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Veterans Tournament 2024: Wulfrunians Win At Last

01/05/24: Wulfrunians Sid Simmons & Chris Austin finally shed their bridesmaid tag in the Veterans Tournament at Aldenham on Sunday.

Graham Pulsford reports:

Congratulations to Chris Austin & Sid Simmons, who were finally able to get their hands on the Veterans Cup after an extraordinary series of past near misses. The sun came out to greet them after the morning sessions for the over 50s and over 60s had been played in near Arctic conditions. This year’s welcome newcomers included Alex Constantine, Olli Lawton, Tim Pemberton, Vatche Kassardjian and Harry De Quetteville.  

Open Competition for the MJS-J Cup

Chris Austin & Sid Simmons beat Vatche Kassardjian & Harry De Quetteville

The MJS-J Cup started at 2pm and was played in warm and pleasant sunshine which was in stark contrast to the cold and biting winds of the morning. The first two matches were both 15-13 scores with the pick being an open and high energy confrontation between Alex Knight & Tom Leach and Vatche Kassardjian & Harry De Quetteville – the latter holding their nerve to win through in what was a spectator’s delight. Newcomers Olli Lawton & Tim Pemberton were taught a swift lesson in points accumulation by Chris Austin & Sid Simmons, who were obviously keen to ‘keep their powder dry’ for the later stages. Alex Constantine & Oliver O’Callaghan-Brown produced some delightful fives but also slipped to a 2-point defeat against Pete Scholey & Graham Pulsford.

The two pairs to reach the late afternoon final were Chris Austin & Sid Simmons and the new pairing of Vatche Kassardjian & Harry De Quetteville.  This was a good final to watch – the two left handers playing with markedly contrasting styles and providing their respective opponents with a highly challenging set of angles. Vatche Kassardjian & Harry De Quetteville started solidly, and their set play was superior – good cutting and getting the ball into play when serving – and they raced to an 8-3 lead. At this stage Chris Austin & Sid Simmons dug in, relying on their past experience and innate belief in each other, and 8-3 down moved to 8-8, a small slip to 8-10 before motoring on to a 15-10 victory and a huge combined sigh of relief. Well deserved.

Harry De Quetteville kindly presented the Cup to the delighted winners.

Over 50s Competition for the Chris Cup(s)

Mike Hughes & Graham Pulsford won on round robin basis.

The Chris Cup was played in bitingly cold conditions with a bitter wind whistling through the courts. The only player to show off his legs was Ian Mitchell; the rest wore tracksuits. There was a solid start from Paul Holland & Will Thomas as they powered to an early win against Marco Rimini & Johnny Saunders. The latter, duly warmed up, in turn defeated Mike Hughes & Graham Pulsford in an oddly one-sided game that Marco dominated with supreme ease. Jeff Lawrence & Ian Mitchell could have upset the status quo but were denied any leeway by each of their opponents. In the deciding game Mike Hughes & Graham Pulsford had to beat Paul Holland & Will Thomas by a clear 7 points which they duly achieved.

Jim Fredenham kindly presented the Chris Cups.

Over 60s Competition for the Walters Cup

Peter Boughton & Simon Woolfries beat Andy Bishop & Stefan Nowinski  

There were some cracking games in this competition and the bar was set high by the meeting of Jonathan Shorrocks & Peter Shorrocks, the 2023 champions, and Andy Bishop & Stefan Nowinski. This was a lengthy and very open game in which each player had periods of dominance; there were certainly more winners than forced errors. The Shorrocks were edged out 15-12 but this was a great advert for the Veterans fives. Paul Kendall & Peter Scholey edged out Martin Powell & Andrew White 15-9 having been behind until 9-9. Meanwhile Peter Boughton & Simon Woolfries had got their tactics right and the late arrival of the former allowed them to meet the Shorrocks just after their marathon first game - the result a far easier victory than predicted.

The final was between Ipswichians Peter Boughton & Simon Woolfries and NOEFC’s Andy Bishop & Stefan Nowinski. This was another lengthy game with the difference between the two pairs never more than a couple of points. The courtside betting, disapproved of by the EFA, initially favoured the more experienced Ipswichian pair but the NOEFC pairing were in fine form and in no mood to give way. Indeed, as the game progressed Simon Woolfries was visibly tiring and given another 5 minutes the outcome may have been very different. But 15-13 to the Ipswichians it was.   

Andy Bishop kindly presented the Tony Walters Cup to one delighted and one utterly exhausted winner.

Paul Kendall & Peter Scholey took third place.

The Roundbush

Lunch time and late afternoon visits to the Roundbush pub were enjoyed – firstly to keep warm and secondly for celebrating with the respective winners!

Many thanks to those who helped make the day enjoyable by playing.

Note: If you are over 40 you are eligible for these competitions

Note: 2025 is the 41st Veterans Competition – the more pairs the merrier!

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