2022 Kinnaird Up And Running
16/03/22: The 2022 Kinnaird Cup in association with Advanta Wealth got underway at Eton at the weekend with a feast of Fives.
Seb Cooley reports on Saturday's play:
Showing increasing desperation around its tactics, covid tried to derail this year’s competition by striking down fives’ factotum, Gareth Hoskins, on the eve of the tournament. The tactic was a failure: being a group as sensitive to improvisation as a teenager might be to a slightly untidy bedroom, the players simply got on with proceedings regardless. Karen Hird arrived with a printed draw (which was promptly re-written on the withdrawal of the 7th seeds), a folder full of blank group grids and a few biros and all went as merry as a wedding bell.
First round games got underway with the top six seeds now having a bye to the afternoon. The ageless Howard Wiseman and Prajeeth Sathiyamoorthy, elevated to 8th seeds, also made swift progress to Round Two. 7th Seeds Richard Tyler and Can Koksal looked to be making similarly smooth progress, though a fightback from Olavian schoolboys Ethan Smith & Franklin Baron in the third stretched that game to almost an hour. Hal Gibson-Leitao and Charles Plummer showed themselves to be another pair to watch in the future with a confident win. There were three close matches in the round. The first was between Matt Chinery & Steven Thatcher and Dom Robson & Josh Ravi: three very close games which all went the same way, Dom and Josh winning 15-13, 13-12, 12-10. In the second, Gwydion Wiseman & Joey Prior rode a third-game comeback from Will Thomas & Paul Holland to win 12-6, 12-5, 6-12, 12-2. Finally, Ladies’ champions Karen Hird & Charlotta Cooley won the first game against Abs Bhattacharya & Tom Cotterell, but Tom found his fives legs after a few years out of the game: he and Abs turned it around to win 9-12, 12-6, 13-11, 12-2.
So to the last 16. The top five seeds proceeded serenely, though Harrow schoolboys Phoenix Ashworth & Jonny Barley deserve a mention for their scoreline against James Toop & Tony Barker. Tom McCahon & Sahil Shah (6) met a motivated and impressive Isaac Jochim & Tom Gallagher, who triumphed in four games after a lightning start. The first five-setter of the tournament was played between Wiseman & Sathyamoorthy and Gibson-Leitao & Plummer: 12-9, 12-14, 12-5, 5-12 set up a decider. Prajeeth was, however, struggling with cramp and this turned out to have a significant effect on the fifth game and the match. Charles and Hal went 2-1 ahead, but the game was paused for ten minutes for treatment, crisps and fluids. After this break, Charles and Hal had lost the momentum and missed cut returns: Howard and Prajeeth took two points before there was another 15-minute pause. Again, the younger pair’s rhythm was the more upset: Howard and Prajeeth quickly reached 8-3 ahead, then moved on to 11-3. Now Charles and Hal got back into a rhythm of returns and got most cuts back. They pulled back to nine and there was anticipation of re-setting the fifth, but Howard and Prajeeth made a chance and won the game 12-9
The Pepperpot Trophy was as always as much a test of desire and stamina as it was of ability, although all are required to triumph. With a morning best of five under their belts, the ten defeated first round pairs split into two groups of five and tried to plot a course through to the final. The scratch pairing of Nick Choustikov & Ed Evans made it through on one side of the draw, while North Oxford's Matt Chinery & Stephen Thatcher emerged from a slugfest in the other group ahead of Hird & Cooley and Chris Lumbard & Emily Scoones. In the final, Chinery & Thatcher were going through the physical mill but somehow recovered from losing the first game 12-14 to take the second 12-9. At this point Ed Evans channelled his inner Etonian and had to concede; it was 6:30pm, he had a social engagement in Bristol (at 7 o’clock!) and his two friends with the car had been getting twitchy for the previous hour. To his credit, Ed did say that had he been the driver, the deciding game would definitely have got played. As it was, Stephen & Matt claimed the (stand-in) trophy, much to their delight, the Chinery/Wood trophy cabinet acquiring yet another addition.
The first quarter-final - between Noah Caplin & Hugo Young (3rd seeds) and Jochim & Gallagher, was played on the Saturday evening, with Young & Caplin seeing off an early challenge from their impressive opponents to become the first pair into the last four. They were joined on Sunday by the other three top-seeded pairs, with Seb Cooley & Tom Dunbar (1) and Riki Houlden & Jonny Ho (2) competing to see who could get off court more quickly, and having conceded fewer points, cruising past Wiseman & Sathiyamoorthy and Tyler & Koksal respectively. Fourth seeds James Toop & Tony Barker joined them in the last four - a first appearance at this stage of the competition for Tony - after seeing off fifth seeds Ed Taylor & Vishal Bhimjiyani in straight games.
The other focus on Sunday was the 25 pair Festival. With long-distance advice - some of it no doubt more helpful and wanted than other bits - being offered from the Midlands, the emergency organisation committee of Karen & Seb (with assistance from several others) once again rose magnificently to the occasion, first of all getting everyone to turn up (nearly all on time) and then overseeing a hugely entertaining day of Fives featuring players aged from 15 to 75. They even managed to withstand the usual chaos being brought to the competition by uberveteran Nigel Cox, from his group-complicating 12-11 wins and 11-12 losses in the company of Nick Bunyan to his suggestions of using pre-war scoring to his request for a replacement partner for his Plate final (Karen obviously...and can you believe they managed to lose 14-15?).
There was a really nice mix of pairs in this year's competition - a good sprinkling of school pairs from Ipswich and St.Olave's but also a good range of adult pairs, including several veterans, a strong student entry, some Westway and "Back to Fives" representation, a professional cricketer and the husband of a Bond Girl. And Tony Stubbs of course. Five groups of five produced a last sixteen, then eight pairs to fight it out for the trophy, six to go after the last sixteen losers plate and ten to go try and take down Cox & Bunyan in Plate A. Ipswichians Henry Gardner & Alex Phillips downed Cox at the final hurdle and all was right with the world as plate specialist Tony Stubbs came good in Plate B alongside Charlotta Cooley, Stubbsy settling down and playing his best Fives once in his natural habitat.
The Festival quarter-finals produced some interesting match-ups. Oxford students Beau Swallow & James Green had looked like real contenders but suddenly came a cropper against Olavian school pair Thanmay & Nikhil; another Olavian Genesis Nsenga - playing with Elana Garfield-Osen - came through a tough match with Ashley Lumbard & Emily Scoones 15-12; Karen Hird & Issy Wong dismantled their Olavian opposition and the second Choustikov v Chinery battle of the weekend went Nick's way as he & Robert Thorogood overcame Matt and his Olavian partner Prajval. After their tight quarter-final, Genesis & Elana hit form in the semis, overpowering Thanmay & Nikhil in straight games while Nick & Robert just did enough to win the first against Karen & Issy 13-11 before racing through the second game. The final started off as a tight battle and Nick & Robert were looking good after winning the first game 12-9; however they were by now running on empty and first game paradise quickly turned to death in games two and three as Elana & Genesis took charge, winning the next two games easily to claim the title.
Thanks go to Seb Cooley, Karen Hird and their team of helpers for stepping in at the last minute and keeping the show on the road so effectively. Also to Eton for hosting the event and to Advanta Wealth for their continued support. The main tournament semi-finals will take place at Eton on Sunday March 27th at 2:30pm.
D.Robson & J.Ravi bt M.Chinery & S.Thatcher 3-0 (15-13, 13-12, 12-10)
H.Gibson-Leitao & C.Plummer bt N.Choustikov & E.Evans 3-0 (12-5, 12-1, 12-2)
H.Wiseman & P.Sathiyamoorthy (8) bt A.White & R.Uniacke 3-0 (12-3, 12-1, 12-4)
G.Wiseman & J.Prior bt W.Thomas & P.Holland 3-1 (12-6, 12-5, 6-12, 12-2)
P.Ashworth & J.Barley bt E.Scoones and C.Lumbard 3-0 (12-1, 12-5, 12-3)
A.Bhattacharya & T.Cotterell bt K.Hird & C.Cooley 3-1 (9-12, 12-6, 13-11, 12-7)
T.Gallagher & I.Jochim bt C.Stone & J.Artis 3-0 (12-1, 12-2, 12-2)
R.Tyler & C.Koksal (7) bt F.Baron & E.Smith 3-0 (12-3, 12-3, 12-6)
T.Betts & E.Habershon bt D.Redmond & E.Garfield-Osen 3-0 (12-4, 12-3, 12-5)
G.Nsenga & A.Deshmukh bt W.Seath & O.Avery 3-0 (12-7, 12-2, 12-1)
T.Dunbar & S.Cooley (1) bt D.Robson & J.Ravi 3-0 (12-2, 12-1, 12-0)
H.Wiseman & P.Sathiyamoorthy (8) bt H.Gibson-Leitao & C.Plummer 3-2 (12-9, 12-14, 12-5, 5-12, 12-9)
E.Taylor & V.Bhimjiyani (5) bt G.Wiseman & J.Prior 3-0 (12-4, 12-1, 12-5)
J.Toop & T.Barker (4) bt P.Ashworth & J.Barley 3-0 (12-5, 12-5, 12-6)
H.Young & N.Caplin (3) bt A.Bhattacharya & T.Cotterell 3-0 (12-4, 12-0, 12-0)
T.Gallagher & I.Jochim bt T.McCahon & S.Shah (6) 3-1 (12-2, 12-7, 9-12, 12-5)
R.Tyler & C.Koksal (7) bt T.Betts & E.Habershon 3-0 (12-4, 12-1, 12-3)
J.Ho & R.Houlden (2) bt G.Nsenga & A. Deshmukh 3-0 (12-1, 12-0, 12-0)
T.Dunbar & S.Cooley bt H.Wiseman & P.Sathiyamoorthy 3-0 (12-1, 12-1, 12-1)
J.Toop & T.Barker bt E.Taylor & V.Bhimjiyani 3-0 (12-7, 12-2, 12-9)
H.Young & N.Caplin bt T.Gallagher & I.Jochim 3-0 (12-9, 12-1, 12-6)
J.Ho & R.Houlden bt R.Tyler & C.Koksal 3-0 (12-0, 12-1, 12-2)
M.Chinery & S.Thatcher bt N.Choustikov & E.Evans 2-1 (12-14, 12-9 ret)
M.Chinery & Prajval bt O.McGuinness & T.Gladwin 15-6
Abs & Aaditya bt C.Cooley & T.Stubbs 15-7
K.Hird & I.Wong bt P.Wilkinson & G.Guetard 15-3
G.Nsenga & E.Garfield-Osen bt R.Wood & F.Butler 15-2
A.Lumbard & E.Scoones bt A.Bhattacharya & S.Clifford-King 15-3
Thanmay & Nikhil bt A.White & R.Uniacke 15-6
B.Swallow & J.Green bt Ishaan & Nav 15-1
N.Choustikov & R.Thorogood bt M.Chinery & Prajval 15-7
K.Hird & I.Wong bt Abs & Aaditya 15-5
G.Nsenga & E.Garfield-Osen bt A.Lumbard & E.Scoones 15-12
Thanmay & Nikhil bt B.Swallow & J.Green 15-8
N.Choustikov & R.Thorogood bt K.Hird & I.Wong 2-0 (13-11, 12-1)
G.Nsenga & E.Garfield-Osen bt Thanmay & Nikhil 2-0 (12-4, 12-5)
G.Nsenga & E.Garfield-Osen bt N.Choustikov & R.Thorogood 2-1 (9-12, 12-3, 12-3)
K.Hird & I.Wong bt Thanmay & Nikhil 15-8
Last 16 Plate
O.McGuinness & T.Gladwin bt P.Wilkinson & G.Guetard 15-3
Ishaan & Nav bt R.Wood & F.Butler 15-14
C.Cooley & T.Stubbs bt O.McGuinness & T.Gladwin 15-5
Ishaan & Nav bt A.Bhattacharya & S.Clifford-King 15-9
C.Cooley & T.Stubbs bt Ishaan & Nav 2-0 (12-0, 12-7)
N.Cox & N.Bunyan bt Oscar & Mihal 15-10
H.Gardner & A.Phillips bt S.Turner & L.Drummond 15-10
H.Gardner & A.Phillips bt N.Cox & N.Bunyan* 15-14
*N.Bunyan arranged a suitably qualified replacement for the final
S.Cook & D.Ingram bt M.Williams & A.Butler 2-1 (6-12, 12-11 ret)
A.Core & K.Lower bt C.Schroeder & B.Brendish 15-8