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31 Aug 14

The Association is delighted to unveil its new website

31 Aug 14

The RFA is sad to announce the death of Joan Wood

25 Aug 14

Big success for young players at first South East Open Championships

17 Aug 14

London Open entries now being accepted on dedicated website

27 Jul 14

Dave Parlby to raise money in memory of Jeremy Schroeter

25 Jul 14

London's Westway Centre looking for a Fives/Wallball coach/manager

14 Jul 14

Ellison and Grant win main titles at South West Open Championships

10 Jul 14

Wayne Enstone marks 30th running of the South West Championships

30 Jun 14

Hill and Widdop combine to win the Derby Moor Invitation tournament

19 May 14

Entry form and details for new South East Open Championships

18 May 14

Full report from the National Veterans' (over 45) Championships

13 May 14

Steel & Pringle retain Winchester Fives Mixed Doubles title

13 May 14

Titles for Tristao, Hatton and George at Scottish Open Championships

28 Apr 14

Four schools share big prizes at School Girls Championships

28 Apr 14

A brief report from the National Masters' Championship

15 Apr 14

Old Paulines beat Wessex to win the National Club Championship

08 Apr 14

Entry form for the Winchester Fives Mixed Doubles Championship

08 Apr 14

Entry form for next month's Scottish Open Championships

07 Apr 14

St Paul's boys dominate restricted National Schools' Championships

06 Apr 14

Brooks and Ellison retain their National Doubles title

29 Mar 14

Blundell's win singles and doubles titles at Under 13s Championahips

29 Mar 14

Two titles for Ian Fuller at National Vintage Championships

25 Mar 14

Candidates wanted for next Fives Federation Coaching course

25 Mar 14

Results from the South East regional Schools' competition

25 Mar 14

Entry form for July's South West Open Championships

25 Mar 14

Latest official RFA singles and doubles rankings published

23 Mar 14

Malvern and Marlborough provide Colquhoun Trophy winners

18 Mar 14

Sixth successive Barnes Bridge title for Ellison and Mohammed

18 Mar 14

Entry forms for the National Veterans and Masters Championships

11 Mar 14

Ladies Winchester Fives titles for Briedenhann and Steel

11 Mar 14

RFA beats BUCS representative team in annual match

04 Mar 14

Entry form for the National Doubles Championship

03 Mar 14

Three in a row for Will Ellison and Tom Dean in Durham

24 Feb 14

Cambridge score their fourth consecutive win in Varsity Match

19 Feb 14

Oxford and Cambridge limber up for the 84th Varsity Match

14 Feb 14

The RFA unveils a new page for the Association on Facebook

14 Feb 14

New website for Cambridge University Rugby Fives Club

10 Feb 14

Report from the second Midlands Schools' Regional Championships

10 Feb 14

Tristao and Kay retain their titles at the Under 25s Championships

10 Feb 14

Entries accepted for the National Winchester Fives Championship

10 Feb 14

Entry form for National Vintage (55+) Championships, held in Cambridge

19 Jan 14

Two titles for Will Ellison at the North West Open Championships

18 Jan 14

Entry form for the Ladies National Winchester Fives Championships

12 Jan 14

Entries now being accepted for the National Under 25s Championships

07 Jan 14

Boys from St. Paul's dominate West of England Schools' Championships


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2013 Newsletter (PDF, 5.1MB)

Mid-2012 Newsletter (PDF, 5MB)

2012 Newsletter (PDF, 7.8MB)

Mid-2011 Newsletter (PDF, 10.5MB)

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2010 Newsletter (PDF, 7MB)

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2006 Newsletter (PDF, 616KB)


2010-11 Annual Review (opens in separate window)

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Freshers' Fair poster (PDF, 2.1MB)


Recommended Rugby Fives court specifications (PDF, 237KB)




05/06 RFA Club fixtures/RFA tournaments schedule [Word file, 40KB]

RFA Risk Assessment [PDF, 132KB]

RFA Equity Statement [PDF, 52KB]


Derby/France, 31st August 14

[posted 31 August 2014]


The RFA is delighted to announce that its new website – rugbyfivesassociation.net – is now live. It will become the online showcase for all things Rugby Fives and, although the two sites will exist in tandem for some time, the new site will eventually replace this one, which has served the Association so well.


The development of the new site has been spearheaded by President Bob Dolby and carried out by Nottingham-based Bubble IT, who also developed the Cambridge University Rugby Fives Club site. The RFA's new site will eventually carry all the news and information that this site has done, but it gives the association more flexibility in terms of what it can publish, as well as giving it a much more 21st-century online face.


As you will see, the new site incorporates more photography than the old site, as well as giving the association the opportunity to embed video and incorporate the new Twitter feed, which will keep everyone up to date with the very latest news in Rugby Fives. For the moment, this site will continue, acting as an Archive, but in time, all the information will be transferred to the new site.


The new site, like the old one, will continue to be overseen by Andy Pringle, and both he and Bob Dolby would welcome any feedback on the website, which you can supply by clicking on the link below.


Click here to visit the new RFA website


And click here to send feedback to the Webmaster


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17th August 2014

[posted 31 August 2014]


The RFA is sad to announce the death of Joan Wood. In the words of her son Reeve, “Joan passed away peacefully on Sunday 17 August 2014 and is now gardening and gallivanting, jam making and junketing and looking for more interesting quiz questions elsewhere. We hope the bush telegraph is working and Tom and Freddie get prepared for high jinks on the horizon.”


David Barnes writes: 1947 was a special year. It was the year in which Joan Inge married Tom Wood, and by happy coincidence it was also the year of the foundation of the Rugby Fives Association Club, whose first AGM, held on September 15th that year, Tom attended and in whose fortunes he and Joan were later to play such an important role.


Joan was, as she liked to point out, one of five children and the mother of five more, so it was no surprise that Fives played a considerable part in her life. And that it certainly did, especially in the 1970s and ‘80s, when Tom took on the Secretaryship of the RFA Club and set about running it in his own inimitable way. The two of them went on safari to almost every known Fives court – and to some previously unknown ones as well – in those twenty years, and for many people they became the representatives of the game itself. Later, Tom would say “I couldn’t have done it without Joan, you know” – and he meant it!


One of Joan’s major contributions was in the culinary department. Her catering at various Fives events from the early 1970s onwards was legendary, and Wax Chandlers Hall became the venue for many a happy occasion, welcoming AGMs of both the RFA and particularly the RFA Club with gargantuan spreads, and entertaining John Carey’s USA touring teams in royal fashion. Joan also provided copious sustenance for players and spectators at the President’s Cup for many years, as well as for early editions of the Winchester Doubles tournament.


The Woods were generous donors of trophies: the Wood Cup for the Inter-Club Knockout, the ‘Barnes Bridge’ scale model, and the subsidiary trophies for the President’s Cup – the ‘T’ Pot, the Love Mug and Joan’s own special Mate’s Plate – all bear their stamp. They will always be associated with these competitions, and of course with the RFA Club, which they animated for those two decades of joyous activity, involving unbelievably over 100 fixtures in 1984! They didn’t quite attend them all – that would have been impossible, even for them – but they travelled the length and breadth of the kingdom and beyond, even to the extent of organising three enjoyable visits to New England. The 1987 touring team, led by Joan as non-playing manager, were christened ‘Joan’s Jesters’, and a special badge was commissioned for them to wear.


It was typical of Joan that after Tom’s death in 1994 she always made the effort to come to Merchant Taylors’ for the President’s Cup, even when the journey from Epping Green (and back again) on a December Sunday became a real challenge to her. She did it for Tom, and for the pleasure of seeing old friends and new young players taking part in the competition which meant so much to them both. When she finally left Essex to move to Nottinghamshire, the journey became too demanding, but she was still there in spirit, and the Mate’s Plate (when available) stood in for her!


Joan was made an Honorary Life Member of the RFA Club and of the Association for her unique contribution to Fives, and she will be remembered with huge affection by all who knew her.


Those interested to read David Barnes’ obituary of Tom Woodcan do so by clicking the link below.


Click here to read David Barnes’ obituary of Tom Wood


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Christ's Hospital, Horsham, 23rd/24th August 2014

[posted 25 August 2014]


The inaugural South East Championships attracted 13 competitors in the singles and seven pairs in the doubles. The top seed and Cambridge no.1 Ed Kay made faultless progress through the group stages, and the other top four seeds of Butler, Murby and Hatton were also comfortable, despite a strong challenge to Murby by Beltrami. Tom Kiggell provided the impressive result of the quarter-finals to defeat Hatton in three, although Theo Parker pushed Murby hard in the first and produced a storming second game win, which he could not sustain as Murby closed the match out efficiently.


The story repeated itself in the semis as Murby could not quite sustain a strong challenge to Butler, but the super-fit man from Durham did not quite have enough left in the tank as Kay (a comfortable semi-final winner) came through as a dominant winner in the final. Tony Hamilton battled through a taxing plate competition to win a group whose combined age was not much beyond his own.


In the doubles, a gigantic round-robin allowed six guaranteed games for all and a President’s Cup-style draw made for some very competitive pairs and games. Unsurprisingly, Kay made strong early progress, but was ably assisted on the left by Spillane, only two days clear of laser eye surgery!


Beltrami continued his excellent recent form and was well complemented by a reinvigorated Chua, making a successful transition from the Winchester code. In the end they were too much in a final game for the tiring Kay & Spillane and ran out as worthy winners, and possibly one of the youngest pairs ever to win an open tournament. Kiggell and Woolfenden justified their experience with a win in the plate.


South East Championships results


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St. Paul's School, Barnes, 13/14th September 2014

[posted 17 August 2014]


Tom Maconie is now accepting entries for next month's London Open. However, rather than producing an entry form for players to download and send in, as in previous years, he has set up a website for the competition, where players can enter the competition, and where the draws will be published in due course.

The competitions will be played over the weekend of September 13/14th at St Paul's School, Barnes, using the G6 ball. The singles championship will be played on the Saturday with the singles final and doubles championship to be played on the Sunday. Plate competition will be run for those knocked out in the early rounds (format to be decided on the day), and entry costs £10 per person in each tournament (payable on the day).

It's also worth noting that entry is free to those still at school, while players who have left school and are still in full-time education will only have to pay half-price entry fees

For full details of the tournament, click on the link below to see the London Open website..


2014 London Open website


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London, 10th August 2014

[posted 27 July 2014]


RFA member Dave Parlby has been in touch to say that he is riding the London 100 race on 10 August in honour and memory of his great friend and Fives partner (and former RFA Deputy President) Jeremy Schroeter, who tragically died of bowel cancer last year at the very young age of 60.


He has secured a place on the Beating Bowel Cancer team led by Matt Dawson and has asked Fives player to make a donation of whatever size to this very worthy cause by clicking on the link below. And, as many RFA members will have known and played with Jeremy, Dave also asks if you could forward this link to any other players for whom you have contact details.


Dave Parlby's Just Giving page


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Westway Centre, London, 25th July 2014

[posted 25 July 2014]


An opportunity has arisen for a Fives Coach/Manager at the Westway Sports Centre, Latimer Road, West London.


Fives (Eton Fives and Wallball) has made a lot of progress at this well-known Community Sports Centre and players of different ages and backgrounds are now enjoying the game, thanks to the energetic and dedicated efforts of the coaches. There is a substantial outreach programme towards schools and local clubs, and the Eton Fives Association has given consistent support to Westway over the years.


Westway now needs a new coach from September 2014 to take this work forward. You will be involved both in coaching and in building up the numbers of players through outreach and the attraction of new players to the Westway club.


You will need:
• Great enthusiasm for Fives and an ability to coach both Eton Fives and Wallball (if you have do not have experience of both games, we will arrange a training programme for you)
• An ability to coach and enthuse players of all ages and abilities
• Willingness and tenacity in helping with the outreach programme and establishing a database of regular players
• Ability to collaborate with the other staff at Westway, to further establish Fives
• IT skills and organisational ability


You will need to be able to travel to the Westway Centre.


A job-sharing arrangement will be considered, if two candidates come forward which makes this viable. This will be a fixed-term contract in the first instance with the possibility of a longer term appointment.


For further information and to apply please contact Gareth Hoskins via Facebook or garethjhoskins@yahoo.co.uk, giving details of your relevant background and stating why you are interested in the job.


If you are not interested personally in the job, but know someone who could be interested, please let that person know.


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Blundell's School, Tiverton, 12/13th July 2014

[posted 10 July 2014]


Wayne Enston writes: thirty years on and the tournament was still extremely well supported by a good entry and mix of 31 players from colts to vintage age, both male and female, contesting the treasured titles.


In the singles the seeded players won through to the quarter finals. Dave Butler had a hard fought match against John Beswick whilst Sam Russell pushed Ed Kay in their first game. Equally James Tilston put in a fine performance before losing to Hamish Buchanan.


In the quarters, Will Ellison overcame a determined Chris Burrows by hitting a series of wonderful winners to conclude their match. The seeding was upset when an impressive Ed Kay beat 4th seed Hamish in two games and Dan Grant was forced into an excellent three-gamer with Ben Beltrami (this year’s National Schools Champion) - what a prospect! John Minta had to work very hard to subdue and eventually beat an ever-improving Dave Butler. In the semi’s the 1 and 2 seeds eventually won through after the spectators had been treated to many exciting shots and rallies.


The doubles began after the second round of singles and the new partnership of Minta and Tilston upset the seeding in the quarters by beating Beswick and Enstone, who were overpowered by Tilston’s hitting. The semi’s concluded the day at 7.30pm with Buchanan and Burrows beating a rather tired pair of Beltrami and Kay in a three-game cliffhanger. Ellison and Grant, the holders, indicated that they definitely wanted to retain the title, winning in two.


At same time, the plate finals were both contested by players from Derby Moor Club. In the singles John Halligan(Colt) played very well, however, Stuart Kirby (Vintage), one of John’s coaches, showed that experience does count. Stuart then partnered Anthony Goodwin(RFA youngest Level 2 Coach) to beat James Milnes(ex Blundell’s School) and John Halligan. Thanks go to Bob Dolby (President) who ran the plates and was totally impartial throughout the finals as they were all his ‘boys’!


On Saturday evening, 31 players and partners retired to the local Butterleigh Inn for excellent drinks and food to revive and prepare worn out players and spectators for the Sunday morning finals and American Doubles tournament.


Thanks go to Alexandra Steel (ex Blundell’s) who very nobly volunteered to organise Sunday's American Doubles, between eight revitalised players. At the end of the round robin, Ben Beltrami and Maddy Raynor (ex Blundell’s) had won the same games and points as Alexandra and Jez Sinton, so it was agreed to have a play-off game, which Ben and Maddy went onto win, an epic mini tournament. *See below for Alex's own report...


Those of us who had the pleasure of watching the finals were treated to a singles final where both players produced all aspects of our wonderful game, the attacking power and majestic shots from both hands of Dan were too much for even Will’s brilliant retrieving ability in the first game, Dan winning to 7.


While the second game began in similar format, at three-love down Will finally produced his familiar array of angle shots to gradually win the rallies and the game to 7. In the third, after Dan had lead two-love, Will again energised himself to produce the winners and after several changes won the next eleven points and the match to retain his title and fourth South West Singles. A real epic, I thought last year’s final could not be bettered?


After a short break, Will and Dan continued their fine form in the Doubles final to eventually overcome a resilient Hamish and Chris. They did come back to make us all think it wasn’t over yet in the second, but Will and Dan did eventually retain their title.


Finally, thanks go again to Nigel Gordon (G6 Balls) for his continued sponsorship, Blundell’s School for the use of courts and facilities, Chris Headley-Dent and Charlie Francis (House Master) for setting up the facilities.


*Alex Steel adds: The American doubles was a fun affair this year with a group of eight players participating: Beltrami and Raynor, Whitehead and Kay, Steel and Sinton, Warner and Dyke. Great fun was had by all, especially in trying to work out who was going to be in charge of keeping score, as the American scoring meant a point each rally.


We each had our own version of the rules, but all managed to ensure a fair game was played. In the end, Kay and Whitehead scored 50 points, Warner and Dyke 57 points, and joint first with 62 points were Beltrami & Raynor and Steel & Sinton. It was then decided (with a little help from Wayne Enstone) that there would and should be a play-off for the final winner, despite some of the competitors thinking that they should flip a coin as the fatigue from the previous day's play was beginning to set in and all payers were hobbling around the courts.


The final was then played with Beltrami showing great determination to win, which he and Raynor did. Congratulations to them, it was a successful and highly enjoyable American Doubles mini tournament. Looking forward to next year.


South West Open Championships results


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Blundell's School, Tiverton, 12/13th July 2014

[posted 10 July 2014]


Bob Dolby writes: I believe it is the custom for football managers to write ‘programme notes’ ahead of a match. In keeping with this departure Wayne Enstone has now done the same for this weekend’s 30th South West Open at Blundell’s.


"This is officially the 30th tournament; however, there will be another 30th for me as organiser in two years’ time. This is because I had a couple of years off, one for our daughter’s birth in ‘85 when a very efficient and good friend Geoff Sherratt stepped in and then for my re-hip replacement in 2012 when messrs Lewis, Watson and Rew boldly filled in for me and kept the show on the road.


It was in 1983 that the Exeter Fives Club, after several refreshing drinks in the White Hart Hotel in Exeter, agreed to the tournament being played on their courts at Exeter University. Leaders of the club then were Cedric Clapp and Peter Lewis with able assistants in Phil Maud and Malcolm Bramley. Tim Lewis was in those days assistant to the assistants! How did we ever manage to finish the tournament with just two courts, especially as I think our best entry was 42? My thanks must also go to two of my best friends and mentors in many aspects of life - Fred Beswick, who responded to the concept of a tournament with "What a great idea!" and Danny McGregor, whose company sponsored the buying of the trophies.


Some last words of historical thanks go to Stuart Watson whose company sponsored the tournament for many years; to Douglas Rice for his time given to Fives at Blundell's School and who enabled a seamless transition to their courts when we lost the University courts, to Paul Rivett who took over from Douglas and more recently Bertie Matthew and Chris Hedley-Dent ; and from a sponsorship point of view in more recent times to Nigel Gordon for his support in providing the G6 balls that give us all so much enjoyment."


What Wayne modestly omits to mention is that he won both the singles and the doubles in the inaugural year (and 15 times more thereafter). By all accounts this is one of the most enjoyable events of the year, reckoned by some to be the first tournament of the season and by others the last (though the new South East Championship in August will now take on that mantle). Wayne deserves all our warmest thanks for master-minding this tournament, which grew from the Exeter Fives Week, a coaching course he ran previously, and for doing so for so many years.


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Derby Moor, 29th June 2014

[posted 30 June 2014]


Ten pairs contested the 11th Derby Moor Invitation Doubles. Sadly, this year no Bob Sandie (due to injury) or Dickie Warner (due to a communications cock-up) to enliven proceedings but an ever stronger group of youngsters from the home club.


Previous winners Ashley Hill and Matt Orr were back from the Army and university respectively, and they joined Jay Gravatt in graduation mode from Durham, as well as regulars Grem McIntyre, John Hawke, Tim Widdop (Halifax), Brian Nithsdale, Wayne Harrison (Manchester), Trevor White (Rugby, sadly injured in his first game) and newcomer Mark Kiteley (Bedford) to add experience to the mix.


Brian Kirk had paired people up à la President’s Cup with, where possible, a guest paired with a Derby player, to ensure close matches in the early stages and some spice in the Plate. The four seeded pairs went through to the semi-finals as expected. There, last year’s winner Anthony Goodwin & Brian Nithsdale beat Wayne Harrison & Jai Singh, while in the other semi Ashley Hill & Tim Widdop were too strong for Jay Gravatt & Craig Baxter.


The final proved to be probably the longest yet and perhaps the best we have seen: it took a good one and a half hours, went to three games and saw hard-hitting Ashley and rather subtler Tim win 15-3, 14-16, securing victory in the third, 15-12. It is often said modern young players “hit the skin off the ball” and this was certainly the case in the final during which the ball had to be repaired or replaced four times due to splitting seams.


As if they hadn’t had enough Fives, Jay & Craig and Jai & Wayne decided to have a third place play-off, with Jay & Craig winning through – Jay got the beer, Craig got the Mars Bar!


As ever, the Plate proved exciting, with two pools of 3 leading to a final between Stuart Kirby & Mark Kiteley, now playing regularly with the new Cambridge City Club, against Matt Orr & Bally Singh. Experience overcame youth, with Kirby and Kiteley winning 11-7, 12-11 and taking the one boule that had been returned from last year! A brilliant day’s Fives, with the usual warm weather (bar a ten-minute downpour!) and food to feed an army.


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Christ's Hospital, Horsham, 23rd/24th August 2014

[posted 19 May 2014]


The RFA is delighted to publish the entry form for a brand new tournament. The South East Open Championships will be organised by Ed Hatton and held at Christ's Hospital, near Horsham, in late August.


Both singles and doubles tournaments will be played, and the doubles will follow a ‘handicap’ format similar to the Scottish Open – the strongest players will play with the weakest, with mid-ranked players partnered together. Entries must be received by Monday 11th August, and all ages and standards are welcome, with the hope that Under 18s particularly will be encouraged to play by the free entry fees - it costs £10 per person in each event otherwise. For full details, download the official entry form using the link below.


South East Open Championships entry form [Word file, 270KB]


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Oundle, 26/27th April 2014

[posted 18 May 2014]


The Veterans' tournament was played this year at Oundle, with a good entry taking advantage of the generous support of the school. New faces included the youthful Johns, Minta and Beswick, who kept the older entrants on their toes. Missing for the first time in many years were the ever youthful Bernard Atkinson and Bob Sandie; we hope to see them back to full fitness in time for next year.


As ever, the standard of competition was high, with particularly fine performances coming from Stuart Kirby and John Beswick, both of whom avoided the rigours of the multitudinous plate games by being knocked out in the semi-finals of the cup; Stuart by Hamish Buchanan and John by John Minta. This set up an exciting final. The first game was won at a canter by John Minta. He pulled away as quickly at the start of the second game, and looked set for an easy victory, until Hamish gave him a fright, winning a late series of rallies. Eventually, however, John was triumphant, winning in 2 games. This was his first national trophy.


The first of the plate competitions comprised of those knocked out in the first two rounds of the cup. This was another knock-out competition, with victory finally going to Neil Roberts, who defeated Tony Hamilton in the final.


To complete off the first day of the tournament, those losing in the early rounds of the plate played a round robin competition for a bottle of beer. Victor in this event was Brian Nithsdale, who won all of his matches with apparent ease.


Competition for the doubles cup was fierce. Eleven pairs took part, with both the singles finalists also featuring in the doubles final. Hamish Buchanan and Bruce Hanton were victors, beating John Minta and Brian Nithsdale in two hard fought games.


The doubles plate competitions followed the same format as the singles, with those knocked out in the first two rounds of the cup playing in a knock-out plate competition for the plate, and those knocked out in the early rounds of that playing a round-robin for a bottle of beer. The plate final was the closest of the weekend, with Hamilton and Warner overcoming Sutcliffe and Walter 16-15, while the bottles of beer were won by Kennerley and Kirk, who were victors in all their round-robin matches.


By late Sunday afternoon, everyone appeared to have played a satisfying amount of Fives. Indeed, many of those who endured the rigours of the bottle of beer competitions on both days felt that they had played too much.


National Veterans' Championships results


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Bradfield College, 11th May 2014

[posted 13 May 2014]


The Winchester Fives Mixed Doubles Championship produced its usual mix of fun, banter and high-quality Fives, with defending champions Alex Steel and Andy Pringle eventually retaining their title against the Christ's Hospital pair of teacher Ed Hatton and pupil Coralie Strong.


Truth be told, Andy and Alex had looked the pair to beat right from the word go, with their experience and balance as a pair telling, as they won all their round-robin matches - most by substantial margins - to claim a place in the final. It was perhaps only to be expected that their opponents would be the pair that had pushed them hardest in these initial matches, Ed and Coralie.


As was only to be expected, Ed was the dominant player in the partnership, but Coralie (a quarter-finalist in the recent School Girls' Championships) was not overawed and provided invaluable back-up. They lost just the one game in the round-robin, but showed their strength and determination to overcome a couple of stern challenges. In the final, though, the match was a repeat of the round-robin encounter between the two pairs: Andy and Alex had the better balance, giving their opponents fewer opportunities to find winners, and both were able to hit the buttress more frequently than their opponents; indeed, Alex hit a couple of crucial service winners into the buttress just when a comeback seemed on the cards. It was a hard-fought game, but Andy and Alex deservedly finished as winners, and wrote their names into the record books, as the first pair ever to successfully defend the title.


Throughout the event, the matches were extremely hard fought, and there's no better proof of that than the final two matches of the day - the 3rd/4th place play-off and the plate final. In the former, the Eton Fives pairing of Gareth Hoskins and Karen Hird just edged out Dick Warner and Sarah Greasley, while in the Plate final, the Rossal pair  of Maddy Raynor and Lee Hodgetts won through against another Eton Fives pairing, Harriet Asquith and Ralph Morgan.


Winchester Fives Mixed Doubles Championship results


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Loretto School, Musselburgh, 3rd/4th May 2014

[posted 13 May 2014


What was billed as possibly the last Scottish Fives Championships before Scotland gains independence from England took place in Musselburgh over the weekend of May 3rd - 4th. A strong entry from south of the border including the top two ranked singles players, a distinguished former president of the RFA and a dedicated group from Durham University who travelled north to lock horns with the cream of the local Scottish talent.


In the singles competition, there were no major surprises in the early rounds although special praise should go to the youthful enthusiasm of Ben Boyd from Edinburgh Academy for taking the age and experience of tournament organiser Neil Roberts to 3 games in the first round.


The semi-finals saw Dan Tristao overcome local coach and Caledonian club stalwart Richie Murby while, in what was possibly the game of the day, Dan Grant eventually triumphed 11-7 in the third against former title holder Will Ellison in a match of exceptional quality whose outcome was in doubt until the very last rally had been completed.


In the final featuring the two Dans, a very close first game was edged 12-11 by Dan (Tristao) who, with Dan (Grant) beginning to tire after his exertions in the previous round, went on to retain the Cuthbertson quaiche by winning the second game 11-4 at 8.20pm.


The doubles competition the following day produced some close and entertaining matches, Adam George and Ed Hatton eventually defeating defending champions Will Ellison and Mike Kemp in the final. Dick Warner made up for his disappointment of not winning the singles and being disqualified from the singles plate by partnering Dan Grant to victory in the doubles plate.


Many thanks should go to Loretto School for allowing us to use the school facilities to host the tournament, which is always an enjoyable weekend..


Scottish Open Championships results


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Marlborough College, 27th April 2014

[posted 28 April 2014]


The fifth annual school girls tournament was notable not only for the highest ever number of girls entering, but for the highest quality of play seen by the organisers since the tournament began.


Some familiar faces from Rugby School, Christ’s Hospital, Marlborough College, Aldenham and Rossall were joined by new arrivals Sedbergh and a strong contingent from Malvern College.


The senior (U18) category demonstrated the strength in depth of the school-girls game. There were fierce battles in each group but eventually the top 4 seeds won through to face runners-up in the Quarters. Neither were many knock-out games any easier. Each girl had a difficult passage to the final except for Shinan Zhang, first seed and rapidly demonstrating her superiority in overcoming the two Rugby girls Milly Richards and then Milly Browne without conceding a point. Meanwhile Louise Mathias met Amy Flood in the other side of the draw, the semi-final being a re-run of last year’s U16 final, with the same result. In the final, Louise Mathias pushed Shinan in many of the rallies but had no answer for her opponent’s strength and speed, Shinan deservedly taking this year’s trophy. Third seed Amy Flood of Aldenham School came through a tough third-place play-off against Milly Browne of Rugby to win bronze.


In the U18 doubles, the Malvern pair of Shinan Zhang and Cassie Bedford impressed but the Rugby girls did get on the trophy list, having beaten a strong Christ’s Hospital pair in the group. Malvern re-emphasised their strength by beating a strong Rugby pair (Millies Browne & Richards) in the final with some powerful hitting in the long rallies, whilst Christ’s Hospital (Louise Mathias & Coralie Strong) overcame a plucky Sedbergh pair (Anna Marland & Steph Gardner) for the bronze.


Rugby School may have missed out on the top spots at U18, but they eventually dominated the U16 medals, which again was a very strong category where few games were easily won. In fact, so many singles games were so close in the groups rounds that the organisers were seriously worried for the schedule. First, second and third positions in groups were incredibly tight, sometimes just one point, and we hope that those that lost out were not too disappointed; in particular, the girls from Sedbergh who put up a great fight. As it was, only 8 girls could make it through and so through to the quarter finals were an incredibly strong eight: Lottie Harbottle (Rugby), Phoebe Thornhill (Christ’s Hospital), Amelia Law (Malvern), Fern Nuttall (Sedbergh), Kirsty Martin (Rugby), Maggie Wong (Malvern), Cassie Bedford (Malvern) and Kirti Mehta (Rugby).


A testament of the quality of the U16 entry was that no player managed to win a Quarter-Final by more than six points, Kirsty Martin of Rugby taking that accolade with a powerful display of hitting. Kirsty won through impressively to the final, beating a strong challenge from Cassie Bedford of Malvern; meanwhile on the other side of the draw, Lottie Harbottle overcame Amelia Law in a very close and exciting semi-final 11-8; they had already met in their group where Lottie had just won 12-11, although Lottie in fact came second in her group having lost to Beatrix Crinnion of Christ’s Hospital! The final was thus two Rugby girls, hitting with power and precision to the back corners throughout, and deservedly won by Kirsty. The bronze medal match was thus between the two Malvern girls, Amelia managing to snatch that from Cassie, who did not herself miss out as she shortly became the senior doubles champion.


In the U16 doubles, games were equally tight, but with all teams in the groups showing impressive determination and awareness of doubles tactics. The two Rugby pairs showed their overall strength and skill by topping their groups, with the Christ’s Hospital and Malvern girls coming in second place. In the final Kirsty Martin got the gold denied her in the singles; the top Rugby pair, of Kirsty and Nush Mehta, displayed their dominance over their schoolmates Lottie Harbottle and Kirti Mehta. The bronze medal game was rather closer, stalwarts Beatrix Crinnion and Phoebe Thornhill just losing 12-10 to the Malvern girls Maggie Wong and Amelia Law.


At U14 level it was yet another school’s turn to dominate; this time, the hosts, Marlborough College. Before the competition the smart money had been backing the seasoned Christ’s Hospital contingent, but the sporty and talented Marlborough girls, expertly coached by Mr Kiggell, were soon drawing impressed comments from the gallery. These two schools dominated the groups, as girls from Aldenham fought hard but could not win through. Cosima Bugel of Marlborough, rapidly becoming a favourite to win, dispatched Ynys Barnard-Masterson of Christ’s Hospital before facing and beating her school-mate Isabella Lee in another fantastic display of athletic movement and accurate hitting. Meanwhile Stella Saunt-Hills of Christ’s Hospital faced strong challenges from Molly Fisher followed by Stella Smith, both of Marlborough. So Cosi Bugel faced Stella Saunt-Hills in the final, and it was Cosi who won convincingly in the end, showing an impressive use of her experience from the day to come from behind and eventually make her accurate hitting on both sides count. Cosi was deservedly thrilled to win gold. The bronze medal match was between the two Marlborough girls Isabella and Stella, with Stella taking the bronze.


The doubles was a similar story; Aldenham was outclassed, and the top Marlborough pair re-asserted their ascendancy, taking the trophy. The Christ’s Hospital pair beat the second Marlborough pair to take the silver, leaving their opponents with the bronze. The U14 trophies had never seen such good play; clearly these girls will be the ones to watch in the future.


At U13 level Rossall, Aldenham and Christ’s Hospital provided a thrilling set of encounters, with girls from both Year 7 and Year 8 already showing a good sense of court awareness and shot selection. Through to the Quarter-Finals were Anelina Green, Helena Walsh and Zoe Brown of Christ’s Hospital, Grace Gordon, Isabelle Woodman and Tayla Walkden of Rossall, and Emma Conway and Sasha Macdonald of Aldenham. Angelina used strong shots to the bac of the court to dominate her side of the draw, beating first Isabelle and then Grace of Rossall to reach the final. On the other side, Emma showed tactical nous, graceful movement and some determination to reach the final, overcoming Zoe and then Helena of Christ’s Hospital. In the final, Angelina’s more powerful hitting made the difference, as she took the gold and Emma the silver. In the bronze medal match, Garce Gordon beat Sasha Macdonald to bring some silverware back for Rossall.


The doubles games developed a similar pattern; Aldenham met Chris’s Hospital in the final, and again the powerful returning of Angelina made the difference, her and Helena winning Gold. Sasha and Emma gained a deserved silver, and meanwhile the Rossall girls repeated Grace’s singles feat with a win in the plate to gain bronze.


A fantastic tournament showed the increasing prowess and popularity of the girls game, and we look forward to more of the same next year! Planes are afoot to involve more senior girls in the ladies’ fives scene, with a First Lady’s Cup of mixed pairs, to take place hopefully in October.


National School Girls' Championships results


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Oundle, 26th April 2014

[posted 28 April 2014]


In the absence of Messrs Atkinson and Bawtree, due to recent surgical intervention, there were just the three pairs competing for the Admiral's Cup. Defending champions John East and Martin Wilkinson polished off new boys David Hebden and Grem McIntyre 15-3, 15-2 and then eased past former champions Douglas Rice and Bev Boag 15-1, 15-1 to secure their title for the third year in a row. Dave and Grem saw to it that Doug and Bev were awarded the non-existent wooden spoon by downing them 15-4, 15-9.


We look forward to a much enhanced entry next year: there may have to be preliminary rounds!


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St Paul's School, Barnes, 12/13th April 2014

[posted 15 April 2014]


The 2014 Wood Cup saw Wessex re-emerge as a force to be reckoned with, in what was otherwise a similar entry to last year's tournament. It was the Old Paulines who started the tournament as favourites, with the OP Is getting a bye straight through to the semi-final. There they awaited the winner of an OP II team or Derby Moor. Anthony Goodwin kept Derby Moor in touch with an excellent singles victory against Theo Parker, but the OP doubles pairs had too much strength in depth and were able to extend the lead they built in the singles to set up a semi final with the OP Is.


The other half of the draw contained previous winners Alleyn Old Boys, the Executioners, Wessex and Christ's Hospital. While the CH pairing of Ed Hatton and partner Hugh Aveston provided excellent comic value with their on-court bickering, their play was not enough to stop the Executioners racing away to a decisive victory. Their semi-final opponents played out their match at Alleyns School where Wessex overcame an AOB four not able to take advantage of their home courts.


The semi-final in the bottom half of the draw saw last year's finalists, the Executioners, come up against Wessex. While both teams had the luxury of using a 'squad rotation system', it was the Wessex four that had the greater strength in depth. Comprehensive wins in all the singles matches and a clean sweep in the first round of doubles gave Wessex the victory and their first final appearance (in this organiser's memory!).


The other semi-final saw the two OP teams match up. Matt Shaw gave a great account of himself in taking eight points off National Singles Champion Dan Tristao, but the OP II cause wasn't helped when Theo Parker injured his right shoulder when only a point into his singles match with Charlie Brooks. OP Is were therefore able to take a healthy lead into the doubles, which OP IIs were never able to claw back. This was despite some excellent games of doubles where Shaw, with partner and schoolboy doubles champion Ollie Arnold, took games off both OP I pairs.


Sunday morning brought the final, which started ever so predictably. Dan Tristao arrived a little late and was last to take to the court for his match up with Will Ellison. Then, in the time it took Dan and Will to get to 2-1, all other singles matches had finished. Even more predictably, Dan and Will played out an extremely close game 12-10, with a particular highlight for the onlookers being Will smashing a volley well below the bar and screaming 'Don't do a Grant!'. In other games there were good wins for schoolboy singles champion Ben Beltrami, who won 11-0 against Giles Munn; Harry Akerman couldn't get his eye in to nail his famous drop shot, which helped Tom Dean win 11-6; and finally Charlie Brooks proved too strong for David Butler to win comfortably 11-3.


This gave the OPs a 45-19 lead after the singles, which was extended in the opening games of doubles and, despite a fightback from Ellison/Munn, the OPs held on to take their fourth Wood Cup in a row. The 107-84 win takes them a step closer to Manchester's record of five.


National Club Championship results


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Bradfield College, 11th May 2014

[posted 08 April 2014]


Alex Steel is now accepting entries for the Winchester Fives Mixed Doubles tournament, which will be held at Bradfield College on May 11th. The format of the competition will depend on the number of entrants, but all standards (including novices) are welcome and plenty of Fives is guaranteed for everyone. Entries must be received by April 28th, but for further details, simply click on the link below to download the entry form.


Winchester Fives Mixed Doubles entry form [PDF, 82KB]


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Loretto School, Musselburgh, 3rd/4th May 2014

[posted 08 April 2014]


Organiser Neil Roberts is now accepting entries for the country's most northerly Open Fives championship, the Scottish Open. The event takes place over the first weekend of May at Loretto School, near Edinburgh, with the singles played on the Saturday and the doubles (played in a President's Cup-style format) taking place on the Sunday. Entries must be received by April 29th, and for further details, players should download the official entry form from the link below.


Scottish Open Championships entry form [Word file, 26KB]


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St Paul's School, Barnes, 5/6th April 2014

[posted 07 April 2014]


Peter King writes: This year’s tournament was reduced to a weekend event by the temporary closure of the St Paul’s courts and was initially contested only at Open and Colts levels; it is still hoped to find a date for the Under 14 event. Fifteen schools were represented, one other being ruled out by the slight alteration of dates, but the championships were overwhelmingly dominated by the host school. There was a high standard of play, especially in the Colts event which featured a large number of promising Under 15 players, and customary camaraderie and sportsmanship were very much in evidence.


The Open tournament was really the story of the Paulines Ben Beltrami and Oliver Arnold, already a pair known (and avoided) on the BUCS, Under 25 and adult circuit! We are not sure whether their achievement in winning the doubles without the loss of a single point has any precedent, but it certainly underlined the gap between them and the chasing pack.


In the singles semi-finals they disposed of last year’s Colts finalists in straight games, and Oliver was pleased to take 8 points in the first game of the final before succumbing to the all-round strength of his partner. Those who have watched the boys in action this year have all been in awe of the power, consistency and maturity of their game. In truth there were few close games in the singles, although the plate final won by Jay Singh of Derby Moor against Marcus Hunter (Rugby) had two well-contested games.


In the doubles SPS III (Sid Bhushan and Josh Robson) gave a good account of themselves in two three-game matches, beating Merchant Taylors’ I, the eventual plate winners, and taking a game off semi-finalists Winchester; and SPS IV (Matthew Nunes and Zak Jopling) were pleased to avenge the narrow defeat by Derby Moor in last year’s Colts final and then pip Winchester II for the semi-final spot.


The Colts’ tournament contained more surprises, with West of England runner-up John Halligan defeated by West of England plate winner Nico Hughes (SPS) and former U14 champion Abdul Ahmed (CH) overturned by last year’s U14 runner-up Dom Shaw (SPS). Hughes showed great fitness and retrieving skills as he went on to defeat fellow-Pauline Heidrich (a year his senior) in a three-game semi-final and with Shaw reached the doubles final (overturning Derby Moor in three in the quarter-final), but in both cases ran into the calm consistency of Harveer Mahajan, the Pauline top seed, who had met strong resistance in a three-game quarter-final against Kullavanijaya (Winchester) and in the semi against Whitham (SPS), which nearly went to three! As in the senior event the Plate final provided one of the closest encounter as Jussi Grut (Whitgift) edged through 11-9 in the third against Julian Hanton (Alleyn’s).


Many thanks to all involved in organisation and support, especially with the problems caused by rearrangement.


National Schools' Championships results


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Alleyn's School, 5/6th April 2014

[posted 06 April 2014]


Will Ellison and Charlie Brooks retained their National Doubles title, but not without a fight. Dan Grant and Dan Tristao - champions in 2012 and runners-up last year - won the first game of the final, before the defending champions hit back to win the second and third games and retain the title.
(Full report to come)


National Doubles Championship results


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St Paul's School, Barnes, 16th March

[posted 29 March 2014]


Peter de Winton writes: With thirty nine competitors, it was a healthy field of players, with all the usual competitive spirit and enthusiasm. We missed having boys from Loretto, Oundle, Richmond Park Academy and Derby Moor, but were pleased to have Rossall back, plus a bigger entry from Alleyn’s, and a lone entrant from Sedbergh Junior School. There was plenty of variety in the experience, style and physical size of those competing.


In the pool stage of the Singles Hirth of Alleyn’s emerged as the top player, losing no points in any of his games and impressing with his steadiness. Cochrane of Alleyn’s ran him close, losing just three points.


The other pool winners all achieved maximum points, and the seconds and four top third-placed boys were entered in the knockout stage where seven schools were represented. Knowles of Blundell’s and McGuire from Sedbergh both made short work of their opponents, so the final looked intriguing: an evenly matched contest with Knowles' extra height and all-round game pitched against McGuire's physicality. In the end Knowles showed consistency, composure and variety of shots to overcome his opponent decisively, 11-1, 11-3. The Plate was not staged in the usual way of involving the remaining players, in view of the need to sustain boys' energy for the afternoon Doubles, but it was resolved by the losing semi-finalists Hirth and Cochrane competing, with Hirth emerging as the winner.


We were able to start the Doubles soon after the half time break, though some pairs were frustrated as their opponents were still involved in knockout Singles action. Boys were clearly rested and ready for this section of the day, as typically the matches went on for longer and involved closer scores.


Of the eighteen pairs entered, this was gradually reduced to a quarter-final line up consisting of two each from Alleyn’s, Blundell’s, and Pilgrims, plus one from Merchant Taylors’ and Shrewsbury House. Pilgrims looked to have the edge at the semi-final stage with both two pairs still competing, but unfortunately they both lost to Alleyn’s and Blundell’s respectively, and the Doubles final was a closely fought contest with the superior strength and physical presence of the Blundell’s pair winning through. The Doubles Plate was also keenly contested, with 9 of the first game losers. Once again after a number of close games it was Blundell’s against Alleyn’s in the Final, and Blundell’s collected their third win out of a possible four.


My thanks to St.Paul’s for allowing us the use of the courts, to the coaches for their enthusiasm and flexibility, and to Frank Akerman and Dick Warner for their tireless support in helping to run the show. It is my fervent wish that one day we can run the championships over a weekend so that the full potential of the players in this age group can be realised. In this scenario, one could have bigger squads and players from more schools, and not be racing against the clock and worrying about the stamina of the boys. But I look forward to next year with confidence knowing that there is so much enjoyment of the game within this age group.


National Under 13s Championships results


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Cambridge, 23rd March 2014

[posted 29 March 2014]


The Vintage, over 55's Rugby Fives tournament was held on Sunday 23rd March on the courts at ‘New Portugal Place’, i.e. the Cambridge University Sports Centre. Once everyone had found their way to this new venue Singles play got underway in two pools containing nine players in all, an increase by two on last year


In Pool A there was immediately a tremendous tussle between Wayne Enstone and Stuart Kirby, from which Wayne emerged victorious by 16-15, but not before Stuart had held a game point against the defending champion. Bob Sandie and Trevor White subsequently found themselves playing for third and fourth spot in this pool.


In the second pool, containing 5 players, Ian Fuller proved dominant, though the score in his game with Tony Hamilton did not tell the full story of a lengthy match. Brian Nithsdale eventually came third to these two, thus – by a quirk of numbers – qualifying neither for the main competition nor for the Plate. There were those who envied him the rest! Dick Warner and John Hawke, to name but two.


In the semi-finals Wayne and Ian overcame Tony and Stuart respectively with relative ease and thus renewed an old rivalry in the final. Ian’s cross-court shots proved the deciding factor in carrying off his first Vintage Singles title – but no trophy, as a very apologetic Wayne had managed to leave it in Devon.


Meanwhile in a predictably noisy Plate final Bob Sandie shaded Dick Warner 15-12. It was Bob’s third time of winning the impressive silverware donated by John Hawke.


The Doubles was likewise contested in pool format, with 4 pairs in each. Enstone & Fuller emerged as top dogs from the first pool, accompanied by Hamilton & Spencer Beal (bare-handed, of course), while Kirby & Nithsdale defeated the defending champions Sandie & Richard Sutcliffe in Pool B. Bob & Richard subsequently endured the embarrassment of a bagel in the semis, while Kirby & Nithsdale by contrast had to fight out a 16-14 win over Hamilton & Beal in a match filmed by professional photographer brought along by Mark Kiteley. We look forward to seeing the edited highlights!


Kirby & Nithsdale could do little in the final to stop top seeds Enstone & Fuller winning the title – and this time there was a trophy to take away – , but next door a titanic struggle was developing between Warner & Euan Clarke and Hawke & David Hebden in the Plate final. It was David’s first tournament outing since his hip operation. The two pairs had already met in the pool, with H&H winning. In a match even more chatty than the day’s other plate final Dick & Euan reversed their earlier defeat by the narrow margin of 15-13.


Thus ended a physically exhausting day for all concerned, and as if to demonstrate how mentally exhausting it had been for those watching the President managed to award the Plate medals and boules to the wrong pair. Luckily David Hebden noticed and forestalled a diplomatic incident of warnerian proportions.


National Vintage Championships results


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London, 17/18th May 2014

[posted 25 March 2014]


The Fives Federation inviting applications to take part in its next Coaching course, which will take place in London in May this year. Running over the weekend of May 17/18, it includes sessions on court at both St Paul's School and Westway, as well as time in a classroom. The course will lead to a fully accredited qualification, but for more information, please contact the RFA's General Secretary, Ian Fuller. .


Click here to email the General Secretary


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Whitgift, 23rd March 2014

[posted 25 March 2014]


On a wet blustery February day, Whitgift played host to the third SE regional fives competition, involving players from Tonbridge, St Dunstan’s, Christ’s Hospital, Whitgift and Eastbourne, writes Nick Morgan.


Frantic measures were in place to keep the courts playable, and the timely arrival of 20 towels courtesy of Ian Jackson from Tonbridge enabled us to play a full programme. In some toughly fought matches, Eastbourne dominated the U18 matches, and Whitgift the U16 ones. As ever it was played in a friendly but competitive spirit, and I hope everyone enjoyed their visit. Next year I suspect it will return to Tonbridge, but the whole day was judged a success despite the odd puddle on court!


South East Regional Schools' Championships results


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Blundell's School, Tiverton, 12/13th July 2013

[posted 25 March 2014]


Wayne Enstone is now accepting entries for the South West Open Championships, which will be held at Blundell's School in Tiverton over the second weekend in July. Both singles and doubles events will start on the Saturday, with the finals on the Sunday morning, along with an 'American Doubles' tournament for all those not involved in the finals. For full details, click on the link below to download the official entry form..


South West Open Championships entry form [Word file, 29KB]


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London, 22nd March 2014

[posted 25 March 2014]


The RFA has today published its latest official singles and doubles rankings, prepared on its behalf by Dave Hebden. They reflect results in the recent North of England Championships, as well as the Under 25s and North West Championships.


Although there's no change in the positions in the Top 10 singles rankings, the top two, Dan Tristao and Will Ellison, are now well clear of James Toop in third place, while Dan Grant is now in a solid fourth place, ahead of Matt Cavanagh. The big jumps occur further down the lists, with big rises for David Butler, Tim Widdop, Richie Murby and Chris Waller after some excellent recent wins.


The doubles rankings, likewise, see relatively little change, with the only adjustment in the top 10 being Charlie Brooke being leag-frogged by North of England champion Tom Dean. Veterans Neil Roberts and John Beswick make some good pregress after making the semis in Manchester, but the biggest single jump comes from Matt Shaw after he reached the final of the Under 25s doubles championship. For the full rankings, which are held on the Fivesonline website, simply click on the link below.


Latest official RFA singles and doubles rankings


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Sherborne, Dorset, 23rd March 2014

[posted 23 March 2014]


The fifth Colquhoun Trophy – named in memory of the former Master-in-charge at Clifton College – saw several firsts: silverware for a boy from Bruton, every competing school represented in a main or Plate final, and a girls' event running alongside the boys'.


As in previous years, the boys competed in two categories, Open and Colts, with a round-robin section followed by a knockout competition for both the main and Plate tournaments, with the seedings based on the performances in the round-robin.


In the Colts event, the second Pool turned out to the be the stronger of the two, with Malvern's Lucas Nelson finishing first and going on to meet second-placed (and defending champion) Tobias Francis of Blundell's in the final. Both had had pretty comfortable semi-final wins (Tobias over Malvern's Justin Luk, and Lucas over Marlborough's Rupert Shingleton), and their final was every bit as keenly contested as their earlier game in the round-robin.


Although Lucas had won their first encounter, it was Tobias who quickly picked up a good lead in the first game and looked set to close it out. Lucas had other ideas, however, and ground his way back into the game, pegging Tobias back before going on to sneak the game 11-9. That seemed to rattle Tobias' confidence, and although he battled hard to the end, Lucas held his nerve to take the second game 11-6, thereby winning the title.


In the end, it was a double for Malvern in the Colts, with Giles Williams (who had been in the same pool as Lucas and Tobias) securing the plate title with a narrow win over Blundells' Addie Chai, whose 16-15 semi-final win over Marlborough's James Barrows was described by spectators as the 'game of the tournament.'


In the Open competition, meanwhile, Pool 2 generated plenty of cheer for the 'home' team as Sherborne's Henry Newman (2013 Colts runner-up) and Stephen Reed earned their places in the semi-finals. However, Pool 1 was nothing like as clear-cut, and the places hinged on the final game between Alastair Chilcott and Will Psian of Sherborne. In the end, it was Alastair who won, to seal a place in the semis alongside group winner Louis Fulford-Smith of Marlborough.


Louis had a 100% record in the group stages, and maintained his form in the semis, where he scored an emphatic win over Reed. Newman also scored a clear win over Chilcott, but sadly Alastair was hindered by a sprained ankle in the semis and couldn't compete with Henry's strength and speed.


That left Louis and Henry to slug it out in the final and the match didn't disappoint. Henry used his stronger left had to great effect, but as the game wore on, tiredness seemed to creep in and Louis was able to retrieve more and more shots, as well as finding winners of his own. Louis edged the first game, but was a clearer winner in the second game, taking the title 11-9, 11-5. Meanwhile, the Plate was won by Bruton's Alex Gavrilov, who became the first boy from the school to win any silverware at this event.


Last, but not least, was the other first at this race: the girl's event. Malvern, Blundell's and Marlborough all sent girls slong to compete, but in the end it was Malvern's Maggie Wong who emerged as the winner in the singles, before also taking the doubles. Such strong performances bode well for a successful School Girls' Chmpionship in April.


Colquhoun Trophy results


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Bradfield College, 16th March 2014

[posted 18 March 2014]


The 33rd edition of the Winchester Fives Doubles had a bit of everything, writes David Barnes: an extremely strong entry; unpredictably sweating courts at Bradfield on a beautiful early spring day; an Achilles tendon injury to one of the players; and the most entertaining and closest final for years, demonstrating Winchester fives of the very highest quality.


With such a talented field, there were some close matches in the first round. Akerman and M Mohammed had to play well to beat a solid pair in George and Tilston, while Butler and Parker had a mammoth encounter with Minta and Pearce-Smith, squeezing home by the odd point in the third game. 2013 Schools' champions Arnold and Beltrami from St. Paul's confirmed their ability by beating the canny Kiggell and Thomas in two good games.


The quarter-finals produced two more classic matches. Akerman and M Mohammed, champions here back in 2006, showed their mettle to come back from a game down to beat Buchanan and Grant in three, while Butler and Parker had another marathon match, this time against last year's runners-up Cavanagh and Fox, the older pair eventually emerging as narrow winners in the third game. Meanwhile the second seeds, Roberts and Tristão, were needing all their experience and court-craft to defeat the youthful Arnold and Beltrami, who hit the ball as hard as anyone in the competition.


After all this excitement, punctuated by regular sessions of sawdust-sweeping to restore the courts to something like playability, the semi-finals saw straightforward wins for the first and second seeds. Five-times champions Ellison and H Mohammed were finally able to play a full match after hours of inactivity through no fault of their own, and they duly dispatched their old rivals Akerman and M (Dad) Mohammed in two games. Roberts and Tristão also won their semi-final in style, defeating Cavanagh and Fox in straight games.


The final was a classic. After a fairly routine first game dominated by Ellison's astounding volleying and speed around the court, the holders came up against some forceful resistance from Roberts and Tristão, who took a substantial lead in the second game and managed to hold on to it – just – through a wonderfully skilful series of exchanges leaving the gallery gasping in disbelief at the attacking and retrieving on show. In the third, the pattern continued, with Roberts and Tristão again going into an early lead. This time, however, they came under heavier pressure in trying to defend it, although the pace of the game slowed as all the players began to feel the effect of the effort expended. As the score crept up, there was little to separate the pairs, and the odd error reminded the spectators that the players were human, after all. The result was in doubt until the final rally, but in the end Ellison and Mohammed managed to take the game 15-12 and retain their hold on the Barnes Bridge trophy, making it six in a row.


The plate was won by Minta and Pearce-Smith, beating Hughes and Rew in the final.


Many thanks are due to Bradfield College for providing us with lunch, and to Jeremy Ball in particular for all his help with the arrangements for the tournament and throughout the day itself..


National Winchester Fives Doubles Championship results


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Oundle, 26/27th April 2014

[posted 18 March 2014]


Organisers John Hawke and David Bawtree are now accepting entries for the National Veterans' (45+) and Masters' (65+) Championships, respectively. Both events will be held at Oundle over the weekend of April 26/27, with the Veterans running all weekend, and the Masters taking place alongside the Vets Singles on the Saturday. For full details of both events, simply click on the link below to download the official entry forms.


National Veterans' Championships entry form [PDF, 66KB]
National Masters' Championship entry form [Word file, 30KB]


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Bradfield College, 9th March 2014

[posted 11 March 2014]


Denise Hall-Wilton writes: The organiser was quite gleeful at having sixteen entrants and two possible spares on the evening before the tournament. But on the day the head count revealed one player short and several names had changed. What's new?


There was a diverse range of skills, ages, home clubs and fives codes. The youngest player was a year 10 schoolgirl, the eldest was, well, senior! Rossall, Shrewsbury, Blundell's, Marlborough Club, Eastbourne and Sedbergh were all represented, as well as London-based venues.


Doubles were first on the agenda and it was the first group who had one of the best matches. Fiona Barnes and Karen Hird, last year's winners of the Bradfield Bowl, drew Anna Hanson and Madeline Raynor. It was well contested, but Anna and Maddy had a respectable loss and headed for the plate.


The rest of the first-round matches were more clear-cut, as were the semi-finals, with Alexandra Steel and Kathleen Briedenhann looking in ominous form. In the final, Alexandra and Kathleen were the eventual winners, beating Fiona and Karen 15-4, 15-4.


Vicky Westwood found herself partnerless for the first round of the doubles plate. However, as Wendy Carling had been knocked out of the main competition by that stage, she paired up with Vicky to play in the plate. This was hardly conventional but didn't seem to upset the seeding.


Anna Hanson & Maddy made good use of their entry to the doubles plate, beating Polina Pavshinkskya and Karina Valieva 15-6, and then Vicky and Wendy in the final by the closest score of the day, 15-11.


Next, a historical note. Although Winchester Fives is more of a doubles game, the first Winchester Ladies Tournament at Sedbergh in 1988, initiated by Michael Haslam (Melanie Whitehead's father), turned out to be a singles event, because only five brave souls, all from Bradfield, had made the long trip north. So the Crayke Cup, named after the Haslams' home village in Yorkshire, became a singles trophy with Melanie very supportive of Fives ever since.


Two years later, at Bradfield, enough players had been recruited to make a good doubles event, so the Bradfield Bowl was born. Both competitions have continued to be thoroughly enjoyed, and the Bowl has even been through two versions, as the space for the winners? names ran out!


The first round of the 2014 singles competition gave most contestants a chance to glow! A hearty 'round robin' plate competition awaited those knocked out of the first round. This acted as a second tournament with a more relaxed emphasis, and it resulted in a decisive win for Vicky Westwood.


The main singles competition threw up the surprise of the tournament. Maddy Raynor survived a tough route to the final overcoming two seeded players along the way. And what a good final it was. She had the daunting task of playing against Kathleen Briedenhann, who does tend to win things!


Maddy hung on as if her life depended upon it and was never going to give up, but the inevitable happened, as Kathleen won a well-fought battle in style, 15-4 15-4.


Maddy runs Fives for girls at Rossall School, Fleetwood, and she brought a group of them along to play in the tournament. Immediately on their return home to Lancashire a message was received: "Thank you so much for a lovely competition today. All the girls thoroughly enjoyed it, but are very sore and tired now". The organiser felt much the same!


We don't normally have a guest to present the trophies, but as I was standing down from organising Fives competitions I invited a very special guest, Paula Smith, to do so. Paula had dominated ladies Fives including winning the Crayke Cup 15 times between 1988-2003, before she had to retire through injury. While records are made to be beaten, Paula's even greater achievement lay in recruiting large numbers of men and women to play Fives, and her example is truly one to follow.


Ladies Winchester Fives Championships results


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Cambridge, 9th March 2014

[posted 11 March 2014]


Some 47 years ago, the first match between the Universities and the Rugby Fives Association took place at the old Cambridge courts in Portugal Place, writes David Gardner. It was, therefore, fitting that this year the match was played on the brand new spectacular glass back walled courts at the new Sports Centre in Cambridge.


A small reception was held prior to the match for guests and players which then transferred to the viewing area by the courts and provided continuous refreshment throughout the afternoon. Guests included the current RFA President, Bob Dolby; a number of Past Presidents and senior past players. It was worth noting that two of those present had played in the first match all those years ago - David Hebden as a student representing Cambridge, and myself playing for the RFA!


The match was initially well balanced with the students performing well in the Singles to take three out of the six matches and gain lots of points in those that they lost - ending with a nine point advantage - not really enough as the RFA traditionally pull back throughout the Doubles.


This proved to be the case, however it was close, and after the first round of the doubles BUCS still held a narrow five point lead, and even after the second round of matches the students only had a twelve point deficit after nearly three hundred points had been played ! Experience and pressure finally told in the final round, however, when the RFA comfortably demolished the students to take an overall victory by 230 points to 172.


The BUCS team, however, gave good account of themselves against a team that contained two former National Singles Champions; and the current National Doubles title holder. Our thanks are due to Cambridge for hosting the match and to the RFA for looking after the players and guests.


RFA v BUCS results


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Alleyn's School, Dulwich, 5/6th April 2014

[posted 04 March 2014]


Hamish Buchanan is now accepting entries for the National Doubles Championship (for the Cyriax Cup), which will be held at Alleyn's School in Dulwich, London, over the weekend of April 5/6. All games will be to 15 points, and the the closing date for entries (which cost £20 per pair) is April 1st. For full details, click on the link below to download the official entry form.


National Doubles Championships entry form [Word file, 30KB]


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Durham, 1st/2nd March 2014

[posted 03 March 2014]


Despite a spirited effort by Dan Grant to take the final to a third game, the Singles tournament ended in a victory for Will Ellison by 11-4, 11-7. Thus Will carried off the Ferens Trophy for a third year in a row.


Earlier rounds went largely according to the seedings, though it took Dave Butler a fair while to get the better of Theo Parker in round 2 and Ed Hatton even longer to subdue Sam Russell. Hamish Buchanan had a bit too much power for John Beswick, and Richie Murby was likewise just a little too quick around the court for Marcus Bate. Marcus, Russell, Parker and Olly Quarry fought out the Plate semifinals, from which Olly and Marcus emeged victorious. Olly then won a tough final 15-10 which hinged on a long rally at 8-8.


In the Doubles on Sunday the pick of the early rounds was Bate & Hatton playing Butler & Parker, which went in straight games to the ex-Oxford pair. Durham Uni’s first pair of Gravatt & Aquilina put up a game fight against top seeds Ellison & Dean in the semis, while Buchanan & Grant went through to the final comfortably against the resilient Hatton & Bate. The final was marked by hard hitting by all four players and frequent volleying from Ellison and Grant. So again, the win meant a hat-trick for Will and Tom.


The closest match all day and the one that drew the biggest crowd was the Plate Doubles final between Beswick & Roberts and Russell & Quarry. This time Quarry was denied a medal, largely by a characteristically determined display of length and line by John Beswick, with Neil Roberts getting to more cross-courts slams than anyone his age has a right to!


North of England Championships results


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St. Paul's School, Barnes, 22nd February 2014

[posted 24 February 2014]


David Barnes writes: Cambridge, fresh from the first season’s play on their new courts, recorded their fourth consecutive win in the Varsity Match at St. Paul’s by a comfortable margin.


In a repeat of last year’s top two singles, Cambridge’s Kay and J Brubert again had the better of Jefferies and Thomas respectively, while Malde at 3 and freshman Z Brubert at 4 also recorded good wins to give Cambridge a commanding lead at lunch.


In the doubles, Jefferies and Thomas played excellent fives to best both Cambridge 1 and 2, but that was the summit of the Dark Blues’ achievement, as all but one of the remaining twelve games went to Cambridge. Kay and Brubert showed their class as the reigning BUCS doubles champions in demolishing Oxford 2, while lower down the order Cambridge proved to have the stronger pairings, with both 3 (Ader and Law) and 4 (Pinder and Bury) showing more attacking power and sounder defence. Oxford 3 (Horsewood and Hoskins) fought hard to win their final game, but otherwise it was the Light Blues’ day.


The reserves match was a well-contested affair, with the Cambridge Sparrows eventually building on their singles lead to win by 29 points overall. Each side was well led by an Eton fives player, and unusually the eight players all came from different schools.


We are most grateful to St. Paul’s School, who have recently experienced difficulties with the ventilation and lighting of their courts, for ensuring that they were all in good condition for this match. And I am sure the players would like me to thank Champagne Pol Roger as well for their most welcome sponsorship of the event.


Varsity Match results


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St. Paul's School, Barnes, 22nd February 2014

[posted 19 February 2014]


The weekend before the Varsity Match sees the traditional matches between Cambridge Present and Past, this year on the new Cambridge courts, and Oxford's VIII versus Old Oxford at St. Paul's. The Match Managers report:

Bob Dolby writes: A Cambridge team drawn from Ed Kay, Jacob Brubert, Jack Malde, Zach Brubert, Jacob Ader, Wilson Lau, Tom Bury, James Pinder and Richard Law achieved a second win in a row against the Past. Kay, Brubert J, Malde and Brubert Z went 17 points up after the Singles, where Charlie Brooks and Tom Chase recorded wins for the Past while Fred Kelly and Elliott Malone went down. The Present increased their lead in the first round of Doubles, which saw Chris Jones & Rupert Walter, Paddy d’Ancona & Mick d’Ancona enter the fray for the Past. Pick of the contests was a 90 minute battle between Malde & Zach Brubert and Chase & Malone. In the second round of Doubles the Past threw in Charlie Brooks & Paddy d’Ancona, Martin Wilkinson & Joe Gribble and Chris Jones & Peter Judge, all three picking up points. Despite this traditional comeback by the Past there was a win for the Present by 242-206. The day ended with a gentlemen’s foursome: Martin Wilkinson, Paul Reeder, Robert Rigg and Gareth Quarry combining for a game which ended something like 16-15 – what else?!

Dan Tristao reports: A 12-man Oxford team made up of Henry Jefferies, Francis Thomas, Alexander Esin, James Roberts, Drew Horsewood, Tom Hoskins, Ed Wilman, Henry Wilman, Ophir Even, Nick Whitney, Ed Birkett, and Will Yates came up against an unusually strong Past team that included 2 past national champions and a third top 10 player. Due to a surplus of players on the day, a couple of Past members volunteered their services for the Present, resulting in a 10-a-side main fixture, as well as a Beavers fixture. After the singles, the Present were 27 points ahead, with notable scalps from Henry Jefferies, who beat Marcus Bate, and Francis Thomas who beat Sam Roberts. In the doubles however, experience took over and the Past slowly pulled the lead back (as is typical in this fixture). After many hard-fought contests, the Past eventually triumphed 341-233. Despite the final tally, there were some very promising performances from the Present, with quality fives played right down the order; encouraging signs ahead of this Saturday's Varsity match.


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London, 13th February 2014

[posted 14 February 2014]


The RFA is happy to announce that it has launched a new page on social networking website Facebook. Developed by Dan Grant and replacing the old page that some members will already have seen, the new page will allow people to follow the most up-to-date news, post photos, add comments and build up a community feel. It will exist alongside the current RFA and Fivesonline websites, as well as including a Twitter link that updates instantaneously so people can see a play-by-play of each tournament.


All RFA members and fans of Fives are invited to 'like' the page, which can be found at www.facebook.com/rugbyfives and by clicking on the link below (NB You will need to log on to Facebook to access the page.


Click here to visit the RFA's Facebook page (requires Facebook log-in and opens in new window)


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Cambridge, 12th February 2014

[posted 14 February 2014]


To celebrate 65 years of the annual Past versus Present fixture, Cambridge University Rugby Fives Club is proud to announce the launch of a new website at www.cu-sparrows.net . The Sparrows are the former members of CURFC. The site contains a large amount of historical material documenting the history of the Club, which goes back to 1925 when the first Varsity Match was played.


Click here to visit the new CURFC website (opens in new window)


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Bedford, 9th February 2014

[posted 10 February 2014]


Bob Dolby writes: The weather was kinder to us than last year, cold but dry, perfect Fives weather. Numbers were healthy, too, for this second running of the event: 19 for the U15 championship, 28 for the U18s.


In the U18 section, played at Bedford Modern School under the supervision of Stuart Kirby and Phil Smith, things largely went according to seeding. In the Doubles, played first, three of Derby Moor’s pairs went through to the semi-finals accompanied by one pair from Rugby. The final was an all-Derby Moor affair, with the holders, Robert Whitehorn and Rob Christie, retaining the trophy against Derby Moor II, Craig Baxter and Jai Singh. The Doubles Plate went to Bedford I, with Gupta retaining it, this time with his partner, Shah.


The U18 Singles was dominated by Derby Moor and Rugby, with seven out of eight quarter-finalists between them, but it was Christie and Whitehorn who went through once more to an all-Derby Moor final, with Robert Whitehorn retaining his title. He will be looking to make it a hat-trick next year.


Over at Bedford School the morning’s U15 Doubles tournament threw up a number of talented pairings and plenty of even matches. Two Rugby pairs made the semi-finals, along with Bedford I and Derby Moor I. The final was between Rugby I and Derby Moor I. The score sat for a while at 8-8 until the more powerful Rugby pair broke the resistance of their opposition. In the Doubles Plate the Bedford Modern first pair won all four of their matches to deny Bedford II the trophy.


The U15 Singles competition involved four pools from which eight visibly improved players emerged. The three stand-out performers were Suddaby and Skirokiy from Rugby and Attwood from Bedford Modern. Any one of them could have won, but on the day James Attwood proved the most dogged, winning his semi-final against Suddaby by 12-11, then the final against Skirokiy by 12-10.


Many thanks to Michael Croker and Phil Smith for laying on courts, transport, lunch and tea, and to Stuart Kirby for rejigging and running the U18 draw. And to Gareth Quarry, Jerry Cooper, Stuart Kirby, Matt Cavanagh and a modestly anonymous Old Oundelian for joining me in donating the trophies.


Midlands Schools' Regional Championships results


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Oundle, 8/9th February 2014

[posted 10 February 2014]


Over the weekend of Feb 8-9th, the best of the youth in the fives world, travelled to Oundle for the National U25s. 31* came for the singles and 34 (17 pairs) for the doubles. Both the draws were very strong and the quality of fives was exceptional throughout even at the end of both days.*Note there were 32 entries for the singles however one competitor could not make it till the afternoon and therefore ruined the perfect draw for an organiser.




There were not many easy games this year, noted by many, despite this none of the matches went to 3 games. Most of the first round went with seeding but there were 2 very close games. Firstly in the pick of the first round, the longest game in the round as well as the last to start, as Adam managed to successfully navigate Inigo Ackland to the courts, Adam George was taken down by Oliver Quarry in game with huge rallies and lots of rotation of the serve. Oli however managed to find the right shots at the right time in each of the games to win, 15-13, 15-7. In close second was the game between Chris Waller and Sam Russell, which equally had lengthy rallies. Chris Waller storming into a lead, 13-5, in the first only to let Sam back in, with Sam having several game points, before closing it out 16-15. The second followed suit with Chris again having a substantial lead before Sam started creeping back. This time Chris did not make the same mistake closing the second out 15-7. Other notable wins in the first round: Jack Malde had a good win over Jay Gravatt 15-5, 9-1 Ret. and Wilson Lau pushed 3rd seed Inigo Ackland 15-3, 15-13, Wilson having had a substantial lead in the second.


The second round had the tastiest match ups with many of the spectators and competitors licking their lips in anticipation. In the top half of the draw, the matchups were Theo Parker vs Dave Butler, Sam Rolls vs Oli Quarry, James Tilston vs Jacob Brubert. Theo against Dave, the 8th seed, was a clash of two contrasting games, Dave hitting line and length against the power and back nick game of Theo. Dave edged the first game, Theo making too many mistakes, and triumphed 15-12, 15-5 as he was just too consistent for Theo. Oli Quarry continued his good form upsetting 5th seed Sam Rolls,15-10, 15-7, outpacing Sam with a good number of nicks and powerful round the angle shots. That left the most anticipated game in the half, James Tilston, a power hitter in good form, against Jacob Brubert (4th Seed), another form player with a good retrieval and line and length game. James started well hitting some fantastic corner and side nicks but Jacob then Jacob started to put the ball deeper and won the first game fairly comfortably, 15-8. The second game was a closer affair, with James determined to play more sensibly, waiting for the right time to power his shots, however eventually mistakes crept in as Jacob kept retrieving shots and Jacob sneaked the second 15-13.


In the lower half most of the games went against seeding. Matt Shaw, 6th Seed, the only other seed to survive alongside Ed with a hard fought win over Julian Aquilina, with some exceptional retrieving. In the biggest upset of the round, Chris Waller defeated Inigo Ackland, 3rd seed. Chris grinding away till Inigo made enough mistakes to give him a well earned 15-12, 15-13 victory. Henry Jefferies, then upset 7th Seed Chris Burrows using good pace and width to wrong foot his opponent, 15-4, 15-12. DanTristão and Ed Kay, the number 1 and 2 seeds, had fairly straightforward games against J Malde, 15-4, 15-1, and Francis Thomas, 15-3, 15-3, respectively.


The quarter finals were a fairly straightforward affair compared to other rounds. Oli Quarry, determined to try and upset another seed pushed Jacob Brubert hard in the first game but eventually ran out of steam losing 16-14, 15-9. Dave Butler tried to find a weakness in the Tristão fortress but came up short being outplayed in his own line and length game, 15-2, 15-6. Matt Shaw then dispatched the shattered Chris Waller, 15-3, 15-0 and Ed Kay then set a marker for the upcoming varsity match by beating his Oxford rival, Henry Jefferies, 15-3, 15-9.


The semifinals saw Matt Shaw against Ed Kay and Jacob Brubert against Dan Tristão. Jacob struggled against the varied pace and angles that Dan produced succumbing 15-5,15-4. The second semi final pitted the young Matt Shaw against the also young but slightly older Ed Kay. Matt as always showing his excellent retrieval skills was always in the lengthy rallies but never quite had enough to kill off the rallies, with Ed winning 15-6, 15-9.


Also happening at a similar time to the semis was the plate final between Adam George and Sam Russell. Having triumphed through some tough plate groups and plate semis both still managed to produce their best fives in a tight final. Adam having several match points before Sam levelled on 14 all. Sam then went on to lead 15-14 which brought about several changes of serve that were nerve racking to watch, there were many oohs and ahhs from the gallery. Adam then drew level at 15-15 and it looked like his experience would take him over the line. Sam then produced two wonderful shots to clinch it, 16-14, and break the tension. Also special mention to Sam for his entertaining betting odds on several scenarios and games throughout the weekend. A possible avenue for fives for fives to expand into in the future?


This set up of a repeat of the last two finals, the two top seeds, national champion Dan Tristão vs the current Cambridge No. 1 Ed Kay. Despite being played early on Sunday morning the match was of a very high quality. Dan showed exactly why he is the man to beat in the fives world at the moment producing incredible shots that brought an attentive and large crowd. A variety of drop shots, deft angles, volleys and incredible court speed saw Dan take comfortable leads in both games. Ed earned his points with equally high quality fives but could not sustain it for any substantial period to threaten Dan. Dan won 15-3,15-6 to win his sixth sequential national U25s singles title. A record that is likely to stand for some time and deservedly so of a man with that much talent.


After a showcase final with a large crowd to watch the doubles began the traditional way, late. In previous years, this has not been so much of a problem as generally there have only been a few strong pairs so early rounds happen quickly. However fortunately this year just like the singles the doubles was packed with strong pairs throughout the 17 that entered the draw, extending the day substantially more than any other year.


Firstly in the preliminary round, Vicky Westwood paired up with Sam Rolls (many a bread pun to be found on twitter) to take on the Oxford and ex-Oxford pairing of Sasha (Alexander) Esin and Cameron Mckelvie. A good tussle with lengthy rallies being ended with good winners by all players. Sasha and Cameron eventually winning, 15-7,15-8.


This then gave Sasha and Cameron the pleasure of playing the two singles finalists Ed Kay and Dan Tristão, reigning champions and teaming up for the third year in a row; Sasha and Cameron looking to take advantage of the fatigue from the Singles final. Unfortunately it is turned out that Dan and Ed were still fresh from their Singles final, taking the match 15-4,15-2. Elsewhere in the first round, the derby moor and siblings pairing of Anthony "I have a big left hand" and Jimmy "I have a bigger left hand" Goodwin took on the old Pauline pair of Matt Shaw and Theo Parker. The Paulines playing steady against the barrage of power hitting winning 15-6, 15-6. The scratch “cambridgish” pairing of Cook and Meek played the Oxford top pair of Henry Jefferies and Francis Thomas, with Oxford in dominating form winning 15-0, 15-2. Other lopsided games in the first round included Aquilina and Tilston (Durham and Ex Durham) vs Law and Lau (of Cambridge), 15-1, 15-1 to A & T; Butler and Gravatt (also Durham) vs Lidgitt and Waller (Ex Clifton), 15-4, 15-0 to B & G; Oliver Arnold and Ben Beltrami (St. Paul’s School, more on them later) vs Russell and Quarry (Durham again), 15-3, 15-2 to A & B, Burrows and Burbert (scratch pairing) vs Even and Whitney (Oxford), 15-2, 15-3. In the pick of the first round games, George and Ackland (Ex Alleyns), the 4th seeds, took on the all Cambridge pair Malde and Ader, the latter being familiar with the courts having had to travel to Oundle to train whilst their wonderful new courts were being built. This somewhat home court showed early on as Ackland and George continued their erratic form of the weekend, losing a series of early points in both games from some bizarre mistakes. However the seeds eventually showed their experience, steading their games forcing the cambridge pair to go for too much eventually grinding out the lengthy match 15-13, 15-11.


The quarter finals contained fantastic matchups across the board. The top seeds had the tricky encounter with the much fancied pair Beltrami & Arnold. It became even trickier when the school boys showed some ‘experienced’ tactics, picking the ball for the match. The ‘rocket’ ball combined with arguably the fastest courts in the country and their hard hitting game made for the most enthralling match of the doubles. Watched by a large crowd, the schoolboys pushed their ‘seniors’, with terrific pace, angle and nicks. However Dan and Ed showed their experience, nicking key points and stringing runs of points to win two hard fought games 15-12, 15-10. (As a side note, I wish I could write more on this game by all accounts a fantastic match, but unfortunately I was on court at the time.) In contrast to this game, the battle between George & Ackland (2) Vs Butler & Gravatt became surprisingly a grinding affair. With both pairs struggling to find the nick, the rallies became extreme in length eventually being finished when the ball strayed into a nick or a rare mistake was forced. George & Ackland eventually managing to force the game a bit more to win 15-12, 15-12.


In the bottom half of the draw both of the seeds fell to shock results. Firstly Shaw & Parker got the better of the number 2 seeds Burrows & Brubert. Matt producing some incredible serving throughout the match and this proved to be the deciding factor. With Burrows and Brubert only having 50% of the points to score on Shaw & Parker took early leads in both games. Mini comebacks in both games from the seeds made for some tense ending rallies but the young pair held on to win 15-13, 15-11. In the other quarter final game of the bottom half, the well established pair of Tilston & Aquilina took on the Oxford giants Jefferies & Thomas. In one of the only two 3 game matches of the tournament, there were some extraordinary momentum changes. Oxford blasted into a massive lead in the first game with Aquilina & Tilston seemingly struggling to find each other and their games, 15-5 Oxford. In the second game Tilston & Aquilina readjusted their compasses, fighting back taking a tight second 15-12. However once again the fog descended and Oxford stepped up securing a 15-5, 12-15, 15-3 victory.


In the first semifinal, Ackland & George tired from their previous round, sucummed to the number one seeds, Kay & Tristão winning comfortably 15-9, 15-6. The second semi-final was a rather different affair. Another 3 game match with long lengthy rallies as clear winners were difficult to come by. Oxford nicked the tight first game 15-12. However in the next two games it became apparent that they were starting to feel the effects of their previous round. Shaw and Parker eventually breaking their opponents 12-15, 15-7, 15-10.


At the same time as the semi-finals, the plate competition was drawing to a climactic close. Malde and Ader who had pushed the 3rd seeds in the first round eventually victorious over the Durham pair of Russell and Quarry (both of whom had had a good weekend), 15-12, preventing Sam from doing the plate double.


It was rather late in the day by the time the final commenced, with many tired faces around the courts from spectators and players. Despite this the final remained a high quality encounter. The assumption at the time between the spectators was that Shaw & Parker would fall away due to their tougher route through the draw. Initially this looked to be the case with Kay & Tristão racing into a commanding lead in the first game. Shaw & Parker dug deep but could only get back to 15-8. In the contrast to the first though, Shaw & Parker then produced some cracking fives to lead 12-3 in the second. Everything was set for a third game which could have made logistics difficult (the sports hall manager was breathing down my neck at this point), (un)fortunately Ed & Dan showed their experience to reel in Matt and Theo to take the match 15-8, 15-12 and their third title.


Finally thank you to Oundle School for hosting again this year and providing great facilities as well as Mike Case for making everything that much easier. Also thank you to everyone that attended for making it a great weekend of fives.


National Under 25s Championships results


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Bradfield College, 16th March 2014

[posted 10 February 2014]


David Barnes is now accepting entries for the Winchester Fives National Doubles Championship, which will be held at Bradfield College on Sunday March 16th. Entries may be sent by email or through the post, and must be received by Sunday 9th March. For full details, click on the link below to see the official entry form.


National Winchester Fives Doubles Championship entry form [PDF, 728KB]


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Cambridge, 23rd March 2014

[posted 10 February 2014]


Organiser Brian Kirk is now accepting entries for the National Vintage (over 55) Championship, which will be held on the new courts at Cambridge University (NB Not at Oundle, as originally planned) on Sunday March 23rd. Entries must be received by Tuesday 18th March. For full details, click on the link below to see the official entry form..


National Vintage Championships entry form [PDF, 38KB]


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Manchester, 18/19th January 2014

[posted 19 January 2014]


Firstly a big thanks to all the players for supporting the tournament once again, with a special thanks to Sedbergh School, Durham University and Derby Moor, writes organiser John Beswick.


In the first round of the singles. Butler from Durham had a good win against the elder statesman and restaurant guru Dave Fox; and, in the other side of the draw, Widdop showed some real Yorkshire grit, beating Beswick in three.


The last eight went to the seeded players, setting up two great semi-finals, Ellison beat Brooks in two, always having that extra gear. Toop beat Grant in three, showing his great resolve as a many-times Open champion in two sports!! Just seemingly knowing how to win.


The final was a game of great quality: Toop was all over the court, but Ellison was not going to be denied his first North West title, winning in two games, playing like a true champion, MOTWB.


The plate tournament bought together in the final, after some hard fought games, Fox, a Sedbergh old boy and Butler from the 'David Barnes school of fives'. In a great game, Butler, the younger man won, even though he spent the most of the day complaining that his legs were cramping up!!


The doubles was retained by Ellison and Minta, beating Brooks and Dean in the final in two very fast and furious games of hard-hitting, high-quality fives. Well done to both pairs.


A mention has to also go to a new pairing – Grant and Widdop – who took Brooks and Dean to three games in the semis.


The final of the doubles plate was an all-Derby Moor event: Anthony Goodwin retained the plate trophy with a new partner, Robert Whitehorn, beating colt John Halligan and his coach Stuart Kirby.


And a big thank you from the RFA to John Beswick, who has now organised this tournament for 25 years. The contract for the next ten is in the post!.


North West Open Championships results


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Bradfield College, 9th March 2014

[posted 18 January 2014]


Organiser Denise Hall-Wilton is now accepting entries for the National Ladies Winchester Fives Championships, which will be held at Bradfield College on Sunday March 9th. Both singles and doubles championships will be held on the same day, and all standards of players are welcome, with plenty of Fives for everyone.


The precise format of the event will depend on the number of entries – and it may be possible to find partners for those without one – but for full details of the tournament, simply click on the link below to download the official entry form.


National Ladies Winchester Fives Championships entry form [PDF, 68KB]


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Oundle School, 8/9th February 2014

[posted 12 January 2014]


Organiser Chris Burrows is now accepting entries for the National Under 25s Championships – which will be held at the Oundle School Fives courts over the weekend of 8/9th February – through a dedicated website. Entry costs £5 per person for each tournament, but is free for school pupils, and the last day for entries is Tuesday 4th February.


As in previous years, the Jesters Club has generously made some money available which allows for your travel/accommodation costs to be subsidised, up to £25 per person per day. Currently this is only available to university students, and more details can be found online.


The website (which you can reach by clicking on the link below) also has details on possible travel and accommodation arrangements.


National Under 25s Championships website


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Sherborne, 4/5th January 2014

[posted 07 January 2014]


There was a very healthy entry of 72 boys from 11 schools for the West of England Schools Championships, which again were held at Sherborne School, writes organiser Lionel Lawson.


All of the main trophies were won by St Paul's School, but there were challenging performances from Derby Moor, Winchester and Blundells in particular.


In the Senior Singles, Ben Beltrami of St Paul's was a clear favourite and he progressed to the final conceding only 7 points in his first four games. Sam Wyatt-Haines from Blundell's, who was the second seed, made equally easy progress to the final and was particularly impressive in his semi-final win over Ollie Arnold of St Paul's with a display of controlled and effective hitting. In the final, however, Beltrami reigned supreme and was a totally convincing winner – he is certainly a player with a very bright future ahead of him.


In the Colts Singles, Harveer Mahajan of St Paul's was also an impressive winner after an equally trouble-free run to the final. Here he came up against the promising John Halligan of Derby Moor and the first game could have gone either way until Mahajan clinched it at 11-8. In the second game, Halligan's resistance fell away and Mahajan took the game away to win the title.


The Senior Doubles was inevitably won by the outstanding Beltrami and Arnold of St Paul's, who had too much fire power and all round skill for the Winchester pair of Chua and Watkinson.


There was a fascinating battle in the Colts Doubles final between St Paul's 1 (Mahajan and Heidrich) and Derby Moor (Halligan and Singh). Derby Moor won the first game comfortably to 5 and this was reversed with St Paul's taking the second game to 3. The third game was a thrilling encounter, which was greatly enjoyed by the packed gallery: St Paul's were on the verge of victory at 10-7, but Derby Moor came back at them to make it 11-all. It could have gone either way, but the final roll of the dice went to the St Paul's pair. The game was a great credit to all four young players involved.


West of England Schools' Championships results


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