2018/19 Club Reports
Read on to see what the clubs thought of the 2018/19 season. Missing reports should hopefully be added in shortly.
Fancy Dress Fives; Ladder winners; Heath Tournament winners
No report received yet
Silver Salver winners
No report received yet
No report received yet
Varsity Match teams
At the end of last year many of our senior men and women had graduated or gone on to do other things and so we faced the issue of having to attract many newcomers. Whilst this seemed a daunting task we managed to draw in many young and willing beginners to the game, to the point of where we were having to devise new strategies to make sure everyone got sometime on court! A more than welcome problem!
Our season kicked off with the unis tournament in which we had four men’s pairs and three women’s pairs. While the results were mixed, many of the beginners gained some valuable experience and the seniors saw what they were coming up against in the season. This was followed by our annual cuppers which once again saw many new faces and then the 5th year anniversary of the courts with the jesters. This latter one was a great day enjoyed by all with action on the courts all day, while ultimately the Cambridge pairs fell to some far more experienced opposition it was good practice against some very strong opponents. This was followed by more games against Old Lancing and North Oxford.
The lent half of the season was characterised by the build up towards the annual varsity match against Oxford. Having faced some pairs already at several tournaments we knew they would be some tough opposition. First up however we had the second annual London varsity the weekend before. There were several tough games, providing some great experience for some of those who hadn’t played in a formal match setting before. The only winning pair was that of Riki and Ben playing a tremendous match which was sure to set them up for the challenge they faced in the match against Oxford. This is something that we are definitely hoping to keep to grow in the future with more pairs getting to play.
The varsity match itself was a great day enjoyed by all although not the result we hoped for. We went down expecting to face a strong Oxford side after facing them in several competitions already this year. The day started with all 12 pairs on court at the same time. The men’s second team (pairs 4 through 6) were the first to taste defeat (3-0 in all games) at the hand of a rather strong Oxford second team who had good depth throughout their squad. While these games were over quickly all those involved learned a lot and look set to come back stronger next year. The first team put up a stronger fight with pairs 2 and 3, while also losing 3-0 had much closer games. The men’s first pair of Riki and Ben were the only ones to get a win on the board and did so in thrilling and dominant fashion, winning 3-0, not letting the Oxford first pair get a look in. On the women’s the results were similar, while these games lasted longer and some were much closer the result was the same. The Ladies second team, all beginners, put up a good fight against the Oxford second team, for many this being their first competitive match representing the university well. This lack of experience put them at a significant disadvantage with the result being that all three pairs lost 3-0. While there was some more experience in the first team the Oxford first’s were just too strong to be overcome. The 2 and 3rd pairs lost 3-0 also, although showing tremendous tenacity down to the last point. The Women’s first pair was the most exciting match of the day in a 2-3 thriller which went down to the final game. While Oxford won the first match, the Cambridge pair of Ursule Taujanskaite and Pippa Ball went on to win the next two to take a 2-1 lead in two brilliant displays of fives. The final two games were as thrilling and the ladies were unfortunate to fall in the final two sets. While not the result we would have wanted, all in all it was a day all enjoyed.
The team for next season will be under the more than capable leadership of Akhil Shah and Clara Calderbank, and I wish them the best of luck.
We used to report in these annuals our win, or more often loss, ratio. However, over recent years the focus has been much more on ensuring a quality game, than a quality result. Let's say this year ended in a honourable, but enjoyable draw. As such, hopefully we are living the Jesters 'creed' and achieving the most out of our odd, but rather fantastic, game.
Epitomising the levelling nature of our great game was the man I considered our senior jester. He was a member of the club for 72 years. I am not a record keeper, nor terribly good at Maths, but that seems to be a target hard to beat. The passing of Michael Constantinidi will be rightly mentioned in corridors of Eton Fives, but let it be said here that his contribution to the game in general, and to our dear club was immeasurable. He will be much missed, but I am sure he would approve of the state of Jesters Eton Fives.
One of the attributes of the modern club is that we appear to have embraced the rather modern concept of 'diversity'. Promoting the female game has not been easy for Eton Fives, given the majority of the children introduced to the game are from boys schools. Yes, our game is still dominated by men, but the Jesters in 2018/19 consistently fielded a quorum of ladies at almost every match. The mixed game has so much to offer and has given our matches, and drinks afterwards, a welcome and different angle.
I feel that both Jock Burnet and Michael Constantinidi would approve.
The playing cohort continues to grow and we try to adapt to make sure there are enough places available for all to get on court. We have the flexibility of formats to suit all. Perhaps that is why I, aging as we all are, enjoyed this season all the more. I know that next season brings with it new ideas and enthusiasm in the shape of Will Skjott so please continue to study the fixture list and and apply where appropriate.
Lancing Tournament players; Ashley Lumbard, ladies championships finalist
This has been another solid season for the OLs with the player base gradually increasing and some excellent young OLs coming to the fore.
The year started off on a bright note with the Lancing fives weekend in September, with glorious weather and a record number of entries.
Lancing has had some mixed success in the Alan Barber Cup this year. We successfully made it through the first round against the Old Citizens but unfortunately lost out to a very strong Old Westminsters team as we were unable to field a team as strong as we have in the past. However, there were green shoots being seen in the fives club with three new faces representing the OLs during this year's competition, all of whom left Lancing in the last few years.
In April Ashley Lumbard and Emily Scoones reached the final of the Ladies Nationals only to come up against the very strong pairing of Hird and Cooley, to losing a close fought match in three games. This is the second time that Ashley and Emily have come up against Karen and Charlotta and lost out; hopefully in 2020 it will be third time lucky.
Earlier in the season George Campbell reached the semi final of the Kinnaird Cup, a feat that only Nigel Cox and George himself (a finalist in 2013) have achieved before.
It was most gratifying that Nigel Cox was awarded a lifetime achievement award for his services to the game at the EFA annual dinner. Those who know Nigel will appreciate this award is thoroughly deserved - we all owe Nigel a debt of gratitude for his efforts to promote the game.
Lastly, advanced notice that the Lancing Weekend 2019 is set for 31st August and 1st September, with a new dinner venue and a warm welcome from the OLs.
London players and finalists at the Universities Tournament
No report received yet
Newbury at the Richard Barber Cup
Newbury Fives Club has continued to grow this year and holds both Thursday and Sunday sessions throughout the year at the excellent courts at St Bartholomew's School. Sundays are well attended by school students mainly from St Bartholomew's but also from as far afield as Marlborough. Meanwhile, Thursdays attract mainly adults (many of whom are new to the game within the last 18 months) and a solid core of players is developing with potential to form a sustainable squad for entry into Division 3 in due course. In that vein, the Newbury club took on in its first competitive challenge at the EFA Trophy Qualifiers in November. The club team (composed of adults and school/university students) won just one game but it was an excellent first outing and the other games were not lost by damning margins. Newbury also held its first friendly match against Royal Holloway University in November. This was a three pair competition and Newbury won 3-0. Newbury was represented by a wide age-range of players (from promising students to battle-hardened veterans) and beat a youthful but slightly less experienced university side. Finally, Newbury also held its inaugural Christmas Fives competition in December in which five pairs competed in a round robin. Notably, the winning pair included a convert from Lawn Tennis who, on his first try of the game only weeks earlier, was able to hold his own with the likes of some of the aforementioned Newbury veterans. It's a sign of progress and much potential in the western reaches of Berkshire. Thanks to all our regular players for a promising and active season and particularly to stalwarts, David Cooper and Nigel Cox, for their consistent and patient contribution.
Black Cup winners; Three Code Challenge; Mike Fenn Plate winners; Kinnaird Festival plate winners
Kinnaird Festival Plate D winners; on day release from the NOEFC Old Folks' Home; NOEFC at the Mixed; Midlands Festival champions
The 2018/19 season has been as busy as ever for North Oxford EFC.
The summer of 2018 saw the usual range of activities, starting with another strong Superleague showing from the Aston House Thoroughbreds and Showponies, taking in a moat-swimming detour at the summer club barbecue at Broughton Castle and a memorable Northern tour to Rossall, St.Bees and Sedbergh, which included an ascent of Great Gable before breakfast by Nick Shaw and Stefan Nowinski, Faye Kerr nearly joining the St.Bees choir, swimming in the Irish Sea and Christmas coming early for Karen Hird with a visit to the spiritual home of sticky toffee pudding at Cartmel. And some Fives. There were impressive performances from several NOEFC players at the Paume Artignoscaise World Cup and a first ever trip to play on the newly reopened court at Dover College, all before September had even started.
Monday evening sessions at Summer Fields have now been running for over 20 years; in that time an extraordinary number of players have graced the courts, some once or twice never to be seen again, some making the occasional guest appearance, some playing for a while before moving on and some there week in week out for those 20 years, clearly with nothing better to do.
This year’s Monday evenings have been reinvigorated with several new faces quickly turning into regulars. It already feels as if Robert Thorogood, Matt Chinery, Rachel Wood, Steve Gore and Faye Kerr have been playing with us for years; Gareth Hoskins, Andy Bishop, Chris Davies, Chris Lloyd, Martin Fiennes, Spencer Chapman, Pete Scholey, Nick Shaw and Stefan Nowinski actually have. The average age of Monday nighters has also seen a considerable drop with the presence this year of Summer Fields (and Dragon) gappers past & present Sam Mcloughlin, Caleb Broomfield, Iain Kidd, Zoe Bloomer and Eleanor Martin, the Bush brothers Toby, Will and Peter plus occasional visits from Noah Caplin and other Oxford students. We even hosted the Dutch Real Tennis team for a game at the start of the year, who were notable for a) being very good straight away and b) making even more noise than Faye.
Away from Summer Fields, the club continues to play more matches than just about any club in the country – around 50 this year – fielding teams in all three divisions again and playing friendly fixtures against a wide variety of opposition and at as many different venues as possible.
The league season was pretty successful with a mid-table finish in a Division 1 campaign that contained a few notable highlights – the star performances of new recruit Tom McCahon, a first ever win over the Old Harrovians (Tom Dunbar and all) in a thrilling match at Eton in November, huge and obvious improvements in the standard of play of Karen Hird, Chris Lumbard and Nathan Turnbull, tantalising glimpses of our resident pro Seb Cooley and the talented James Piggot and age-defying (sort of) contributions from stalwarts Gareth Hoskins, Peter Scholey, Chris Austin and Graham “Grandad” Pulsford.
The Division 2 season got off to a slow start, with seemingly every set of opposition putting out their strongest possible line-up against us, but a strong finish allowed us to achieve mid-table respectability. This left our Division 3 side “Bishop’s Buccaneers “ to take the glory, as they missed out on the title by just one point after a fine season under the leadership of Club President Andy Bishop, who was able to select from a settled squad starring the likes of Robert Thorogood, Steve Thatcher, Rachel Wood, Karen Hird, Harriet Asquith and the President himself.
We also had another excellent season in the cup competitions. The EFA Trophy squad of Tom McCahon, Karen Hird, Freddie Fairhead, David Cox, Chris Lloyd, Nathan Turnbull and Spencer Chapman qualified impressively for the semi-finals yet again and although they came up short in the last four against a formidable Old Salopian side, they went on to win the 3rd/4th place play-off against the Old Olavians in fine style.
The stars of the NOEFC season were once again the ladies team, who backed up their fantastic win in the 2017 Richard Black Cup by retaining the trophy at Eton in November. The sextet of Karen Hird, Harry Asquith, Rachel Wood, Faye Kerr, Francesca Turnbull and Mandie Barnes were immense all day, seeing off all challengers and clinching the trophy with a win in the final over a very strong Ipswich team. They’ll be back next season looking for three in a row!
There were individual successes again – Seb did ok, and Karen added another national title to her lengthy list. The Over 50s final was an all North Oxford affair with Pete & Grandad beating the Chrises, Gareth & Tom Hoskins won the Mike Fenn plate at the Aberconway Cup and Matt & Rachel won the Midlands Festival. Faye & Joe even won a couple of matches at the Mixed.
As always, the emphasis this season has been on getting as many people playing as much Fives as possible and on having as much fun as possible. These are the yardsticks by which we measure our success – sticky toffee puddings and curries consumed as much as points and trophies won – and 2018/19 scores pretty highly. Hopefully next year will be even better!
Derek Whitehead Trophy players and winners; the Shorrocks brothers on court at Shrewsbury; Turnbull Trophy finalists
The year proved challenging in terms of results. However, we have plenty to be optimistic about…OBEFC continues to grow its player base year on year. 16 OB’s represented the league side in the 18-19 season. It is encouraging to see many return after a protracted period of time off-court. We are hopeful this will stand us in good stead in the years to come.
U25 champions; Richard Barber Cup teams; Turnbull Trophy squad and winners
Turnbull Trophy plate winners; Veterans finalists; Kinnaird finalist Jonny Ho; Midlands finalists
The biggest surprise of the season was that we seemed to have lost the snowy touch. No doubt the club’s secretaries were grateful with -- or bored by -- the distinct lack of fixture rescheduling required. One can only hope they will not become even slacker in the off-season. Nonetheless, we’re pleased to share a host of other highlights from an action-packed year, which began with an absolute nail-biter. This was in the form of an early Barber Cup exit; a thrilling 2-1 defeat at the hands of the Old Westminsters. In the end, the deciding game at third pair was played across two evenings at two venues and was fittingly decided in the fifth with Alex Pavitt and Guy Chapman going down 10-12. Spirits were not left too dampened and our nails have more or less recovered.
For a second consecutive year the club was represented by over thirty players and is now firmly established in two divisions with two top half finishes- a testament to its continuing growth. We hope to build on the increasing Cholmeleian entries into tournaments next season, especially in the team competitions.
On the competition circuit, OCs retained several national titles thanks to Marjolaine Briscoe, Georgia Allen and Phoebe Bracken who added to their ever-growing trophy haul. Notably, the Ladies’ U21s and U25s finals were all Highgate affairs, with three of the four runners-up being current school pupils. We added to these a win in the Turnbull Trophy for Ivan Apukhtin and Jonny Ho. However, it is not just the winning but also the taking part that counts, which the Cholms will testify to as serial finalists: Abs and Aroop Bhattacharya at the Midlands; Jonny Ho in the Kinnaird; Emily Scoones in the Ladies’; Guy Chapman, Niifio Addy and Chris Davies at the Vets; Grant Williams in the Aberconway; plus second and third place finishes for teams in the Richard Barber Cup.
We have worked hard to ensure that social fives is available for players of all ages and abilities, and bookended this season with two friendly -- yet keenly contested -- fixtures with the school to celebrate our partnership in building the club. We are grateful that the Mallinson courts continue allowing us to host not only our club events that help to connect current and former students, but also the weekly sessions that create a home for the club and support the wider fives community.
Jonny Ho & Emily Scoones
OCs at the Turnbull Trophy; Old v Young; OCs in Jersey; Wood Plate
Wood Plate and Adams Cup
The club has completed another very full season, some 126 years after its foundation. Our schedule culminated in a weekend of fives in which we took a table at the EFA's annual dinner at the Royal Automobile Club in Pall Mall, played a five-pair match at Eton against our Zuozer friends for the Hawken-Garrett Cup, and 22 of us competed for the Adams Cup at Highgate.
Other highlights include our 18th Half Blue (Nick Choustikov for Cambridge) and the achievement of David Cooper (at 79) in becoming the oldest player ever to take part in the Veterans Competition.
It's also worth noting that youth overcame experience in our annual Veterans Vs Virgins match last December. That's the second time in a row that the old sweats (those who learned their fives on the Victoria Embankment) have
been humbled – a stirring reminder that this club continues to attract players from the school. Recent very welcome and active additions to our club include Jacob Greenhouse, Nick Choustikov, Saajan Shah, Tomos Bliss
and - with luck, from next year - Edwin Gosnell (who shares his forename with our founding father, Edwin Abbott, the headmaster who insisted on fives courts at the 'new' school in the late 19th century). We arevery lucky to have such an energetic and effective fives master at school, Rahim Dharamshi.
Plate B finalists at the Turnbull Trophy
No report received yet
Universities champion Arthur Wellesley and Universities Mixed champion Sam Oppenheimer
2018/19 saw a season of highs and lows for OEFC. The excitement of progression in the cup was tempered with a disappointing league campaign, while the annual match against OUEFC was a highlight yet again.
OEFC won their first round of the Barber Cup against Old Edwardians 3-0, an unorthodox occasion spread out over 2 weeks - a process, rather than an event, perhaps? At first, James Piggot and James Cobb won (7, 1, 2); Tom Kirkby and Arthur Wellesley won at second (3, 6, 8) and Sam Oppenheimer and Alex Knight won at third (2, 1, 1). A great result, and wonderful to see recent leavers out in force. Unfortunately, the club couldn’t maintain this good start in the quarter-final clash, losing out against Old Wulfrunians. Arthur Wellesley and Jamie Abbott were defeated at first (10-12, 12-8, 12-8, 12-7); Jack Parham and Martin Fiennes lost out at second (3, 2, 2). A good day out, with the Wolverhampton side deserved winners.
In keeping with recent years, OEFC struggled in the league in 2018/19. But although the appetite for fives amongst recent leavers continues to be low, there were still memorable moments to cherish. The game of the season for OEFC was Charlie Courtenay and Bill Emlyn Jones’ 5-setter against Old Salopians, which eventually saw a narrow loss 2-3. Guy Thompson (4 appearances) and George Harbord Hamond (3) were the main contributors to the league season, and both played excellent fives throughout.
The match against OUEFC has become a real highlight of the OEFC calendar, the fixture betraying the startling rate with which OE fives players have recently gained entrance to Oxford. Three OEFC pairs took part, including performances from Mike Hughes and Ralph Oliphant-Callum. Under Michael Constantinidi’s detailed oversight and generous patronage, this afternoon was a tremendous celebration of Oxford Etonian fives players. Mike Hughes and Sam Oppenheimer lost narrowly at first pair; Ralph Ollpihant-Callum and Andrew White lost at second, with Alex Knight and Martin Powell drawing at third.
Reshuffles abound behind the scenes at OEFC this summer, with Tom Kirkby taking over the secretary role from Jamie Abbott, and James Cobb assuming the treasurer’s mantle from Forman Wickes. With recent graduates returning to London, the future looks bright for OEFC.
Kinnaird winner Tom Dunbar
This has been a really good year for the Old Harrovian Fives Club. Over 20 players have represented the Club and the end of year Dinner organised by Ross Bryan was a superb event with all age groups within the Club well represented. We were able to celebrate our first ever Barber Cup success and in particular the surprising victory away at Ipswich and the astonishing win against the 15 times consecutive champions, the Old Olavians, in a superb quarter final match. 15 was clearly the number of the year as Tom Dunbar won his 15th Kinnaird title.
It was very good to see three players under the age of 20 playing in the Barber final and while we acknowledge the wonderful efforts of Tom Dunbar and Oskar Denby at first pair, Jamie Fleming and Qassi Gaba for playing all four rounds, Nick Shaw, Ross Bryan and Rahul Wijeratne for vital contributions it would seem only right to single out Peter Dunbar for flying over 20,000km to strengthen our team in the semi-final and final.
The Dinner also gave us the opportunity to have a long overdue EGM. The most important outcome of this meeting has been the decision to enter a second league team and we are grateful to Ian Hutchinson for supporting this initiative from a School perspective.
The Fives Courts at Harrow have been a challenge this year but lots of hard work and persuasion mean that work has already started to improve the facilities. Phase 1 will focus on the changing rooms, lighting, run out areas and some reroofing. Phase 2 that will require fundraising will centre on improving the playing surfaces and the spectator experience. The coaching cameras put in last year have proved to be an excellent addition and it is to be hoped that before too long Harrow will be able to offer a warm welcome to players and spectators.
Next year will be key to the direction that our Club takes with hopefully more players regularly making appearances on the courts in League matches and EFA competitions, a building programme and lots of promising young players at School and university.
Graves Cup finalists and players; The Suffolk Dibber; London Festival winners
Black Cup finalists; Over 60s winner Simon Woolfries; Dossi Dish finalists
It was great to get some of our younger players out in 2018-19 (Cam Lyle, Toryn Whitehead, James Gray, Isaac Weaver, Oscar Taylor, Nadia Mason and Eloise Carter come to mind) but sadly not as often, or as many, as we would have liked. The Club was still reliant to a considerable extent in fulfilling its fixtures by drawing on its pre-1970 vintages. Not that the veterans didn’t do a fair job all things considered and it was useful to be able to call on the experience and determination of Charlotta Cooley who chalked up several wins.
An early season highlight now is the Suffolk Cup Competition (for the Gregory Dibber). This year it was played as an under 45s versus over 45s event, with Tony Stubbs being declared under 45 on the basis of his boyish good looks and general fitness. After the initial rounds the tally stood at 12 games all (well matched Tim G). A final between Graves & Gregory (Overs) and Cass & Weaver (Undies) enabled Gravy to demonstrate his front court mastery has not waned, giving the Overs a 14-12 victory. Sadly Mike Fenn’s continuing illness prevented him Skyping in to the celebrations in the Greyhound afterwards.
Dreams of preventing the Harrovians winning the Barber Cup proved just that, despite the advantage of a home draw, only needing to win one pair and a valiant effort by Hoskins, Yusaf, Gregory and Weaver. The giant killing is postponed until next year.
The unstated aim in the League was to come somewhere mid-table if we could and in particular to avoid giving away penalty points. Won two, drew one and lost 6 was not going to make headlines and it put us seventh out of ten. Not brilliant but pleasingly with only a half penalty point incurred and away from the theoretical relegation zone. The highlight, which has to be put in for Gareth’s benefit, must have been the 3-0 win at Ipswich against North Oxford 2, in which Mark Graves and Tim Gregory denied the EFA Secretary a game, despite being partnered by the redoubtable Karen Hird.
It is hard to argue against assertions that the Ipswich Tournament (Graves Cup) is the pinnacle of Ipswich fives. And in terms of playing in the right spirit, few match this year’s winner, Seb Cooley, who again extracted the best out of a young Ipswichian partner (Elliot Caldwell). A fantastic semi-final against Cam Lyle and a re-energised Nigel Cox, was won 12-9, 14-15, 13-12, leading to a final against Karen Hird and Tim Wyndham (re-emerged from exile in Norway) who had put paid to the challenge of Chris Lumbard and John Caudle in their semi. Winning the final 2-1 enabled Seb and Elliot to receive the new Graves Cup, kindly presented by Mark Graves to replace the one Seb accidentally divided with his partner a few years ago. For once Stubbsy was beaten to the A Plate, as Tim Gregory and Tom Hoskins proved unstoppable, defeating Gareth Hoskins and Luke Free in the final. Plate B was shared between Tom Fletcher & Hugh Catchpole and Steve Burnell & Nadia Mason who decided enough was enough after reaching 11-12, 12-10. As always the Saturday night dinner proved a delightful opportunity to tell old tales and generally indulge, though even with four Cooleys present, there were no bodies on the floor on Sunday morning.
We were pleased to take part in many of the season’s tournaments, with Steve Burnell and Tim Gregory most prominent amongst OIs participating. At Repton for the Midland, Tim played with elder daughter Charlotte, impressively reaching the last 16, as did Gareth Hoskins with Harriet Asquith and Eloise Carter with Charlie Tweedy. Peter Boughton was lucky to be partnered with Howard Wiseman and reached the quarter-finals. Louis Commercial, making a comeback to the game, made the Festival semi-final with sixth-former Joe Cooper. In the EFA Trophy Steve and Tim came within three points of putting us in the semi-finals but those sneaky Olavians snuck in instead. Steve and Tim flew the OI flag brilliantly though in the London Festival, beating Tom and David McCahon 12-3, 12-1 in the final. Isaac Weaver and Tony Stubbs won the losing quarter-finalists’ Plate and there were some good Plate performances too from younger Ipswichians.
Six pairs for the Graham Turnbull Trophy was an exceptional turnout. Tim Gregory with Will Carron commendably made the last sixteen and the Plate A quarter-final. Alex Yusaf with Max Hyde just lost in the Plate B semi-final. It was good to be part of a superb day’s fives. The Northern Tournament saw a sizeable Ipswich contingent make the pilgrimage to Shrewsbury. Tim Gregory and Steve Burnell reaching the semi-final of the main tournament Plate proved the on-court highlight. Honorary OI Tony Stubbs paired up with Andrew Mitchell in the Festival and made the final but were unable to cement the win.
Steve and Tim’s first round match in the Kinnaird against Mcloughlin & Ponsonby was described as a five game classic, sadly a losing one for the OI pair and the exertion from which probably told as they came second-best in the Plate final. In the Kinnaird Festival Tim, playing with Charlotte again, reached the last sixteen before losing to Ipswich School Captain Isaac Weaver with Tony Stubbs. Isaac and Tony went on to win the Festival and Charlotte and Tim to win the A Plate. There was another Plate win in the Aberconway Cup as Tom Hoskins, with Gareth, saw off the Scholey challenge for the Mike Fenn Plate.
Eloise Carter paired with Andrew Rennie for the Mixed Championship, making the quarter-final. Tim and Steve partnered Tim’s daughters, Natasha and Charlotte. Both pairs made it to the Plate (Dossi Dish) final, with Charlotte and Steve winning 15-10. Simon Woolfries is to be congratulated on securing a third successive Over 60s victory in the Veterans’ Competition, pairing with Old Berkhamstedian Richard Dennis in the absence of usual partner Peter Boughton. Simon also won the Brigands’ Silver Salver Competition with Alex Abrahams from Alex Knight and Stuart Clarke.
Many thanks to all who made a most enjoyable season possible.
Summers Cup players and winners; U21 finalists
This was a difficult year. Whilst it was always going to be hard to replicate the success of the 2017-18 season we would have hoped for a less dramatic fall from grace than occurred.
The departure of last year’s school first pair, Charlie Plummer (to Birmingham University) and Iain Kidd (a gap year at Summer Fields) hit us in both Division 1, where Charlie had been successfully playing first pair, and Division 2 where both Charlie and Iain had been mainstays of the side. Furthermore Chris Vincent’s season hardly ever started, with Chris suffering ongoing issues with his knee; and Oli Sander, another whose talents normally span both divisions, struggled with availability post Christmas. All of the above left a considerable gap. We hope to see a lot more of both Oli and Chris in the 2019-20 season, and look forward to welcoming Charlie and Iain, as well as their contemporary Alex Grubb back from university in due course.
The league season was forgettable. In division 1 we fell just short of making it into the top half of the table for when the league was split, meaning that the best we could achieve was fifth in the final table (which we did). But interest from the players in the remaining games was limited. It was worth giving the new structure a go, but I think in conjunction with a number of other clubs it didn’t really work for us, and we look forward to reverting back to two fixtures against all sides in the coming season. Division 2 was hit even harder by absences than Division 1 leading to us finishing eighth in the table out of 10, and – particularly disappointingly – dropping six pairs over the course of the season. The season did end of a positive note, with the school first pair who are both U16s playing their first game for us. The work done by Steve Plummer and Andrew Rennie at the school is fantastic, but following the success of Charlie and Iain, there has been something of a lull, and we hope to see Stan and Nick playing a lot more for us next season.
It is worth mentioning the club’s two stars of the season – Andrew Rennie and Jitesh Patel. Both played a huge amount for us across both divisions, often doing so through injury, and having to go out of their way to make work and home arrangements to allow them to be available. The club, and particularly Sunil and I, are hugely grateful to them.
There were some individual highlights worth mentioning. Sunil Tailor reached the semi final of the Kinnaird for the first time, along with his Salopian partner Ed Taylor. Andrew Rennie won the U25s tournament along with his Westminsters partner, Rikki Houlden; it’s rumoured that Rikki is still sporting a bad back from having to carry Andrew throughout the tournament. Hal Gibson has had ongoing success as part of the strong Oxford University team.
Despite the somewhat negative tone of the above, we look forward to the coming season with optimism. We hope to see more of Chris and Oli, as well as Will Seath and Ollie Avery – imports from Royal Holloway University who will have finished their studies and hopefully moved to London.
The key focus for this year is to run regular club nights to ensure we are providing fives for anyone who wants it. At the moment there is too much focus on the league season to the detriment of the club as a whole. We hope that regular club nights will afford the opportunity to play, practice, and come together as a club which is something that has been lost in recent seasons.
Kinnaird champions Seb Cooley; Richard Barber Cup winners; Mixed champions; Midlands champions
No report received yet
EFA Trophy finalists; Aberconway winners; Veterans champions; U25 runners-up
No report received yet
Andrew Aitken Cup finalists; U25 champion Riki Houlden; EFA Team of the Year
The Old Westminster Eton Fives Club has greatly benefitted this season from vastly improved team cohesion, and this has been exemplified in our results across the board. Chief among these was the Westminster contingent’s triumphant debut arrival in the semi-finals of the Alan Barber Cup: an unprecedented, historic achievement for a Westminster team.
Likewise, our league results have seen marked improvement, with the Division I team finishing in second place in the league, the team’s highest-placed finish in several years. Similarly great strides were also made by the Division II team, bolstered by higher-level participation and greater consistency, with the newfound strength and depth in the squad giving rise to a strong showing in all our matches. Having struggled last year to draw level with the Old Etonians and to finish the season in positive balance, this year we were locked in a furious battle for Division II’s upper echelons, finally finishing the season in third place with only two losses sustained and no penalties conceded.
Individual accomplishments have also abounded, with the youthful OW pairing of Hugo Young and Can Koksal reaching the Last 16 of the Kinnaird Cup (before unfortunately being pitted against the now nine-time champions Seb Cooley and Tom Dunbar); Division I stalwart Laurie Brock making the quarter-finals of both the London and the Northern Tournaments; and Elana Osen reaching her third consecutive Ladies Championship semi-final and second Mixed Championship semi-final, this latter with Riki Houlden, whose indefatigable play throughout the year saw him reach new heights, racking up appearances at the finals of the London Tournament (his first), the Northern Tournament and the Kinnaird.
With such a strong showing across the board and in every facet of the game, the season reached a glorious conclusion with an OW trip to Grillon and two individual nominations for the EFA’s Player of the Year for Laurie Brock and Riki Houlden. It culminated in the Old Westminsters being crowned the EFA’s Team of the Year for the very first time in our club’s long history. 2018–19 may yet go down as a vintage season in the team’s annals, a testament to the hard work that everyone on the team has put in this year.
Wolverhampton Fives celebration
The 2018/19 season started with a tremendous gathering of Old Wulfs to celebrate 50 years of Fives at WGS. 30+ players, many spectators and school staff joined the Sports Festival for a few games and the unveiling of the newly created Honours Board which now hangs proudly in the Sports Hall foyer. Tremendous thanks must go to Andy Husslebee (OWA President) and all at the school for making this recognition of the work of David Pedley possible.
On the competitive side, there was reason to celebrate as we reached the Alan Barber Cup semi finals for the third time in recent years after a victory over the Old Etonians on our own courts. The semi-final pitted us against perennial finalists the Old Salopians who are getting stronger each year and their strength proved too much for us at all 3 pairs.
The EFA Trophy qualifiers again proved to be a tough days Fives for us with stalwarts Andy Husslebee, Rich Ambler and Phil Bullock being ably joined by relative youngsters Silas Lawrence and Tom Husslebee. It was also great to have Dan McKernan involved back on court after having his appetite whetted at the WGS Sports Festival.
The last competitive outing of the season is the Veterans Tournament and Chris & Sid again had a tilt at the trophy but fell well short against a strong field.
Socially, the Thursday night sessions are still being well attended and we hope that numbers will continue to grow further into next season.
I'd like to thank all players, supporters and organisers (Greg Hammond and Mark Yates) for making this another enjoyable season.
Varsity Match team; Universities champions; Universities Mixed champions; EFA Trophy winners
Varsity Match team; Universities champions; Black Cup team; EFA Young Player of the Year
Oxford Women’s team enjoyed another successful year with a squad now filled with experienced players alongside a consistent boost of new talent. With Gareth Hoskins’ coaching ensuring our new teammates were quickly match ready, we put out a good show across the years’ tournaments.
Spearheaded by the EFA Young Player of the Year Marjolaine Briscoe, we retained the University Championship, U21 championship and Universities Mixed trophy as well as a strong showing at the Richard Black Cup by our new players.
The season was capped off by an excellent 6-0 win at Varsity. The clean sheet demonstrated the strength of our top pairs and the incredible progress of those that started with us in September.
Blessed by a squad brimming with experienced players, the Men's team were able to achieve success across the board. In October, the Men's 1st pair (Arthur Wellesley and Oskar Denby) retained the Universities Championship, and the Men's 1st VI later went onto win the EFA trophy for the second consecutive year. Sam Oppenheimer and Marjolaine Briscoe were also victorious in the Mixed championships.
The Men's team performed well in its weekly fixtures, with enjoyable victories over the Old Etonians and a win and a loss against a strong Eton side. The club proved its strength in depth with another comprehensive victory in both the Men's 1st (2-1) and 2nd (3-0) Varsity match. The club has, in recent years, benefitted from an extremely strong intake of experienced players and sees a number of players leave this year.
RHUL at the Universities Tournament
No report received yet
Vargas Trophy winners
No report received yet
Windsor & Eton
No report received yet