2014/15 Club Reports
Read on to find out the clubs' views on the 2014/15 season...
EFA Trophy winners; Over 50s champions Graham Pulsford & Richard Dennis; Aldenham ladder winner Chis Austin
The Aldenham Fives Club had another busy and successful year with a ladder competition run every six weeks whilst the highlight of our season was victory in the EFA Trophy.
EFA Trophy Final
Aldenhamians 2 Salopians 1
The Salopians have been the dominant force in this competition for the last couple of years and were heavy favourites to win again. But the match was much closer than anyone could have predicted!
In the second pair the Salopians recovered superbly from the loss of the first game to beat Andrew Rennie and James Cobb 3-1. First blood to the Old Salopians. The Aldenham third pair of Graham Pulsford and Darshan Patel offered a similar blend of youth and experience and having been the Aldenham banker pair in the semi-final they managed to reproduce the same magic to see off the Salopian pair in four games.
With the match poised at 1-1, all came down to the first pair match, which was incredibly tight and fiercely contested right from the start. Carl Rennie & Tommy Weld made the brighter start, winning the first game to 6, but a strong fight back and the Salopians took the next two games to 9 and 6 to go 2-1 ahead. The Aldenham pair had it all to do at this point and it is greatly to their credit that they kept fighting and began to turn the tide in the fourth game, always keeping their noses ahead to take it 12-10 and force a deciding fifth game.
At this stage, one pair each and the decider at 2 games apiece, the weather went temporarily apocalyptic - a sudden deluge even forcing a change of court due to rain coming in – and the drama on court just kept on coming. The fives was of a very high standard with the fast reflexes and volleying of Tommy and the precision and coolness under pressure of Carl ‘the Elder’ produced some scintillating rallies. In the end, the Aldenham pair - as in the fourth - got ahead and then just about managed to stay there, moving quickly from 9-7 to 12-7 to clinch the EFA Trophy.
In the Veterans we have players in two national winning pairs – in the over 50s, Richard Dennis and Graham Pulsford and in the over 60s section, Joseph Seelig.
The ladder is played every six weeks and is particularly popular with four courts regularly filled. Each winner is awarded the Phil Marsh Trophy which they retain until the next ladder competition.
With fixtures against the Brigands, Westminster, North Oxford, Eton and the Jesters, there was plenty to keep Aldenham’s players busy.
“Our enthusiastic players will continue to turn out every Tuesday evening over the summer. Players from other clubs are very welcome to join us,” says club secretary Phil Lyndon.
No report received
The Brigands continued to attract locals to the fives courts at Charterhouse School. We meet on a Wednesday night from 7.00pm and fill about 3 courts from September to April each year. Fives is followed by a meal or a drink at the Stag at Eashing, Surrey.
Matches were played against Charterhouse School twice a year and against Cranleigh School at Cranleigh held usually on the first Tuesday of each month, thus maintaining our close links with both schools.
Other friendly matches are against Aldenham Club and North Oxford. The Bourne Trophy is our internal end of season competition. It attracted 22 players and the popular winner this year was Richard Murray, our Treasurer. The end of season dinner was also a big success with about 30 players, wives and girlfriends.
Our club is essentially a group of local players with a Wednesday club night and we play friendly fives. All standards and ages are welcome. Club secretary is Rod Smart (Tel 07818 818941, email rodbsmart at hotmail.com).
Cambridge Cuppers winners; Cambridge's Varsity Match team; Universities Mixed winners Elana Osen & Riki Houlden
Mixed Universities Plate B Winners Alistair Stewart & Annie Cave; The Cambridge Mixed Universities squad; U21 and Universities winners Riki Houlden & Tony Barker
After losing four of the top six at the end of last year, there were always doubts whether CUEFC could live up to the high achievements it had set in previous years. However, the long awaited return to the courts of Tony Barker abolished these doubts as both he and Riki Houlden swept to the Universities title in his comeback event. What followed was an almost flawless season at first pair, with some truly astonishing Fives, capped off in style by a well-deserved Varsity win, and a spot in the Kinnaird Cup quarter-finals.
The recruitment of Jack Parham and Alistair Stewart, together with the continual improvement of old-timers Alex Rattan and Charlie Moore, completed a Light Blues squad capable of challenging amongst the best. An unbeaten fixture-laden first term led to some tinkering in the second, giving each squad member the chance to come up against some of the best Fives players currently on tour. Although, it has to be said, results began to go awry, the experience ultimately paid off as the Light Blues stormed to a 2-1 victory over a competitive Oxford side in the Varsity match.
Training sessions saw large turnouts as the enthusiasm and determination of Mens captain, Saj Patel, and Ladies captain, Sophie Kelly, filtered through the rest of the squad. The Magdalene Court was kept extremely busy with regular sessions of weekend Fives continuously run, and even our Second Team who had been dismantled by Oxford last year managed to provide a stern enough challenge at Varsity, with a number of extremely tight games unfortunately sneaking the wrong way.
What has been most pleasing is the strong link that has developed between the Mens and Ladies squad both on and off the court. The Mixed Universities saw Cambridge providing half the competition, and ultimately Riki with his partner Elana Osen were triumphant.
Next year, we hope to welcome back ex-first pair Jamie Abbott to the club. This will simply add to the firepower already at our disposal. Hopefully, the success of CUEFC will continue.
Cambridge University Ladies
Cambridge's Varsity Match team; Universities champions Elana Osen & Olivia Prankerd Smith
The Cambridge Ladies side has gone from strength to strength this season. Our first pair (Elana Osen and Olivia Prankerd Smith) enjoyed an extremely successful final year in the club winning the universities tournament and their Varsity match. For the first time in 5 years Cambridge ladies won their Varsity match. Particular mention must go to new recruits Becca Hbren and Emma Sewart who played in the first team with only 2 terms of fives behind them. The club has thrived this year making full use of regular practices and our coach Tim Fletcher to build an extremely strong and enthusiastic first and second team. The highlight of the year was perhaps the first Cambridge Cuppers organised by Elana Osen. Players from a wide range of colleges participated some of them playing the sport for the first time. The end result was a fantastic day of high quality fives and a great introduction to the sport!
Participation wise we are happy to report on another successful season. A season in which we have continued to make progress in deepening the club and adding to the entertainment of our brand of Eton Fives. In terms of the results, we have to report that this year’s outing was not our most favourable, struggling as we did often to overcome opposition. Naturally of course, this made the season none the less agreeable.
One feature we feel worth mentioning is the growing contribution from Lady Jesters & candidates. Their involvement has done much more than improve the club’s diversity in that it has increased the enjoyment, appeal and in many cases quality, of our matches. I would encourage more Ladies to play as the fixture list is becoming ever more accommodating.
Whilst on fixtures, we did want to thank the match managers who have long supported the games outside London. Many of these have been run for years by longstanding diligent Jesters, for which we are most grateful. Within London the majority of games have become centred on Westminster which has provided a happy ‘home’ for the London branch of the club. Last season we increased the number of matches here and benefitted from consistent support from a number of loyal members. As often in this report, it seems an opportune time to remind those less frequent players that we feel that the fixture list is full enough today to incorporate all shapes and sizes.
Now that the game has the benefit of the fine new courts at Cambridge, in this coming season, the club is coordinating 4 of our 5 games for a combined game against the University on Saturday 7th November. We do hope that will be well supported .
Finally, gatherings with the wider Jesters club have this year continued to be ever more enjoyable. Thank you to those of you who have supported us on those occasions; we appreciate the participation.
Ronald Pattison & Alex Illingworth
Lancing Old Boys
No report received
The Newbury Eton Fives Club has grown from strength to strength in its second year. Player numbers and the quality of play continue to rise.
What makes the club unique is that our players are all aged under 18; we are a youth club and, whilst that was not our initial intention, it does make us trendsetters in the Eton Fives world. Our youngest players are in Year 6 and are comfortably holding their own on court. Our older players are playing to a decent standard and would be an asset to any adult side in the future – hopefully at Newbury!
What has been so pleasing is the willingness of our players to come every week and not want to miss a session; they all genuinely want to be there. Such is the appeal of the game.
I believe that we are creating a template of how the gospel of Eton Fives can be spread to young people beyond school and it is working. We are based at St. Bartholomew’s School on a Sunday morning and we always welcome players of any ability or experience. We do need more volunteers and helpers, so if there is anyone keen on helping they can contact me at newburyfives at gmail.com.
I am grateful to Paul Bowden for his continued help, advice, coaching and company on Sunday mornings. Thank you, Paul.
NOEFC's 3 Code challenge team; Black Cup finalists; EFA Trophy team
Veterans winner Gareth Hoskins; Ladies champion Karen Hird; Coach of the Year Andy Bishop
The 2014/15 season has been an historic one for North Oxford. Having joined the EFA league in 2006 in the humble surroundings of Division 3, we finally made our debut in the big league, taking on the best teams in the country in Division 1, as well as retaining a second team in Division 2. The result can generally be considered to be a success: the extra fixtures have led to us playing a record 37 fixtures across the season, with an epic 54 players representing the club at least once.
We finished bottom of Division 1, with 2 wins in 10 matches and 5 points scored out of a possible 30. This doesn't tell the full story, however, as we were competitive in the vast majority of matches and were rarely thrashed. Old Cholmeleians Jonny Ho, Sam Little and Joe Marks helped out and hopefully gained valuable experience as a result; Carl Rennie improved enormously during the course of the season, often playing at first pair and old lags such as Gareth Hoskins, Pete Scholey, Spencer Chapman, "Grandad" Graham Pulsford and Chris Austin all enjoyed their outings in the top flight. There were valuable contributions, too, from Karen Hird and Ian Mitchell. With no-one coming up to Division 1 next season, we're going to give it another go, bu wiith the Cholmeleians entering the league themselves, we will lose the services of Jonny, Sam and Joe; we thank them greatly for their contributions this season and look forward to welcoming young Etonians and Oxford students James Cobb and James Piggot to our Division 1 ranks next year.
One of the most pleasing aspects of doubling our league workload was the fact that in 20 matches across two divisions we didn't concede a single pair and always managed to get a full team out. That our second team managed to finish joint third in Division 2 was an added bonus and a fine achievement and was made possible thanks to contributions from a wide range of players. The old guard of Hoskins, Hird, Rennie, Chapman and Pulsford were all there but were joined by others from the NOEFC ranks - the North Oxford ladies contingent of Rosie Scott, Harry Asquith, Emily Scoones, Izzy Watts and Mandie Barnes, the Old Summerfieldian connection with Barnaby Kelly, Jack Parham, Ollie Sale and Hugo Meakin and Monday night stalwarts Chris Lloyd, Chris Davies, Andy Bishop, Nick Shaw, Justin Shaw, Stefan Nowinski and Alex Yusaf.
Equally important to the success of the season was that the increased league workload didn't impinge on our wide assortment of friendly fixtures and social Fives outings. The cross-code fixture with Marlborough is now an annual event, much enjoyed by all, and this year saw a second go at the three code challenge, with 16 players taking on Rugby Fives at Rugby, Eton Fives at Eton and Winchester Fives at Winchester all in the same day. There were also some ventures northwards, with a pre-season tour of Rossall, St.Bees and Sedbergh and the annual "unusual courts" fixture against the Old Edwardians this year taking place on the courts at Wrekin College in Shropshire. Assorted pub meals, curries and barbecues have punctuated the season as always and although the cake quotient has dropped due to Karen now having a real job, we have undoubtedly become a fitter, leaner Fives machine as a result.
The closest to silverware the club got this year was courtesy of the formidable NOEFC ladies side, who were once again runners-up in the Richard Black Cup in November. The gap on winners Highgate had narrowed appreciably since the previous year's competition, providing hope for a maiden win in this competition in 2015/16. The year's other big winner was club president Andy Bishop, who deservedly won the EFA's coach of the year award, having masterminded first ever wins for Summer Fields in the U12 and prep school competitions this year, ensuring that the next generation of North Oxford players are coming through as strongly as ever. As always we are immensely grateful to Andy and Summer Fields for allowing us to grace their courts every Monday evening. There were other individual successes for North Oxford players, with Karen Hird winning the ladies tournament for the third year in a row and Gareth Hoskins retaining his veterans title; together Gareth and Karen made the final of the Mixed championships; Carl Rennie and Graham Pulsford led Aldenham to victory in the EFA Trophy.
Over 60s Champion Ronald Pattison
No report received
The Cholms Alan Barber Cup team; Highgate's Richard Barber Cup team; U25 winner Jonny Ho; OCs vs the School
The 2014-15 season has given space for new beginnings. Pushed forward tirelessly by Grant Williams and boosted by some recent leavers returning to London post graduation, the OCs have much to build on. Represented in October's Richard Barber Cup for the first time by 3 school-OC pairs, the team reached the semi finals eventually losing out to a strong Eton side. This team fixture paved the way for some more regular training for a host of players not involved with any league play. The new year kicked off with a successful schoolboy-OC fixture featuring 12 pairs from a number of decades. There's much hope that these growing relationships will encourage any future school leavers to continue enjoying the game.
The OCs have carried some momentum into the summer by entering the Westway summer league and are consolidating with an eye on their fast approaching return to league 2 (if you're interested get in touch...). We look ahead to the coming year with much excitement and expectation!
Wood Cup winners Jonny Powell & Jivan Navani; Adams Cup players; Adams Cup winners
The CLS youngsters; The John Reynolds Trophy; The Hawken Garrett Cup
The OCEFC’s 122nd season has been a busy one, at home and abroad.
The season began with a visit to Zurich, where there were two firsts. A group of nine Old Citizens and friends travelled to Switzerland and presented the Hawken Garrett cup - to be competed for each year by Old Citizens and Old Zuozers, in memory of two players who blazed the Swiss trail in the 1950s - won this time by the Zuozers. David Cooper, who was one of those who travelled in the fifties led the party.
The weekend also saw the inaugural Zurich international fives tournament. The Old Zuozers who run the event have, curiously, named it the John Reynolds Trophy. It is in the shape of a Swiss beer jug. This was won by Ronald Pattison and a Swiss partner.
The OCEFC's domestic season was kicked off by the Wood Plate and this was won by CLS captain Jivan Nivani and Jonny Powell. It was the first time that (any of us could remember) a schoolboy had won the cup. This also meant that Jonny held both Wood Plate and Adams Cup at the same, as he’d won the latter at the end of the 2013/4 season.
We have run two sides in the national leagues. We've achieved a top-half finish in Division Two and a bottom half finish in Division Three.
In the Barber Cup we lost in the first round 2-1 to the fourth seeds from Lancing, but gave them a bit of a scare for about 20 minutes before our puff ran out.
We may have fallen at the first hurdle, but we have assembled a stronger squad than they have had for many years, combining the experience of players who knew the courts at Blackfriars more than a quarter of a century ago with the increasing expertise of those who have learned their game on borrowed courts. On this occasion there were three of each category in the side – Chapman, Gee Grant and Reynolds on the one hand – Friedman, Gill and Packer on the other.
Thursday practices at Highgate have continued to be well attended this season, thanks to the organisation of club guest Ralph Morgan. We’ve been joined by some Old Cholmeleians and players from London University and as a result have often had four courts full of players.
ClS boys, led by Jivan Nivani, continued to play the game on Wednesdays at Westminster, and we're very grateful to Westminster School for their access to the courts there.
This season, the Old Edwardians have continued to pursue our strategy of highly selective participation, fielding an elite group of players at only the most high profile of competitions, thus carefully shielding our capability from the prying eyes of opponents.
Meanwhile, grassroots recruitment from King Edward's has been hampered by the repeated failure of the roof over the KES Fives Courts, leaving these off limits. A great shame, since the affiliated Edgbaston EFC had managed to find its feet once more with a good number of new players at Birmingham University.
Clearly, the only way is up.
U25 Plate winners Matt Asquith & James Tugwell; The Eton Richard Barber Cup team
With last year’s Public Schools winners James Cobb and James Piggot forming the backbone of a new young squad, the OEs came within a whisker of winning Division 2 this season, losing only one match all season (and that only because we could only field one pair). Plans are afoot to build on this terrific result, with a joint team in Division 1 next season with North Oxford allowing our best players to further develop, whilst the Club continues to expand with the large influx of high quality players being generated by the School. Many thanks are due to Peter Eckersley, who expertly marshalled our forces throughout, and at Eton to Mike Hughes and particularly to Mark Williams, who leaves his role as Master in Charge of Fives at Eton on a high, after a very successful 17 years. His EFA Special Contribution to Fives Award indicates the significance of his efforts on behalf of both the school and the game in general, and we wish him every success in his new role at the MCC.
Sincere thanks also to Jonathan Asquith, who took the OE competition squad to the final of the Richard Barber Cup (Old Boy/School Boy competition) where we were unlucky to lose 2-1 to the holders, the Old Olavians, as well as managing our teams in the Alan Barber and EFA Trophy tournaments. The latter competition was notable in that the winning team, Aldenham, included two Etonians, James Cobb and Tommy Weld, who were unable to play for the OEs in the earlier round robin stage, and were drafted in for the final! The latter’s EFA Young Player of the Year Award capped an incredible year for Tommy, who not only won the national schools’ title with his partner, Tom Kirkby, and led the Etonians to a successive Williams Cup win, but also reached the finals of the Under 21 and Under 25 tournaments.
Friendly fives remains a crucial part of the Club’s activity, and the annual flagship fixtures against the school on St Andrew’s Day and after our AGM in March continue to be well attended, along with matches against the Jesters and a pre-Varsity warm-up against Cambridge University on their new courts. We hope to add to this roster next season, and welcome approaches from clubs wanting to arrange a friendly game.
Any OEs wanting to play can contact me at alex.knight at altiumassociates.com or Peter Eckersley (Membership Secretary) at Peter.Eckersley at KPMG.com.
Veterans winner Jamie Fleming; Kinnaird, Northern & London winner Tom Dunbar; OHs in Division 1 action; Dale Vargas wins the EFA Lifetime Achievement award
It has not been an altogether straightforward year for the Old Harrovians and early season was particularly challenging with injuries to key players. There were a number of really close matches in the League and our final highly respectable position in the League owed much to the consistency of Tom Dunbar at first pair. Credit must also go to Alex Poole who was a virtual ever-present and has done so much to help our promising boys at school and integrate them into the OH team. Highlights of the year included a fantastic performance away at Orpington in the league with Rahul Wijeratne in particular playing with great promise, Alex Poole and Nick Shaw's second pair victory against the Old Aldenhamians in the Barber Cup, Richard Tyler's brilliant display against the Olavians in the League match at Harrow and Tom Dunbar's superb backcourt performance in the Kinnaird Cup final. The next two years are going to be key for the Old Harrovians and it is hoped that the younger generation will be able to blossom.
Graves Cup winners Ralph Morgan & Steve Burnell; Graves Cup Plate B winners Tim Gregory & Oli Watts; Ipswich's Richard Barber Cup team
Old Ipswichians – Played 12 – Won 2 – Lost 10
….. but the OI club is not really all about the stats.
At the London Tournament the nascent pair of Fletcher (elder) and Gregory made it through to the Plate semi-finals before going down to a stronger (and younger) Cambridge pair. Isaac Wagland and Sam Clark started strongly with a win in the Festival Plate A, a paring which continued into the Northerns. There Wagland and Clark notched up several scalps before losing a tight game against Olaves.
The Graves Cup once again well attended with a final won by Steve Burnell and Ralph Morgan against Peter Boughton and Karen Hird. The regular presence of Peter in the final is something that has been forwarded to the tournament steward, one Peter Boughton.
At the schools the best showing was from the U15 girls with Ellie Morgan and Eloise Carter reaching the finals and losing a good game to Shrewsbury, we’re looking forward to a win from Ipswich next year.
Several of the OIs also made the trip out to Grillon this year for fives and a bit of the “Chez Cox” hospitality. With the result of the year, Fletcher and White (Olaves) managed a croquet win against the maestro himself on home turf.
The draft for next year is looking up with some real talent coming through and some resurgent OIs in London hungry for some fives. Maybe 2015/16 will be about the stats as well!
Jitesh Patel & Sunil Tailor of the OMs in Division 1 action; the OM Fives dinner; Vishal Bhimjiyani & Charlie Plummer
No report received
Alan Barber Cup winners; Kinnaird, Northern & London winner Seb Cooley; The winning Richard Barber Cup squad
Ladies champion Charlotta Cooley; Turnbull Trophy finalists; Mixed plate winner Emily O'Malley
The Old Olavians have had another superb season, winning the EFA team of the season award for the first team and working alongside the young players at the School. Joint practices on Saturday mornings have become well established and the two teams combined forces on a regular basis in all three League Divisions, as well as the Barber Cup, in which Tom Gallagher was a regular player, earning his place as part of the winning Team in the Final. The First Division was particularly exciting, producing a nail-biting climax to the season as a few unexpected victories clinched the title by a point and a half!! Sixteen players contributed to this team effort over the season, including four players from the school. Matthew Wiseman, Seb Cooley and James Toop continued to display extraordinary levels of performance throughout the season, joined of course by Tom Dunbar from the Harrovians, and it was terrific to see the emergence of the young Tony Barker who, having had a break from playing after leaving school, suddenly found himself in a Kinnaird quarter-Ffnal with an equally young partner; Riki Holden – a Matthew Wiseman pupil from Westminster (now Cambridge). Together Tony and Riki also won the Varsity and U21s! A good number of players have been filtering back to the club having been at University; Martin Bassott and Richard Tudor are names to look out for in the future. There is great excitement as plans are now unveiled for the ambition to build four more courts at the school site. The fund-raising efforts are being brought together now and this whole exercise promises to unite many players past and present; which should be a fantastic experience as Eton Fives moves confidently into its’ second Century as an Olavian sport.
No report received
Williams v Hughes in the Aberconway Cup final; an all-Salopian plate final at the U21s; Adam Morris & Elen Murphy - Plate B winners for Wales at the Universities; Alan Barber Cup team
We have continued to play in the 2nd Division this year as the current plan is to establish a core base of Division 2 players meaning that we can launch our Division 1 team in the next year or two. The likes of Guy Williams, Al Taylor, Marc Quinn and Ben Jones have been ever present in a side that plays with characteristic flare and abandon. We have players such as Ed Taylor, Chris Hughes and Rex Worth who whilst playing for the OS team are also honing their skills as Division 1 ringers in anticipation of the top flight Salopian juggernaut to come.
Richard Barber Cup:
At the risk of sounding like a broken record the tide really is turning in this, the most illustrious of team competitions. Whilst we lost another Barber Cup final to the Olavians, these two squads are now so evenly matched that the whole match hinges on one or two key points. We came up just short this year but the squad is large and deep and I am full of confidence about the period of dominance to come.
Old Olavians beat Old Salopians 2-1
J.Toop & M.Wiseman beat H.Lewis & G.Thomason 3-0 (12-5, 12-5, 12-5)
S.Cooley & P.White beat I.Hutchinson & G.Williams 3-1 (7-12, 12-8, 12-10, 12-6)
H.Wiseman & T.Gallagher lost to C.Hughes & T.Welti 0-3 (5-12, 12-14, 6-12)
In the first pair, Toop and Wiseman had too much know-how for Lewis and Thomason, but the Salopians fought gamely.
In the third pair Hughes and Welti played very well to outmanoeuvre Wiseman and Gallagher, who is still at school.
The match hinged on the second pair where Hutchinson and Williams won the first game convincingly. Thereafter Cooley’s class and White’s experience just held the day, but it was a close run thing on the third game.
The Salopians have been the dominant force in this competition for the last couple of years with a tried and trusted formula of combining some of their best school players with more experienced old boys. Mike Hughes and Sansom Yick gave a great example of this at second pair, dovetailing superbly to recover from the loss of the first game and beat Andrew Rennie and James Cobb, with the added ingredient of James wanting to put one over his former school coach and Mike being even keener not to let it happen. First blood to the Old Salopians. The Aldenham third pair of Pulsford and Patel offered a similar blend of youth and experience and having been the Aldenham banker pair in the semi-final they managed to reproduce the same magic to see off Al Taylor and Harry Turnbull, despite some defiant third game resistance from the Salopian pair that took it to four.
With the match poised at 1-1, all came down to the first pair match, which was incredibly tight and fiercely contested right from the start. School players Tommy Weld and George Lewis are familiar foes on the schools' circuit; George was partnering Grant Williams, bringing his usual passion and huge will to win to the court. Weld and Rennie made the brighter start, winning the first game to 6, but a typical Williams fightback got the Salopian pair on top, taking the next two games to 9 and 6 to go 2-1 ahead. The Aldenham pair had it all to do at this point and it is greatly to their credit that they kept fighting and began to turn the tide in the fourth game, always keeping their noses ahead to take it 12-10 and force a decider.
The Fives was of a very high standard; inevitably there were mistakes, but the fast reflexes and volleying of Weld and Lewis, the left-handed angles of Williams and the precision and coolness under pressure of Rennie produced some scintillating rallies. In the end, the Aldenham pair - as in the fourth - got ahead and then just about managed to stay there, eventually winning it 12-7 to clinch the EFA Trophy, which was presented to Carl Rennie by EFA Chairman Richard Black.
It was in last year's Kinnaird Cup that Chris Hughes and Tom Welti first served notice that they were ready to break through into the higher echelons of the game, losing a five game epic to Brock and Rose and going on to win the Pepperpot trophy. Further improvement - with the added advantage of playing on their home courts - meant that they were ready to follow up their impressive group stage performance with a hard-fought quarter-final win over their tough Wulfrunian opponents Yates and Simmons. The younger Salopian pair were feeling the physical effects of the day's efforts more than their opponents, especially when losing the third game having won the first two, but their typically Salopian game of fast volleying and pushing forward relentlessly from the back court was extremely effective in denying Yates and Simmons time and space and they came back to win the fourth in fine style and deservedly make it through to their first major semi-final.
The premier tournament of the calendar saw a Salopian make it to the final 4. Ed Taylor played brilliantly well to progress so far an eventually came unstuck the formidable second seed pairing of Toop and Wiseman.
Salopian fives weekend
With huge effort on the part of Grant Williams, we are hosted the inaugural Salopian Fives Festival on the weekend of 13/14th September at Eton which sawboth current and old Salopians enjoy some great fives and great company. 25 Salopians gathered for a full day of fives at Eton followed by a dinner and AGM in Windsor, and we had the first OS girls playing which will be a huge boost to club and I look forward to that branch of the club going from strength to strength.
The Old Stoics in Division 2 action
No report received
Westminster Cup winners Neil Margerison & Alistair Stewart; Westminster Cup participants; Laurie Brock & Ed Rose in Division 1 action
OWs in the Varsity Match; U25 winner Laurie Brock
League-wise, this has been a tough season for the division 1 side, with a combination of illness/injury and other teams’ annoying tactic of bringing in ringers meaning that whilst there were a lot of close matches, wins were hard to come by. Notable results however were a 3-0 win against North Oxford (with Laurie Brock and Ed Rose beating the strong pair of Sam Little and Jonny Ho 3-1 at first pair), and a 2-1 win away against the mighty Old Olavians (eventual league winners). The highlight of the latter victory was Sam Williams and Shaneil Patel’s epic 3-2 triumph over Sanjay Ranasinghe and Joey Prior at third pair. Having lost the first set, they recovered well to take the next two. In the fourth, they trailed 11-6 before fighting back heroically to draw level at 11-11. Unfortunately, the Olavians then rallied and the set slipped agonisingly away 14-12. However, they brushed off such disappointment to charge into an 8-0 lead in the decider. With the clock against them (management wanted to shut the courts), a few nerves crept in as the Olavians recovered from 10-2 down to reach 10-8, but some nerveless back court hitting saw them finally close out the match 7-12, 12-7, 12-8, 12-14, 12-8.
The league aside, this has been a magnificent season for two of the clubs younger players in particular: Elana Osen and Riki Houlden, who happened, by pure chance, to be paired together in this year’s Westminster Cup (won by Neil Margerison and Alistair Stewart) and who have both been deservedly nominated for “Best Young Player” at the EFA Awards on 9 May.
This year has seen the culmination of years of hard work and improvement for Elana. A semi-final appearance in the Under 25 competition was followed by a superb win, alongside fellow Old Westminster Olivia Prankerd-Smith, for Cambridge in the Universities Competition. She then teamed up with Riki (see also below) to win the mixed universities tournament, before pairing up with Olivia again to deliver an emphatic victory in the Varsity Match at first pair and reach the quarter finals of the Ladies Championship.
Meanwhile, Riki's season has been nothing short of spectacular; he has this season emerged as an upcoming star, not just of our club, but of the game in general. He has won, in some considerable style, the Under 21 (beating the eventual national schools' champions in the final), Universities and Mixed Universities (with Elana) Titles and led Cambridge at first pair to victory in the Varsity Match 3-0. But perhaps most significantly, in the Kinnaird, Riki defied experience and seeding to reach the quarter final, beating the sixth seeds along the way and taking a set (and very nearly two) off third seeds Howard Wiseman and Ed Taylor in that quarter final.
The strength in depth at the young end of the club was also emphasised by the line-up in this year’s Varsity Match, which contained no fewer than nine Old Westminsters (with four appearing at first pair). This is testament to the fantastic work being done by long time school coach and three time Kinnaird winner Matt Wiseman, whose efforts were further borne out this year by the performance of school first pair Matthew Lewin and Ismail Salim, who both won the Kinnaird Plate competition and produced the school’s best ever result at the National Schools’ championships, reaching the semi-finals.
Elsewhere, in division 2 the team also had a good season with notable wins over Berkhamsted, Old Stoics and Old Ipswichians. The highlight of the season was probably a very tight and hard fought game against the Old Etonians who went on to top the division. Court time was dominated by Freddie Krespi, Alfred Jackson, Conrad Shawcross and Will Illingworth although it was also good to see the return of Nick Fry after a lengthy absence having babies. We were also very pleased to welcome Elana as the first lady to play in a competitive league game for the club – helping to defeat Berkhamsted in a 3-0 away whitewash.
All in all, the future looks bright indeed!
Chris Watts & Laurie Brock
Mixed Plate winner Mark Yates
2014/15 was another solid year for the Old Wulfs with presence in all of the old boys team and major pairs tournaments.
The competitive season started with the Alan Barber Cup and a very strong Olavian team travelled up to Wolverhampton straight from a League game along with our very own Chris Austin. All 3 matches started fairly evenly in the first half game, but the Olavians soon got used to the courts and eased to victory in all 3 pairs. Chris was particularly disappointed as he'd had to complete against Seb Cooley for 2 matches in a day!
The EFA trophy was another exciting affair for us this season. Injury and availability issues meant that perennial super-sub Wendy Carling was recruited again to assist in the qualifying competition which she did admirably and with great enthusiasm. Wendy is now an honorary Wulfrunian and has been presented with her very own iconic red shirt as a memento! The semi-final pitted us against eventual winners Aldenham who were just too strong in depth winning 2-1.
A big thank you must again go to Mark Yates and Greg Hammond for their excellent organisational efforts throughout the season and credit to all of the guys who turn up every Thursday evening come rain or shine to make our Fives evenings extremely enjoyable. I've said it before, but if anyone fancies a game and are in the Midlands area please get in touch and you'll all be made very welcome.
Oxford Cuppers finalists; The Oxford Varsity Match squad; Universities mixed plate winners Sam Packer & Rosie Parr; Universities Plate A winners Dan Byam Shaw & Charlie Kershaw
The 2014-2015 season saw a significant change of personnel for the men’s team, as three of last year’s top six players, including two ex-captains, left us for warmer climes. However after a strong recruitment drive, we managed to plug that gap and field extremely competitive 1st and 2nd teams as we were joined by several promising freshers and seasoned veterans of the game. The litmus test for our progress was of course the Varsity match, and the 2nd team continued their imperious form by comfortably seeing off their Cambridge counterparts. The 1st team were unlucky to come away with a 2-1 loss, especially in the tightly-contested 2nd pair match.
All in all however, these results represent an improvement on last year’s performance and other highlights included reaching the semi-finals of the EFA trophy and the Mixed Universities. A source of optimism for the men’s team was beginners' Fives: several novices have reached a very good standard already after only two terms of practice! Next year looks to be very positive for the club, especially since our scouts tell us that several successful Fives players will be joining next Michaelmas.
Oxford University Ladies
The Oxford Ladies Varsity Match squad
After a very successful season last year for the women’s team, this year was always going to be a tough challenge especially due to the loss of some senior players. Despite this, the team came runners up in the Universities, quarter-finalists in the under 21s and semi-finalists in the Ladies Nationals. Unfortunately the team lost a hotly contested Varsity 2-1 but the second team showed the strength the club now has with a dominant performance.
Especially encouraging this year has been the increase in participation and quality of fives, thanks to an enthusiastic recruitment team and our coach. With the help of a bursary from the EFA, we continue to have a coach once a week to improve all aspects of our game from beginners to seasoned players. The future of the club looks bright for next year.
Team Westway in Division 2 action
It's the back end of the season and time to write it all up in a merry old way so it looks like something happened.
There was good stuff. We managed to get two teams out in Division 3 and blooded a few newbies to the cause. Some quite literally but it just goes to prove the old adage - never take your eye off the ball but do get out of the way! Ben Young stepped up to run a team and once he had learned to count to six he did a damn fine job of it.
In Division 2 we started late. Some will say it was arrogance. Actually we just started late for no discernible reason. By the time we'd figured it out the Old Etonians were way ahead and it was down to us to peg them back.
Guy Chapman, Will Betts, Darshan Patel, Alex Constantine, Julian Black, Noah Caplin, Spencer Carew among others then went on an inspired run. Life playing under a motorway interchange has its advantages. Petrol fumes, grit and character combined to put us on a run to the title. Job done.
Elsewhere we tried to get as many pairs as we could to various competitions and stood in line for a range of plates and accolades. Next season promises great things (mainly because we don't have to keep them). Rumours that we are being sponsored by Sky are wide of the mark though a certain celestial being has made an enquiry...
UCL's 24 hour marathon team; the UCL Universities squad; Universities mixed finalists James Tugwell & Harriet Asquith
The UCL Fives Club has had another successful year and the club is definitely progressing. With the addition of more training sessions (now holding Eton Fives, Rugby Fives and Wallball training sessions every week) the players have most definitely improved and this can be seen through the results the club has achieved throughout the year. The club managed to maintain numbers from last year, a great feat considering that a few key players left the university. The club has also prospered socially, with the club merging with the Cricket Club for socials. The organisation of UCL's first 24 hour Fives Marathon was certainly enjoyable and a great way to help fundraise for the Alzheimer's Society.
Eton Fives University Nationals 2014, Eton College, Windsor
The 2014 EFA University National Championships were once again held at the sport’s birthplace, Eton College. A UCL team comprising of James Tugwell, Joe Marks, Davin Chandra, Harriet Asquith and Andrew Ibbetson made the short trip to Windsor. Notable absentees from the team included Isabella Barber and Saachi Segal. The current UCL squad is the strongest it has been in recent years, this has been recognised by the EFA who continue to generously support the game of Eton Fives at UCL and for that we could not be more grateful. The Championships were once again run with great aplomb by Gareth Hoskins, with a record equalling 34 pairs, 20 different universities represented, over 120 individual games of fives played and all 16 of Eton’s magnificent fives courts in use simultaneously. The UCL first pair, comprising of James Tugwell and Joe Marks, were on top form throughout the day. The pair showed great steel to win a tight semi-final against Bristol and reach the final of the main competition and as darkness fell on Windsor the lights were turned on for the hotly anticipated final. Unfortunately the pair could not repeat their semi-final heroics and were beaten by an imperious Cambridge pair who conceded only a handful of points during the course of the competition.
Eton Fives Mixed University Nationals 2015, Highgate
Another highly anticipated national competition was that of the Mixed University Nationals, especially considering that the first pair last year reached the semi-finals. Unfortunately, only one pair was entered due to other players' prior commitments. Thus, the first pair consisted of James Tugwell and Harriet Asquith. The pair got off to a great start, conceding only a few points in the four group games. After a break for lunch the competition continued, it was time for the semi-finals. The pair were up against a strong pair from Manchester, a tight match which UCL eventually won. The next match, therefore, was the final, and who else but a Cambridge pair. Unfortunately, the pair couldn't keep up their form from the first set and ended up losing 2-1. However, having bettered their performance of last year the team is clearly stepping in the right direction. Hopefully the club will be able to continue their improvement and win the competition next year.
Members of the club have entered various other competitions throughout the year, including the U25s, the Kinnaird and the Women's Nationals. The club is also hoping to enter at least a pair in the Mixed Nationals. Hopefully the club will be able to emulate the performances this year and also continue to enter significant numbers into the competitions.
The club has also competed in many fixtures throughout the year. From the weekly matches against the Old Citizens at training sessions to the organised fixtures, the team has continued to play well and get good results. The club managed to beat Oxford University. Unfortunately, various matches have had to be cancelled due to availability or personal reasons, these included matches against St.Olave's, Eton College and Cambridge University.
24 Hour Fives Marathon
The club held its first 24 hour Fives marathon at the end of the second term and it definitely was a success, with the club reaching its fundraising target on behalf of the Alzheimer's Society. This couldn't have been done without the help of several people, in particular Andrew Rennie, as he both played and helped to organise the marathon. We certainly wouldn't have had the use of Mill Hill's Fives courts without him.
Without the participants, the event would also not have been able to go ahead, on the UCL side we had James Tugwell, Timothy Nixey, Harriet Asquith, Andrew Ibbetson, Davin Chandra, Dan Moore, Jack Ho & Isabella Barber and honorary UCL members included Andrew Rennie, Chris Wheeler, Ralph Morgan, Karen Hird & Jonathan Asquith.
We would also like to thank Richard Black for bringing an immense amount of food and drink with him, without which, we would not have had the energy to complete the 24 hours!
Thank you very much to everyone who has donated thus far! Our Just Giving page (https://www.justgiving.com/24-Hour-Fives-Marathon) is still live so please donate if you can!
Volunteering is something the club has also been involved in, hopefully it'll continue with the usual coaching of Wallball at nearby schools and we might see an event similar to the Fives marathon next year.
With a few older players leaving the university this year, the new President and his committee will have a tough job ahead of them, one which we are sure they will be able to do. Their ideas are numerous and insightful and we very much hope that they will be able to implement them. We are looking forward to being invited back for the first Old Boys and Old Girls match at UCL.
Windsor & Eton
Midlands champion Nick Bunyan; WEEFC in action at the Northern tournament
Windsor and Eton have had a particularly strong season this past year with a massive percentage increase in player numbers, and even more curry nights than usual. The addition of 1 or 2 players who turn out more than once or twice a year has meant the Club could fulfil all of it's league fixtures and the usual friendly fixture list with scarcely a ringer in sight. We were also able to present a good account of ourselves in the League fixtures, winning 5 out of 7 matches and picking up only one regrettable penalty point during the whole season.
With Mandie Barnes very bravely taking on the role of Club Secretary and managing to get sides out to play without resorting to the cattle prod, the club is in a good position to go forward for 15/16 season, and we are already making plans for the season kick-off Curry and Fives night in September.
If you are interested in playing some good sporting Fives at Eton on Tuesday evenings please get in touch with Mandie or Nick Bunyan and we will gladly introduce you to the rest of our eclectic bunch of enthusiasts.
The Wycombe Fives Club based at the Royal Grammar School High Wycombe continues to flourish. After some damage to the roof from the heavy winds all is repaired though there are a few leaks when it rains heavily. The club continues to be a good place for the less experienced players to develop their game in a supportive friendly atmosphere that promotes enjoyment and honourable play above all else. Though it has to be said that the standard is rising with a few members playing regularly elsewhere and participating in various EFA competitions. One day we will have a team avoid going through to the plate competition. So if you ever fancy a game at 2:30 on a Sunday afternoon, do come and join us. All welcome. Any questions please contact club secretary Colin Turnbull (cotu82her at gmail.com).