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2021/22 Club Reports

The 2021/22 season saw a return to normality with lots of activity to report and celebrate. Read on to find out what each of the clubs got up to. Missing reports should hopefully be added in shortly.



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Ladder winner; 12-0 Cup winner

The Aldenham Fives Club (The Heath) returned from Covid with our Tuesday night courts regularly filled.

The ladder is played every six weeks and is particularly popular with four to five courts regularly filled. Each winner is awarded the Phil Marsh Trophy which they retain until the next ladder competition. These evenings are rounded off with a meal at the Akash Indian Restaurant which is always well attended by players and dining members alike.

The club play every Tuesday evening throughout the year (only Christmas and New Year preventing the full 52 sessions) and players from other clubs are very welcome to join us. 

Phil Lyndon 



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Silver Salver winners and organisers

The start to our fives season at Charterhouse was delayed mainly due to covid concerns. We got going during Christmas half term, and were able to play to the end of April. Club nights have been well attended, generally 2-3 courts.

We held one club tournament, The Silver Salver. Three games are played, winning pair go up and split, losing pair go down. After this the winners of courts 1 and 2 play a final game. This year’s final was a hard fought affair, with Grant Smith and Alex Knight winning the day against Owen Chisolm and Mark Platt. Sixteen players competed.

The Bourne Trophy will have to wait until next season, so Mr Hewitt continues as the current holder! Other events included a Christmas dinner, with some fives beforehand, and our end of season dinner, both attended by about twenty, and hosted at the White Horse, Hascombe.

In June The Brigands held our third Golf Day, kindly organised by Simon Woolfries, and ably aided by Danny Hewitt and Sandy Savage, members WSGC. Charterhouse fives master, Owen Chisholm won the main prize, and Nick Bunyan esq. nearest the pin. The Brigands play friendly fives, of all standards, on Wednesday evenings at Charterhouse School. September to April, 7.00-9.00 p.m. All welcome.

Please contact.. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., club secretary.

Rod Smart


Bunch of Fives

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Bunch of Fives entertain OUEFC and NOEFC; flourishing ferns

The Bunch of Fives bounced back after lockdown with sprightly vigour although we were sad that our clubhouse, the café at Oxford University sports centre in Iffley Road, did not follow suit. Our post-match discussions adjourned instead to the Chester Arms which was also the scene of revelry following our maiden fixture, with the University EFC. The landlord there played Fives at school.

This was not a fixture in the generally held sense, because the students would have wiped the floor with us. Instead, we played mixed pairs and our deficiencies were also helped by the OU team’s courtesy and kindness. It was a particular education to find how apparently hopeless situations were nothing of the sort; an upper court player from the Bunch would miss a shot only to find that his student partner scooped it up and returned it from the distant rear of the court.

This has also become a feature of our weekly sessions (11am every Thursday, all welcome) since Stefan Nowinski of North Oxford EFC started to come along for occasional games. We are honoured to have a national trophy winner taking part, although he reverted to his club loyalty for our second fixture, with North Oxford in June.

This followed the same pattern as the evening with the students and again we are grateful to have learned many lessons. Thanks so much to our guests and to Gareth for fixing this and encouraging us in all the other ways which will be familiar to all in the EFA. We are extremely grateful.

Off court, we are developing two ambitions: to widen our intake and to create the world’s first Fives Court which is also a Fernery, the horticultural niche enthusiasm which reached its zenith in Victorian times. We have a steady playing membership of a dozen and as many occasionals and we have profited greatly from missionary work by Peter Johnson and Richard Youdale at the real tennis courts in Merton Street.

This however brings us a delightful but perhaps a little restricted entry and we are keen - like Gareth and everyone in the EFA - to interest a socially wider world. The OU sports centre is too and we are planning a publicity drive with the provisional slogan: It isn’t posh. It isn’t weird. It IS fun.

As for the ferns, the courts have a fine resident population of Hart’s Tongues which we have supplemented post-pandemic with specimens of Athyrium filix-femina Frizzeliae, A f-f Lady in Red, A f-f Victoriae and a standard A f-f in the corner. They are religiously watered every Thursday and by and large, they are doing well.

Martin Wainwright


Cambridge University

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Varsity Match teams; Richard Black Cup team; Training Day at Cambridge

The Cambridge University Eton Fives Club (CUEFC) had a busy fives calendar this year, with everyone rearing to get on the court after a COVID hiatus. We started the academic year with the Universities tournament, bringing our largest team to date! It was a thrilling day seeing everyone enjoy the game of fives at a range of different levels. Playing a fixture against North Oxford EFC was also a highlight in our calendar for the Michaelmas term as we were treated to a pub lunch after. Lent term was yet another busy term with large CUEFC turnout in the Richard Barber cup, U21s, Universities Mixed tournament and we rounded off the term with the annual Varsity Match.

Aside from regular fixtures, CUEFC has enjoyed many socials throughout the year from activities such as swaps with the Cambridge Rugby Fives Club, formal hall as well as other pub get-togethers!

Sze-Lynn Yuen



As the season comes to an end I look back with mixed emotions, it was great that we returned to court and had some new players giving it a go. However, it is with great sadness that we received the news that the courts at Emanuel School were going out of commission and that our club nights would come to an end. I understand that there may be the possibility of reinstating the courts in the future, I certainly hope so. It is always a great shame when the opportunity of playing fives is lost in a school setting.

Rising phoenix like from the ashes we have the Emanuel Wanderers Fives club and it was wonderful that we managed to experience some competitive fives by taking part in the Westway Summer Super League. Yes, we finished in 6th place (last!) but that’s not the point. We had some great matches, particularly against Westway, and we all had fun. Our player of the tournament must be Fred Prickett, clearly a star for the future. We had a good balance of youth and experience and even managed to win the odd game. My thanks to Fred Prickett, John Reynolds, Stephen Kelly, Toby Bush, James Hammond, Chiedo Nkwocha, Rupert Swallow, Adrian Lewthwaite, Chris Lumbard and Saajan Shah for answering the call, pulling on our smart club t shirt and a pair of gloves. We looked the part even if we weren’t very good!

What of the future? Our new name was chosen to represent our nomadic status and I hope that we will be able to meet up at Westway from time to time and perhaps go on the road and arrange fixtures with other likeminded clubs. It may be a step too far, but after the taster of the Super League I wonder if we might try to enter the League next season?

If you are interested in playing some friendly fives with friendly people and, most importantly, getting your hands on our coveted t shirt do get in touch.

Mike Till



No report received



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Over 60s champion Matthew Beard (r); Ladies Championships finalist Ashley Lumbard (r)

No report received


Magdalene College

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Wok winners; on the Magdalene court; out and about

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On court; CU captains past and future; five(s); Varsity Match

This has been the first fives season for Magdalene College Fives Club (MCFC) and we are happy to report that the club has had a great year! After running taster sessions and fives bootcamps at the start of the academic year, the committee ran a successful beginners' tournament in Michaelmas (The Wisteria Wok, named after the wisteria growing on our court) which had 15 pairs participating. We even had to book out the University sports centre courts to make sure we could fit all the action into one day, and had a club dinner to celebrate.

It has also been fantastic to see MCFC players representing Cambridge at so many national tournaments. This year we have had players at the Richard Black cup, the EFA cup, the U21s, the Universities Mixed tournament, the Ladies' Nationals, and of course the Varsity match! In fact, this year one third of the Cambridge Varsity squad was from Magdalene, which is a huge testament to the hard-work, dedication, and enthusiasm of our players.

Equally pleasing has been the increased usage of the college court through friendly, social games and knock-abouts which were a great source of stress-relief during exam term. We have also enjoyed other socials throughout the year such as the Halloween pub crawl and the summer BBQ with CUEFC.

A big thank you is due to the whole Eton Fives community for being so supportive and welcoming of our new club, in particular CUEFC and the Cambridge Town Club for always letting us come to your training sessions, and also the North Oxford Club for running an inspiring training session for our beginners back in Michaelmas. Thank you also to our sponsors Nabla who have enabled us to start the process of getting our own MCFC fives gloves in production. Most of all, thank you to the outgoing committee who have worked tirelessly to navigate this year of many firsts and make it such a success.

We are looking forward to the next fives season and hope to be back reporting more exciting news soon :)

Jessye Tu



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The Newbury management in action; St.Bart's at the Turnbull Trophy

Newbury Fives has continued to build this season and has moved to a more formal organisational structure to include a chairman, treasurer, secretary and captain. Improved financial arrangements, new lights (thanks to the EFCT), new club kit and a more flexible and economical court booking system are also anticipated to further strengthen the base upon which Newbury Fives can now develop into an established club of adults and a (admittedly small and getting smaller) cadre of students from St Bart's.

Most importantly of course is the playing of the game itself (maximum fives - minimum admin!) . Last summer (2021) Nigel Cox (aided by Paul Holland) arranged 5 months of twice-weekly ladders in which, almost without fail, they managed to fill 3 courts - a massive effort. Guests (particulary from a club based in North Oxford....) augmented the ranks not just with numbers but also skill and experience - which really helped the less well-travelled Newbury natives. At the ladder's conclusion after what seemed a golden age of full courts (with a winner not from that club based in North Oxford.....) we moved into Newbury' first season in the EFA league, tucked away in Division 3 and not sure of what awaited us. But it turned out very well in the end and (despite one loss to that club based in North Oxford......) we came second and, with St Olaves 2 declining promotion to Division 2, we were delighted to accept that offer instead. Next season will be tough in terms of standard but also in terms of numbers as we have decided, in addition, to enter a (development) team into Division 3. We will see.

Apart from the EFA league, there was plenty of other competitive energy spent elsewhere too. Newbury Fives arranged a few friendlies over the summer and was also represented by some of our players in the U25s, the Turnbull, the Northerns, the Veterans, the Varsity Alumni and the Kinnaird. Most recently, Newbury Fives played seven weeks of the summer super league at Westway and (oh so very ably assisted on occasion by some Old Harrovian friends) we not only qualified but also bagged 3rd place in the play-off against the mighty Highgate. That competition is a lot of fun - and hot.

As we look to next season we need to continue to attract new adult players (it's time-consuming but essential) and also to somehow find a way to encourage St Bart's to increase student participation in the game which remains at a low level given the size and sporting prowess of the school. In the meantime, we salute our very own David Cooper for his recent Unsung Hero Award (some of us still can't get his crafty cuts up) and also wish to thank Gareth (I never did get an entirely clear answer as to how on earth Newbury got a nomination for team of the year!) and others at the EFA for helping to nurture, advise and occasionally cajole us into action.

Will Thomas


North Oxford

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Boughton Bowl winners; Boughton Bowl squad; Black Cup winners; Player and Young Player of the Season

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Three Codes; Northern Festival winners; Over 60s Champions Stefan Nowinski (l); Ladies Champions

After the stop start (more stop than start but we did our best) of the 2020/21 season, it was fantastic to be back into the normal rhythms and routines of a North Oxford Fives season this year. We finished one short of playing 50 fixtures and over 60 players represented the club at some stage during the year from club diehards to occasional players to one-off guest appearances. All were welcome and hopefully all enjoyed embracing the NOEFC philosophy of playing as much Fives as possible in as many different places as possible while eating and drinking our way around the pubs and curry houses of the Fives circuit.

Monday nights at Summer Fields were hit hardest by the covid hiatus and only resumed shortly before the start of the season after close to 18 months on hold. We quickly hit the ground running, however, and have consistently welcomed at least two courts worth of players throughout the year, often wishing we had more courts available, although the squash courts do get used for our own version of Rugby Fives and the more senior Monday nighters are often glad of the opportunity to have a rest. One of the more noteworthy aspects of our Monday night sessions is the wide range of people they attract. There is a core of regular players, of course, with Andy Bishop, Gareth Hoskins, Stefan Nowinski, Ian Mitchell, Mandie Barnes, Steve Kaaber-Gore, Kirby Clayton, Matt Chinery, Rachel Wood, Stephen Thatcher, Gael Guetard, Annie Calderbank and Robert Thorogood to the fore but also plenty of occasional visitors and several new faces, including the likes of Andrew Rennie, Oli Lawton, Sophie Clifford-King, Issy Wong, Katie George, Ben Brendish, Cyril Schroeder, Ed Aldous, Henry Turcan, Beau Swallow, Freddie Kottler and Emma Spencer. Throw in some appearances from Fives royalty Chris Davies, long-term NOEFC stalwarts Nick Shaw, Pete Scholey (plus various other members of the Scholey family), Tom Hoskins, Spencer Chapman, Chris Lloyd, Karen Hird and even Jon Staley occasionally and it is clear to see that our weekly sessions continue to go from strength to strength and provide the foundations on which the rest of the club is built.

The highlights of the competitive season came early with a first ever win in the Boughton Bowl (the mixed team competition) and regaining the Richard Black Cup, both with final victories over strong Highgate sides. Both teams were led from the front by Karen Hird, who had a sensational season individually, playing a key part in North Oxford teams in all competitions, consolidating her position as the pre-eminent player in the women’s game and deservedly winning the Player of the Year award at the end of season EFA dinner. Another key player in those two victories having a remarkable season was Rachel Wood, who at one stage appeared to be winning a trophy every other week, finishing the season with wins in the Boughton Bowl, Black Cup, Universities Tournament, Universities Mixed Tournament and the Northern Festival.

We once again reached the final of the EFA Trophy with a strong performance in the group stages and an excellent semi-final win over the OIs before we rather ran out of steam in the final against a very strong Salopian side. In the league, we once again entered a team in each division and finished with the proud record of not conceding a single penalty point, finishing in the top three in each division (without winning any of them!) and seeing 39 different players play at least one league match for us. With all due respect to the achievements of Bishop’s Buccaneers in Division 3 and the efforts of the Division 2 team (not least the burgeoning dream team partnership of Chinery & Thatcher, who went on to win the Pepperpot Trophy at the Kinnaird later in the season), most of the league highlights were centred around the Division 1 team’s excellent showing, the second place finish our best ever. This was achieved despite Seb Cooley failing to be available for any matches at all and was underpinned by some terrific Fives from youngsters Noah Caplin, Alex Abrahams, Tom McCahon, Nathan Turnbull and Matt Asquith. The best performances came from Noah & Alex, who teamed up on several occasions to claim some notable first pair scalps.

The non-competitive side is just as important to the Fives players of North Oxford, and it was fantastic to have the freedom once again to travel around the country playing all sorts of Fives in all sorts of places. There was the pre-season club barbecue at Broughton Castle, a fun day out at Cambridge with a mixture of coaching, playing and eating, the return of the Three Code Challenge, with Stefan Nowinski claiming the honours (a precursor to his claiming of the national Over 60s title later in the season), friendlies against various clubs at various locations (Iffley rd, KES Birmingham, Aldenham, Torry Hill, Cambridge) and the now traditional Wiltshire tour of Warminster and Marlborough with detours via the Cornmarket Café and the Zaika curry house.

The season ended – I mean it doesn’t really end, it just rolls into the next one – with another victorious Westway Superleague campaign, Aston House supremo Spencer Chapman somehow plotting a course to get both of his teams into the final, where the Stampede just about had the edge over the Thoroughbreds. Artignosc now beckons once again for several NOEFC members, followed by a pre-season tour of Sussex and then it will be into the 2022/23 before you know it. Bring it on!

Gareth Hoskins


Old Berkhamstedians

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Division 3 action

No report received


Old Cholmeleians

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Mixed Champions; Turnbull Trophy squad; U25 finalists; Veterans champion Ed Wass (l)

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Ladies Finalist Emily Scoones (r); Black Cup finalists; Boughton Bowl team; Aberconway Plate Winners

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Midlands Champion Abs Bhattacharya (r); Alan Barber Cup team; London & Northern champion and Kinnaird runner-up Jonny Ho (l); Richard Barber Cup team

The Old Cholmeleians have seen success as a team finishing in the top half of both Div 1 and 2, reaching the finals of both the Richard Black tournament, The Boughton Bowl and the Turnbull trophy as well as the semi of the Barber Cup. We have had some great individual success with Abs Bhattacharya winning the Midlands at the beginning of the year, Jonny Ho winning the Londons and Northerns, and combining with Emily Scoones to win the Mixed Tournament to close out the season. This individual success, however, was not mirrored by all off court in the realms of board games. All in all, it has been great to be back on court this season and see some old and new faces as well as some returners don their gloves.

Emily Scoones


Old Citizens

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Young vs Old; Barber Cup team; Adams Cup winners

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David Cooper; EFA Trophy team; Old Citz in Zurich; EFA Dinner

A full season featured progress to the EFA Trophy's semi-final stage (for the first time), a gong for our 83-year-old stalwart David Cooper, two trips to Zurich (winning one Hawken Garrett match and losing one) and one to Geneva, our 21st half blue (well done, Spencer) and a season-ending 23-entry Adams Cup. All told, we saw the participation of some 38 players in all (26 actual Old Citizens and 12 guests, whether in matches, tournaments or tours abroad) - and that's some 36 years since we lost our home courts at Blackfriars. On the debit side, we lost Alistair Simpson, in February, and suffered a first-round exit from the Barber Cup (the FA Cup of Eton fives).

We had six courts (almost) full of players for the season-ending Adams Cup, our annual main event and the culmination this year of four days of games and entertainment. Club treasurer Stephen Kelly and Swiss guest David Lemie won the final 12-8 against Les Jacobs and guest star Karen Hird (fresh from winning the ladies' national championship in the spring).

Nearly a dozen of us were at the EFA's annual dinner, held at the RAC in Pall Mall.

David White, David Cooper, Geoff Bates, Kevin Brooks, Mark Stockton, Stephen Kelly, Spencer Chapman John Reynolds, Martin East, Jacob Greenhouse and Saajan Shah filled two tables (with help from half a dozen of our Swiss mates) at a splendid dinner, at which octogenarian David Cooper was awarded the Unsung Hero gong for his many decades of untrumpeted support to the game. Some film was shown of his playing in Zuoz in the late 1950s – and a volley into the buttress drew applause from the 100 or so gathered in the splendid Mountbatten banqueting room. David had to wait 60 years for that shot to receive its due.

We turned up in some force for the Zurich International Fives Tournament in May, gathering from all over the continent. Edwin Gosnell came from Bamberg in central Germany, where he is studying; Bonn-resident Martin East took time off from a family holiday in England to be there; Alex Kasterine came up from Geneva where he works for the UN, and Stephen Kelly and John Reynolds flew in from London.

A total of 16 competitors took part in a tournament of two halves: the first half saw round after round of single games with randomly selected partners, and then the top half of the draw made the cut to the semi -finals. John Reynolds and his partner Viktor ended up winning the tournament (named the John Reynolds Trophy - who knows why, it was the hosts' choice when the tournament started nearly 10 years ago).

In May, the Swiss handed us a two-nil defeat in a match on their home courts in Zurich, in a couple of very close matches played in the best spirit. In doing so, they win back the Hawken-Garrett Cup (the trophy we play for against the Old Zuozers), and narrow the all-time tally to five-six.

The annual Christmas Old Versus Young match last December ended in a 2-0 triumph for the neophytes, but not without a struggle on a misty day in Highgate. Qualification is by location: the old sweats who were educated at the old school on the Victoria Embankment, vs the young pretenders who learned their fives while pupils at the "new" school.

We qualified for the semi-finals of the EFA Trophy at Eton for the first time in its 20-year history. To do so, we came in fourth out of nine teams on a chilly winter's day, through eight gruelling rounds which lasted from 10.30 until 5.30pm (it was an all-play-all format in which teams of three pairs played one set against each other up to 12 points). The table shows how we got through by the skin of our teeth – we were on the same number of points as the fifth-placed team but beat them 2-1 in the head-to-head, so we got the decision.

The fives club was very sorry to report the death of fives half blue and Adams Cup winner Alistair Simpson. Former long-time secretary of the club Gordon Stringer reports: "Alistair was school captain of fives in the late 50s, playing first pair with David Cooper and he became an Oxford half blue. He won the Adams Cup with David Ross in 1963."

John Reynolds


Old Etonians

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Turnbull Trophy winners; Universities Champions

No report received


Old Harrovians

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Kinnaird Winner Tom Dunbar (r); Division 1 action

A mixed season in terms of results but there were many pleasing aspects. Without doubt the integration of this year's leavers into the Club may prove the most important development over the next decade and it was an added bonus that Jonny Barley and Phoenix Ashworth should win this year's Schools Championships.

The absence of Tom Dunbar, Jamie Fleming and Ross Bryan for most of the Division 1 season meant that we relied heavily on our guest Richard Tyler and many younger OHs to fulfil our fixture list.

Division 2 was a challenge but we are hoping that we will have less injuries next year and make a better fist of it.

Amongst many excellent team performances this season the best was arguably a 1-2 defeat against the Old Cholmeleians in the Barber Cup.

Our thanks as ever to the support of Ian Hutchinson and those at the School.

Graham Dunbar


Old Ipswichians

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Dossi Dish winners; Northern Festival finalists; Division 2 action

The 2021/2022 OI Fives season feels to be one of transition, away from the amazing servants of the club to the next generation. This may take some time, but given the growing popularity of the game at the school and of the weekly club nights, not impossible. In terms of the League, results and attendance have been mixed. Excellent early promise and points have come courtesy of Ed Habershon, Sam Christopher & Cam Lyle. Highlights from the season include a strong showing at the EFA trophy, missing out at the semi-final stage and victories seen at first pair for Tim Gregory, Mark Graves & Isaac Weaver. There was also a semi-final appearance in the Richard Black Cup rom the women's team and a strong third place in the Boughton Bowl for mixed teams. 

As usual, the true jewel of OI season is the Graves Cup. Unusually played in July rather than January (COVID obviously). The two day competition and dinner were again very well attended by OIs, school pupils and distinguished guests. The on court temperatures were at least 30 degrees higher than seen in previous years, certainly negating warm ups, but it did mean hydration levels needed to be kept topped up with isotonic rather than the usual hop based refreshment. The winners this year were Simon Cass & James Gray, who collected the impressive new trophy by beating Peter Forrest & Steve Burnell in the final with Stubbsy’s Plate competition won by Gareth Hoskins & Will Carron over Charlotta Cooley & Tom Hoskins.

Peter Forrest


Old Millhillians

Unfortunately, the club had to start the season adapting to the disappointing news that, after eight years valiant service, Andrew Rennie would no longer be coach of the Mill Hill School Fives Team and had joined the teaching staff at Cokethorpe, a heretic school in West Oxfordshire. The club will miss not only a committed and skilful player in our Division One team but also the fantastic work Andrew has done coaching the Mill Hill boys and girls, acting as the liaison between the Old Boys’ Club and the school and establishing the annual Summers Cup, the regular fixture where Old Boys and pupils play with and against each other. We have high hopes of coaxing him back to play in Division One fixtures now he has spent a year writing lessson plans and will never have to prepare a lesson again. In his place, the school welcomed Isaac Jochim as Fives Coach for two terms in September. As a result of his Olavian commitments, Isaac was ineligible to play for us in Division 1 but played regularly in Division 2 and got a number of schoolboys involved in our matches, at least one of whom is now a regular fixture. A notable success during his tenure was that we entered a team in the Richard Barber Cup for the first time. We welcome Gwydion Wiseman as his replacement in September. Sunil Tailor continues as Club Captain and Division 1 Secretary. Our Division 2 Secretary continues to try to chart our route back to the top of the league table like an Achaemenidian eunuch vizier given a longstanding note from matron and his current masquerade as Willie Wonka in a forest somewhere.

On the playing front, it was another tough year in the nether regions of both leagues and we were again not quite as successful as we would have liked in getting full teams out. We will continue to work on rebuilding our players’ lists over the summer. Nevertheless, Charlie Graville started to play regularly for us this season and enters the Lower Sixth at Mill Hill this year so hopefully he will be with us for two more years before he heads off to university. Hal Gibson was a mainstay of both teams on his return from Oxford whilst Vishal Bhimjiyani and Adam Field were consistently available despite extensive work and domestic commitments. We are all praying that Chateau Sander’s phenomenal success in breeding disease does not result in a Wuhan-esque mutation.

Chris Vincent


Old Olavians

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Alan Barber Cup winners; Aberconway Cup winners; Kinnaird champion Seb Cooley (l); Veterans champion Seb Cooley (r)

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U21 mens champions; U21 champion Jessye Tu (r); Ladies champions Charlotta Cooley (r)

No report received


Old Salopians

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EFA Trophy winners; Richard Barber Cup squad; Turnbull Trophy squad; U21 finalists

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Over 50s winners; Aberconway finalists; Midlands champion Will Sissons (l)

No report received


Old Westminsters

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League champions; Northern & London champion and Kinnaird finalist Riki Houlden (l)l U25 champions; EFA Team of the Year

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Aitken Cup players, fimalists and winners; The Barber Cup team

This season has been one of the Old Westminsters’ greatest to date. A near flawless league season culminated in the club winning the Division 1 league title for the first time in its history. That was a landmark achievement; and it was a particular joy to have Giles Coren as part of the winning six in our final league match, seeing as he was competing with the OWs in 1986-1987 when the club won Division 2 for the first time and were promoted to Division 1. Concerns held at that time (and on periodic occasions since then) that the club might struggle to hold its own in Division 1 have proved unfounded; and the club has various key people to thank for that (the late Andrew Aitken, John Reynolds, Giles himself, Matthew Wiseman, and of course the current crop of players). That a further appearance in a Barber Cup Semi-Final was regarded as something of a disappointment is both a marker of where the club stands at the moment and a prime motivator for next year.

From an individual perspective, we have seen a number of fantastic performances. Hugo Young reached his first Major Final at the Northerns (and another Kinnaird Semi-Final) and was a runner-up at the Individuals; Elana Osen reached her third consecutive Ladies’ Nationals semi final before sadly having to withdraw due to a combination of injury and illness; and Can Koksal reached his first Kinnaird Cup quarter final. Harry de Quetteville entered the London Tournament with Can Koksal this season – he has been a key regular player in the national leagues for many years, but this represented his first return to tournament fives in over 20 years, a testament to his hard work.

Finally, and despite his enduring modesty (which has necessitated a different author for this paragraph), this report would not be complete without a mention of Riki Houlden, whose achievements continue to be so extensive that they cannot be done justice by the following potted summary: Winner of the Individuals; two Major titles (and only one “Major” defeat all year), winner of nine out of ten Division one matches, Runner-Up for EFA Player of the Year, etc etc. Even that only tells half the story, as Riki’s contribution to the club’s success should be measured just as much by the remarkable effect of his organisation, relentless enthusiasm, coaching and support which has driven many players (including those mentioned above) onto new heights.

Through a culmination of the above results, the club was voted “Team of the Year” at the EFA Awards, which was a true honour. Further to this, we have had a non-OW player request to join the club for the first time since John Reynolds himself over two decades ago, and look forward to welcoming him into our ranks in the 2022-23 season.

Riki Houlden (and Laurie Brock)


Old Wulfrunians

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Universities Mixed champion Ben Hart

The competitive season started off with a tough opening round of the Barber Cup away to Mill Hill where relative youngsters Tom Husslebee, Matt Pritchard and Ben Hart joined forces with the more seasoned campaigners Andy Husslebee, Sid Simmons and late super-sub Rich Ambler to give the Old Millhillians a good game, but despite some good periods in all 3 matches didn't seriously trouble one of the league's top outfits.

The EFA trophy at Eton saw another hybrid team formed this year with 3 keen Wulfrunians (Andy Husslebee, Dave Jones & Dan McKernan) teaming up with the Old Cholmeleians (Highgate OBs). In a long, arduous qualifying day, they narrowly missed out on one of the top 4 spots required to go forward to Finals Day by their head-to-head result with the Old Citizens. Here's hoping for one step better next year.......!

In individual pairs tournaments, Sid teamed up with Mark Yates at the Northerns and narrowly missed out on a quarter-final berth, then had the annual pilgrimage to the Legends tournament with old school partner Chris Austin where they were very willing but came up short against a small, but very competitive field.

By far the biggest success story of the season has been the breakthrough of Ben Hart into the top echelons of University Fives. Ben's first competitive outing this season representing Oxford University was at the University Tournament paired up with the legendary Spencer Chapman as Oxford 3 and they had a great run to the semi-finals, only losing to the eventual champions. Not content with that, a few months later Ben teamed up with Rachel Wood at the University Mixed Tournament and went on dominate the tournament up to the final, where they had to contend with a very strong Cambridge pair. They won the match 2-0, but with both games being reset, had to show great resilience and composure to get their hands on the silverware.
Ben's final tournament outing for Oxford saw him rightly playing at 1st pair in the Varsity match where he won his Eton Fives Half-Blue with his 3-0 win at first pair and his team-mates followed suit in pairs two & three. It has been many long years since an Old Wulfrunian has seen this level of success at university level - you have to go back to the Husslebee/Stephenson era of the mid 80s to see comparable feats. Ben is in esteemed company there and can be rightly proud of his fine achievements this year.

Our club nights on Wednesdays have been very well attended again this season and so I'd like to thank all of our players for their support and commitment throughout. A special mention needs to go to Rob Pye who has been an ever-present since moving back to the Midlands recently and we wish him well in his new adventures elsewhere for the coming season. There are courts where you're moving to Rob, so no excuses for not continuing your great progression over there!

If any Fives player, young or old, experienced or beginner wants to get involved with Fives at Wolverhampton on a Wednesday night - please contact us, we'd love to see you!

Finally, my annual gratitude to Mark Yates and Greg Hammond for their organisational acumen in getting fixtures and finances in order for another season.

Sid Simmons


Oxford University

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Universities champions - mens, womens and mixed; Boughton Bowl squad

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Varsity Match squads; Mixed squad; OUEFC Dinner

The ’21-22 season has been a vintage one at OUEFC with great success and enthusiasm both on and off the court. It’s been a dominant year from the Dark Blue in all of the national competitions that we’ve entered, winning the Men’s (Straker & Backhouse), Women’s (Butler & Wood), and Mixed (Wood & Hart) Universities tournaments with ubiquity in the knockout stages and pool competitions of each. We converted this national success into a more local but equally resounding victory against the Light Blues at the annual varsity match, with all of our first team pairs winning their matches and four from six of our second team pairs victorious in their clashes. Outside of these (our main targets for the season), we were pleased to see OUEFC past and present represented at the highest level in competitions such as the U21s, the U25s, the Ladies Championships, and the Kinnaird as well as its Festival. Competitive Fives at Oxford is in a very good place, and in the realm of the women’s game that is in no small part thanks to Gareth’s generosity to coach the women each Tuesday evening; for that we are immensely fortunate and grateful as a club.

It was particularly pleasing this year to welcome many new players to the courts at Iffley Road, with individuals such as Cyril. Sophie and Julia bringing exceptional zest and ambition to the game at Oxford. Club training has been competitive and populous, with two ‘squad sessions’ a week and two relaxed sessions; we hope to take this structure into next year and go further with our outreach efforts within the University and beyond. Indeed, speaking of the ‘beyond,’ one of the most memorable events of the season was a joint club night with the Bunch of Fives, with whom we share our Iffley Road courts: we played mixed pairs and an exhibition match before a wholesome trip to the Chester Arms. It is hoped that we’ll repeat this next year at least once as one small part of our efforts to open up OUEFC to its surrounding community.

Off court, it’s been great to feel the club really come together socially over the last year or two. We now benefit from a real sense of community at the courts, and we hope to build on this next year under the new direction of Hugo Young and Imi Culhane as skippers, with Beau Swallow And Jess Ebner-Statt at the administrative helm. We’ve enjoyed trips to the Rusty Bike, boasted a contingent at the RAC for the EFA Awards Dinner, and bonded at numerous nights up in Vinnie’s, but the epitome of this revived communality was the vibrant Club Dinner held in February at Exeter College, which saw a number of alumni return to dine with the current group. The intention is to repeat this event before Christmas this year in Michaelmas Term and field an even larger set of returners (perhaps with an afternoon of Fives beforehand!) so if you’re an alum of the club, watch out for an email / Facebook notification to that effect!

Last but not least, our thanks go to the outgoing committee who’ve worked very hard over the last year to pull off a memorable year at the club: Qassi Gaba (President), Freya Butler (Women’s Captain), Hatam Barma (Men's Secretary), Imi Culhane (Women's Secretary) Andrew Taylor (Social Secretary), Spencer Chapman (Treasurer).

James Green



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Midlands Finalists; Repton on court

As the saying goes: 'If you build it they will come!'

With the renovations of the courts finished just before the midlands tournament last year, it feels like we are finally at a point where we can tentatively say that Repton Fives is having a resurgence. We are incredibly happy to announce that we have secured weekly access to the courts on an ongoing basis, and we are regularly turning out at least 2-3 courts worth of players for our Wednesday evening sessions! We have also been fortunate enough to have some current school players, as well as recent leavers join us for play and we are hopeful that with the ending of the current school year we will continue to see some of the current batch of school boys and girls join us in the future.

As always it should be reiterated that the end of play does not represent the end of the evening's activity with the best pizza in Derbyshire being served until late at the Bull's Head in town, and a healthy social scene being enjoyed by all our attendants.

The club itself saw a fantastic participation for the Midlands tournament with a number of pairs taking part in the first day: S.Kirby & J-P.Hourlier made semifinals in the plate competition, whie the formidable Exley brothers made a run to the semifinal in the festival tournament. C.Plummer & A.Cameron-Blackie reached the final of the main tournament - eventually losing to Ab.Bhattacharya & W.Sissons in a hard fought game under the new lights of Court One.

We are very sorry to say that the school fives coach, Charles Plummer, is heading on to pastures new for further personal development, and as such will no longer be able to attend our weekly sessions. A huge thanks needs to go to him for his help and ongoing support with both the school and our evening sessions. With his departure however, we are offered the opportunity for a replacement in the form of the inimitable Karen Hird who we are excited to see further develop fives within the school for both students and faculty going forwards. Her skills and experience will no doubt be of great value to the school and to the growth of Fives in the region.

Going forward we hope to set up some competitive matches against both the school and local teams where possible, with the possibility of a 'fives open day' on campus being mooted for the year to come. If you would like to set up a formal game, or even just attend a session then please get in touch with Archie Cameron-Blackie who would love to get something in the diary for the coming year.

Onwards and upwards.

Archie Cameron-Blackie


Team Westway

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Division 3 action

What a pleasure it was to have a full season of matches again. The Westway fives players have relished being back on court and having a full fixtures list to get stuck into. We managed to get a full team out for the EFA Trophy this year and had more individuals representing Westway at tournaments across the EFA calendar and even at the annual dinner!

We've had a great range of players involved this season in addition to the usual suspects: some juniors coming up to play more frequently in the adult Pay and Play sessions at Westway, some complete newbies who spotted the courts while walking passing by or found us through recommendations and have come to give it a go, as well as some seasoned players who have relocated and now get to call Westway their home courts. Several of those have translated in to Div 3 players and we've had a total of 19 different people making up the Div 3 competing team this year so everyone has had a chance to have a go at our fixtures!

We've had some tough competitors and sadly we didn't post any overall wins but there were some hard-fought close games in there and we're looking forward to putting our increased match experience to good use for the 2022/23 season.
Outside of the season, we enjoyed seeing lots of you at the Summer Superleague again, Div 3 have a couple of friendly fixtures lined up and there will be Pay and Play sessions throughout the summer so come on down if you fancy some extra fives.

Natalie Lilienthal


Windsor & Eton

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