EFA Awards 2015
***VOTING IS NOW CLOSED***
Forget that other election that's apparently heading our way in a few weeeks time...here is the only vote that matters - for the 2015 EFA Awards!
As is now traditional, the EFA Dinner on May 9th will see the presentation of the EFA Awards for the following categories: Player of the Year, Young Player of the Year, Team of the Year, Coach of the Year and Special Contribution to Fives.
Simply read on to see the list of nominees in each category and then email Gareth Hoskins directly or by using the CONTACT US option from the menu bar above with your choice of the winner in each category. Each registered Fivesonline user, member of the EFA or member of the EFA Facebook group is allowed one vote per category and the winners will be announced at the EFA Dinner. Entries are now open and will close on Saturday May 2nd.
Player of the Year
This season has been a real breakthrough season for the former Oxford University captain. Will has been an integral part of the Old Olavian team who have won Division 1 of the league and was unbeaten at first pair in Lancing’s run to the semi-finals of the Alan Barber Cup.
Given the current dominance of Seb and Tom Dunbar in the major tournaments, it is no surprise that both are nominated in this category once again. This repetition makes Seb’s achievements this year no less remarkable, however: wins with Tom in the three major tournaments – London, Northern and Kinnaird – plus victories in the Midland tournament with Nick Bunyan and in the league, Richard Barber Cup and Alan Barber Cup with the Olavians. Seb has now won the Kinnaird more times than any other Old Olavian.
As with Seb, Tom’s achievements become no less impressive for being a repeat of what he has done previously. Tom is now unbeaten in the three major tournaments for over five years and tops the EFA rankings with a perfect 100% record. This year’s Kinnaird Cup win – number 11 - takes him level with the all-time record, and who would bet against him going past it next season?
Doug has had yet another fine season. Not only has he reached the semi-finals of the London tournament and the Kinnaird Cup with Andrew Joyce, he has been an integral part both of the Berkhamsted side who have come second in Division 1 and of the Lancing team who came within a whisker of making the Alan Barber Cup final.
Young Player of the Year winner in 2013, Karen has continued to improve season upon season and this year has won her third successive ladies championship with Charlotta Cooley, dominating the competition from start to finish. She has also competed well in the men’s tournaments, and has produced some impressive displays for North Oxford in both Division 1 and Division 2 of the league.
James has been at the top of the game for over a decade and is still playing as well as he ever has. Only the brilliance of Tom Dunbar and Seb Cooley has stopped James and partner Matthew Wiseman sweeping all before them; they have been a class above the rest of the competition and pushed Tom and Seb incredibly hard in the finals of the Northern Tournament and the Kinnaird Cup. James doesn’t end the season empty-handed, however, as he won the Turnbull Trophy with Tom Gallagher and was a key part of the Old Olavians success in the league, Alan Barber Cup and Richard Barber Cup.
As with James, Matt has played some of the finest Fives of his career this season, reaching an exceptional standard and playing a full part in the riveting two-pair rivalry currently gracing the top level of the game. With crucial contributions to the Olavian wins in the league, Alan Barber Cup and Richard Barber Cup, this has been another fine season for Matt.
Young Player of the Year
Harriet has made huge strides this year; having only taken up the game at Oxford five years ago, she has improved steadily before breaking through this year to become one of the top players in the ladies game. Unbeaten at first pair in the Black Cup, finalist in the Under 25s and Universities Mixed and semi-finalist in the Universities and in the Ladies nationals, the only thing missing this year has been a trophy. Harriet has also been a key contributor to the North Oxford Division 2 team.
After two years out of the game, Tony has returned this year with a vengeance, forging a fantastic partnership with Riki Houlden. Together they won the Universities title for Cambridge in November before taking their game to new heights after Christmas with dominant wins in the Under 21s and Varsity Match and a terrific run to the quarter-finals of the Kinnaird Cup, beating the 6th seeds and taking a game off the 3rd seeds on the way.
Tom’s 2014/15 season has been a story of almost uninterrupted success. He and Kosi Nwuba have been the dominant pair all season at U16 level and won the national school’s title at that age group as well as reaching the quarter-finals of the open. Tom has also stepped up well to adult Fives, winning the Turnbull trophy with James Toop and the Pepperpot trophy at the Kinnaird, reaching the final of the Midland tournament with Howard Wiseman and being part of the Olavian team that won the Alan Barber Cup.
After a fantastic school career at Highgate, Jonny has spent the last few years studying at St.Andrew’s University and not being able to play much Fives. Having come back to London this year, he has shown that he is still a class act, winning the Under 25 tournament with Laurie Brock and reaching the Kinnaird Cup quarter-finals with Joe Marks as well as beginning to resurrect Old Cholmeleian Fives.
Riki has taken his game to a new level this year in partnership with Tony Barker at Cambridge. Wins at the Universities and U21s were followed by a great run in the Kinnaird Cup, with a win over the 6th seeds in the Last 16 and a narrow 3-1 defeat to the 3rd seeds in the quarter-final. Riki also teamed up with Elana Osen to win the Universities Mixed competition.
Elana’s season has been another case of steady improvement and hard work over a number of years finally paying off. A narrow early season defeat in the semi-finals of the Under 25s was turned around in November as she and Olivia Prankerd Smith finally won the Universities tournament for Cambridge at the fifth time of asking. She followed that up with a win in the Universities Mixed competition, an emphatic win at first pair in the Varsity match and a quarter-final in the ladies competition. Elana has also made several appearances this year for the Old Westminsters in Division 2 of the league.
With previous award nominee Eve Smith-Bingham not playing much this season, Highgate School’s Amira Reimer has stepped up to become the dominant player in all of the age group tournaments. Her record this year is outstanding, with wins in the Richard Black Cup, the U21s and U25s as well as victories in the girls open and mixed competition at the national schools’ championships. She also followed up last year’s final appearance with Eve by reaching the semi-finals at the ladies championships with partner Phoebe Bracken.
Tommy has been the outstanding player on the school’s Fives circuit this season. Playing in the Eton first pair with Tom Kirkby, he won the national schools’ title and reached the finals of the U21 and U25 tournaments. He also led the Eton team to a third successive win in the Williams Cup and was even able to slot into the Aldenham team that won the EFA Trophy as a last minute replacement.
Coach of the Year
In Shrewsbury’s first year of full co-education, their girls have made an instant impression, winning the U15 and festival titles at the national schools’ championships and turning out in impressive numbers at the ladies championships. The man in charge of the girls team at Shrewsbury is Andy Barnard, whose influence is a key factor in making them the coming force in girls Fives.
Andy has been Master-in-Charge of Fives at Summer Fields school for 20 years and has produced many fine pairs and players in that time. This year has been the most successful of his career so far, as Summer Fields have finally been able to break Highgate’s stranglehold on the U12 and prep school tournaments, a fantastic achievement.
Having previously done sterling service coaching at Westway and elsewhere, Julian has made an instant impression in his first year at Emanuel School, producing the winning pair in the U13 competition at the national schools’ championships, Emanuel’s first ever winners at national level.
After a couple of years in the doldrums, it is no coincidence that the revival in fortunes this year of the Cambridge University ladies has come about since Tim got involved in coaching the team. His input helped the team win this year’s Varsity match, a remarkable turnaround after a series of heavy defeats in recent years.
Last year’s winner has made a strong case for winning this award once again, having masterminded another superb season for the Eton College team. A third successive Williams Cup win was followed by success in the U15 and Open competition at the national schools’ championships.
Another previous nominee for this award, Dave deserves a huge amount of credit for the work he has done at a variety of schools, most notably at St.Bartholomew’s in Newbury and at RGS High Wycombe, where he has managed to produce large numbers of enthusiastic pairs playing at a very good standard. To have done this as a visiting coach at schools where Fives is a long way down the list of sporting priorities is a tremendous achievement.
This represents a second nomination this year for Matt, to go with his player of the year nod, thanks to his impressive work at Westminster School, most notable with first pair Matt Lewin and Ismael Salim, who performed superbly at the Williams Cup and then followed it up with a run to the semi-finals of the national school’s championships.
Team of the Year
The Tuesday night Heath club at Aldenham has been a Fives institution for many years and remains one of the friendliest and best attended clubs around. Under the leadership of secretary Phil Lyndon, the club is thriving, filling three or four courts every week, playing friendly fixtures, their own internal ladder and a busy social calendar, including the legendary Christmas fancy dress fives This year, they have added some on court success as the Aldenham team matched last year’s group stage performance in the EFA Trophy to qualify for the last four. With the help of a couple of handy young Etonians they went all the way this time round, winning the trophy for the first time ever.
Boosted by the arrival of their new courts in 2013, Cambridge University EFC is thriving, with large numbers of men and women playing the game, many of whom didn’t have the opportunity to play before coming to Cambridge. On court success has followed this year, with first team Varsity match wins for both the men and the women and a clean sweep of the men’s, women’s and mixed Universities titles.
Eton have been at the top of the tree in schools’ Fives for the past couple of seasons and have continued that success this year under the leadership of coach Mike Hughes and Master-in-charge Mark Williams. A third successive Williams Cup win plus victories in the U15 and Open tournaments at the national schools’ championships produced the hoped for end of season silverware.
A natural consequence of Eton being strong is that the Old Etonians now have a group of excellent young players coming into their ranks. Under the direction of Alex Knight, Jonathan Asquith and Peter Eckersley, the OEs have really got the bit between their teeth this year and at the time of writing are clear leaders in Division 2 and strong favourites to win the title with something to spare.
The Old Olavians, under the inspiring leadership of Howard Wiseman, have been the dominant force in club Fives for several seasons now and show no sign of loosening their grip. Renewed enthusiasm for the league has meant that they regained the Division 1 title this year to add to an astonishing 12th successive Alan Barber Cup and a fourth successive Richard Barber Cup. There was also an Olavian presence in a huge number of individual tournament finals.
Summer Fields fives has been strong for many years now and in recent times they have generally held the upper hand over main prep school rivals Ludgrove and Sunningdale. This year has seen the school team break through to another level with a fine crop of players at the top end of the school. No school other than Highgate has won the U12s since 1993 or the prep schools since 1999 and this year, under the astute leadership of Andy Bishop and James Woodcock, Summer Fields have won both.
Special Contribution to Fives
Paul is a perennial nominee for this award and the winner last year but you would be hard pressed to find someone as devoted to the sport as he is and as prepared to put in the miles to support Fives-playing schools all over the country. From St.Bees to Bryanston, Newbury to Norwich, Paul is there giving a helping a hand and that’s before you even begin to consider the work he has done keeping Fives going through some tricky times at Westway.
Eton Fives in Australia has always been clinging on by its fingertips. With just one court in the country – at Geelong Grammar School – there have been sporadic bouts of interest, generally sparked by a Fives-playing visitor from the UK. Over the last couple of years, however, there has been a locally-generated revival, with a house competition, coaching, links with another Melbourne School (Scotch College) and even a move to build a second court. The man behind this revival is retired judge Frank Callaway, whose enthusiasm for both the game and the school gives great hope for the future of Southern Hemisphere Fives.
The profile of Eton Fives in the Jesters has been rising rapidly in recent years. Ronald Pattison was elected Jester of the Year in 2013 and he has been followed in turn this year by Alex Illingworth, who has co-ordinated and expanded the Jesters Eton Fives fixture list over the past few seasons as well as working tirelessly to increase the player base and to promote the cause of Eton Fives within the club.
Setting up and running a new Fives club from scratch is not for the faint-hearted and Paul Mason has quietly done a fantastic job over the last couple of seasons with the Sunday morning club at Newbury, which now regularly fills the three new courts there. With the help of Paul Bowden, Paul runs the whole shooting match, organising and running the sessions, coaching the youngsters, looking after the finances and liaising with the school. A real unsung hero.
Freddie is a familiar face and a real character on the Fives circuit and well known as the driving force behind the Westway league teams. Much less well publicised has been the huge amount of effort Freddie has put in behind the scenes at Westway, working hard to promote the cause of Fives in the face of highly challenging circumstances, with changing management and blocked lines of communication making life frustrating for all. Freddie has played a crucial role in continuing to work away at the problems, helping develop a blueprint for the future of Fives at Westway which we hope will soon be paying dividends.
This is a second nomination in as many years for James in this category and both have been equally well-deserved. Running a University Fives club can be challenging at the best of times but doing so without any home courts and making a huge success of it, with regular practices, a 24 hour Fives marathon and fixtures and pairs entered into the University and other tournaments is some feat and one which James has pulled off with considerable aplomb at UCL. He will be a hard act to follow there next year.
Swiss Fives is in a healthy state at the moment with the sport thriving at both the Lyceum Alpinum in Zuoz and among the Old Zuozers. Such success depends on the efforts of key individuals and Filippo is undoubtedly one of these as he flies the flag for Eton Fives in the Fives outpost of Geneva. From the Geneva tournament in June to the club’s regular Sunday practices by way of numerous lavish social occasions, Filippo is the driving force behind Fives in the region.
There can be very few people in the world of Fives who have not come across Mark Williams at some stage over the years. Mark’s contribution to the game over the last 40 years or so has been immense and we hope he will continue making his considerable presence felt as chairman of the EFA competitions sub-committee and organiser par excellence of the schools’ championships. This nomination comes as a result of his leaving Eton this year, after a long and distinguished teaching and fives-coaching career that has seen him inspire huge numbers of boys to play and love the game at Shrewsbury, Harrow and then Eton and also produce numerous champion pairs in that time, including fittingly the open-winning pair in his final year.