Highgate Win After Tremendous Turnbull Turnout
10/12/18: A record 37 pairs, representing 10 different schools/centres, entered this year's Turnbull Trophy in association with Advanta Wealth, which was won by Jonny Ho & Ivan Apukhtin of Highgate.
After last year's tournament, which was cancelled in December due to snow and then replayed in May with a much reduced entry, it was great to see the Turnbull Trophy back to full health at Eton on Sunday, with 37 pairs taking part, each one consisting of a current school pupil and a former pupil or coach. There were entries from Ipswich (6), Shrewsbury (6), RGS High Wycombe (5), Highgate (5), St.Olave's (4), Eton (3), Berkhamsted (3), Westway (3), City of London (1) and King Edward's Birmingham (1). There were several other schools who nearly managed to get pairs together plus a few who definitely could if they tried; maybe next year's tournament will reach the 50 pair mark?
Attempting to rank the pairs in advance was an almost impossible task with so many unknowns and new and untried combinations; indeed it was clear that not even each school really knew which order their pairs should be put in. The advantage of such a large entry, however, was that everyone got lots of matches and everyone ended up finding other pairs of a similar standard to them, producing lots of close and exciting games. The eight groups in the morning produced 16 pairs to go into the top section of the draw, with a knockout round then splitting them into eight main quarter-finalists and eight Plate A quarter-finalists. The pairs finishing third and fourth also went into a sixteen pair knockout round to produce eight pairs for Plate B and eight for Plate C, while the fifth placed pairs made up a round robin group competing for Plate D.
Most of the fancied pairs made it through the early stages pretty comfortably; further down the rankings there was some fierce competition to make it it into the top two pairs, with two of the groups producing threeway ties for second place. In Group E in fact, St.Olave's 4 crept in by just one point ahead of Ipswich 1, while in Group H a last ditch 12-3 win by St.Olave's 2 meant they leapfrogged Highgate 5 and KES Birmingham into second place.
The main competition last sixteen games were fairly routine, although Highgate 2 (Aroop Bhattacharya & George Everett) and City of London (Nick Gill & Edwin Gosnell) put up some decent resistance against more fancied opponents. Three of the top four seeds - Eton, Shrewsbury and Highgate's top pairs - all had an equally comfortable passage through their quarter-finals, while Berkhamsted's first string of Ryan Perrie & Jack Pemberton did well to see off the strong challenge of Eton 2 (Mike Hughes & Cassian Mcdonald) 15-9. The semi-finals were just about the best matches of the day: Eton 1 started strongly against Highgate 1, coach George Thomason and schoolboy Xander Watt looking very sharp and dominating Jonny Ho & Ivan Apukhtin to win the first game 12-7. Kinnaird finalist Ho and defending Turnbull champion Apukhtin quickly got their act together between games, however, with Jonny taking control of the top step and finding a killer length into the buttress, while Ivan produced some fine attacking round the walls shots from the back of the court. A 12-0 turnaround in the second was followed by a 12-5 win in the decider to put Highgate into the final. In the other semi, favourites Sam Welti & Will Sissons of Shrewsbury were not having things all their own way against Berkhamsted's Ryan Perrie & young Jack Pemberton, not killing the ball effectively enough and allowing the Berkhamsted pair to dig in, stay in touch and eventually clinch the first game 13-12 and the second 13-10 to record a hugely impressive victory.
The final - while containing some excellent rallies - was never really in doubt result-wise, with Ryan & Jack playing well in patches but finding Highgate a lot less profligate than Shrewsbury had been in the semi-final and struggling to cope with the all round excellence of Ho & Apukhtin, who took the match 12-3, 12-7 to keep the trophy in Highgate hands for another year.
While the top eight pairs were fighting it out for the trophy, the rest of the field were ensuring that the plate competitions were all equally hard fought, keeping all sixteen courts full in the course of completing a total of 129 sets of Fives during the day. Aroop Bhattacharya & George Everett made it a Highgate double with a win over St.Olave's 4 (Dom Robson & Aaditya Deshmukh - winners over the Olave's second pair in the semi!) in the final of Plate A. Plate B produced some of the closest matches of the day: Highgate 5 (Dan Lioubimov & Joseph Sochor-Grethe) just scraped through their Last 16 match 12-11 against RGS High Wycombe 1 before going on a run that took them all the way to the final, where they beat Richard Tyler & Tom Hoskins of King Edward's Birmingham (themselves 12-11 semi-final winners against Alex Yusaf & Max Hyde of Ipswich). Plate C saw an early shock as Nathan Turnbull's RGS 1 were overturned by Harriet Asquith's RGS 3 in a tight local derby, before RGS 3 bowed out 11-12 in the semis at the hands of Westway 2 (Ollie Avery & James Vaughan-Hughes). The Westway pair were then involved in another thriller in the final, losing 12-10 to Marc Tavra and Neil Tripathi of St.Olave's. Plate D produced some fantastically close matches and ended in a three way tie, which was won on points difference by Shrewsbury 5 (Issy Barber & Antoine Legeais) ahead of Westway 3 (Adrian Lewthwaite & Edward Vaughan-Hughes) and Ipswich 6 (Eloise Carter with a rotating cast of young Ipswichians).
This was a great day of Fives, showcasing in particular the sport's unique ability to allow men and women, boys and girls and all ages from 13 to 60+ to play together on equal terms in an atmosphere of enjoyment and fun, without ever tempering every player's desire to win as many matches as possible. All of the youngsters, especially the less experienced ones, learned and improved during the course of the day and it's even possible that one or two of the adults might have learned a thing or two.
Our thanks go to our sponsors Advanta Wealth, to Eton and George Thomason for hosting the tournament and to all of those who made the effort to organise teams, come and play, and make the day such a great success.
Eton 1 (G.Thomason & X.Watt) beat St.Olave's 2 (H.Young & I.Akpovwa) 15-2
Shrewsbury 2 (G.Williams & J.Kynaston) beat City of London (N.Gill & E.Gosnell) 15-9
St.Olave's 1 (H.Ravi & P.Sathiyamoorthy) beat Highgate 3 (T.Halstead & T.Bowden) 15-4
Highgate 1 (J.Ho & I.Apukhtin) beat St.Olave's 4 (D.Robson & A.Deshmukh) 15-2
Berkhamsted 1 (R.Perrie & J.Pemberton) beat Ipswich 2 (T.Gregory & W.Carron) 15-3
Eton 2 (M.Hughes & C.Mcdonald) beat Highgate 2 (Ar.Bhattacharya & G.Everett) 15-8
Shrewsbury 3 (A.Morris & G.Mcloughlin) beat Westway 1 (E.Osen & J.Levinson) 15-2
Shrewsbury 1 (S.Welti & W.Sissons) beat Highgate 4 (J.Flowers & J.Robb) 15-5
Eton 1 beat Shrewsbury 2 15-4
Highgate 1 beat St.Olave's 1 15-3
Berkhamsted 1 beat Eton 2 15-9
Shrewsbury 1 beat Shrewsbury 3 15-5
Highgate 1 beat Eton 1 2-1 (7-12, 12-0, 12-5)
Berkhamsted 1 beat Shrewsbury 1 2-0 (13-12, 13-10)
Highgate 1 beat Berkhamsted 1 2-0 (12-3, 12-7)
St.Olave's 2 beat City of London 12-5
St.Olave's 4 beat Highgate 3 12-5
Highgate 2 beat Ipswich 2 12-2
Highgate 4 beat Westway 1 12-2
St.Olave's 4 beat St.Olave's 2 12-9
Highgate 2 beat Highgate 4 12-2
Highgate 2 beat St.Olave's 4 15-7
Ipswich 2 beat Westway 1 15-5
Plate B/C Last 16
Highgate 5 (D.Lioubimov & J.Sochor-Grethe) beat RGS 1 (N.Turnbull & ?) 12-11
Berkhamsted 3 (D.Foster & J.Heginbottom) beat RGS 3 (H.Asquith & ?) 12-8
Ipswich 3 (Tom Fletcher & J.Cooper) beat Shrewsbury 4 (R.Parr & J.Hinwood) 12-1
Eton 3 (W.Seath & ?) beat Westway 2 (O.Avery & J.Vaughan-Hughes) 12-11
Ipswich 1 (A.Yusaf & M.Hyde) beat St.Olave's 3 (M.Tavra & N.Tripathi) 12-6
RGS 2 (K.Hird & ?) beat Shrewsbury 6 (A.Long & B.Anwar) 12-7
Berkhamsted 2 (A.Theodossi & B.Howell) beat Ipswich 4 (T.Stubbs & H.Catchpole) 12-6
KES Birmingham (R.Tyler & T.Hoskins) beat Ipswich 5 (P.Boughton & B.Tweedy) 12-9
Highgate 5 beat Berkhamsted 2 12-2
Eton 3 beat Ipswich 3 12-5
Ipswich 1 beat RGS 2 12-6
KES Birmingham beat Berkhamsted 2 12-7
Highgate 5 beat Eton 3 12-8
KES Birmingham beat Ipswich 1 12-11
Highgate 5 beat KES Birmingham 12-4
Ipswich 3 beat RGS 2 12-4
RGS 3 beat RGS 1 12-9
Westway 2 beat Shrewsbury 4 12-0
St.Olave's 3 beat Shrewsbury 6 12-2
Ipswich 5 beat Ipswich 4 12-7
Westway 2 beat RGS 3 12-11
St.Olave's 3 beat Ipswich 5 12-7
St.Olave's 3 beat Westway 2 12-10
Ipswich 5 beat RGS 3 12-11
Plate D (Round Robin)
1. Shrewsbury 5 (I.Barber & A.Legeais)
2. Westway 3 (A.Lewthwaite & E.Vaughan-Hughes)
3. Ipswich 6 (E.Carter & R.Dunstan/F.Anderson)
4. RGS 4 (A.Calderbank & ?)
5. RGS 5 (C.Calderbank & ?)