Fives 2013/14

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Captain of Fives: Sam Wyatt-Haines FH/W

v West of England Club

Seniors: Sam Wyatt-Haines, Harvey Scott. Tobias Francis,
Colts: Addie Chai, Hector Michalopoulos, James Maclaurin, Emily Combe

We had a delightful and competitive afternoon o f Fives against the West of England club who bought 2 adult players and 4 of their colts. Harvey Scott and Tobias Francis played pugnaciously against Rolls and Werkshagen in the singles, although they were undone by superior experience. Sam Wyatt-Haines, hot foot from his hockey match defeated them convincingly 11-6, 11-5, respectively. There was much exciting play in the doubles and the West of England, won by a small margin 26-21.
The colts gave a good account of themselves and played with commitment and vigour throughout. In the singles Blundell’s won 82-64. Addie Chai showed tenacious powers of recovery and  James Maclaurin some beautiful touch play in the Doubles. Hector and Emily also scored a handsome victory 15-5, thus contributing to Blundell’s dominance 52-44.

It was an exacting but convivial afternoon CHD

National Championships at St Paul's

Squad: Tobias Francis, Ben Clarke

After a disastrous beginning to the Championships in which the first two days were cancelled because St Paul's felt compelled to conform to the Met Office's no sport directive due to high levels of atmospheric air pollution, the tournament  commenced in stripped down form on Saturday.

I am extremely proud of what Tobias and Ben achieved throughout. There was extremely tough competition from the South East schools and they both played with feistiness and increasing skill throughout. In the singles Ben successfully took apart Armstrong of Whitgift 15 -1, but lost to Whitham of St Paul's in the third round. Tobias, comprehensively beat Kim of St Paul's 15-4  in the first match, but lost  8-15 to Romain an under 16 from Rugby in the third round but not without resilient fight and ingenuity, every point only being conceded after long rallies.  

In the doubles they both played superbly as a unit and got to the semi- finals playing opponents a year above their age. They showed excellent communication skills and tactical nous. Even under pressure, they maintained a nice fluidity to their play and were prepared to take risks, suddenly changing the pace and utilising deft drop shots and volleys. Their first game against Alleyns  2 went smoothly and they won convincingly 11-3, 11-4. Their second match against Christ's Hospital was much tougher and the highlight was fighting back from 4-9 down in the first game to win 11-9. This clearly goaded their opponents and the second game became a first rate scrap getting to 11 all before Blundell's with a final coup de grace triumphed 12-11. The tension of watching this nearly finished off their elderly coach. As to be expected the match against the St Paul's first pair was extremely hard graft and Blundell's eventually succumbed to superior use of angled shots.

In conclusion, Blundell's can hold their heads high and Tobias and Ben can be justly proud of their achievements. They will be back with interest next year. CHD

v Malvern

Colts Squad: Tobias Francis, Addie Chai, James Maclaurin
Girls Colts: Emily Combe, Amy Cross

We had an excellent fixture against Morgan using Clifton as our venue. It was a very tightly fought contest, as indicated by the final score of 172 to Malvern 169 to Blundell's. We gave a strong performance in boys singles and everyone one won their matches convincingly, giving a lead of 78 -36. Malvern’s fortunes revived in the doubles and they beat us 57 to 38, many of the games, going right up to the wire.

Emily Combe and Amy Cross played extremely well against a more experienced opposition and their skills physically improving throughout the afternoon. They each won a singles match and fought heroically in the three doubles games, losing 45 to 27.

All in-all Blundell’s gave a very encouraging performance. CHD

v Exeter and Tiverton Men

Squad; Sam Wyatt-Haines, Harvey Scott, Jack Webber, Sam Combe, Alastair Chilcott, Hector Michalopoulos, Tobias Francis, Ben Clarke, Addie Chai and James MacLaurin

As ever we had an excellent and entertaining evening of Fives against the Tiverton and Exeter Men's clubs. The competition consisted exclusively of doubles in various combinations. Many of the matches were extremely close and this was reflected in the final score, in which the opposition just pipped Blundell’s 173-165. There was barely 2 points between the opposing pairs in most of the senior games. The Junior colts Chai and Maclaurin were given a run for their money by the over 60’s pair of Rice and Hedley-Dent , one game a piece 16-15, 15-14!
A great evening with Blundell’s players showing much skill and resourcefulness. CHD

v The Executioners (London)

The fives team braved the elements on Saturday to play a depleted executioners team ( two of their number retreated back after their train was halted by a landslide!). Samuel Wyatt Haines jumped straight from hockey pitch to fives court to play with calm assurance and perfect timing against an old Blundellian Richard Dyke, who was also Captain of Fives 8 years ago. Also representing the opposition was Alex Steel, who was a contemporary of Richard's and Ladies Captain of Fives.
A well contested match played with great spirit and gusto even if only to keep warm. Despite a valiant effort Blundell's finally capitulated to the Executioners 83-116. RDJM

Reichwald Trophy Tournament

Squad: Will Hall-Tompkin, George Vickery, Tommy Bouchier-Hayes, Josh Huggett, Miles Lawler, Jack Armstrong-Williams.

Our annual OB Reichwald Doubles Tournament was a very enjoyable affair that involved 24 current pupils and old Blundellians. We played the normal format in which an OB or Men’s Club player was paired with a current pupil.(The matches were organised on a pool basis with winners being determined by overall points scored). Players conducted themselves in best Blundellian spirit throughout, on and off the court. It was great to see a good representation of younger players from years 8 and 9.One of the aims of the day is to give junior players an insight into the tactical and technical skill levels of mature players.  Overall there was an excellent and highly competitive standard of fives played. Matches were very tightly contested and in many cases the runners up were only 1 or 2 points behind.

Sam Wyatt-Haines and Melanie Whitehead won the Reichwald  Trophy  scoring a maximum of 45 points
The Runners up were Jack Grandfield and Nick Cumberlege and were awarded the First Plate, scoring 43 points

Jack Lockwood and Richard Wyatt-Haines won the Second plate competition, scoring the maximum of 45 points

James Maclaurin  and Simon Hartwright won the Third Plate competition , scoring 42 points. The runners-up, Joseph Duncan and Jeremy Wren were only 1 point behind with 41. CHD

v Sherborne

We had an excellent afternoon of fives against Sherborne this afternoon, despite the appalling weather and fear of court flooding! It was a very closely fought fixture Blundell's triumphing overall 202 -191 points. The sides were well matched and we played up Francis and Lockwood as the first pair against their seniors. It was great to field Emily Combe and Amy Cross after a two-year absence from the game!
Singles. Blundell’s won 135-119
There was some really impressive fives all-round in the singles, but highlights included Francis’ victory over Newman and Tims11-7, 11-3 respectively and Sam Combe’s solid and elegant win against Pisani and Reed. In addition the junior Colts Chai and MacLaurin triumphed in all their games and Emily Combe was also successfully competitive in both her singles.
Doubles: Sherborne won72-67
The doubles were extremely close as indicated by the score and there was much to admire in Blundell's performances. Highlights were Francis and Lockwood's match against the Sherborne first pair climbing back from 10 points down to reach a very respectable 8. Chai and MacLaurin won both their games convincingly 11 - 2 and 11-4. The most dramatic turnaround was Emily Combe and Amy Cross’ match against the Sherborne fourth pair in which they won 12 -11, having been 6 love down !

I am extremely pleased with the attitude and commitment shown by the Blundell’s players and in particular, praise should go to Hector Michalopoulos for his courageous approach in his first ever match after only two weeks experience in the game! CHD

U13s v The Pilgrim's School, Winchester

As ever we had a delightful afternoon of Fives hosted by Pilgrim's School at Winchester. It was played in the best possible spirit and although Pilgrim’s got the upper hand and beat us 214-121 overall, I was extremely pleased with Blundell’s performance, particularly as it was the first competitive external match that four of our players had experienced. It was great to see the skill development of Huggett, Bouchier-Hayes, Lawler and Armstrong -Williams throughout the afternoon, all of whom we're striking the ball powerfully and moving more fluidly by the end of the match.

Highlights in the singles were H-T's feisty victory over their No.1, Powell 11-7. George Vickery also played competitively against him, and was narrowly defeated 8-11. Tommy Bouchier-Hayes had a convincing victory over Pilgrim's 4,11-8.

The doubles featured many exciting and closely fought matches. One obvious high point was the game between Hall-Tompkin / Vickery against Pilgrims 2 that they won after 20 minutes 11 -9! They also secured a good victory over Pilgrims 3, 11-8. The Bouchier-Hayes/Huggett & Lawler/ Armstrong-Williams pairs played pluckily and made many convincing ripostes against stronger opposition.

v RFA

On Saturday afternoon Blundell's hosted the RFA (the Rugby Fives Association rather than dyslexic pilots). Sam Wyatt Haines led by example in the singles beating Alex Rew, a top seeded adult player, in a close game. Addi Chai played extremely well in both the singles and doubles matches with impressive guile and strength for one just learning the game. Jack Webber just about perfected the reverse through the legs shot. Harvey Scott hit the ball really hard. Sam Combe played with an elegance not seen since the time of David Niven or Fred Astaire. Alistair Chilcott, James MacLaurin also made important contributions.  Overall it was a close, competitive match played with great spirit and sense of fun with Blundells coming out victors with 153 points to the RFA's 144 in a rare win against this experienced side.

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