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Theodossi & Pemberton Win At Repton

31/10/22: Repton hosted a well-attended and much enjoyed Midlands Tournament at the weekend, with the Berkhamsted coach and old boy combination of Ant Theodossi & Jack Pemberton taking the title.

The Midlands Tournament is now in the fifteenth year of its Repton reincarnation and the second since the fantastic refurbishment of the twelve Repton courts, which are now right up there with the best Fives facilities in the country.

The 2022 edition followed the traditional pattern to start with, with a strong entry of 40 pairs split into six groups and the final placings determining who would be in the Main tournament and who would be in the Festival on Sunday. There was the usual wide array of ages and levels of experience, with contingents from Aldenham, Ipswich, Berkhamsted, St.Olave's and Newbury joining a range of players from clubs and schools from all over the Fives map, including local representation from Derby Moor Rugby Fives club and from Repton School itself. There were even two players from Sheffield University who had never seen a Fives court before let alone played on one, but were persuaded to give it a go by Old Berkhamstedian and Sheffield student Zoe Nicholls. Needless to say they were made to feel extremely welcome and loved every minute of their first Fives experience.

Some early hitches were overcome - Rubel Malik withdrawing through injury before he'd even managed to complete his warm up - and the group stages got underway. There were plenty of excellent matches and some tight finishes but no major upsets, with all of the main contenders qualifying without too many causes for alarm.

Saturday evening saw the tournament dinner at the Menzies Hotel in Mickleover, with some of the field continuing their celebrations well into the night, not that is was possible to tell on Sunday morning of course.

Rather than going straight into knockout Fives, the decision was taken this year to split the field down the middle, with the top 20 pairs from Saturday's play qualifying for the Main tournament and the other 20 into the Festival. This meant a second group stage in both tournaments on Sunday morning, four groups of five each producing two qualifiers for the quarter-finals.

Ant Theodossi & Jack Pemberton gave early notice of their intentions with four comfortable wins to top Group A in the Main tournament, with Joey Prior & David Mew taking the other qualifying spot ahead of Newbury's Will Thomas & Paul Holland, the Reptonian Exley brothers and Derby Moor pair Stuart Kirby & Lewis Keates. There was a battle for top spot in Group B, which was eventually won 12-9 by Ryan Perrie & Emily Scoones over Graham "Grandad" Pulsford & Hal Gibson-Leitao as ladies champions Karen Hird (the new Repton coach) & Charlotta Cooley had to settle for third ahead of Jeff Lawrence & Ben Merrett and Olavian youngsters Tommy Farmer & Anton Lewis. Another pair of Olavian youngsters - Aadi Agarwal & Tanish Arjaria - were ripping up the form book in Group C, defeating Marc Tavra & Jack Hopkins and exploiting some "Sunday morning Fives" from Andrew Rennie & Oli Lawton and Charles Plummer & JP Houlier to qualify for the last eight and only missing out on top spot in the group thanks to a 12-11 defeat at the hands of 2021 champion Abs Bhattacharya and his Old Rydalian partner Tom Cotterell. The final group saw a comfortable victory for the current Aberconway Cup holders Howard & Gwydion Wiseman with the Aldenham Patel cousins Darshan & Nirav making it through as rnuners-up ahead of Matt Chinery & Genesis Nsenga followed by Berkhamsted's Chris Davey & Will Roen-Tate and Elana Osen & Hugo Tobias.

The third, fourth, and fifth placed pairs then moved into their own plate competitions while the eight qualifying pairs headed into the knockout stages. Ant & Jack remained in cruise control against the Patels, Ryan & Emily ended the giant-killing exploits of Aadi & Tanish, Howard & Gwydion were largely untroubled by Joey & David and Abs & Tom had to battle hard to see off Hal & Graham. Abs was trying to reach a third final in four tournaments and to retain the title he won last year with Will Sissons, but he & Tom were always up against it as they took on Ant & Jack in their semi-final, the Berkhamsted pair brimming with confidence and playing with pace and accuracy to move into the final in straight games. There they found themselves up against the Wisemans, who had successfully kept the dangerous Ryan & Emily at arms' length to also go through without the need for a decider.

The final therefore matched clearly the two best pairs in the tournament, neither of whom had looked close to dropping a game on their way through. That soon changed, though, as Jack & Ant raced out of the blocks, attacking with conviction and precision while Howard & Gwydion struggled to get their game going in the early stages. A 12-1 win for Ant & Jack was fully merited but they knew that the job was only half done and as expected the second game was very different, Howard beginning to find his range and control more of the play and Gwydion cutting out the mistakes and providing his own attacking threat (as well as some terrific verbal encouragement to try and get the best out of Wiseman sr) to match that of his opponents. Ant & Jack weren't knocked off their stride, however, and continued to play with the same intent they had shown all the way through the weekend; they were always able to keep a point or two ahead and Howard & Gwydion could never quite close the gap despite the second game providing the exciting contest and contrast in styles that the crowd had been hoping to see. In the end the Berkhamsted pair were able to close the game out 12-9 to take the trophy, Jack's first and Ant's fourth - each with a different partner and 12 years after his first.

The Festival had been proceeding along parallel lines, with the Ipswich squad playing the numbers game in the hopes of getting their hands on the trophy, providing 11 of the 20 pairs. There were plenty of others hoping to stop them, however, and once the dust had settled on a morning group stage that saw several of the groups decided by fine margins, four Ipswich School pairs were joined in the quarter-finals by the more senior Ipswich pairing of Peter Boughton & Louise Rymell, Olavian schoolboys Shiv Shetty & Conor McMichael, the Olavian youth and experience pairing of Mehul Bhargava & John Cooley and yet another Ipswichian, Gareth Hoskins, who was playing with the talented Repton U15 player Brianna Hansen-Hoare. Gareth & Bri won their quarter-final comfortably as John Cooley began to run out of steam, Luke & Owen Free enjoyed beating coach Boughton, Will Woods & Henry Gardner won their all-Ipswich battle while Conor & Shiv kept Olavian hopes alive with a hard-earned 15-12 to end another Ipswich challenge. The all-Ipswich semi-final was one-sided as Will & Henry demolished Luke & Owen 12-0, 12-4. While they put their feet up and waited, the other semi-final produced the longest match of the whole tournament as Conor & Shiv took on Gareth & Bri. By this stage of proceedings, Bri was a player transformed from the one who had started the tournament the day before, playing with aggression and increasing confidence to keep her and her tiring partner in the contest. They came from 7-11 down to win the first 14-13 then almost repeated the trick in the second, going from 6-10 to 10-10 before the Olavians this time managed to hold their nerve to force a decider, which they deservedly and impressively won 12-9. Victory came at a cost, however, and while they were able to keep the momentum going at the start of the final against Will & Henry, once they had gone behind and lost the first game to 9, things quickly unravelled in the second and Will & Henry completed a comprehensive win to take the Festival trophy back to Ipswich.

Our thanks go to Howard Wiseman & Dom Redmond for running the weekend, to David Exley, Karen Hird and everyone at Repton for hosting the tournament and to everyone who came to Repton to make this a vintage edition of the Midlands. See you all again next year!


Main Tournament



A.Theodossi & J.Pemberton beat N.Patel & D.Patel 15-1

Ab.Bhattacharya & T.Cotterell beat H.Gibson-Leitao & G.Pulsford 15-11

R.Perrie & E.Scoones beat A.Agarwal & T.Arjaria 15-3

H.Wiseman & G.Wiseman beat D.Mew & J.Prior 15-6



A.Theodossi & J.Pemberton beat Ab.Bhattacharya & T.Cotterell 2-0 (12-4, 12-5)

H.Wiseman & G.Wiseman beat R.Perrie & E.Scoones 2-0 (12-6, 12-5)



A.Theodossi & J.Pemberton beat H.Wiseman & G.Wiseman 2-0 (12-1, 12-9)


Plate A

1. K.Hird & C.Cooley

2. M.Chinery & G.Nsenga

3. W.Thomas & P.Holland

4. S.Kirby & L.Keates





Conor & Shiv (St.Olave's) beat Alex & Matt (Ipswich) 15-12

Bri (Repton) & G.Hoskins beat Mehul (St.Olave's) & J.Cooley 15-5

Luke & Owen (Ipswich) beat P.Boughton & L.Rymell 15-10

Will & Henry (Ipswich) beat Luke & Harvey (Ipswich) 15-2



Conor & Shiv (St.Olave's) beat Bri (Repton) & G.Hoskins 2-1 (13-14, 13-10, 12-9)

Will & Henry (Ipswich) beat Luke & Owen (Ipswich) 2-0 (12-0, 12-4)



Will & Henry (Ipswich) beat Conor & Shiv (St.Olave's) 2-0 (12-9, 12-1)


Festival Plate A

1. T.Stubbs & Archie (Ipswich)

2. Sam & Joe (Ipswich)

3. R.Christie & C.Yates

4. Teddy & Will (Ipswich)


Festival Plate B

1. Roger & Archie (Ipswich)

2. A.Westwood & P.Westwood

3. Henry & Will (Ipswich)

4. Maddie & Rob (Berkhamsted)


Festival Plate C: Z.Nicholls & B.Capaldi


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