will be back at this level next year as will Alex and James, Ali Coleman-Bennett, Jonny Airey and Oscar Moore. Other boys who will be competing at senior level next year include Tom Whitehead, Milton Karamani, Greg Dougall, Alex Thomas and Oliver Jenne.

Our Under 14s did very well and our top two pairs (Max Abbott and Aroop Bhattacharya � Josh Chatland and Dylan Audsley) overcame stiff opposition from Shrewsbury in the semi-finals and produced the final of the Championships but with the finals of the Open and Under 16s going on at the same time on the other side of the courts not many people saw this epic until later. Josh and Dylan (pair two) used their size and strength effectively winning the first two games but Aroop found his length and Max began to cut and volley much better and took the third game easily. After that both the fourth and fifth games were intense battles with pair one just squeezing home 12-10, 13-10 but with pair two reaching 10 first in both games.

We dominated the Under 13s and Under 12s with both pairs one and two in both finals.

We are blessed with a huge number of very talented players at years 6 and 7 but only Gabriel Mador is flying the flag for year 8. At Under 12 level our first pair (Charlie Noble and Joe Berriman) and second pair (Jamie Willet and James Hosking) contested both Under 12 and 13 finals and looked extremely advanced for their age. Charlie and Joe, bigger and stronger, beat Jamie and James, smaller but more accurate and with a greater variety of shots, in both finals. It will be interesting to see who comes out on top in a few years� time. However, they will be pushed hard by a host of talented boys including Riaz Razaq, Kane Rayner, James Angel, Joe Perl, Bertie Mills, Mel Yiannakas, Stephen Papaloizu and Saarchi Sehgal from year 7 and Matthew Budgett, Richard Footman, Alex Robinson, Sebastien Goddijn, Ben Reed, William Hosking, Oliver Vincent, Daniel Light and lots of others from year 6.

The future looks bright but I would like to give my thanks to our leavers, Jonny Ho, Alexei Yanovski and Tom Nicoll who have been such marvellous ambassadors for Highgate Fives. They have played the game in a wonderful spirit and have set the standard for our younger players to follow. Jonny has been an excellent captain and it was fitting that he should win the Open and in such style.

Anthony Brunner

High Wycombe Royal Grammar School

How fantastic to see High Wycombe School request their own club listing on Fives Online this year! Yes, several of the boys at High Wycombe were regular players in the Ladder and they also appeared in the Northern Championships. Fives at the school is still very unsatisfactory due to the dangers of using the courts when wet (unfortunately it seems to rain a lot in High Wycombe on Thursdays - the REFCA coaching day!). The boys are keen and the courts are excellent, BUT we need new floors and a roof. Watch this space! 

Howard Wiseman

Ipswich

In our first post Barry Hoskins year, we celebrated the centenary of the introduction of Eton Fives to the School by Headmaster A K Watson (see report and photos elsewhere.)

On the playing front, having lost ten of our senior players from the previous year the school team was not as strong; however it came close to victory against the OIs in the first of two matches against the club. We were thwarted from a historic first by the wily experience of Mike Fenn who added yet another 3-2 win to his extensive five game tally to ensure the Old Boys only lost one pair.

A good number of players attended the various weekly Fives activity sessions, including the Wednesday evening games with OIs, staff and others. We were once again indebted to senior players who gave up their lunchtimes to run the Junior Fives club.

Highlights of the season were once again the handicap Ipswich Tournament and the trip to Shrewsbury for two of the senior pairs to play in the Northern Tournament. Shrewsbury was also the venue for the National Schools� Competition where we were pleased with the performance of our second pair in reaching the second round and frustrated that the Leach brothers only showed their true potential after a slow start to storm through and win the Plate Competition.

Next year will be a challenge to find new players to replace those leaving and to continue coaching at the lower level.We will do our best.

Peter Boughton

King Edward's Birmingham

Fives at KES remains in good shape, with matches taking place at school level (with a healthy degree of success) and at House level internally, and with our sister school playing the game for the first time. Up to 20 senior girls have used the courts on a games afternoon and several juniors have played regularly at lunchtimes. Many thanks to the coach, Mark Herring.

We have continued the experiment of replacing some traditional-style school matches with mini-tournaments between several schools and these have worked well at Birmingham, Wolverhampton, and Shrewsbury. Maybe that may partly explain why in the Under 14 Beginners' section at the National Schools' Championships all our U14 pairs made it to the knockout stage, with one pair reaching the semi-final.

Finally, a warm welcome back to Mark Yates and Wolverhampton, our closest Fives neighbours.

George Worthington

Lancing

Fives continues to thrive at Lancing with two coached sessions per week during the main terms under the guidance of Howard and Matt Wiseman. There is a coached session in the summer term too, run by Howard, which carries on into the evening as a club session.

In the 2007-2008 Fives season, Lancing pairs have played in the usual run of school matches against St Olave�s, Westminster, Charterhouse, Cranleigh, and Bryanston with victories and defeats about even across the age groups. Alongside the standard school fixtures, Lancing pupils and OLs have take part in many competitions.

At school level, we have competed in the Rossall Schools' Tournament, the Graham Turnbull Cup, the Williams Cup and The Schools' National Championships held this year at Shrewsbury.

At adult level, Lancing was represented by a combination of OLs and current pupils in the Midland Tournament, the Universities Championships, the London Tournament, the Northern Tournament, the Varsity Match, the Kinnaird Cup, the Ladies National Championships and the Mixed Championships.

Andrew Betts

Ludgrove

Although the standard at senior level was less good this year, enthusiasm for the game was as high as ever. Over 50 boys play Fives and gain huge enjoyment during the Michaelmas and Easter terms. We have some promising players and we hope for success in the year ahead. Our first pair of Jamie Cox and Rupert Gatehouse played some excellent fives on occasions and I hope they will keep up the game as they both move on to Harrow in September.

Gerald Barber

Marlborough

Bryanston once again made the journey to give us some matches, before and after Christmas. It was a great pleasure to welcome a distinguished and skilful EFA IV for a match at Marlborough - the first of many, we hope. Our boys enjoyed and benefited enormously from the rare opportunity to see some high-level practitioners in action.

Tom Kiggell

Mill Hill

The game is in an interesting transitional state at Mill Hill at present. The excellent facility of the new courts is a tremendous fillip for the game but last season saw the last of large numbers of talented and enthusiastic players who originally learnt the game at Belmont. However, the U15 year group is quite strong in numbers and quality and the drive to introduce the game to the IV Form has largely paid off with seven pairs training regularly and representing the school. More good news is the interest and numbers of boys and girls from Belmont who keep the courts crowded and noisy on their allotted days.

The U15 year group shows promise and depth with Josh Leader, Jack Weller, Stelios Georgiou, Saul Levy, Oliver John and Matthew Jackson all impressing. At Senior first pair Mark Campbell played with skill and commitment; his game improved considerably and he was as worthy as any player of recent years to play first pair. It is good to see the interest and dedication of the players leading to their participation in the Old Boys club. With Simon Parrish and Ian Hutchinson available to coach and impart their knowledge and enthusiasm, the future looks optimistic.

Steve Plummer

Oakham

This has been a quiet year for us: there have been a growing number of girls who have taken up the game and to good effect, but the number of boys who have played has not been as great as hoped.

We meet on the usual Games days of Tuesday and Thursday afternoons and on a Fourth Form and Third Form carousel on Monday and Friday afternoons, to which a small but dedicated group come and play. In addition we have met at various occasions on Thursday late afternoons for a club session, to which a few committed boys and girls come, and also, we now meet on Saturdays after the end of the school morning for the younger �Jerwoods� boarders, and there is great promise being shown amongst this small group.

We had hoped to play one or two matches, but sadly they were cancelled, but what was encouraging was that fact that a number of girls went to Eton for the tournament in early March and then a small group of girls and U14s went to Shrewsbury to play in the National Schools'. Although there were no great shining stars, it was noticeable how the standard of play went up dramatically over the course of each day, and this inspired and encouraged particularly the boys to return to Oakham with fire in their belly and dedicate more time to their Fives, which had been lost through hectic schedules with other sports.

We look forward to a growing and dedicated involvement next year and to more matches and tournaments being played.

Alex Aldous

Orley Farm

We have been fortunate in having some capable games players involved in our Fives this year. Success, in terms of achievement, was most notable in the Jeremy Marston Plate Competition at Harrow. Our seconds, Sam Isaacs and Mark Potter, beat a spirited and able Cranleigh pair in an incredibly close semi-final. They lost 1-2 to Summer Fields in the final. Our younger pairs took part in the U12 tournament at Eton. This was excellent experience for them and, of course, a great day out.

We have, once again, enjoyed friendlies against Summer Fields, Aldenham, Belmont and Berkhamsted. Fives practice at Orley Farm takes place at Harrow every Friday night after school and is a great way to finish the week. We will miss our current Year 8s when they move on and look forward to hearing something of their Fives playing in the future.We are, of course, blessed with those ready to take their places waiting in the wings.

Brian Smith

St. Bartholomews, Newbury

Fives has continued to grow at St Bartholomew's with a new intake of pupils. The whole squad, over every age group, continues to be very committed and also continues to play throughout the year. St Bartholomew's played competitive matches this year at Eton and Highgate against both boys and girls of all ages, and will be looking to face more opponents next year.

St Bartholomew's entered the National Schools' Championships again this year, as well as entering the Rossall Open for the first time and the Mixed Tournament. A special mention must go to the Senior girls squad who turned up to the Rossall tournament on the understanding that there would be a ladies pool only to find that it had been cancelled and continued to play in the men's pool anyway, and to the members of the Senior squad who held their own against the adults in the Mixed Tournament.

Fives will undoubtedly continue to grow at St Bartholomew's over the coming season.

Steve Piper

St Bees

No report received.


St Johns Leatherhead

There were only three fixtures this season, against Cranleigh, the EFA and the Common Room, with a fourth to follow: the centenary fixture against the Old Johnians on 29th June, although internally the sport has been thriving.

In their hundredth year, the St John's courts are in a parlous state, but we were extremely grateful to receive a gift of £1000, to be used exclusively towards the upkeep of the Fives courts from a former Master in Charge, the Reverend Maurice Turner.

David Wells-Cole

St Olave's

This year St Olave's have played in over 70 school matches as well as various school and adult competitions. St Olave's over the past two seasons have now played all current Fives-playing secondary schools in the country, as far north as St Bees and as far south as Bryanston. This shows the commitment of our squad of over 150 players and the new addition of over thirty Year 7 and 8 pupils.

Our top U14 players reached the final of the Southern Schools' Championships and beat Westway in the final. The same pupils entered into the Midlands Schools' Championships held at Wolverhampton; they reached the final but lost in a very close match to King Edward's School. Our top senior player and captain James Rees reached the final of the Graham Turnbull Trophy with Old Boy Peter White and played a fantastic five game match, losing by just one point to the Berkhamsted pair. Our U12 team saw our first pair reach the final of the U12s National plate which is a great achievement, having started the game in September. Our U12s Captain Luke Reveley reached the final of the U12 beginners held at Harrow School in December.

The National Schools' Championships saw the Olavian team enter over 40 pairs across the different age groups from U14s upwards. It was a real success and a great event with players reaching quarter and semi-finals. The experience showed our players what they need to work on to improve their performances for next season.

I would like to thank all the players in the team and the school for all their support over the past season - especially Dominique Redmond and Ryan Perrie for their great support in coaching and travelling with the team.

Howard Wiseman

Shrewsbury

At Eton in March, Shrewsbury School retained their name on the Williams Team Cup and thereby maintained a proud record in this, the most important EFA National Fives Team schools event. We have now won the cup four times in the last five years.

Following our outstanding success in 2007 we again managed to compete strongly in all age groups bar the U16s at the National Schools' Championships.

In the U14s Beginners 'event we dominated proceedings producing five of the eight quarter-finalists and two of the four semi-finalists, with the final an all-school affair. In the U14s Competition itself we produced our best ever performance in getting two pairs (S.Leach & J.Hudson- Williams and S.Welti & H.Lewis) into the semi-finals. This competition is an open event and pits our players, of one season's experience, against players from all over the country who have been playing for much longer. In the U15s Competition we again produced half of the quarter and semi-finalists. Again the final was an all Shrewsbury affair with G.Thomason & J.Tse running out winners. In the U16s competition we had less success but can still be proud of two quarter-final pairings.

In the Open Competition we passed all records for pairs entering the event (14). We showed our strength in depth with some ten pairs reaching the third round. However, only M.McKeever and R.Griffiths made it through to the last four. They progressed smoothly to the final but were outclassed 3-0 by an excellent Highgate pair.They did however preserve a five-year record for Salopians contesting the Open Final.

This year's Upper Sixth group have all played, and enjoyed, Fives at a very high standard for five years. I would like to pay tribute to all these boys who have, during my time in charge, been outstanding characters to work with. They have been reliable, competitive, independent and proud competitors. I am proud to have been associated with all of them.

The improved court facilities and prospect of renovations in the near future give us confidence to build on the many years of success. Clearly the dominance and standard achieved by our great rivals at Highgate merely acts as a spur to sustain and improve our standards. We have a fine crop of young players to work with and we are duty bound to produce highly competitive pairings in the coming year and win back some of the cups we lost this year.

I would like to thank all my supporting staff for their excellent dedicated work in 2008.

Andy Barnard

Stowe

During the winter terms Fives has continued its resurrection at Stowe. New third formers had their first experience of the game through house introductory lessons with coach Mark Herring. The regular players have also progressed under Mark on Friday afternoons. The result of all these training sessions has been a significant improvement in the first pair Jonty Irving (captain) and Isi Madojemu and the emergence of an extremely promising pair of third form players (Arthur Hobhouse and Theo Gregson). The loss of Tristan Cooke from the team at the beginning of the season (for musical reasons!) was a blow to the team, and he has been sorely missed.

The team also continued its style of match play from last year, focusing on gaining experience from more developed teams and enjoying the matches, rather than winning them. This year, the team has played and home and away fixtures with Eton, KES Birmingham, Lancing, St Olave's, QE Barnet, Summer Fields and The Old Stoics. Stowe pairs have also been involved in the Aldenham Tournament, the Ladder and the National Schools' Fives Championships, where the 1st pair was knocked out by Berkhamsted in the second round.

Jonty Irving

Summer Fields

The 2007-08 season saw the strongest field of players at Summer Fields since our Fives courts were built in 1995. There was intense competition for places in the first pair, with Max Koe (Marlborough) and Charles Courtenay (Eton) eventually securing their berths. We were fortunate to have Freddy Fairhead (Radley) and George Taylor (Oundle) at second pair, for each was perfectly capable of stepping up when required. However, the emergence of these talented players was not just due to their natural ability. These boys were part of a larger squad of senior boys who had played the game regularly from the age of 9 or 10; they had received early encouragement and instruction from Roddy Forman (a former Eton Master in Charge); and they had further benefited from the coaching of Gareth Hoskins and, a newly appointed Summer Fields teacher, James Woodcock.

In the Michaelmas Term we defeated Eton U15, Orley Farm, Cranleigh Prep, Ludgrove (also at U12 level) and Sunningdale. In the Lent Term we won against Ludgrove U11, Harrow U14, Stowe seniors and Orley Farm again. Two useful, narrow defeats came at the hands of Shrewsbury and Eton (producing a stronger combination than previously). A total of 33 boys, aged 9 to 13 represented the school.

The climax of the season, of course, came in the form of the two main tournaments. We had high hopes for success in the Prep Schools' Tournament, and indeed we recorded our best ever results. The top two pairs won competitive quarter-finals against Highgate Junior third and fourth pairs. In the semi-finals Fairhead and Taylor were comprehensively beaten by Highgate's first pair, whilst Courtenay and Koe, carrying injuries from the previous day's rugby matches, succumbed disappointingly to Highgate's second pair. Our third pair, Jack Chaplin (Stowe) and Dominic Barber (Eton) brought us the consolation prize of the Marston Plate - which Fairhead and Koe had won the previous year. In the HSBC U12 Tournament our first pair (Barnaby Bossom and Jack Parham) lost in the semi-finals and the fifth pair (Ivo McDonald and Mayowa Soyinka, novices both) won Plate A.

It was a vintage season for Summer Fields!

Andy Bishop

Sunningdale

Fives at Sunningdale continues to flourish as a minor sport. The boys are very enthusiastic and particularly enjoy playing during their morning break.They reach a very good standard during their time with us, particularly given the limited amount of time they have to play with all the other demands on their time.

This year we had a good first pair who competed well and scored some good wins and we have some good talent coming through in the next few years.

Tom Dawson

Uppingham

Fives at Uppingham School continues to progress in a quiet, yet effective manner, with a growing strength in depth. Enthusiasm has been built both amongst the lower years, with the majority of new entrants giving the game a go, and further up the school, with the usual dedicated band of senior players taking part. As such, internal competitions have been harder fought than ever before - particularly those involving the growing band of keen staff players! Similarly, matches against external opposition have increased in number, particularly thanks to the development of a regular Midlands circuit of schools featuring KES Birmingham, Stowe and Wolverhampton. Plans for the re-development of the school sporting facilities have been guaranteed to feature Fives, so the future looks rosy too.

J.S.Birch

Westminster

This season has been a quite outstanding one for Fives at Westminster. The first senior pair, Laurie Brock and Alexander Rankine, have performed most impressively, with a fantastic record over the season, losing only to Highgate and Shrewsbury's top pairs and including a first ever victory over Harrow's first pair. The school's overall senior results have been excellent too, with many players in the Upper Sixth registering wins, especially Ian Bott and Oliver Flynn at second pair and George Illingworth and Alfred Jackson at third, as well as several emerging juniors.

However, the most impressive aspect of the season has been the fantastic performances of several players in external tournaments. In the Northern Tournament Laurie and Alex raised the bar for the school by being the first pair ever to play in the main tournament of an adult event, going all the way to the plate final, a feat they later repeated in the Kinnaird Cup. The school also received its first ever invitation to the Williams Cup, a three-pair schools' competition, a measure of how far Westminster Fives has progressed in recent years.

Finally, at the Schools' National Championships, Westminster had its best ever results at senior level. First, mention must be given to the girls pair of Lizzie Donger and Hannah Cutmore-Scott, who managed to carry off the trophy after fantastic performances in both the semi-final against Highgate 1 and the final against Lancing 1.

In the senior boys competition Westminster again had its best ever result, with four pairs reaching the last 32, a real indication of the strength in depth this year. Once again it was Laurie and Alex who were the standout performers in the competition. They had, on the back of their terrific season, become the first ever Westminster pair to be seeded for the competition and then became the first ever Westminster quarter-finalists in the senior tournament with a superb straight sets victory over Cranleigh 1. In the quarter-final they came up against a pair they had already beaten twice earlier in the season, Berkhamsted 1. However, Berkhamsted had vastly improved since the earlier matches and went into a 2-0 lead. From there, a straight games defeat seemed inevitable. But Westminster made a quite astonishing comeback, playing their best Fives of the season to take the next two sets, 12-8, 12-6. An incredible victory now seemed probable, but in a truly memorable fifth set, Berkhamsted held on until, after over three hours of play, Berkhamsted won 15-14 in the final set. Despite the eventual result it was a truly epic match and to reach the quarter-final is an achievement that may not be matched for a long time. Westminster's best ever season.

Gavin Williams

Wolverhampton Grammar School

Fives has become an integral part of Year 8 Games lessons at WGS and has seen competitive fixtures with KES Birmingham, Kingsland Grange and Shrewsbury during the season.

The U14 Midlands Schools' Competition was held for the first time at WGS on Saturday 10th November, with ten pairs entered from WGS, KES Birmingham and St. Olave's. WGS entered three pairs of Year 8 boys, who had been playing Fives since January 2007, and were obviously playing boys a year older than themselves. Wolverhampton 1 - Tom Weston and Matthew Pritchard - narrowly missed out on qualifying for the semi-finals of the main competition, instead meeting KES Birmingham in the final of the Plate Competition, which they won convincingly. Ben Hart, Ryan Griffiths-Patel, Owen Shave and Harry Webb made up the rest of the team and all performed admirably. All bodes well for next year's competition, when all the boys will again be able to compete at Under 14 level with the aid of another 12 months' experience.

The boys also participated in the Midland U14 Spring Ladder competition, along with pupils from KES Birmingham, Stowe School and Uppingham School. Matthew Pritchard eventually secured top spot after the five rounds of competition. The ladder format offered a great opportunity for players of differing abilities and from different schools to socialise and compete.

March 2008 saw WGS represented at both the Preparatory Schools� Championships at Harrow School and the National Schools� Championships at Shrewsbury. Both tournaments proved to be a fantastic experience for all involved, with debut appearances for Tom Husselbee and Shun Jevons. We look forward to next season with the current crop of players competing at full U14 level and new players developing from the boys and girls enjoying Fives at WGS.

Mark Yates