Turnbull Trophy 2015: St.Olave's On Top
Anthony Theodossi reports:
16/11/15: On a rather windy day at Eton the 2015 Turnbull Trophy took place. By Friday evening there was a healthy entry of 18 pairs, but due to lots of last minute drop-outs we were heavily depleted to almost half the entry; the 10 pairs that did take part though made for a competitive fun day of Fives.
Although it was a small draw, what was pleasing to see was the variety of entry from many of the smaller Fives playing schools with entries from Lancing College, Cranleigh, RGS High Wycombe, Wycombe High and Westway. The rest of the draw was made up of pairs from Westminster, Berkhamsted and St. Olaves'.
The ten pairs were split into two pools of five with the top two from each going straight through to the semi-finals and the remaining six into the Plate competition. Matches were one game to 12 with no setting.
In Pool A last year’s winner, Tom Gallagher, had traded in his old partner James Toop for a new model in the form of Seb Cooley. The seeds came out top of their group as expected though they had a couple of tough games from Cranleigh 1st pair Phil Roper & Louis Halstead taking them to 12 – 8, as well as from Westway pairing of Ryan Perrie & Noah Caplin who pushed them to 12 – 7. The 2nd place spot game between these two pairs many thought would be hotly contested, but Perrie & Caplin commanded the game winning comfortably 12 – 2.
In Pool B the seeded pairing of Doug Foster & Hamish MacCaig of Berkhamsted started their day less favourably losing their first match 11 – 12 to Olavian pairing Charlotta Cooley & Sohayl Ujoodia. This early upset looked like it could throw a spanner in the works and the other seeded Westminster pairing of Laurie Brock & Sahil Shah were then looking to steal the top spot. The draw would be decided by the Berkhamsted/Westminster encounter and after a very long single game it was Berkhamsted who came out on top 12 – 6. With three pairs in the group all having won 3 and lost 1 it came down to points difference and in the end the pool went the way of the seedings with Berkhamsted taking the top spot and 2nd place going to Westminster.
This set up the two semi-finals of S.Cooley & Gallagher against Brock & Shah, and Foster & MacCaig pitted against Perrie & Caplin. The Cooley/Brock semi-final went as expected although the Westminster boys put up good resistance in the 2nd game, making the Olave's pairing have to work hard for every point, though in the end it was a 2 – 0 victory to Olave's.
The Berkhamsted/Westway match was looking to be the match of the day but Perrie & Caplin had other ideas and stormed though the first game 12 – 1. After a good team talk on tactics for the Berkhamsted pair they came back for the second game with a vengeance and pushed ahead 4 – 0 early on. Perrie & Caplin fought back however and held them here until they managed to level the score at 4 – 4; here the score remained for a long time before the Westway boys took that next elusive point and the lead. From here they kept control of the rallies and slowly edged out the points before taking the game 12 – 5.
So the final was set and Perrie & Caplin were hoping to have a turnaround from the pool stage encounter; as it was the first game went the exact same way with Olave's always ahead but Westway pushing them hard before the same scoreline arrived of 12 – 7. In the second game Cooley & Gallagher upped their game and took advantage of Caplin's movement under the wall to retrieve instead of holding base; they managed to hit much better lengths and often found the hole or bottom of the buttress to kill the ball, denying the Westway pair opportunities to get back into the rallies. This allowed them to steam through the second game 12 – 2. The 3rd game was all or nothing for the Westway boys and unfortunately the scoreline does not reflect the high quality of Fives this game was played too. In an attempt to help his partner out, Perrie often pushed onto top step to block shots out of the buttress when Caplin was under the wall; this success rate was limited though, as if timed incorrectly it left a free shot for Cooley or Gallagher to drill the ball down to the back right for the easy point, something they were able to do a number of times. It was the battles on the top step that were the highlight of the game though, with Gallagher playing full part matching Perrie often in short controlled play and patience before stealing a point or two at a time. In the end the Olave's pair took the final game 12 – 3.
The remaining six pairs who went out in the pool stage were then all entered into one large pool with the winner of that pool taking the Plate competition, the level of play meant there were lots of fun but highly competitive matches across the group. The first round saw the Cranleigh pairs go head to head with School partners Louis Halstead and Jeff Olsen battling it out against each other; it was the 2nd pairing of Will Howard & Jeff who took the honours winning in a very tight match 12 – 10.
Wycombe High girls’ pairing of Karen Hird & Francesca Turnbull found their first win of the day (amd in three years of playing in this tournament!) against rival RGS High Wycombe pairing of Nathan Turnbull (Francesca's brother) & Christian Gentle, again in a tight match 12 – 10.
It wasn’t until the final round that the winning pair would be decided; Charlotta Cooley & Sohayl Ujoodia had been on fine form all day and had won all their Plate matches as had Cranleigh pairing Will Howard & Jeff Olsen setting up and exciting final pool match between the two. It was a close encounter with the senior players Cooley & Howard both helping guide their younger team mates through while making sure they also both played a full part in the result. The set piece of the game was of a very good standard with both sides returning well throughout meaning there were lots of long drawn out rallies of high quality Fives. Cooley & Ujoodia just had the edge throughout the game and in the end took the win and the Plate Competition 12 – 7.
A couple of thankyous are in order; firstly to Eton College for allowing us to use the courts, and a big thank you to Gareth Hoskins for taking the time to come along for the day and help making sure the tournament ran so smoothly.
We hope next year more schools will really push to make the event as big as it can be, particularly for Graham Turnbull who felt so strongly about the relationship and bonds to be built between the Schools and their Old Boys & Girls clubs.
St.Olave's (S.Cooley & T.Gallagher) beat Westminster (L.Brock & S.Shah) 2-0 (12-1, 12-6)
Westway (R.Perrie & N.Caplin) beat Berkhamsted (D.Foster & H.MacCaig) 2-0 (12-1, 12-5)
St.Olave's beat Westway 3-0 (12-7, 12-2, 12-3)
1. St.Olave's (C.Cooley & S.Ujoodia)
=2. Cranleigh (W.Howard & J.Olsen)
=2. Cranleigh (P.Roper & L.Halstead)
4. RGS High Wycombe (N.Turnbull & C.Gentle)
=6. Lancing (M.Beard & A.Abrahams)
=6. Wycombe High (K.Hird & F.Turnbull)