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2012-13 SEASON

JANUARY-

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

18 Dec 13

Quarry and Tilston combine to win the RFA Club President's Cup

18 Dec 13

Ladies National titles won by Briedenhann and Mills

15 Dec 13

Tristao and Ellison top year-ending singles and doubles rankings

08 Dec 13

Dan Tristao wins his first National Singles Championship

04 Dec 13

Entry form and details for the 2013 RFA Club President's Cup

02 Dec 13

Draw published for the last 16 of the National Singles Championship

24 Nov 13

2012's champions defend their titles at 2013 BUCS Championships

12 Nov 13

BUCS publishes draws for National Student Championships

11 Nov 13

St Paul's boys dominate Winchester Fives Schools' Championships

11 Nov 13

Entry form for Ladies' National Rugby Fives Championships

02 Nov 13

James Toop overtaken at the top of the RFA singles rankings

02 Nov 13

Entry form for next March's North of England Championships

02 Nov 13

Entry form for North West Open Championships in January

02 Nov 13

North of England Winchester Fives Championship postponed

29 Oct 13

Grant & Tristao dominate at the West of England Championships

21 Oct 13

Entry form and details for the National Singles Championship

20 Oct 13

First competitive match on the new Cambridge University courts

14 Oct 13

Ellison & Buchanan retain their Yorkshire Open Doubles title

07 Oct 13

New website launched for the Derby Moor Fives Club

04 Oct 13

Entries being accepted for the BUCS National Student Championships

29 Sep 13

Old Paulines win the Owers Trophy for the fourth year in a row

29 Sep 13

West of England Open entries being accepted on dedicated website

21 Sep 13

Entry form and details for the Yorkshire Open Doubles tournament

19 Sep 13

New RFA President elected at the Association's AGM

15 Sep 13

Ellison and Tristao score significant wins at the London Open

18 Aug 13

Work completed on the new Rugby Fives courts in Cambridge

12 Aug 13

London Open entries now being accepted on dedicated website

13 Jul 13

The RFA is sad to report the death of Jeremy Schroeter

08 Jul 13

Titles for Ellison and Grant at South West Open Championships

02 Jul 13

Goodwin and Sandie win Derby tournament – at Denstone

20 May 13

A report from the National Masters' (over 65s) Championship

12 May 13

Steel and Pringle win Winchester Fives Mixed Doubles Championship

12 May 13

Latest official RFA rankings published on Fives Federation site

06 May 13

Titles for Tristao, Ellison and Kemp at Scottish Championships

02 May 13

Report from February's South East Regional Schools' Tournament

02 May 13

Report from the National School Girls' Championships

29 Apr 13

Buchanan & Hanton retain their titles at Veterans' Championships

18 Apr 13

Old Paulines successfully defend their Club Championship title

14 Apr 13

Entry form for next month's Scottish Open Championships

14 Apr 13

Latest official RFA rankings published on Fives Federation site

08 Apr 13

Ellison and Brooks combine to win the National Doubles Championship

06 Apr 13

Report from the National Schools' Championships

26 Mar 13

Results from the National Vintage (over 55s) Championships

24 Mar 13

Alex Steel accepting entries for Winchester Fives Mixed tournament

24 Mar 13

Entry form for July's South West Open Championships

24 Mar 13

Latest official RFA singles and doubles rankings published

18 Mar 13

Fifth successive Barnes Bridge title for Ellison and Mohammed

18 Mar 13

St Olave's score cross-code success at the Under 13s Championships

18 Mar 13

A report from the first Midlands Schools tournament

17 Mar 13

A – belated – report from the 2013 UK Wallball Open Championships

11 Mar 13

RFA beats BUCS representative team in annual encounter

11 Mar 13

Entry form for the National Masters Doubles Championship

08 Mar 13

Entry form for the National Doubles Championship (Cyriax Cup)

08 Mar 13

Entry form for the National Veterans' (over 45) Championships

08 Mar 13

Results from the Ladies Winchester Fives Championships

03 Mar 13

North of England Open: 2012 champions retain their titles

03 Mar 13

Colquhoun Trophy: boys from Blundell's School dominate

26 Feb 13

Latest official RFA singles and doubles rankings published

25 Feb 13

Cambridge University wins third successive Varsity match

20 Feb 13

February brings the end of an era for Varsity Fives

15 Feb 13

Results from the National Under 25s Championships

15 Feb 13

Entry form for the Winchester Fives National Doubles Championship

05 Feb 13

Entry form for the National Vintage (over 55s) Championships

31 Jan 13

Entry form and details for Ladies Winchester Fives Championships

24 Jan 13

Entries for the U25s Championships being accepted on dedicated 'site

24 Jan 13

Entry form for the North of England Open Championships

24 Jan 13

Tristao, Minta and Ellison win titles at the North West Championships

10 Jan 13

Report from the West of England Schools' Championships

02 Jan 13

The RFA is sad to note the death of Christopher Martin-Jenkins

NEWS ARCHIVE

2012, January-December

2011, April-December

2010/11, September-March

2009/10, January-August

2009, July-December

2008/09, December-June

2008, April-November

2007/08, October-March

2007, April-October

2006/07, December-March

2006, August-November

2006, February-July

2005/06, November-January

2005, August-October

2004/05 season

 

OFFICIAL PUBLICATIONS

2013 Newsletter (PDF, 5.1MB)

Mid-2012 Newsletter (PDF, 5MB)

2012 Newsletter (PDF, 7.8MB)

Mid-2011 Newsletter (PDF, 10.5MB)

2011 Newsletter (PDF, 6MB)

2010 Newsletter (PDF, 7MB)

2009 Newsletter (PDF, 7.9MB)

2008 Newsletter (PDF, 6.5MB)

2007 Newsletter (PDF, 592KB)

2006 Newsletter (PDF, 616KB)

 

2010-11 Annual Review (opens in separate window)

2011-12 Annual Review (opens in separate window)

 

Freshers' Fair poster (PDF, 2.1MB)

 

Recommended Rugby Fives court specifications (PDF, 237KB)

 

 

PRESS RELEASES

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

RFA Risk Assessment [PDF, 132KB]

RFA Equity Statement [PDF, 52KB]

NATIONAL CLUB CHAMPIONSHIP

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

[posted 15 April 2014]

 

STOP PRESS

The Old Paulines cemented their position as the country's top club with their fourth successive win in the National Club Championship, adding to the Owers Trophy, which they won last year – also for the fourth year in a row. Their team – all of whom were reigning National or regional champions – was simply too strong for a Wessex team that had done extremely well to reach the final after good wins over the Alleyn Old Boys and Executioners in the quarter- and semi-finals, respectively.

 

National Club Championship results

 

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WINCHESTER FIVES MIXED DOUBLES CHAMPIONSHIP

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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SCOTTISH OPEN CHAMPIONSHIPS

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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NATIONAL SCHOOLS' CHAMPIONSHIPS

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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NATIONAL DOUBLES CHAMPIONSHIP

Alleyn's School, 5/6th April 2014

[posted 06 April 2014]

 

STOP PRESS
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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NATIONAL UNDER 13s CHAMPIONSHIPS

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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NATIONAL VINTAGE CHAMPIONSHIPS

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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FIVES FEDERATION COACHING COURSE

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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SOUTH EAST REGIONAL SCHOOLS' CHAMPIONSHIPS

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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SOUTH WEST OPEN CHAMPIONSHIPS

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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OFFICIAL RFA RANKINGS

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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COLQUHOUN TROPHY

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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NATIONAL WINCHESTER FIVES DOUBLES CHAMPIONSHIP

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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NATIONAL VETERANS' AND MASTERS' CHAMPIONSHIPS

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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LADIES WINCHESTER FIVES CHAMPIONSHIPS

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 semifinals, 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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RFA v BUCS

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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NATIONAL DOUBLES CHAMPIONSHIP

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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NORTH OF ENGLAND CHAMPIONSHIPS

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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VARSITY MATCH

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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VARSITY MATCH

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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RFA FACEBOOK PAGE

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 UNIVERSITY RUGBY FIVES CLUB

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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MIDLANDS SCHOOLS' REGIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS

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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NATIONAL UNDER 25s CHAMPIONSHIPS

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.

 

Singles

 

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.

Doubles

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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NATIONAL WINCHESTER FIVES DOUBLES CHAMPIONSHIP

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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NATIONAL VINTAGE CHAMPIONSHIPS

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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NORTH WEST OPEN CHAMPIONSHIPS

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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LADIES WINCHESTER FIVES CHAMPIONSHIPS

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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NATIONAL U25s CHAMPIONSHIPS

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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WEST OF ENGLAND SCHOOLS' CHAMPIONSHIPS

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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RFA CLUB PRESIDENT'S CUP

Merchant Tayolrs' School, Northwood, 15th December 2013

[posted 18 December 2013]

 

STOP PRESS

The 2013 President's Cup was won by James Tilston and Ollie Quarry, while former winner Jay Gravatt teamed up with Tim Widdop to win the T Pot. The Love Mug went to Tom Dean and Mark Kiteley (the latter winning it for the second year on the trot), while Dan  Tristao and Keith Kennerley won the Mates' Plate.

Full report to come...

 

RFA Club President's Cup results

 

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LADIES NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS

St Paul's School, Barnes, 8th December 2013

[posted 18 December 2013]

 

This year, the Ladies Nationals went smoothly, albeit after a rocky start because of the organiser being stuck in traffic due to an accident. However, it was an excellent day of Ladies fives, full of varying abilities and amazing passion for the game, writes Alexandra Steel.

 

This year’s participants spanned the country, Kathleen Briedenhann and Tessa Mills from Eastbourne, Alexandra Steel and Karen Hird from London, Maddy Raynor, Karina Valieva, Lora Misikova and Kate Shilina from Rossall, Melanie Whitehead from Devon and Amy Flood from Aldenham. I was especially impressed that the girls from Rossall changed their flight times home to accommodate the competition. It just goes to show the love of the game is ever growing!

 

The day started off with the doubles as per tradition! It was a round-robin due to only having 5 pairs. Each game was to 15 and all highly enjoyable to watch.

 

Melanie and Amy – newly paired together – worked well and enjoyed their games, getting used to each other’s play within only a few games. Amy showed great potential with her hard hitting from her right hand and quick movements around the court. Certainly one to watch out for in the future.

 

Third and fourth place was fought out between Melanie & Amy against Lora & Maddy. This was a close game with good rallies and humour throughout the match. In the end Lora and Maddy won through. Well done to them.

 

The final of the doubles was between Alexandra & Karen and Kathleen & Tessa: two games of hard hitting, good rallies and great effort from both pairs. Kathleen and Tessa, an experienced pair, put to good use their known strengths against first-time partners Alexandra and Karen, who used their experience of volleying and turning shots to their advantage. The match was fought hard by both pairs and was a lot of fun. Kathleen and Tessa finally won 15-10 and 15-7.

 

The singles started during the final of the doubles, as a few ladies had to catch flights home. It was as exciting as the doubles, with all ladies showing a high standard of fives. The singles was a knock-out round with all girls playing one game to 11. The semi-finals were fought between Tessa and Alexandra (Eastbourne and London) and Kathleen and Karen (Eastbourne and London). The former game was extremely well matched, with two friends showing strong power, similar styles and consistent hitting. It was a thoroughly exhausting game with the end result going to Alexandra 15-7. Karen played very well against Kathleen, but Kathleen's experience and hard hitting won out in the end and took the game 15-0.

 

There was a singles plate played by Maddy, Lora, Amy and Melanie, round-robin style, with Maddy emerging as the winner. Great stuff.

 

This year, the final was between two friends, Alexandra and Kathleen. It was an excellent match to watch as both girls tried to bring their different experience to the game to win the points. With both girls very well matched, points were hard to win, as extremely long rallies dominated the game. Alexandra hit some fast serves and back-wall shots, but Kathleen's amazing wrist flicks aimed the ball down the line fast into the corner, from where it was hard to return.  Alexandra battled tenaciously and made it very hard for Kathleen to win, especially towards the end with seven long match points! Kathleen was relentless, though, and eventually won 15-1, 15-2, but as many of the spectators and players said, the scores did not fully reflect the effort by both girls during this game. Well done Kathleen!

 

It was wonderful to see such talented young girls show so much enjoyment in the game and credit has to go to Kate Shilina from Rossall who played the whole day with a horrible cold. I hope to see them all enter more competitions in the future.

 

Well done Ladies. A truly fantastic day of Fives.

 

National Ladies Championships results

 

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OFFICIAL RFA RANKINGS

London, 10th December 2013

[posted 15 December 2013]

 

The RFA has today published its official year-ending singles and doubles rankings, prepared on its behalf by Dave Hebden. They are significant, as they reflect both the BUCS/National Student Championships, as well as the National Singles Championship.

 

In the singles rankings, new National Champion Dan Tristao consolidates his position at the top, ahead of runner-up Will Ellison and 2012 champion James Toop, who is now in third position. However, perhaps the most significant move comes from BUCS champion and National semi-finalist Dan Grant, who jumps into fourth place. Elsewhere, the other major moves come from the young players who so impressed in the National Singles and BUCS. Jacob Brubert, Sam Rolls, Matt Shaw and David Butler all now sit between 20th and 30th, with the likes of Theo Parker, Henry Jefferies and Julian Aquilina all jumping more than 10 places.

 

By comparison, there is less movement in the doubles ranking – in fact, the top 16 places are unchanged. However, following the BUCS championships, again it's the young players who are making significant jumps. For instance, BUCS finalists Jacob Brubert, Inigo Ackland and Sam Rolls are now all inside the top 20, while David Butler and Henry Jefferies both climb five places.

 

The full rankings are now restored to the Fivesonline site, and you can see the full details by clicking on the link below. (NB Much of this site is still a Work in Progress following the hacking attack, so please ignore the current dominance of EFA articles. There is much work going on behind the scenes to rectify the situation)

 

Official RFA Rankings

 

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NATIONAL SINGLES CHAMPIONSHIP

Final rounds, Barnes, 7th/8th December 2013

[posted 08 Dec 2013]

 

Dan Tristao won his first National Singles title today, with a win over Will Ellison in the final, making Dan the first Old Pauline national singles champion since John East in 1969. It was a fitting culmination to a wonderful couple of days' play, which were notable for many reasons: the number of young players reaching this stage of the tournament bodes well for the future of the game, while this was the first time for six years that James Toop did not reach the final. Mind you, he came agonisingly close, only being knocked out by Will Ellison, who had lost to James in the last three finals, but came back from 5-11 down and saved some six match points before taking the third and deciding game of their semi-final this year 16-14.

 

The long battle took some of the energy out of Will’s legs, but it was an irresistible start to the final by Dan; with a combination of deft hands, reverse angles and punishing line and length, he pushed his opponent all over the court to take an early 8-0 lead. Will managed to slow down the charge by capitalising on the few errors that Dan was making, but the deficit was too great and Dan took the game 15-4. At the start of the second it looked as though the match might turn into a classic, with the scores locked at 7-7 after some coruscating rallies, but Dan raised the bar again and marched on to a 15-7 victory and with it the Jesters Cup.

 

Once again, it was the semi-final between the second and third seeds that was the most exciting encounter of the tournament, and for the third time in a row it was Will who came through by a whisker in the final game. However, this year his opponent was James rather than Dan, who had a slightly easier route thanks to his number one seeding. Will got off to a storming start again James, racing to game ball for the loss of only two points before James fought back. Although he lost that opener, it gave James momentum going into the second which he took relatively comfortably. Both players then showed the fighting qualities that have served them so well over the last few seasons, with the decider going this way and that; the closer the winning line got, the harder it was for either player to score points, culminating in six match points saved by Will before he eventually managed to eke out the final point well over two hours after the match started.

 

The first two rounds had gone more-or-less according to the seedings – the exception in the first round was Tom Maconie (9) edging out Ed Kay (8), and in the quarter-finals Dan Grant (5) beat Matt Cavanagh (4). The latter result looked unlikely after Matt won the first to 5, but Dan managed to change tactics effectively to reach his first National Singles semi-final.

 

As ever with the National Singles, the plate competition was of a very high standard with some cracking matches taking place. It was won by Ed Kay, beating Matt Shaw in the final, who had scored notable wins in both the qualifying tournament and the plate. The plate was remarkable for the fact that every player is currently a student!

 

Finally, many thanks to those who organised the regional qualifying tournaments in Durham, Bristol and Cambridge – in doing so they helped to attract the largest entry to the tournament ever.

 

National Singles Championship (last 16) results

 

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RFA CLUB PRESIDENT'S CUP

Merchant Taylors' School, Northwood, 15th December 2013

[posted 04 December 2013]

 

Following the success of the email-based entry system which has been used over the last few years, we will be continuing with it for this year's RFA Club President's Cup.

 

The entry form is being distributed by email and here on the RFA website, and we ask everyone who would like to be considered for an entry into the competition to apply to the organisers by email. If you do not have access to email, they will also accept entries by telephone. They will acknowledge receipt of every application, and all entries must be received by Thursday December 12th. Then, on Friday 13th, a random draw will take place to select from the applicants the 32 players who will compete on the day, as well as a list of reserves, all of whom will be notified immediately of their successful application.

 

Finally, one word of warning from the organiser: the President's Cup is an extremely physical, full day of fives, and should the competitors have any doubts whatsoever about their ability to be on court for five hours, they need to line up/bring a suitable substitute.

 

For full details of the event, simply click on the link below to download the official entry form.

 

2013 RFA Club President's Cup entry form [PDF, 98KB]

 

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NATIONAL SINGLES CHAMPIONSHIP

Qualifying tournaments, regional, 16th November 2013; Final rounds, Barnes, 7th/8th December 2013

[posted 02 Dec 2013]

 

Organiser Charlie Brooks has published the draw for the last 16 of the National Singles Championship - and it looks a mouth-watering prospect, with a crop of excellent young players joining more seasoned campaigners. Mind you, given that this year has seen a record entry of 56 players, it's perhaps no surprise that we've ended up with a field of such high quality in the final rounds.

 

Perhaps most intriguingly, this is the first year for some time that James Toop (the defending champion and looking to extend his run of five consecutive national titles) is not seeded first. In fact, if the seedings hold true, he won't even reach the final, as Will Ellison now sits second in the rankings, meaning he is seeded second in this tournament. Top seed this year is Dan Tristao, who has won the last two singles titles to overtake James at the top of the rankings.

 

However, there can be no doubt that Dan will have to play well even to reach the final. His first opponent is Theo Parker and, if he wins to progress beyond that, he will face the winner of what looks like a cracking first-round tie between Tom Maconie and Ed Kay, who is continuing his comeback after a nasty injury at the London Open in September.

 

Such is the strength of youth in this tournament, you might even call Tom a veteran! But, with the likes of David Butler, Peter Hanton, Matt Shaw, Sam Rolls, Jabob Brubert and Henry Jefferies all in action, a casual observer might confuse this with the recent BUCS tournament. However, former champions Hamish Buchanan and Matt Cavanagh prove that there is life in the old(er) dogs yet.

 

For full details of the draw, click on the link below; and, come back here next week to see who has lifted the coveted Jesters Cup.

 

National Singles Championship - last 16 draw [PDF, 168KB]

 

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NATIONAL STUDENT/BUCS CHAMPIONSHIPS

Marlborough College, 22nd/24th November 2013

[posted 24 November 2013]

 

An entry of some 49 in the singles and 27 pairs in the doubles, pushed the organisers to their limits in order to finish the schedule on time. In fact only a minimal number withdrew - 2 from the singles and 1 pair . Combine this with the fact that a couple of the 1st round singles went to long three game matches, and we were always likely to remain behind time, writes David Gardner.

 

Estimating the length of a match is always difficult and this year was no exception. In fact we played for 13 hours non-stop on 4 courts on day 1, followed by  12 hour on day 2!

 

Even the finals went to 5 hours of play Sunday morning.   Thus some 150 matches were played in the main Championships and Plate events, with a total of some 110 hours of play. A mammoth task which exhausted everyone.

 

However the standard was generally of a high quality - exceptionally good at the top end, with a very broad level in the middle order, which meant even more long matches.  Even at the lower end there was much excitement.  The  arrival of a 'Squash' team from Brunel provided a breath of fresh air to the tournament, and there was much jubilation from everyone when they won their first ever victory in a Plate match v UCL. 

 

I trust that we will see them again next year. It was also extremely pleasing to see Edinburgh represented after a break of a few years, and we hope that Matt Oddy will be able to re-build the Club in Scotland so that we are able to consider taking the event back North of the Border again in the near future.

 

The finals went to plan with the top seeds, Dan Grant (UCL) and Ed Kay & Jacob Brubert (Cambridge) both retaining their titles.  Inigo Ackland & Sam Rolls, tried desperately hard to take the doubles, in their second successive final, in a long and gruelling three game match, where the level of play was top class, but, sadly, the levels of sportsmanship were not always of the standard that we have come to expect in our sport

 

Self regulation has always been a feature of Rugby Fives and we hope that will continue long into the future!

 

The Plate events provided more excitement with Durham  capturing both events. Ollie Quarry defeated Alan Bowden in the singles, then combined with his opponent in the doubles to take a long gruelling three game match and complete the 'double'.

 

Perhaps a particular feature was the feat of Alan Bowden, who, after nine years as a student, finally won a title in his last year.  Well done!!

 

The facilities at Marlborough were, as always, excellent, and we are grateful to the College for giving us hospitality for three days.

 

We look forward to the Representative match v Rugby Fives Association in March, which is being held on the excellent new courts at Cambridge.  It would be good  to a see a sizeable turn out of spectators for this event which commences at 1.p.m. on Sunday 9th March 2014.

 

• In the entirely unofficial 'team' championship, calculated by Dave Hebden, the winners were Cambridge University, who supplied the doubles champion and the singles runner-up. In second place were UCL, thanks chiefly to Dan Grant's singles title, while Bristol beat Durham to take fourth place. For the full details, click on the link below.

 

National Student/BUCS Championships results

 

Unofficial Team Championship (PDF, 57KB)

 

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NATIONAL STUDENT/BUCS CHAMPIONSHIPS

Marlborough College, 22nd/24th November 2013

[posted 12 November 2013]

 

BUCS today published the draw for the National Student Championships, which are to be held at Marlborough College from November 22nd. Top seeds and defending champions are UCL's Dan Grant in the singles and the Cambridge pair of Ed Kay and Jacob Brubert in the doubles. The latter is particularly welcome news as it means Ed has recovered from the nasty injury he sustained during the London Open.

 

However, it looks far from certain that the top seeds will have it all their own way, with Ed and Dan joined in the singles by experienced players such as Chris Burrows, David Butler, Inigo Ackland and Henry Jefferies. In the doubles, Ed and Jacob can expect tough challenges from the likes of Ackland & Rolls (Bristol) and Butler & Aquilina (Durham). Possible dark horses include Grant & Chase from UCL, while the St Paul's schoolboys, Beltrami and Arnold, could well spring a surprise, coming into the tournament fresh from their win in the Schools' Winchester Fives Championship. For full details, simply click on the link below to download the full singles and doubles draw. We'll have the results online as soon as possible after the tournament.

 

BUCS Championships draw [Excel file, 157KB]

 

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SCHOOLS' WINCHESTER FIVES CHAMPIONSHIP

Winchester College, 10th November 2013

[posted 11 November 2013]

 

Eleven pairs entered the first Schools' tournament of the season at Winchester on a fine autumn Sunday, writes organiser David Barnes; and, although no matches went to three games, a lot of good fives was played. In the first round, Derby Moor II pipped Marlborough in the closest match of the day, while Derby Moor III looked immediately at home on the courts, defeating the local second pair.

 

The quarter-finals saw the four seeds, St. Paul's I and II, Derby Moor I and Winchester I, come through with some ease, the stoutest opposition coming from Radley I and the plucky Derby Moor III, who were eventually to contest the plate final. In one of the semifinals the top St. Paul's pair – already holders of the Rugby Fives Schools' doubles title – beat Winchester I comfortably in a match where the Wykehamists fought hard but failed to win many points. The other semi saw Derby Moor's experienced first pair give St. Paul?s II a good match before succumbing to the Paulines' left and right partnership and better handling of the buttress.

 

The final was a pleasure to watch, as the outstanding Beltrami and Arnold (St. Paul's I) dealt increasingly skilfully with the possibilities of the buttress, while their second pair (Kahn-Pascual and Ashraf) retrieved well and hit the ball almost as hard but not quite as consistently or accurately. For two pairs unused to Winchester fives, the standard was extremely high and St. Paul's I thoroughly deserved their victory.

 

The plate competition was a most enjoyable one, with several pairs in with a chance of winning. Eventually Derby Moor III (Halligan & Singh) took the prize, beating a good pair from Radley in a close final. It was due reward for consistently good fives throughout the day.

 

Many thanks to Giles Munn for his help and to Winchester College for the use of their fine courts, which played as well as ever.

 

Schools' Winchester Fives Championship results

 

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LADIES NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS

St Paul's School, Barnes, 8th December 2013

[posted 11 November 2013]

 

Organiser Alex Steel is now accepting entries for the 2013 Ladies National Championships. To be held at St Paul's School, both singles and doubles events will be played on the same day, with plenty of Fives guaranteed for all and all standards of players encouraged to enter.

 

Entries must be received by November 22nd, and Alex will endeavour to find a doubles partner for anyone who doesn't have one. For full details of the event, click on the link below to download the official entry form..

 

Ladies National Championships entry form [Word file, 37KB]

 

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OFFICIAL RFA RANKINGS

London, 30th October 2013

[posted 02 November 2013]

 

Following some significant results at the recent London and West of England Open Championships, James Toop has been overtaken at the top of the RFA singles rankings. In fact, fact following defeats to Dan Tristao in the final at Whitgift and to Dan Grant in the semi-finals in Clifton, the latest lists (prepared for the RFA by Dave Hebden) show that James has dropped to third. Dan Tristao is now on the top of the singles rankings for the first time, while Will Ellison returns to second place.

 

The new rankings are significant not just for the changes in position, but also because of the effect they will have in the forthcoming National Singles Championship. In the last few years, James has benefitted from top seeding, while Dan and Will have had a tough semi-final which – without wishing to take anything away from James's triumphant performance – has impacted on the winner's play in the final. With Dan now top seed for the championship, it may be argued that a potentially easier route to the final will make him favourite to take the title for the first time.

 

Meanwhile, in the doubles rankings, Dan and Will cement their first and second positions, but the major moves come from Dan Grant and Hamish Buchanan. Dan is up to third after winning the West of England Open title with Dan Tristao, while Hamish jumps two places to fourth after winning the Yorkshire Open and finishing as runner-up in Clifton (both with Will).

 

The full rankings should be displayed on the Fivesonline website, but while that is repaired after a hacking attack, you can view the full spreadsheets by clicking on the link below.

 

Latest official RFA singles and doubles rankings

 

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NORTH OF ENGLAND CHAMPIONSHIPS

Durham, 1st/2nd March 2014

[posted 02 November 2013]

 

Oganiser John Minta is now accepting entries for the North of England Championships, which are to be held on Saturday and Sunday 1 and 2 March 2014 at the Courts of Durham University. Players wishing to enter the Tournaments should return the entry form (available by clicking on the link below), together with the appropriate fee, to John, no later than Saturday 22 February 2014. Full details of the Championships will be issued to all competitors before, or during, week commencing 24 Feb 2014.

 

North of England Championships entry form [Word file, 32KB]

 

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NORTH WEST OPEN CHAMPIONSHIPS

Manchester, 18/19th January 2014

[posted 02 November 2013]

 

Oganiser John Minta is now accepting entries for the North West Open Championships, which are to be held on Saturday and Sunday 18 and 19 January 2014 at the Courts of Manchester YMCA. Players wishing to enter the Tournaments should return the entry form (available by clicking on the link below), together with the appropriate fee, to John, no later than Saturday 11 January 2014. Full details of the Championships will be issued to all competitors before, or during, week commencing 13 January 2014.

 

North West Open Championships entry form [Word file, 32KB]

 

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NORTH OF ENGLAND WINCHESTER FIVES CHAMPIONSHIP

Sedbergh, 3rd November 2013

[posted 02 November 2013]

 

Work being carried out on the courts at Sedbergh has unfortunately forced the cancellation of the North of England Winchester Fives Championship, which was to have been held this weekend. The work will see the lighting sorted out, some heater elements replaced and the courts deep cleaned. Organiser Jon Lidiard says he hopes to rearrange the tournament for next term and adds that if anyone would like to come up to Sedbergh on tour next term or in the summer, the school would be delighted to host either a school or adult fixture.

 

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WEST OF ENGLAND OPEN CHAMPIONSHIPS

Clifton College, Bristol, 26/27th October 2013

[posted 29 October 2013]

 

Another successful weekend was held here at the Clifton courts, writes organiser Simon Werkshagen, with no injuries to report, just the traditional late arrivals for many of the players! 

 

Both the singles and doubles saw a very strong entry with no weak players, this lead to some very close and entertaining matches to watch.  The highlight of the singles (apart from the final) being the semi-final match between Will Ellison and Dan Tristao, which ebbed and flowed throughout.  Will looked in total control at 7:1 up in the first game, but Dan did his usual catch-up to nick the game 11-9, before taking the second by the same score.

 

Sunday morning saw the two finalists nearly being scratched  for being 45 minutes late with an impatient audience waiting for their match. Once it was under way, Dan T won the first game fairly comfortably, but a strong second game performance from Dan G had us thinking we were to have a third game. In the end, though Dan T held on to take it 11-9 and secure the title.

 

In the doubles, the seedings went to form until the final where the singles finalists overcame last year’s winners Hammish and Will, putting to bed their embarrassment at the way they had performed in the previous year's final.

 

Special thanks to must go to new RFA President Bob Dolby for being around to help with the silverware and for my bottle of wine, as well as the combination of Tom Kiggel, Jim Hughes, James Toop and Marcus Bate for being the only match that made their allotted time early!!

 

 
I reserve my special thanks to Laura (soon to be Dean) for yet another cake for us all to eat.  I wish you both the best of luck for your wedding next year from all of us at the West of England Club and keep baking those cakes!!

 

West of England Open Championships results

 

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NATIONAL SINGLES CHAMPIONSHIP

Qualifying tournaments, regional, 16th November 2013; Final rounds, Barnes, 7th/8th December 2013

[posted 21 October 2013]

 

Organiser Charlie Brooks is now accepting entries for the National Singles Championship, the main event of the singles season. The regional qualifying tournaments are to be held on November 16th, with the finals for the 16 qualifiers taking place at St. Paul's School on the weekend of December 7th/8th. James Toop will be defending his title, having now won it for five years in a row.

 

For the first time, there will be a qualifying tournament in Cambridge (East of England), organised by Ed Kay, to go along with Bristol (West of England, Simon Werkshagen), Manchester (North of England, John Minta) and London (South of England, Charlie Brooks). Twelve qualifiers from these events will join the top four in the national rankings (who qualify automatically) in the final rounds.

 

Entry costs £10 and the closing date is Wednesday 13th November. For further details, click on the link below to download the official entry form..

 

National Singles Championship entry form [Word file, 35KB]

 

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NEW CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY COURTS

Cambridge, 19th October 2013

[posted 20 October 2013]

 

The first competitive match has taken place on the new Rugby Fives courts at Cambridge University. In theory, the match was to have been Cambridge University against the RFA Club (represented by Andy Pringle, Hamish Buchanan, Dick Warner, Will Ellison, Marcus Bate and Ed Hatton), but in the end, the two teams were mixed in an attempt to produce a closer tie – and it did just that.

 

However, what it also did was to ensure that no one really quite knew who was playing for who; and, with a couple of students having to leave early before the full series of planned matches was completed, the overall result soon became academic. Indeed, such was the complex planning involved, that there was a brief period when the players believed the outcome would depend on the result of a table tennis match between Marcus and Will.

 

In the end, the result was immaterial; what really mattered was that all 12 players – and the various spectators – were united in their praise of the new facilities. The courts played superbly well, and it was even suggested that they could host the National Singles Championship in a couple of years time. We now look forward to the 'unofficial' joint opening of the courts scheduled for November 9th, when the Eton Fives Association will also run an event.

 

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YORKSHIRE OPEN DOUBLES

Giggleswick, 12/13th October 2013

[posted 14 October 2013]

 

The efforts made this year to attract the quality players to the Yorkshire Open Doubles paid off, with the pairings of Tristao and Price and Grant and Minta attempting to knock reigning champions Buchanan and Ellison off their pedestal. Also, for the first time, we welcomed a lady to the Giggleswick tournament, as Alex Steel made the trip from London to the Frozen North. We look forward to seeing her and other ladies in future.

 

Play in the Cup competition lived up to expectations, with upsets to the seeding early on as Butler and Gravatt disposed of Beswick and Roberts in the quarter finals. Ed Hawke and Widdop also gave Buchanan and Ellison a hard first round, finally losing 16-15, 15-7; the closest anyone got to beating the top pair. Highlight of the day, however, was the semi final between Price and Tristao and Grant and Minta. A hard fought match, which could have gone either way up until the last few points, was eventually won by Price and Tristao 15-13, 13-15, 15-12.

 

Unfortunately, the damage wreaked on the bodies of the winning pair by this marathon made their final encounter with Buchanan and Ellison one mountain too many. They put up a brave and skilful challenge, eventually falling 15-9, 15-12 to the champions of the last few years.

 

As is the custom of the organiser, those not involved in the later rounds of the cup were thrown into the multiple plate competitions. The first plate, a knock-out competition, allowed Beswick and Roberts to depart with some pride, when they defeated a fatigued Ed Hawke and Widdop in the final. Those who fell in the early rounds of the first plate were then treated to the delights of a round-robin second plate tournament, which, after a long day and too many games of Fives, saw Harrison and Nithsdale beat Christie and Kirk to the trophy by a close margin.

 

On Sunday an American Tournament was held in conjunction with Rossall School, for the remnants of the Saturday participants who were still standing, and pupils and staff from Rossall. A day enjoyed by all who took part.

 

The organiser is grateful to the Head Master and staff of Giggleswick School for their loan of the Fives courts for the weekend, and the use of their excellent changing facilities. Early enquiries indicate that they would be happy to host a full singles and doubles tournament in future!

 

Yorkshire Open Doubles results

 

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DERBY MOOR WEBSITE

Derby, 7th October 2013

[posted 07 October 2013]

 

Derby Moor Fives are pleased to announce their new website at www.derbymoorfives.net. Built by Stuart Kirby and amply illustrated, it includes a full history of the Club and its successes since its inception a decade ago. Of particular interest is the section of Videos put together by Stuart to demonstrate all the various kinds of handball and fives around the world. Do contact Stuart if you are interested in constructing anything similar for your own club..

 

Derby Moor Fives website

 

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NATIONAL STUDENT/BUCS CHAMPIONSHIPS

Marlborough College, 22nd/24th November 2013

[posted 04 October 2013]

 

BUCS is inviting all students to enter the National Student Championships, which will be held at Marlborough College in late November. The championships include singles and doubles tournaments, and plate competitions will be organised if there is sufficient demand and time.

 

Entries must be submitted using the BUCScore online entry system before the closing date of midnight on Friday November 1st. Every competitor will need to have an active BUCS website account in order to be eligible to compete and be entered into any BUCS competition entry form. There is no restriction on numbers in the singles or doubles, but pairs must be from the same institution - and, in the case of London institutions, both members of the Doubles pairing should be from the same individual institution.

 

For further details on the event, click on the link below to visit the BUCS website..

 

BUCS website - Rugby Fives Championships

 

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OWERS TROPHY

St. Paul's School, Barnes, 28th September 2013

[posted 29 September 2013]

 

The Old Paulines cemented their position as the strongest club in Rugby Fives by winning the Owers Trophy for a fourth time. However, this year it was not the manner of their victory that impressed – in fact, their win over the Alleyn Old Boys in the final was by the narrowest margin for some years – but the fact that they could be denied many of their top players, yet still had the strength in depth to win the title against what was the strongest AOBs team for some time.

 

Just as the 2013 National Doubles tournament proved, younger players are making a mark, and so it was that only one player in the final – former National champion Hamish Buchanan – was over 30 years old; the majority were under 25.

 

For some time, it had looked as if it could well be an all-Pauline final, as both Pauline teams won their groups in the round-robin stage. That left the same four semi-finalists as last year – the two Old Pauline teams, with the AOBs and Old Eastbournians – and the first semi-final (OPs I v OEs) was a repeat of last year's final. Indeed, the result was the same: an emphatic win for the OPs against rapidly tiring opposition. The second semi was a closer affair, but in the end it was the AOBs who won three of the four games and took their place in the final.

 

The final was a fitting conclusion to what the organiser said was the highest-quality Owers Trophy ever. The eight players have already proved their mettle at various levels, but it's testament to the Old Paulines' strength that they could not include Dan Tristao, Charlie Brooks or Ed Kay (who played in last year's winning team), but could still win. The four in the final were Tom Dean, Ben Beltrami, Matt Shaw and James Tilston, and they were able to win over a very experienced AOB team of Hamish Buchanan, Inigo Ackand, Peter Hanton and Adam George.

Last, but not least, the plate was won Derby Moor, again proving the strength of youth, claiming the silverware with a foursome all of whom were under 25 - and well under 25 in some cases!

 

Owers Trophy results

 

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WEST OF ENGLAND OPEN CHAMPIONSHIPS

Clifton College, Bristol, 26/27th October 2013

[posted 29 September 2013]

 

Simon Werkshagen is now accepting entries for the West of England Open Championships. However, rather than producing an entry form for players to download and send in, he has followed Tom Maconie's example and set up a dedicated website, 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 October 26/27th at Clifton College in Bristol, 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 first round, with the format to be decided on the day.

 

For full details of the tournament, click on the link below to see the championships' website.

 

West of England Championships website

 

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YORKSHIRE OPEN DOUBLES

Giggleswick, 12/13th October 2013

[posted 21 September 2013]

 

Organiser John Hawke is now accepting entries for the Yorkshire Open Doubles Tournament, which is to be held at Giggleswick over the weekend of October 12/13th. With only two courts available, entries are limited to 12 pairs, in order to ensure that play finishes in time to sample the local ale, so both Cup and Plate competitions will be completed on the Saturday.


As the organiser is expecting a good number of entries from the elite of the Fives world, it is intended to play a further competition on Sunday 13th October with allocated partners, in order that less able players can sample competitive Fives. Entries close on October 10, and the organiser can help find a partner, if necessary, as well as recommending accommodation for those who wish to take full advantage of the White Rose Club's hospitality! For full details of the competition, click on the link below.

 

Yorkshire Open Doubles tournament details [PDF, 115KB]

 

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RFA AGM

London, 10th September 2013

[posted 19 September 2013]

 

At last week’s AGM Bob Dolby was elected President in succession to Dick Warner. Bob learned his Fives at Alleyn’s playing with some of the ‘greats’ of the 1950s: Bill Bailey, John Pretlove, Bob Smith and Roy Birmingham. Bob claims also to have taught the 13 year-old David Hebden “all he knew” on the courts at Townley Road.

 

Bob won his first national title in 1967: the British Universities Doubles, playing with the late Don Ellwood. “In those days we celebrated with a half of cider (10½d) in ‘The Dog’ and a Walt Disney cartoon at the Odeon, Camberwell Green.” He twice won the Scottish Doubles with David Hebblethwaite – “I did the running, David did the talking – and also told the jokes.” Bob went on later to win the Vintage Doubles with the evergreen Bernard Atkinson, whom he is delighted to welcome as his Deputy, and the Mixed Winchester Doubles with Denise Hall-Wilton and with Emma Seton. In addition he won various Plates, mostly with Rob Cleave (“almost as many as Dick Warner.”)

 

Bob has coached Eton and Rugby Fives at Berkhamsted School , Radley College and Derby Moor Community Sports College and looked after Cambridge University Rugby Fives since the death of the legendary Jock Burnet in 1989. Over the past 18 months he has spearheaded the campaign to raise nearly half a million pounds to finance the spectacular glass-backed courts in the Cambridge University Sports Centre – “New Portugal Place”, as he calls them in homage to the Cambridge courts knocked down in 1995.

 

Bob promises that “Bernard and I will use our energy to continue Dick Warner’s tireless missionary work, promoting the playing and coaching of fives and reinvigorating fives in dormant courts wherever we detect them. With tournaments now underway I raise my glass to all the players and coaches and wish them the very best of seasons playing our splendid game.”

 

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LONDON OPEN CHAMPIONSHIPS

Whitgift School, Croydon, 14/15th September 2013

[posted 15 September 2013]

 

The London Open kicked off the main part of the Fives season in fine style – which is more than can be said for the weather. As the players arrived on the Saturday morning, they were greeted by dark skies, incessant rain and an organiser frantically applying sawdust to the court floors to mop up the drips.

 

Still, once play was under way, the competition soon lifted the spirits; and, by the time the last winner was struck on Sunday afternoon, a couple of significant wins had been achieved. By taking the singles title, Dan Tristao completed his full house of singles titles: he has now won every regional singles title, although the big one – the National Singles title – still eludes him. Will Ellison also scored a notable win by teaming up with Dan to secure the doubles title. This means he has now won every doubles title since he lost in the final of this tournament in 2012 – including the National Doubles title, as well as the President’s Cup and the National Winchester Fives Doubles title for good measure.

 

Mind you, neither of these wins was achieved easily, and right from the first round of the singles, there were close games: Adam George and Richard Dyke had a topsy-turvy three-gamer, for instance, before Adam clinched a place in the second round.

 

In the end, though, it was the top eight seeds, who reached the quarter-finals, and the top four seeds made it through to the semis, although the second and fourth were made to fight hard. Fourth seed Matt Cavanagh needed three games to oust John Minta, while the second-seeded Will Ellison had a titanic battle with the lower-ranked Ed Kay, losing the first game. Sadly, the competition was denied a fitting climax to the game when a nasty hand injury forced Ed to retire.

 

The semis again went to form, with defending champion James Toop scoring an emphatic win over Matt, while Dan Tristao and Will Ellison delighted the crowd with another mammoth three-game encounter. This time, it was Dan who emerged the winner, with a strong run of points from 2-2 in the final game giving him a lead he would never lose.

 

The final was another yo-yo battle, with the first two games shared between Dan and James. However, it was Dan who won the day, using novel tactics (such as the lob) to disrupt James’ rhythm that allowed him to find the crucial winners and force errors.

 

The doubles tournament was equally close, and a three-game encounter in the first round between Tilston/Jefferies and Hanton/George had the organiser looking worriedly at his watch as the event threatened to run way over time. In the end, seventh seeds Hanton/George were consigned to the plate – but only after losing the third game 11-12!

 

Mind you, they weren’t the only seeds to lose in the first round. Eighth seeds Burrows/Maconie were also knocked out, losing in three games to the impressive young Pauline pairing of Beltrami and Arnold. Perhaps unsurprisingly, these two seeded pairs won through to the plate final, where Tom Maconie and Chris Burrows eventually won.

 

In the main competition, after these ‘upsets’, it was the top four seeds who won through to the semis. Dan Tristao and Will Ellison were playing together for the first time, and although that lack of experience showed – there were occasional moments of confusion between the pair, with both running for the same shot, leaving much of the court unguarded – their individual skills were too much for former champions Hamish Buchanan and Robin Perry, who had recovered from surprisingly being taken to three games in the first round to score a fine win over James Toop and Marcus Bate in the quarter-finals.

 

The second semi was a thoroughly brutal affair, with the untried partnership of John Minta and Gareth Price taking on defending champions Charlie Brooks and Tom Dean. It was an orgy of powerful hitting interspersed with clever angles and amazing retrieval, but in the end Tom and Charlie came through in three tough games.

 

They carried on in the same vein in the final, but weren’t able to force the same number of mistakes from Will and Dan. As the match went on, they struggled with their opponents’ willingness to volley and hurry them, while Will and Dan’s sublime delicate shots around the front corners and great pace around the court were simply too much. Will and Dan did occasionally look human, with a few errors and occasional breakdown in communication, but in the end they deservedly took the title, and secured their place in the record books. come)

 

London Open Championship results

 

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CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY COURTS

Cambridge, 16th August 2013

[posted 18 August 2013]

 

Bob Dolby, President of Cambridge University Rugby Fives Club and Deputy President of the RFA, has just sent us the excellent news that the three Rugby Fives courts in the new Cambridge University Sports Centre are finished.

 

Bob’s fellow RFA board member Stuart Kirby – also a consultant on the project – took a group of boys from his Derby Moor Club to try out the courts, and they (Rob Whitehorn, Lewis Keates and John Halligan, as well as Stuart) pronounced them excellent.

 

Stuart said, “The walls look superb, including some visual texture so no problems with being able to see where they are. The floors are completely true during play and, although they are a bit more grippy than we are used to, we all agreed that they are very good.

 

“The lads were unconcerned about the glass backs, despite this being the first time that they had encountered them. And, although there were a few shots in which the ball had energy sapped out of it by the flexibility of the glass and did not bounce quite as usual, we all agreed that the effects of the back-wall being glass were minor.”

 

Last, but not least, Stuart said that the viewing platform and flip-up seats work as expected and look very professional. They will allow an increased number of people to watch the game and also give players somewhere to put their bags!

 

Bob told us, “What makes these courts unique is their position on the first floor, fitted into the space afforded by the high roof of the Cambridge University Sports Centre. The benefits are enormous, not least the space to insert viewing facilities. The 4'10" glass back walls will make the game much higher profile than if we had gone for traditional brick walls: I hope we shall see a big uptake of the game next term.”

 

You can see some photographs of the new courts in the Gallery, and we hope that there will be an official opening of all six courts (work on the three Eton Fives courts is yet to be completed) in due course.

 

RFA website Gallery

 

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LONDON OPEN CHAMPIONSHIPS

Whitgift School, Croydon, 14/15th September 2013

[posted 12 August 2013]

 

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 14/15th at Whitgift School, South Croydon, 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.

 

2013 London Open website

 

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CHAMPIONSHIP/TOURNAMENT NAME IN CAPS (with anchor - MonthDate)

Place, 00th Month 2006

[posted 00 Month 2006]

 

Paragraphs divided by line spaces. NB use straight quotes and apostrophes.

 

Link to results (include #anchor)
Link to download file [file type (eg, PDF or Word file), 00KB (size of file)]

 

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JEREMY SCHROETER

London, 12th July 2013

[posted 13 July 2013]

 

The RFA is sad to report the death of Jeremy Schroeter, who died this morning eighteen months after being diagnosed with inoperable bowel cancer. RFA President Dick Warner said, 'He never felt sorry for himself, and at no stage did he lose his anarchic sense of humour,' while David Parlby told us that it was 'a privilege' to have known Jeremy.

 

His widow, Ellie, said, 'He only became ill on Friday morning and was very well cared for by all the District, Hospice and Macmillan nurses throughout the day as well as his favourite Doctor. He only took to his bed for less than a day which was exactly what he wanted.'

 

During the course of his playing career, Jeremy won many titles, including – most recently – the National Vintage Doubles title in 2012. He was elected Deputy President of the Association in 2011, but stood down when he was diagnosed with the cancer.

 

Funeral details are yet to be announced, but a full tribute will be published in the forthcoming RFA Annual Review.

 

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SOUTH WEST OPEN CHAMPIONSHIPS

Blundell's School, Tiverton, 6/7th July 2013

[posted 08 July 2013]

 

On a weekend of fine sport and fine weather in Devon, Will Ellison reversed the events of 12 months ago, winning both the singles and (with Dan Grant) doubles titles at Blundell’s.

 

In the singles, he beat his conqueror in last year’s final, Dan Tristao – although, as is now expected of this pair, their match went down to the wire – and he then teamed up with Grant to regain the title from the pair he had lost to in 2012.

 

It was a fitting end to a remarkable tournament – remarkable not least because the tournament was played in glorious sunshine for the first time in several years. Beyond that, there was plenty of local interest, with Blundell’s master-in-charge Chris Hedley-Dent taking part with pupil Toby Francis, while old Blundellian Alex Steel made history by becoming the first lady ever to take part in the championships.

 

Sadly, all three were unable to make it beyond their opening matches in the singles competition, and the top four seeds (Will Ellison, Dan Tristao, Dan Grant and Matt Cavanagh) made it comfortably through to the quarter-finals, where they were joined by Marcus Bate and Ed Hatton, as well as Jim Hughes and Tom Kiggell, who had come through tough matches against Andy Pringle and Gareth Price respectively.

 

Fittingly, these latter two won through to the Plate final, but an injury to Andy meant the game could not be played and the Dartington glassware went home with Gareth.

 

Back in the main competition, the top four seeds all won through to the semis fairly comfortably, and Will then made quick work of his match against Matt, conceding just four points on his way to victory. However, the match between the two Dans was much closer, full of excellent shot-making and superb retrieval. In the end, though, it was Dan T who closed out the second game 11-9 to seal the win and book his place in the final.

 

Dan T and Will have played out several titanic and closely fought matches in recent years, so the first game will have come as a shock to everyone: Will raced out of the blocks and took it without conceding a point. However, the inevitable happened, and Dan fought back to take the second game, sending the match into a deciding third game.

 

This was a fitting end to the match, with never more than a couple of points between the two players, and both displaying incredible reserves of energy on such a hot day, as well as the mixture of athleticism, power and resolute defence that has made them both worthy champions in the past. The match was tied at four-all for what seemed like an eternity, but gradually the scores rose and when Dan took a 9-8 lead, he had the momentum and seemed set to retain his title, but Ellison dug deep, fought back and took the title with an 11-9 win.

 

In the doubles championship, three of the top four seeds made it through to the semi-finals, but with some untried partnerships making it impossible to predict the result.

 

In the top half of the draw, Will Ellison and Dan Grant were partnering each other for the first time, but that didn’t show as they dispatched the Executioners pair of Richard Dyke and Jez Sinton. However, fellow club members Andy Pringle and Marcus Bate regained some pride, beating local stalwarts Lewis and Watson to reach the semis. Here they were joined by defending champs Price and Tristao, along with another untried partnership, Wayne Enstone and Jim Hughes, who had won through to the semis only after a tough match with Ed Hatton and Tom Kiggell.

 

Wayne and Jim went on to push Will and Dan hard in their semi, but in the end the younger pair won through. Meanwhile, the second semi was even tighter. Andy and Marcus were behind initially and saved several game points before winning the first game 12-10, only for Gareth and Dan to up their level, take the second game and force the match into a decider. Sadly, the game wasn’t finished, as a nasty hand injury to Marcus meant he had to withdraw.

 

That meant Gareth and Dan could defend the title they had won before, but come the final, they simply didn’t have an answer to the barrage they faced from Dan and Will – as Gareth would later describe it, they were ‘Ellison-ed’. It’s true that Will did play superbly in the final, displaying a match-winning mixture of power and angles with superb anticipation, but Dan’s contribution must not be under-estimated. His side-wall boasts pulled his opponents out of position, while his willingness to take shots early on the volley hurried them. Make no mistake, Gareth and Dan played extremely well, and would have beaten almost any other pair, but on this form Ellison and Grant were simply untouchable.

 

South West Open Championships results

 

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DERBY MOOR INVITATION TOURNAMENT

Denstone College, 30th June 2013

[posted 02 July 2013]

 

With the courts at Derby Moor unavailable because of lack of power, the 10th Derby Moor Invitation Doubles was played on three courts at Denstone College, writes Bob Dolby. Anthony Goodwin and Bob Sandie, both previous winners of this event, teamed up to take the pewterware in a final of huge competitiveness. In the end Anthony’s power and Bob’s steadiness were just too much for Jay, who was struggling with his back, and 17 year-old Rob Christie, playing in his first senior final.

 

Players had come from London, Manchester and Halifax to compete. For ex-Eton Fives player Gareth Tosh it was his first experience of tournament play; for Dick Warner it was an opportunity to play with the National U16 Singles and Doubles champion, Robert Whitehorn; for 14 year-old John Halligan it was a chance to learn from playing with the evergreen Tim Widdop. Stuart Kirby and Brian Kirk performed heroics playing in two different pairs, while former winner Hamish Buchanan and his partner Craig Baxter found themselves involved in the toughest match of the competition and went out in the second round, despite their seeding as top pair.

 

We were blessed all day with sunshine and enjoyed the traditional top-notch Derby Moor catering, which this year included melting Magnums. The only downside was the dire state of Dick’s disk brakes, which necessitated the summoning of the AA man. When did a Fives tournament last end with the President of the RFA and his passenger, an 11-times National champion, riding home on a transporter?!

 

Derby Moor Invitation tournament results

 

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NATIONAL MASTERS CHAMPIONSHIP

Marlborough College, Wiltshire, 27th April 2013

[posted 20 May 2013]

 

Venturing into the arcane realms of Geriatric Fives may well be seen by the more level-headed exponents of our sport as something of a triumph of hope over experience, writes Bernard Atkinson. However, the manifold enticements, ranging from self-immolation to utter loss of self respect, were so well packaged by the immaculate organizer of the event, David Bawtree – he who will not see 75 again – that no less than five pairs rose to the challenge. For the Masters,  this represents a seriously large entry and for this reason alone every entrant’s name is recorded here; perhaps also lest some may not pass this way again!

 

The hopefuls, ranked in order of success from fifth to first as in all great TV ‘Celeb’ events, were Mcintyre & Maltby, Akerman & Gardner, Atkinson & Bawtree, Rice & Boag and the winners were… East & Wilkinson. Credit goes, of course, to the winners but what tales of derring-do were repeated and yet re-repeated that evening in nursing homes from Canterbury to Halifax and from Tiverton to Portsmouth.

 

If, by now, Dear Reader, you have convinced yourself that the Masters is a freak show put on to massage the egos of men too old for other fame, think again; such a misconception does not chime with the quality of the Fives on display nor with the effort and intensity with which the ten men endowed their efforts. There is a very serious message here, too; competitive sport at high level is not something to be abandoned at the first opportunity – in the case of Fives, the game and all that surrounds it is too precious for that and the elderly ‘hopefuls’ must continue to demonstrate that there is life after 65. In any case, when we are too old for real sport, there is always golf!

 

National Masters Championship results

 

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WINCHESTER FIVES MIXED DOUBLES CHAMPIONSHIP

Bradfield College, 12th May 2013

[posted 12 May 2013]

 

STOP PRESS

The Winchester Fives Mixed Doubles Championship was contested for the first time since 2010 and it was the organiser, Alex Steel, who emerged as the champion, partnering fellow Executioner Andy Pringle to the title with a win over Eastbourne's Tony Hamilton and Kathleen Briedenhann. It was a fine result, as Andy and Alex had actually lost heavily to the other pair in the round-robin section of the tournament, but a change in tactics helped them to a win over their tiring opponents. However, the Eastbourne College minibus didn't go home without some 'silverware' as Tessa Mills and Spencer Beal combined to win the Plate, beating Dick Warner and Sarah Greasley (playing in her first non-Eton Fives event) in an epic three-game match.

(Full report to follow)

 

Winchester Fives Mixed Doubles Championship results

 

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RFA RANKINGS

London, 8th May 2013

[posted 12 May 2013]

 

The RFA is delighted announce that the latest official – end-of-season – singles and doubles rankings have now been published; and, in line with our new practice, they have been published on the Fives Federation website. They take into account the recent Scottish Open, and see James Toop and Will Ellison finish on top of the singles and doubles rankings, respectively. A full report on the season's changes in the lists will appear in the Annual Review, which should be published in August.

 

Going forward, the rankings will be updated only on the Federation website, and all RFA members are urged to register for that site, as it is the RFA's intention to use Fivesonline as its sole presence online from the beginning of next season. For full details of the new rankings, please click on the links below..

 

Click here to see the latest rankings

 

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SCOTTISH OPEN CHAMPIONSHIPS

Loretto School, Musselburgh, 4/5th May 2013

[posted 06 May 2013]

 

This year the Scottish Open Championships were held at Loretto School over the weekend of May 4-5th. The singles tournament saw two local players reaching the quarter-finals, with Richie Murby losing in two close games to Dan Tristao and Adam George defeated 11-9 in the deciding third game by Ed Hatton.

 

In the semi-finals, Will Ellison had a comfortable win, while Gareth Price, conqueror of the tournament organizer in the previous round, eventually ran out of steam, losing in the third game to Dan.

 

The final was a contest of breathtaking skill, athleticism and commitment worthy of a national competition, with both Dan and Will playing superbly and so evenly matched that the outcome was in doubt until the very end. If there had been seats available, the spectators would surely have been perched on the edge of them! After three hugely entertaining games, Dan eventually overcame defending champion Will in the final. Meanwhile, Richie Murby defeated Tim Widdop in the plate final.

 

In the doubles competition, Will made up for the disappointment of the previous day partnering local Caledonian club stalwart Mike Kemp to victory against President Warner and Gareth Price 14-16, 15-0, 15-9 in the final, completing the match just in time to catch the 4.30 train back to London. 

 

Scottish Open Championships results

 

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SOUTH EAST REGIONAL SCHOOLS' TOURNAMENT

Christ's Hospital, 9th February 2013

[posted 02 May 2013]

 

On Saturday 9th February 2013, five schools – Christ’s Hospital, Eastbourne, St Dunstan’s, Tonbridge and Whitgift – gathered at Christ’s Hospital for the second South East Regional Schools Fives Tournament. St Dunstan’s were a welcome new participant and we hope to include Sutton Valence in future years, as well as eagerly awaiting the prospect of a London Regional tournament.

 

In the U16 Singles the standard of play was particularly high in terms of both retrieval and tactical awareness. In the singles two of the favourites Hutt (Tonbridge) and Ahmed (CH) managed to top their groups, although not without difficulty. Muscat (Tonbridge) also did well to top his group but perhaps the surprise was Owen (St Dunstan’s) placing first in his group in a typically close win against Horner (Whitgift).

 

Hutt looked calm and assured in a comfortable semi-final victory against teammate Muscat. The other semi-final was anything but comfortable, as Owen took on Ahmed (at that time the National U14 Singles Champion). A close win in the first game for Owen was followed by a quick and brutal fightback in the second by Ahmed. As the match ebbed and flowed, Owen’s superior stamina and confidence eventually told as he won an epic three-gamer lasting around an hour.

 

The final between Owen and Hutt was of similar quality, but despite or perhaps because of Owen giving everything to the point of physical exhaustion, a fightback by Hutt to win the second game was not quite enough to gain a firm foothold, and Owen came through comfortably in the third as a worthy champion. The plate was won by Horner.

 

In the U16 Doubles there was again some excellent play, but Whitgift were dominant, topping both groups, although their second pair only by the narrowest of margins against Tonbridge’s first pair. The final between the Whitgift pairs saw a close first game but the first pair of Horner & Raison ran out comfortable winners in the second. The Tonbridge pair of Hutt & Segun gained some compensation with a decisive victory in the plate.

 

The U18s was the Eastbourne show. The singles was more fast-paced, as perhaps to be expected, and although at times lacking the subtlety of the colts was excellent from a spectator’s perspective. The top seeds and last year’s finalists Gemade (CH) and Kent (Eastbourne) came through their groups as expected without difficulty. The other groups were much tighter and Tickle (Eastbourne), a last minute entry, did particularly well to squeeze his way out of a very tough group. Similarly Teterin (Eastbourne) accomplished the same feat, creating three Eastbourne semi-finalists.

 

The top seeds again came through this stage without too much difficulty, and a replay of the 2012 final began. The pattern of the games was the same, with a narrow win for Kent in the first followed by a clearer win for Gemade in the second. However Gemade failed to impose himself on the decider, and Kent’s very physical pace and style eventually told for him to emerge as champion 12-11. Strutt-Clare (St Dunstan’s) won several tough games to take the plate.

 

In the U18 Doubles Kent & Barnes (Eastbourne) made magisterial progress through their group, dropping only one point. They were joined by Jones & Martyn (Tonbridge), who won much tighter games against Christ’s Hospital & the Eastbourne 2nd pair. Given these respective scorelines, the final was a very close affair, Kent & Barnes coming out as champions 11-7, 12-11. Gemade & Eastwood had compensation by winning the plate against Whitgift.

 

South East Schools' Regional Tournament results

 

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NATIONAL SCHOOL GIRLS' CHAMPIONSHIPS

Marlborough College, Wiltshire, 21st April 2013

[posted 02 May 2013]

 

This year’s tournament was a fantastic mix of the familiar and the new, writes organiser Alex Smith. The familiar and impressive skills of the girls from Eastbourne College, Rugby School, Christ’s Hospital and Marlborough College were joined by two new schools, Rossall and Aldenham. These new arrivals among the junior competitions certainly helped to make the tournament as fiercely contested as previous years. As ever, no school managed victory across all four age-groups, but the girls of Christ’s Hospital again showed their dominance at the lower ages, claiming the “clean sweep” of junior singles titles, winning gold at U16, U14 and U13.

 

At senior level it was Eastbourne College who were dominant in singles and doubles, whereas Christ’s Hospital and Rugby School shared the spoils at U16, with Christ’s Hospital dominating the junior age groups at U14 and U13, fighting off strong challenges from Aldenham. The girls from Rossall and Aldenham did not go home empty-handed, winning a clutch of silver and bronze medals. These new participants were hugely committed and played hard in U13, U14 and U16 categories, and it was the three Aldenham girls who caused the most problems for the seeding committee with players reaching finals and pushing the winners close in two tournaments before claiming silver in the U13 and U16 age-groups.

 

In the senior (U18) singles, Tessa Mills of Eastbourne College proved why she has held the senior singles for the past three years, progressing from her group without losing a point. Her team-mate Izzy Why came ahead in the other group after a tough final game with Milly Browne from Rugby School. Tessa went on to come through her semi-final comfortably, whereas in the other semi an injured Izzy didn’t have quite enough left to overcome the other strong Rugby player, Eliza Talbot-Williams. Tessa and Eliza then met in the final, with Tessa’s power and accuracy being the decisive factor, meaning that Tessa finished as senior singles champion for the fourth year running.

 

In the U18 doubles, Tessa completed her dominance by pairing up with Izzy Why to take the senior title, against the strong Rugby pair of Eliza and Milly, with Marlborough College girls Emma Colebatch & Melinda Hudson finishing with bronze medals.

 

At the U16 singles it was Christ’s Hospital, Rugby and Rossall who looked set to dominate, with their experienced top players all reaching the knock-out stages. However, Amy Flood from Aldenham, playing in her first Rugby Fives tournament, had other ideas. Amy won her singles group and, having fought off Kate Shelina from Rossall in the semi-final, took on Louise Matthias, previous U14 and U13 Singles champion, and last year’s U16 semi-finalist. Newcomer Amy started in impressive fashion, and reached championship point first, her powerful serves and volleying discomforting Louise. But Louise, aided by her tournament experience, fought back hard and with some very accurate hitting to Amy’s left hand managed to take the title 12-11.

 

At U14 Christ’s Hospital dominated singles and doubles. The four CH girls reaching the semi-finals, but this did not make the games any less competitive, as Beatrix Crinnion had a very narrow win in her semi against Phoebe Thornhill. Molly Todd finished with the gold against Beatrix, whilst Phoebe Thornhill took the bronze against Tamsin Denny after both girls had seen off opposition from the two novice Rugby girls. The Christ’s Hospital pairs also took gold and silver in the doubles, with Rugby taking bronze.

 

In the U13 tournament, however, Christ’s Hospital found the going harder against girls from Aldenham and Rossall. Abigail James and Emma Conway of Aldenham, playing their first Rugby fives, learnt quickly. Abigail reached the singles semi-final, where she reached game point against Stella Saunt-Hills of CH, but Abbie could not hold on. Stella went on to win gold against her team-mate Ines, whilst Abbie took bronze. The Rossall girls, also new to the game, fought hard in both tournaments, and took the bronze doubles. The girls from Aldenham finished with doubles silver, whilst Christ’s Hospital claimed a third set of gold doubles medals, their coach Mr Hatton pleased to have won the Oxford Cup as well as the Cambridge.

 

The championship was kindly hosted by Marlborough College, and all participants are looking forward to next year.

 

National School Girls' Championships results

 

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NATIONAL VETERANS' CHAMPIONSHIPS

Marlborough College, Wiltshire, 27/28th April 2013

[posted 29 April 2013]

 

The 2013 Veterans' Tournament moved from the now-usual venue of Christ’s Hospital to the superb courts at Marlborough College, writes organiser John Hawke. This relocation was firmly supported by the very strong Marlborough Town Fives Club, and also attracted players from the South West, who had not previously travelled the additional miles to Christ’s. These new entrants, augmented by the crop of players who first qualified as Veterans this year, allowed us to achieve a record entry, with 24 singles players and 18 doubles pairs taking part in a gruelling weekend of Fives.

 

Unfortunately the change of location did catch out one player, who turned up at Christs’s on Sunday morning, only to be mystified by the peace and quiet surrounding the Fives Courts. Luckily for his partner, who was waiting patiently in Wiltshire, Grem McIntyre (who had participated in the Masters event on the Saturday) stepped in as a last-minute replacement. We all look forward to seeing Angus at the correct venue next year!

 

The organiser works on the basis that every player, of whatever ability, should end each day regretting that they had played too much. This was accomplished by running three competitions on singles day, and four for the doubles on Sunday.

 

Star of the new qualifiers, if not of the whole show, was Andy Pringle. While not winning a trophy, he pushed the eventual Singles Cup winner Hamish Buchanan hard in his semi-final, squandering more than one match point in the second game, eventually to lose the closest of matches. He followed this up in the doubles, along with partner Sam Roberts, by reaching the final and eventually losing a very competitive match in two games.

 

As has become the norm in recent years, Hamish took home both Singles and Doubles cups, ably assisted in the doubles by the ever-young Bruce Hanton.

 

In addition to entering a string of players, the Marlborough club members organised a Saturday evening meal at the Wellington Arms, and even provided beds for some of the out-of-town participants. The meal, and the in-tournament catering (sourced and cooked by Stuart Kirby), aided in making it a memorable weekend. However, the size of the entry really brought the weekend alive. Every game was watched by a good number of people; the place was buzzing all weekend.

 

We are all very grateful to Marlborough College for the loan of their fantastic Fives centre for the weekend, to the Marlborough club, especially Tom Hillman, for organising the Saturday evening festivities, and to all the other competitors. The organiser, for one, cannot wait for next year, and an even bigger entry.

 

National Veterans' Championships results

 

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NATIONAL CLUB CHAMPIONSHIP

St Paul's School, 13 & 17th April 2013

[posted 18 April 2013]

 

The Old Paulines have successfully defended their National Club Championship again, scoring an ultimately comfortable win over the Executioners in the final and notching up their third win in succession.

 

As in the last couple of years, their strength in depth proved crucial, and even with a second team in the competition, the OPs’ first team could call on a squad including an unrivalled combination of champions.
The four in the final were Charlie Brooks (National Doubles champion), Dan Tristao (U25 singles champion), Tom Dean (North of England doubles champion) and Matt Shaw (Schools’ singles champion), while Ed Kay (U25 doubles champion) played in earlier rounds.

 

They scored a relatively easy win over the West of England in the quarter-finals, but faced a much stiffer challenge in the semi-finals, against an Alleyn Old Boys’ side boosted by the addition of newly crowned national doubles champion Will Ellison. It was a match that went down to the wire, but in the end the Paulines’ greater strength in depth saw them win through to the final by a margin of just over 20 points.

 

In the bottom half of draw, meanwhile, a withdrawal meant the Executioners had a bye into the semis, where they faced the Old Paulines’ second team, who had breezed past Christ’s Hospital in the quarter-finals.
From the off, the Executioners were in command, winning three of the four singles; and, although the Paulines started off well in the doubles, the greater experience of the Executioners (Tom Maconie, Marcus Bate, Chris Burrows and Andy Pringle) told, and they won through to clinch a place in the final for only the second time in the club’s history.

 

It was such unexpected success that almost led a non-final, as the Executioners captain had not booked his team’s services for the Sunday, when the final was planned – and three of the four weren’t able to make it at short notice. However, in a sign of true sportsmanship, the Paulines agreed to play the final on the following Wednesday evening.

 

With players struggling to get to the courts after work, it was agreed that two singles matches would be played, followed by the doubles, and that the final singles would then be played only if necessary.

 

When the doubles started, it was the Executioners who had a slight lead, but after the first round of doubles, the OPs had taken the lead comfortably. Although each match (Burrows/Maconie v Brooks/Dean and Pringle/Dyke v Tristao/Shaw) was very keenly contested and featured some excellent play, the Paulines won every game.

 

It was the same story in the second round of doubles: close games that all went to the Paulines. That gave them a lead large enough to ensure the final singles were not necessary and secured them a third successive title in this competition. On top of their five successive wins in the Owers Trophy, it confirms their position as the strongest Rugby Fives-playing club in the country.

 

Club Championship results

 

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SCOTTISH OPEN CHAMPIONSHIPS

Loretto School, Musselburgh, 4/5th May 2013

[posted 14 April 2013]

 

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 May 1st, 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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RFA RANKINGS

London, 12th April 2013

[posted 14 April 2013]

 

The RFA is delighted announce that the latest official singles and doubles rankings have now been published; however, in a break from the previous practice, they have been published on the Fives Federation website. They take into account the recent National Doubles Championship, and see champion Will Ellison consolidate his position at the top of the rankings, while his title-winning partner Charlie Brooks jumps up three places to second.

 

Going forward, the rankings will be updated only on the Federation website, and all RFA members are urged to register for that site, as it is the RFA's intention to use Fivesonline as its sole presence online from the beginning of next season. For full details of the new rankings and the Federation website, please click on the links below.

 

Click here to visit the Fives Federation website
And here to see the latest rankings

 

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NATIONAL DOUBLES CHAMPIONSHIP

Alleyn's School, Dulwich, 6/7th April 2013

[posted 08 April 2013]

 

Not since 1950 have there been four new names in consecutive years engraved on the Cyriax Cup, such has been the dominance of defending or past champions, writes Hamish Buchanan. This year, three times runner-up Will Ellison teamed up with last year's runner-up Charlie Brooks to defeat the defending champions Dan Grant and Dan Tristao in a highly entertaining and close final.

 

The tournament began on a sunny but cold Saturday morning at Alleyn's School. Eleven pairs entered, with an average age of around 25, significantly lower than the 35 of 2003. The three preliminary matches were generally close-fought affairs with the all-Old Pauline tie between Aquilina/Tilston and Parker/Thomas the pick of the bunch, and the former, slightly more experienced pair went through in three.


The quarter-finals proved to be comfortable matches for the top four seeds, and all were victorious in straight games. By contrast, the semis were poles apart. In the bottom half of the draw, Ellison – with his new partner Brooks – finally overcame former champions Buchanan and Perry at his sixth attempt in two short games. The other semi was a much closer and unpredictable battle, in which defending champions Grant and Tristao took the first game from another new pairing – last year's runner up Dean and new younger partner Kay – in almost empyrean fashion, albeit aided by the opposition's consternation in the level of grip afforded by the floor. Taking to a new court, a new velitation ensued, Dean and Kay found their rhythm and took the second game with pace and accuracy. This they continued in the early part of the deciding game, building a slight lead, but a certain lassitude overtook them and the strength and experience of the defending champions was decisive.

 

Sunday morning and the final. To those not in the know, this final is generally witnessed by the organiser, one or two committee members and a girlfriend or two (of different players, that is). This year was not much of an exception to the rule apart from the inclusion of a dog, so to be precise there were four men, two women and a dog. All witnessed (although I'm not sure the dog was paying that much attention, or indeed could see over the back wall!) an excellent first game from the service rally to the last.

 

Closely fought early rallies led to a 2-1 lead for the challengers after close to 10 minutes' play, but the champions then faltered, making a string of errors to extend that to 7-1, but with a brace of winners the tide turned and now it was the challengers' turn to lose concentration and the champs pulled back to 7-8. Now there were winners and errors (forced and unforced) from both pairs, but steadily the defending champs edged ahead to take it to 14-11 and what seemed an inevitable first-game win, but the challengers were not inclined to cede so easily, and after fighting off three game points, took the opening game 16-14. This proved to be the decisive point of the match, Brooks and Ellison again took an early lead in the second game and, after a short fightback, Grant and Tristao rapidly capitulated 15-4.

 

For those people craving a few more stats, the scorer of the final undertook a winners/errors count for all four players. The possibly somewhat harsh criterion for an error was that any ball struck before dying should be returned. As doubles pairs live and die as a team, the scores are presented for each pair: First game: Grant/Tristao 18 winners, 20 errors; Brooks/Ellison 15 winners, 16 errors. Second game: G/T 4 winners, 15 errors; B/E 4 winners, 5 errors. (Individual scores may be revealed at a later date unless certain payments are received). Although on the surface the bias leans towards more errors than winners struck, in fact most of these were 'forced' errors and in general there was a great deal of attacking and counter-attacking play.

 

The plate was contested by six pairs who lost in the first and second rounds. It was won by the scratch pair of Gareth Price and James Marshall (their original partners both sustained injuries) who beat Theo Parker and Francis Thomas in an engrossing three-game final, winning 12-10 in the third having saved a match point.


My thanks to Alleyn's School and all the players for making a thoroughly enjoyable weekend.

 

National Doubles Championship results

Click here to see a film of the first game of the final

 

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NATIONAL SCHOOLS' CHAMPIONSHIPS

St Paul's School, Barnes, 2nd/5th April 2013

[posted 08 April 2013]

 

This year’s tournament enjoyed another excellent entry, writes organiser Peter King, only a couple fewer than in 2012, and with 22 schools represented in at least one of the three age groups; and it was especially good to welcome a small contingent of senior boys from Edinburgh Academy. Eleven of these schools had representation in one or other of the singles or doubles finals, and the standard of play was excellent.

 

In the Open tournament, Matt Shaw (St Paul’s) was seen as the player to beat, and as in the West of England, his game, mature and free from unforced errors, prevailed. There were few upsets in the earlier rounds, but Ben Beltrami (St Paul’s) produced a ruthless semi-final performance to defeat Sam Wyatt-Haines (Blundells), 2012 Colts champion and runner-up in Sherborne. And in the all-Pauline doubles final, the West of England result was also reversed, as the younger pair of Beltrami and Oliver Arnold came through in two games. Winchester had been strongly represented with three singles quarter-finalists, and their first pair (Wylde and Ganendra) almost upset the champions in the semi-final, winning the first game 11-1.


The Colts’ tournament contained a small number of extremely strong players, and a large “chasing pack”. Rob Whitehorn of Derby Moor confirmed his steady advance with a powerful all-round game and after a semi-final victory against the steady Simon Whait (Loretto) in the final just edged out Tom Watkinson (Winchester) in two close-fought games. Hardest worker of the week award probably went to Sid Bhushan (St Paul’s), who followed a tough 3-game match against Hutt (Tonbridge) with a third-game 12-11 win in his quarter-final against Matt Blunden, former U14 champion.


The Colts’ doubles final was a repeat of the West of England, with Derby Moor (Whitehorn/Blunden) just ahead of St Paul’s I (Nunes/Jopling). Two-game matches don’t come closer (12-11, 12-11) and the spectators were enthralled by this game.


The Under 14 competition had a slightly reduced entry (by coincidence 44 in the singles, the same as both the other events), but the standard of play was extremely high. The final was an epic, won in three games – and 80 minutes - by Kosi Nwuba (St Olave’s) against Dominic Shaw (St Paul’s), who in his first year of playing the game narrowly failed to emulate his brother’s victory, which would have been a first! Both players looked exhausted, and in the end Nwuba’s power just had the edge.

 

A strong contingent of (mainly U13) Eton fives players from St Olave’s made a big impact especially on the plate competitions. Tiredness from the singles final may have contributed to the semi-final doubles defeat of St Olave’s, or it may have been the greater experience of Alleyn’s pair Hanton and Kirwan (last year’s U13 champions), and in the final against St Paul’s the first game seemed to reflect that in a narrow 11-9 win, but the Paulines (Shaw and his partner Monty Evans) learned and improved as the match wore on, eventually hitting some very successful winners and completing a victory in three games.


Many thanks to all involved in organisation and support, especially to a large number of parents who clearly enjoyed the experience and learnt a bit about the game as well! As is now customary, the Jesters' Club (the club for all court games players) sponsored a very welcome Reception on the first day for all the participants, players, parents, teachers and coaching – attended by the new High Master of St Paul's, Prof Mark Bailey – and appreciated by all.

 

The whole championship was played in an excellent spirit, with the highest standards of sportsmanship and manners on court and camaraderie off it. (Connoisseurs of these reports will recognise the final sentiments, as true as ever in this year’s event!)

 

National Schools' Championships results

 

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NATIONAL VINTAGE CHAMPIONSHIPS

Oundle, 24th March 2013

[posted 26 March 2013]

 

The Vintage, over 55's Rugby Fives tournament was held on Sunday 24th March at a very snowy Oundle School. The format for the day was singles in the morning with seven players entering, followed by doubles in the afternoon with six pairs entering.

 

The singles kicked off with two pools of players fighting for the chance to play in the three set final. The winner of each pool playing in the final and second and third going through to two semi finals and then a final for the plate. Wayne Enstone forged ahead in pool one winning both his matches.

 

The second pool had four players of very similar standard and we were entertained to some fine fives with Brian Nithsdale eventually winning through to take on Wayne in the final. Wayne, consistent as ever, conducted a masterclass in singles fives with superbly controlled touch shots against the front wall and deep diagonal shots into the opposite angles allowing him to win through in two games. The plate was eventually won by new boy Stuart Kirby over tournament regular Phil Atkinson.

 

The doubles kicked off with two pools of three teams. The doubles tournament semi finals consisted of winners from pool 1 playing second in pool 2 and vice versa for the privilege of playing in the final. Eventual finalists Hamilton and Beal had an epic battle with Sandie and Sutcliffe with serve changing hands over and over again.

 

Sandie's steadfastness and Sutcliffe's incredibly powerful hitting resulted in a first game win. Hamilton and Beal however, changed gear in the second game and through managing to return Sutcliffes hard shots combined with far more accurate ball placement into the back corner angles and side wall nicks allowed them to win the second game. The atmosphere was tense as the third game commenced since the finely balanced match could have gone either way. Eventually Sandie and Sutcliffe gained a lead, consolidated their position and the tiring Hamilton and Beal capitulated to tumultuous applause. The match, lasting for over one hour, was a classic.

 

Phil Atkinson and Mark Kitely won a two game match against the tiring Nithsdale and the evergreen stalwart Bernard Atkinson for the plate

 

National Vintage Championships results

 

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WINCHESTER FIVES MIXED DOUBLES CHAMPIONSHIP

Bradfield College, 12th May 2013

[posted 24 March 2013]

 

Alex Steel is now accepting entries for the Winchester Fives Mixed Doubles tournament, which will be held at Bradfield College on May 12th. 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 25th, but for further details, simply click on the link below to download the entry form. .

 

Winchester Fives Mixed Doubles Championship entry form [Word file, 28KB]

 

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SOUTH WEST OPEN CHAMPIONSHIPS

Blundell's School, Tiverton, 6/7th July 2013

[posted 24 March 2013]

 

Wayne Enstone is now accepting entries for the South West Open Championships, which will be held at Blundell's School in Tiverton over the first 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, 30KB]

 

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OFFICIAL RFA RANKINGS

London, 20th March 2013

[posted 24 March 2013]

 

The RFA has today published its latest official rankings, prepared on its behalf by Dave Hebden. They take into account the championships up to and including the North of England Championships, held in Durham at the beginning of this month.

 

However, they show little change over the previous rankings, with James Toop remaining on top of the singles rankings and Will Ellison still on top of the doubles list. The most notable moves in the singles rankings are from Peter Hanton and Sam Rolls, who make good progress to positions 20 and 23 respectively after reaching the Quarter-finals at Durham. Meanwhile, Manchester's Mark Roberts enters the rankings for the first time after his first-round in the North of England Championship.

 

In the doubles rankings, Will's win in Durham consolidates his position at the top of the rankings, while his title-winning partner, Tom Dean, overtakes Dan Tristao to move into third spot. Among the biggest risers are Inigo Ackland and Sam Rolls, who make good progress into the top 30 after reaching the semi-finals. To see the full rankings, click on the link below.

 

RFA singles and doubles rankings

 

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WINCHESTER FIVES NATIONAL DOUBLES CHAMPIONSHIP

Malvern College, 17th March 2013

[posted 18 March 2013]

 

The courts at Malvern are unusual, writes David Barnes. One of them has no door – you have to climb in (and out!) over the 5ft high back wall; one of them is marked 'Rugby' – it was apparently once a plain-wall court; and they all have an oversized buttress, which forces the player on the right to stand further up the court and volley more than usual, making the game at times quite spectacular.

 

There were no three-game matches this year, also an unusual feature. The biggest surprise was the quarter-final defeat of second seeds Buchanan and Roberts by Kiggell and Thomas, the latter now master-in-charge at Malvern and clearly enjoying the courts.

 

Two other quarter-finals produced well-fought matches: past champions Akerman and M Mohammed just got the better of Hughes and Rew, while Cavanagh and Fox eventually managed to tame the ferocious hitting of Bristol University pair Ackland and Rolls.

 

The semi-finals saw top seeds Ellison and H Mohammed defeat Akerman and M (Dad) Mohammed comfortably, while Cavanagh and Fox took a while to work out how to beat the canny Kiggell and Thomas, which they did after a close first game. The final was rather one-sided, Ellison volleying devastatingly from the right and Mohammed showing no signs of lack of practice when the ball eluded his agile partner. For all their experience, Fox and Cavanagh had no real answer to the barrage of winners to which they were subjected, and the holders duly took both games with ease, making it their fifth consecutive win in this event.

 

Two pairs from Sedbergh School acquitted themselves well in the plate, one of them only narrowly losing in the final to Frost and Goodwin from Derby, who hit the ball just that bit harder, making up for their lack of experience in the buttress game.

 

Many thanks to Malvern College for its hospitality, and good wishes to Chris Thomas in his task of building teams to represent the school at every level.

 

Next year – back to Bradfield!

 

Winchester Fives National Doubles Championship results

 

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NATIONAL UNDER 13s CHAMPIONSHIPS

St Paul's School, Barnes, 17th March 2013

[posted 18 March 2013]

 

There was a very healthy entry of 46 players for the singles and 23 doubles pairs for the Under 13 Championships, which were held at St Paul's School on Sunday March 17th. It was good to see entries for the first time from Oundle School, St Andrew's Eastbourne, Shrewsbury House and St Olaves. Altogether eight schools were represented.

 

The singles players were divided into six pools and the six pool winners and next two highest points scorers proceeded to a knock-out formula from the quarter-final stage. It soon became clear that the players from St Olaves were very strong and adapting well to Rugby Fives despite Eton Fives being their usual game. In particular their ability to volley the ball strongly and effectively gave them an advantage over their opponents. Thus it was that by the end of the pool rounds St Olaves provided five pool winners and one qualifier under the points scored rule.  The other two qualifiers were from Pilgrims School, Winchester.

 

St Olaves provided three of the singles semi-finalists along with Sebastian Byers from Pilgrims. In the first semi-final, Byers fought hard against Sohayl Ujoodia from St Olaves who eventually prevailed to move into the final. In the second semi-final, Kameron Swanson proved too strong on the day for his team mate James Tate. Swanson continued his good form into the final and proved too steady for Ujoodia who gave all he could to provide a very creditable final.

 

St Olaves continued to take their good form into the Doubles competition and all of their three pairs reached the semis where they were joined by Blundells I. The final between the top two St Olaves pairs was a credit to all four players and eventually after numerous thrilling rallies James Tate and Kieran Walton overcame the two singles finalists, Kameron Swanson and Sohayl Ujoodia.

 

The day was a rewarding experience for all the players involved and also for the gallery packed with family and friends. All the games were played in a good and sporting spirit and it is hoped that the players obvious enthusiasm for the game will be nurtured and developed in the years ahead.

 

Under 13s Championships results

 

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MIDLANDS SCHOOLS' REGIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS

Bedford, 17th March 2013

[posted 18 March 2013]

 

Thick snow in the south and driving sleet from the north didn’t augur well for the Inaugural Midlands Schools Fives Championships, writes Bob Dolby, but in fact everyone arrived on time and the courts at the two Bedford schools held out well despite near-continuous rain, much of it very heavy.

 

Five centres were represented: Derby Moor, Bedford School, Bedford Modern School, Rugby School and Oundle School. The decision to split the age groups into U18 and U15 worked well: more or less equal numbers in each category.

 

We played the Doubles first, on a knock-out basis, managing to finish the whole of the U15 matches before lunch and leaving only the U18 final for after. In neither age-group were there any great surprises: Derby Moor and Rugby dominated the younger category, Derby Moor and Bedford the older one. In the U15s the well balanced pairing of George Romain and Freddie Evans from Rugby were too consistent for the hard-hitting but slightly erratic John Halligan and Bally Singh from Derby Moor; in the U18s Robert Whitehorn and Rob Christie from Derby Moor had too much firepower for both the Bedford 1st and 2nd pair.

 

Singles were played initially in pools. From these 8 players emerged in each age-group to contest the final stages. Here too Bedford and Derby Moor fought out much of the senior group, with Robert Whitehorn, actually an U16 Colt, winning the U18 title with room to spare. In the U15s George Romain was again too nimble and steady for John Halligan in a hard-fought final.

 

The biggest grins of the day were to be seen on the faces of the Plate winners in the doubles: Gupta & Wright from Bedford in the seniors, Derby Moor’s Keates & Johnson in the U15s. In the singles the losing semi-finalists played for the Plate: a kind of bronze medal match. Chris Davey and Freddie Evans were worthy winners.

 

It was good to see players from Bedford Modern competing. Jake Rees-Bidder made his mark in singles and doubles, reaching the semi-final in both. Oundle had a full complement of 12 competitors, building for the future. Only inexperience prevented their senior pair from reaching the doubles final.

 

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 School's Regional Championships results

 

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2013 UK WALLBALL OPEN CHAMPIONSHIPS

Merchant Taylors' School, Northwood, 23rd February 2013

[posted 17 March 2013]

 

With apologies to UK Wallball supremo Dan Grant for its belated appearance on this website, we have great pleasure in publishing Dan's report from the recent UK Wallball Championships.

 

The largest and most successful UK Open to date took place on the 23rd of February at Merchant Taylors’ School. Some of the best players from around the world competed at the highest level and inspired many novices and youngsters to raise their standards and embrace wallball. In total 41 players took part and played a whopping 102 matches over the 9 hours.


Let’s start with the Challenger grade, this year a packed entry featuring several regular social players and, pleasingly, many novices. The opening test was a round-robin for all and old stalwarts like Richard Dyke and Damien O’Dowd progressed as expected. They were joined by our international guests from Canada, Ireland and France, who we were delighted to host . At this early stage it was also clear who was taking to the game naturally and individuals like Michael Baxter from Derby and Theo Parker from Durham, who had never played wallball before amazingly topped their groups.


The top two from each round-robin progressed to a knock-out and sadly that meant it was either the plate or the end of the day for players like Alexandra Steel (holding the fort for British women’s wallball this year, and showing real potential), Alex Whiteman & Christopher Wheeler (playing their first ever competitive games) and veterans Bob Sandie & John Hawke from Yorkshire. Players like these really encapsulated the inclusive spirit of wallball and it was fantastic to see them visibly improve over the course of the day, relishing the experience. We’re so pleased they’ve taken to wallball and I’m sure it won’t be the last we hear of them.


In the knock-out last 16, Parker continued his form dispatching the highly competitive (and natural blocker) GB Olympic Rower, Cameron Nichol. Brian O’Sullivan from Ireland and Rudy Couteau from France progressed over our Westway regulars Rowe and O’Dowd. Sadly our third international – the ever buoyant Samantha England from Canada fell to Will Ellison, the runner-up from the 2009 UK Open who was on fierce form.


In the quarters, Parker really pushed Ellison in a tremendous match that went right down to the wire before Ellison came through on top and in a pool of sweat. He then moved past O’Sullivan with relative ease to reach his second Challenger final. In the other half of the draw Couteau maintained his strong form to reach the semis where he played Richard Dyke who had fought his way past novice Goodwin of Derby. This semi was one of the matches of the tournament and Dyke, who had performed so admirably in Dublin last year, used every bit of skill and cunning he could muster to fight it out with the powerful and reliable Frenchman. Richard and Rudy battled for well over half an hour but it was Dyke who maintained a slight edge all the way to the end, overcoming all the pressure to win 21-18.


The final was over faster than Richard would have hoped. Visibly exhausted from a long day’s play he was no match for the machine of fitness and lethal quality that is Will Ellison. The 26 year old powered the ball from side to side and masterfully dominated the court to win 15-1, 15-7. The score should take nothing away from Dyke, who played out of his skin this weekend. Ellison has really taken to the sport and we look forward to seeing him in the Open category next year.


In the plate competition eight Challengers, including Alex Smith, Wheeler, Sandie and RFA President, Dick Warner competed in the enclosed surrounding of English squash-court 4-wall. Dick and Bob came out on top here and their final on the 1-wall show court pleased all who happened to watch it. Dick, our superb over 50’s warrior from the World Championships last year was never going to yield. He won like a true Emerald Master.

 

The Under-21 event this year was a doubles event and four pairs waged war in a decisive round-robin. Andrew Rennie and James Burchill, our youngest competitors from Aldenham school, really took to the game and began to play like real pros. They fought valiantly but alas were no match for the power pairs of Goodwin & Baxter from Derby and Golding & Parker. In the end it was the latter pairing that came through on top. Parker’s excellent retrieval combined with Golding’s deft kills proved too strong for the Midlands pairing.


The Open grade this year was the strongest we’ve ever had. The top players from the UK were joined by the best from France, Belgium, Ireland and the USA. The top 2 players from each group were joined by the two highest losers. The top 6 seeds progressed as expected and were joined by Daniel Tristao and Gerome Gamez who had both fought off tough opposition from Team GB regulars Stradwick, Price, Pringle and Irishman Paul Fitzpatrick. The latter group progressed to a plate which was eventually tiringly won by Stradwick.


In the knock-out competition we were treated to some real quality. Vlad Klym of the USA started the proceedings by taking out French no.1 Gerard Picard, who had performed so well at the Belgian Open just a few months ago. Grant then took out Tristao comfortably in the second quarter. Potiez of Belgium, who had recently topped that country’s internal rankings, easily dispatched Gamez of France. Potiez was on real form this weekend and had beaten Grant in the round-robin with his mighty left hand.


The quarter to savour, however, was fought between Guillaume Dumoulin of Belgium and the UK’s star in the making, second best U23 player in the world, Luke Thomson. Luke had had a tough group earlier in the day where he finished second to Klym. Playing out of his skin he began to trouble the powerful Belgian with precise fly kills and lightning fast footwork. The Belgian was initially riled but then took a medical time-out after Thomson accidentally thumped a ball into the Belgian’s eye. Gathering his composure, Dumoulin came back strongly and then began to lead. At one stage it could have gone either way but then a few errors began to slip into the young Brit’s game. He ended up losing by the narrowest of margins, 21-18. We are sure Thomson will go far and if he gets an industry job in New York next year he’ll be unstoppable.


The semi-finals were best of three sets. In the first the two Belgians relived the internal final they’d played just a few weeks prior. This time however the result was different. Dumoulin began to find inspirational form. He conquered his best friend 21-2, 21-11 in relative ease. In the second semi-final GB Captain, Daniel Grant took on top 8 player in the world, Klym. The first set was close up to the half-way mark until Klym changed his serving tactics and the errors crept into Grant’s game. Klym then closed out the second set with superb kill shots and smart blocking.

 

The final between Dumoulin and Klym was a real treat. On paper Dumoulin had no chance but pumped full of Adrenalin and hungry for a first singles title has a way of making paper turn to mush. The Belgian raced out the blocks and what he lacked in finesse, he made up with brute power and bodily sacrifice – diving around the court to make simply phenomenal retrievals. The situation shook Klym and he went way behind in the first set before falling badly and twisting his knee. The first set slipped away 21-5 to the Belgian.


In the second set Klym adjusted his game and although he couldn’t do his trademark serve he cleverly began to move the Belgian around, wrong-footing him and forcing the errors. He won 21-13.


And so it went to a decider. Klym on the ascendancy seemed to be en route for a victory, but no-one had read that script to Dumoulin. Where most wallballers begin to flag over the course of a day, Guillaume upped his game and then upped it some more. Quite phenomenal to see, there was almost nothing the American could do. Dumoulin thrashed his way to a 10-0 lead – match point!! But then the American began to respond and Vlad began to claw it back. He got it 10-5 before Dumoulin broke serve again and had another shot at glory. But it was not to be! An uncharacteristic error meant a ball shot wide. Could the pressure be getting to the strong-headed European? Apparently not. He broke straight back and this time, on his third opportunity, he closed out the match with a fine drive down the right. Visibly ecstatic, Dumoulin ran around the court and slapped the wall in a mix of relief and joy; he had won his first singles title.


Play therefore finished at 7:30 – remarkably for a wallball tournament, bang on time. The players then enjoyed a very tasty dinner and a pleasant awards ceremony.


On Sunday several wallballers, Vlad, Samantha and the French contingent took part in the first of many Fives Federation cross-over initiatives to try their hand at Rugby Fives. The players were naturals and under the guidance of top players Ellison and Tristao quickly became good. Scarily good! Importantly we’ve enthused several players to take up the sport alongside wallball as well as send stories of fives back to the Europe and America. This bodes exceptionally well for Gareth Price’s Wallball/Fives/Raquetball/Squash club, which is opening in the coming month.


All-in-all the weekend was a tremendous success and we were absolutely delighted to have so many players from all back grounds, countries and skill levels taking part. We hope that our novices will be inspired and that our Pros will be motivated to work towards the Irish Open and the World 3-Wall in Vegas. Most importantly, however, role on the bigger and better 2014 Open!

 

Click here to visit the UK Wallball website
And here to see their many videos

 

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RFA v BUCS REPRESENTATIVE MATCH

St Paul's School, Barnes, 10th March 2013

[posted 11 March 2013]

 

At the time of selection, the BUCS team looked extremely strong and likely to give the RFA a close match, writes team manager David Gardner. However, by the time the day arrived, we had lost three of our top four players (Luke Thomson, temporarily retired from playing competitive events; Ed Kay involved in a clash with Real Tennis; and Dan Grant, our champion and No 1 player, injured playing in Durham the week before).

 

Thus, all the reserves were called upon, and although everyone gave very good account of themselves, especially in the singles matches, they were unable to compete with the skills and experience of the very strong RFA team in the doubles, and conceded 90 per cent of their points in this section of the event.

 

We did well to be only nine points adrift in the singles, winning two out of six matches. However, we ran up a deficit of 86 points in the doubles, before losing the match by 252 points to 181. In the circumstances a very good effort.

The event was unique in that players from six different Universities (in a six-man team) represented BUCS, which we believe has never occurred before. Even with the original selection, this would have been the same!

 

The RFA put out a very strong team, with two of the top players in the country, Will Ellison & Dan Tristao (both former BUCS representatives) as the mainstays, with multiple National champion Hamish Buchanan at Number three!!!


Thus the BUCS team were not disgraced, but were left to dream of what might have been !!

 

RFA v BUCS results

 

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NATIONAL MASTERS DOUBLES CHAMPIONSHIP

Marlborough College, Wiltshire, 27th April 2013

[posted 11 March 2013]

 

David Bawtree is now accepting entries for the National Masters (over 65s) Doubles Championships, which will be held at Marlborough School on Saturday 27th April. Entries close on April 17th, and the organiser will attempt to find a partner for anyone without a playing partner. For full details, click on the link below to download the official entry form.

 

National Masters Championships entry form [Word file, 31KB]

 

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NATIONAL DOUBLES CHAMPIONSHIP

Alleyn's School, Dulwich, 6/7th April 2013

[posted 08 March 2013]

 

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 6/7. All games will be to 15 points, and the the closing date for entries (which cost £20 per pair) is March 31st. For full details, click on the link below to download the official entry form.

 

National Doubles Championship entry form [Word file, 29KB]

 

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NATIONAL VETERANS' CHAMPIONSHIPS

Marlborough College, Wiltshire, 27/28th April 2013

[posted 08 March 2013 ]

 

John Hawke is now accepting entries for the National Veterans' Championships, which will be held in Marlborough over the weekend of April 27/28. The qualifying age is 45 years on or before 27th April 2013, and entries must be received by Sunday April 21st. For full details, click on the link below to download the official entry form.

 

National Veterans' Championships entry form [Word file, 27KB]

 

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LADIES WINCHESTER FIVES CHAMPIONSHIPS

Malvern, 3rd March 2008

[posted 08 March 2013]

 

STOP PRESS

Eton Fives players showed how well they could adapt to the demands of Winchester Fives in the Ladies Championships. Karen Hird beat Alex Steel to take the singles title before teaming up with Fiona Barnes to beat Alex and Tessa Mills in the doubles final.

(Full report to follow).

 

Ladies' Winchester Fives Championships results

 

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NORTH OF ENGLAND CHAMPIONSHIPS

Durham, 2nd/3rd March 2013

[posted 03 March 2013]

 

STOP PRESS

It was a case of history repeating itself in the North of England Open, as Will Ellison won the singles title before teaming up with Tom Dean to take the doubles title as well. In both cases, this meant the 2012 winner had reclaimed their title.

(Full report to come)

 

North of England Championships results

 

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COLQUHOUN TROPHY

Sherborne, Dorset, 3rd March 2013

[posted 03 March 2013]

 

For the second year, it was boys from Blundell's School who dominated the events at the Colquhoun Trophy. Tom McPherson beat fellow Blundellian Sam Combe to win the Open singles title, while in the best match of the tournament Bludellian Tobias Francis came back from a game down to beat Sherborne's Henry Newman in the Colts.

 

In all, five schools (Blundell's, Sherborne, Malvern, Kelly and King's Bruton) sent boys to play at Sherborne, and their sportmanship and play would have delighted Charle Colquhoun, after whom the tournament is named. As in previous years, Open and Colts sections were played, with round-robin pools deciding who would progress to the main and Plate competitions in each category.

 

In the Open, Blundellians Tom McPherson and Sam Combe came through their pool to reach the semis alongside Bruton's Alex Grabilov and Sherborne's Ollie Boon; and, it was the Bllundellians who both won through to the final, where McPherson's power and aggressive use of the angles proved too much for his opponent. Tom won comfortably in two games and, with Sugru Saito coming through to win the plate, it was a Blundellian clean sweep for the prizes in the Open category.

 

In the Colts section, too, there were two Blundellians in the semi-finals – Tobias Francis and Ben Clarke – but they were drawn to play each, preventing an all-Blundellian final. Their match was a very close one, but Tobias just won through to face Sherborne's Henry Newman, who had beaten Malvern's Ed Best in the second semi.

 

The resulting final was reckoned by one seasoned observer to have been one of the best Colts finals he had ever seen, and that was no exaggeration. It went to the full three games, with the left-handed Newman edging the first game, as his power told. Come the second game, though, Francis started to change his tactics, attacking his opponent's right hand and varying his length. It was a display of intelligence and tactical nous rare in any Fives player, let alone one at Colts level. Throughout the match, there was never more than a few points between the two players, but in the end Francis had just enough to claim the title. Still, Sherborne didn't end the day empty-handed: Gregor Tims took the Colts plate, with a close win over Teddy Knollys, who – given that he was playing two years ahead of his age – looks an excellent prospect for the future.

 

Colquhoun Trophy results

 

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OFFICIAL RFA RANKINGS

London, 20th February 2013

[posted 26 February 2013]

 

The RFA has today published the latest official Singles and Doubles rankings, prepared on its behalf by Dave Hebden. They reflect results in the North West Open and Under 25s Championships, and are released ahead of the North of England Championships in Durham.

 

In the Singles rankings, there is only minimal change in the Top 10, with the top 5 holding station and just a little shuffling of the order below them. Lower down, though, there are some major moves, with Sam Wyatt-Haines jumping 10 places and Gareth Price climbing 15 places. The sole new entrant into the list is Cambridge student Jacob Brubert, who is 25th after reaching the semis at the Under 25s Championships.

 

In the doubles list, too, there is minimal change in the Top 10, and the big climbers are further down. For example, James Tilston and Anthony Goodwin jump 17 and 12 places respectively to sit just outside the top 30 after good results at the Under 25s Championships. To see the full rankings, simply click on the link below.

 

Official RFA rankings

 

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OXFORD v CAMBRIDGE VARSITY MATCH

St Paul's School, Barnes, 23rd February 2013

[posted 25 February 2013]

 

Sadly, long-standing and highly respected umpire, David Barnes, was indisposed, so his role was taken by the President of the ‘home side’, Cambridge. In a match conducted by all concerned with the customary good spirit there was little more for him to do than take down scores delivered with alacrity and hand out the jelly babies and trophies at the end.

 

Oxford, attired in their Neptune-sponsored ‘stash’, took the award for sartorial elegance; Cambridge took the Jock Burnet trophy and the ‘Fist of Iron’. It was Cambridge’s first hat-trick in the Varsity Match for 20 years. For the Sparrows it was the first time they had retained the ‘Fist of Iron’ since its inception a decade ago.

 

In the main match, Cambridge had too much fire-power at the top, with Ed Kay and Jacob Brubert winning every one of their games with room to spare, while in the bottom half Chase, Sloper, Judge and Ader had more than enough experience to overwhelm their opponents.

 

In a topsy-turvy contest between the Sparrows and the Beavers, Mathias and Chipping were also rather too match-hardened for their opponents, but Oxford’s left-handed Eton Fives player Birkett caught the eye.

 

Both captains are to be congratulated on raising 12 players each to make the day’s contest an engaging spectacle for the large number of parents and supporters. Our thanks go to the latter for creating a lively atmosphere in the gallery. The players’ thanks go to Pol Roger for sponsoring the event with a dozen bottles of champagne, which Ed Kay had much pleasure in distributing – for the most part – to his victorious team. Cambridge now counts 53 wins against 30 by Oxford.

 

2013 Varsity Match results

 

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VARSITY FIVES

Oundle, 16th February 2013

[posted 20 February 2103]

 

Saturday February 16th saw the final Cambridge 'Past versus Present' to be played at Oundle School. It was 18 years since the last match took place in Cambridge, on the old courts at the University Rackets and Fives Club on Portugal Place, knocked down in 1995 to make way for a commercial and residential development.

 

This year's match ended in a resounding victory for Ed Kay's Present by 275-185, only the third time since its inauguration in 2005 that the Present have won the Trapnell Tankard. Next year the 65th Past versus Present will be played on the new courts in the University Sports Centre in West Cambridge

While Cambridge were playing their 64th Past versus Present, Old Oxford were taking on OURFC at St. Paul's for the 24th time under the watchful eye of RFA President Dick Warner. In that match Dan Tristao led Old Oxford to victory and claimed the Mackenzie Bowl once more.

 

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NATIONAL UNDER 25s CHAMPIONSHIPS

Oundle School, 9/10th March 2013

[posted 00 Month 2006]

 

In advance of organiser Chris Burrows' full report, we present a very brief update on events at the Under 25s Championships:

We're told it was an exciting and unbelievably fast weekend's competition, with Dan Tristao winning the Singles, fairly comfortably on the score, from Ed Kay; then, Dan & Ed beating Julian Aquilina & James Tilston with some ease in the Doubles, after a superb three-set semi between Hanton & George and Aquilina & Tilston. The Singles Plate went to Adam George, the Doubles Plate to Waller & Rolls, both of which were engraved "Donated by David Barnes" since he had been too modest to put his name on them..

 

U25s Championships results

 

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WINCHESTER FIVES NATIONAL DOUBLES CHAMPIONSHIP

Malvern College, 17th March 2013

[posted 15 February 2013]

 

David Barnes is now accepting entries for the Winchester Fives National Doubles Championship, which will be held at Malvern College on Sunday March 17th. Entries may be sent by email or through the post, and must be received by Sunday 10th March. For full details, click on the link below to see the official entry form. .

 

Winchester Fives National Doubles entry form [PDF, 732KB]

 

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NATIONAL VINTAGE CHAMPIONSHIPS

Oundle School, Oundle, 24th March 2013

[posted 05 Feb 2013]

 

Players are now invited to enter the National Vintage Championships, which are being run by Brian Kirk at Oundle School on Sunday March 24th. Both singles and doubles competitions will be played on the same day, with Plate competitions in both. Qualifying age is 55 years on or before 24th March 2013 and entries must be received by Thursday 21st March. For full details, click on the link below for the official entry form.

 

National Vintage Championships entry form [Word file, 121KB]

 

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LADIES WINCHESTER FIVES CHAMPIONSHIPS

Malvern College, Worcs., 3rd March 2013

[posted 31 January 2013]

 

Denise Hall-Wilton is now accepting entries for the Ladies National Winchester Fives Championships, which will be held at Malvern College on Sunday March 3rd. NB This is an earlier date than printed in the RFA Pocket Book. Both singles and doubles tournaments will be played on the same day, with the exact format depending on the number of entries and novices very much encouraged to enter. For full details, click on the link below to download the official entry form.

 

Ladies Winchester Fives Championships entry form [PDF, 1.2MB]

 

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NATIONAL UNDER 25s CHAMPIONSHIPS

Oundle School, Oundle, 9/10th February 2013

[posted 24 January 2013]

 

Chris Burrows is now accepting entries for the Under 25s Championships. However, rather than producing an entry form for players to download and send in, he has followed Tom Maconie's example and set up a dedicated website, where players can enter the competition, and where the draws will be published.


The competitions will be played over the weekend of February 9/10th at Oundle, 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, and entry costs £5 per person in each tournament, but is free for school pupils.

 

This year, the Jesters/RFA are offering to subsidise accommodation and transport costs and details of this can be found online. For full details of the tournament, click on the link below to see the championships' website.

 

U25s Championships website

 

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NORTH OF ENGLAND OPEN CHAMPIONSHIPS

Durham, 2nd/3rd March 2013

[posted 24 January 2013]

 

Organiser John Minta is now accepting entries for the North of England Championships, which will be held in Durham over the first weekend of March. Anyone wishing to play must return the entry form, plus the appropriate fee, by Saturday February 23rd, and the details of the tournament will be sent in the week beginning February 25th. For further details, click on the link below to download the official entry form.

 

North of England Championships entry form [Word file, 33KB]

 

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NORTH WEST OPEN CHAMPIONSHIPS

Y Club, Manchester, 19/20th January 2013

[posted 24 January 2013]

 

The forecast was for harsh weather, writes organiser John Beswick, and there was a whisper going round talking about postponement! But as we all know, Fives players are made of stern stuff and to a man they turned up on a cold snow covered morning to do battle at the Y.


The singles started with a bang. Dave Fox had a great win over the young up-and-coming star of the South West, Sam Wyatt-Haines. It is easy to forget that the young man is only 17! He makes the court look very small. Also, Gareth Price deserves a mention after putting in a great performance against John Minta.


In the first semi-final, Dan Grant and John Minta went head to head; Grant, playing out of his skin with great attacking play, won in two. In the other semi, Charlie Brooks gave defending champion Dan Tristao a three game thriller - so close, Charlie!


The final brought the two Dans together. Grant won the first, hitting winner after winner - fab Fives. In the second game, the champ dug in deep: Tristao simply would not roll over, retrieving everything Grant threw at him. Tristao won in three to retain his title. An excellent match by two fine players,

 

Sadly Stuart Watson had to pull out of the singles, with rumoured stomach pains after his brown tank top had been finally binned after a half a century! Tim Lewis stepped in for him: the two points he scored were fabulous. If the Fives world had a Hall of Fame, Tim would be in it - Mr Entertainment.

 

The singles plate was won by Sam Wyatt-Haines, with a big win against Alex Rew. The young man is one to watch for the future.

 

On the Sunday the doubles started bright and early, though after a bad curry some players where looking a little green! Rew and Wyatt-Haines gave Skogh and Grant two very hard games but the four seeds moved through to the semis.

 

Play was stopped for a moment while Pete Woods did a special presentation to Shirley Beswick, wife of the late great Fred, for all the help and support she had given to the Fives club over many years. Shirley then presented the Club with a new trophy for the doubles plate tournament, in memory of her husband.


In the final of the doubles Will Ellison was on fire! With the master of volley and angles backed up by the power of Minta, it was over in two. Brooks and Dean will be back, though. The doubles plate was won by Frost and Goodwin from Derby Moor, again another young pair improving every year.

 

I would like to thank all players and supporters for their continuing support of this tournament, especial Sedbergh school and the Exeter club! See you next year!

 

North West Open Championships results

 

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WEST OF ENGLAND SCHOOLS' CHAMPIONSHIPS

Sherborne School, Dorset, 5/6th January 2013

[posted 10 January 2013]

 

Organiser Lionel Lawson has sent us this report from the West of England Schools' Championships, where there were 64 boys involved from 10 schools.

 

The Senior Singles was won emphatically by Matt Shaw of St Paul's who beat Sam Wyatt-Haines of Blundells 11-3 11-4 in the final with a display of controlled hitting and great composure. Meanwhile, the Colts Singles was won by Tom Watkinson of Winchester College who fought back to win in three games against Simon Whait of Loretto School 5-11, 11-7, 11-2 in a keenly contested encounter.

 

The senior Doubles was an all St Paul's affair with their No 1 pair (Matt Shaw and Tim Edmonds) coming from behind to beat their No 2 pair ( Ben Beltrami and Ollie Arnold) 9-11 11-1 11-3.

 

The Colts Doubles was won by Derby Moor 1 (Matt Blunden and Robert Whitehorn) who beat St Pauls 1 (Zac Jopling and Matthew Nunes) 11-4 12-11. This was a fitting reward for Derby Moor who had entered 10 players for the Colts competition.

 

The Senior Singles plate was won by Ben Ashraf of St Pauls, The Colts Singles Plate by Sid Bhushan of St Pauls, The Senior Doubles Plate by Alexander Frosell and Bertie Heath of Marlborough College and the Colts Doubles Plate by Balraj Singh and John Halligan of Derby Moor.

 

West of England Schools' Championships results

 

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CHRISTOPHER MARTIN-JENKINS

London, 1st January 2013

[posted 02 January 2013]

 

The RFA is sad to note the death of Christopher Martin-Jenkins. The writer and broadcaster is – quite rightly – known for his love of cricket, but he was also a great lover of our game, President of the RFA from 1993-95, and regularly kept in touch with the association. He played Fives at Marlborough College, before going to read History at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, where he won Half Blues in 1966 and 1967, playing alongside current RFA Deputy President Bob Dolby on both occasions. He was going to be captain of Fives, but left when offered a job to edit The Cricketer.

Our very best wishes go to his family.

 

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