Fives

Blundell's must be one of the oldest fives playing schools in the country, with records going back to 1625. Fives is still played throughout the year, although the majority of school fixtures take place during the Easter term. The school has six Rugby Fives courts which, unlike Eton and Winchester Fives courts, have no buttressing.

Fives

Sherborne, King’s Bruton and Clifton College provide the bulk of local opposition although the school team has been known to travel as far afield as Radley, Bloxham and Rossall for tournaments. 2003 saw the first Blundell's Fives Tour to Scotland. School teams enter the National and West of England Tournaments each year. The school also hosts touring Club teams such as Deep West and The Jesters and a number of Old Boys regularly return to use the courts.

All Blundellians, regardless of experience, have access to the Fives courts, which underwent extensive renovations a few years ago. Both gloves and balls are provided by the master in charge and stocked in the school shop.

Fives 2017-18

Captain of Fives: Addie Chai OH/W
Vice Captain: James MacLaurin FH/W
Social Sec': Barney Ames FH/W

National Schools Fives Championships 2018
At St Paul's School, London

Seniors (Open)
Addie Chai, James Maclaurin, Barney Ames

Colts U16
Boris Ames, Will Bucknell, Harry Rackham, Alex Grubb

U14
Ed Swarbrick, Max Mayor, Freddie Clayton, James Bartlett

We had a very satisfying time at the National Championships, taking the biggest squad to date, comprising 11 players. There were 14 schools involved, with approximately 36 players in each of the three competitions including Tom Kidner of Winchester and Gwydion Wiseman of Alleyn’s the current senior and colts Champions respectively. The standard as usual was very high. It was the best year of Blundell’s squad performance with respect to spirit, attitude and collective support across the age ranges. You could guarantee that when a Blundellian was playing the courts would be packed!. Addie Chai was a great role model and showed the qualities of a true captain, coming back on the last day to support his team mates when he didn’t need to and demonstrating his ability to concentrate on his own game whilst supporting others. As ever the Blundells’ squad played with increasing fluency and threat as the tournament wore on.

Headlines
Addie Chai  semi finalist in the Open Singles
James Macalaurin finalist and winner in the Open Plate competition
Addie Chai/ James Maclaurin Quarter finalists in the Open Doubles
Boris Ames  Semi finalist in the Colts Plate
Boris Ames/ Will Bucknell semi finalists in the Colts Doubles

Senior (Open) Singles
Addie gave a captain’s performance in every way throughout the tournament, showing inventiveness, accuracy and stickability through out. He won convincingly all his pool games and played a very tough match against Hudis of St Pauls eventually winning 12-10, 11-9 holding his nerve in the second game and coming back from 8-4 down. He had an easier passage against Jackson of St Paul’s in the quarters beating him 11-5,11-4. He found his match in Low of Whitgift in the semis and although he gave no point away willingly, succumbed to the formers superior placement skills. It must be said that to get to be one of the top 4 players in the country, without winning any national age range championship is a remarkable feat. Addie’s achievement differential is far higher than any of his contemporaries on the national scene as reported by many past masters of the  game who witnessed his playing. In this regard he has equaled the heights attained by Sam Wyatt-Haines in former years. We will no doubt hear much of Addie in the future as a fives player at university level and beyond.

James Maclaurin entertained everyone all week, and came up with something different in every game. He was the most watched and arguably the most inventive and creative player in the tournament. It was a fantastic achievement to win the plate competition and showed him at his best. It must be mentioned that James was struggling with a long-term shoulder problem that gave him much pain through out the tournament. In the semis and final he gave the best performances of his career. He eventually beat Hudis in a closely contested and brutal match in the semis. He knew he would have to husband his resources wisely in a potentially 3 game match against Cochrane of Alleyns in the final. In the first game he climbed back from being 8-4 down to win it 11-9. He took a high, but calculated tactical risk in letting Cochrane come back at him 11-4 in the second game. This’ rest period’ paid off in the third game that that he won 11-6 with some stinging and venomous low shots to the back of the court played at just the right time. Brilliant!

Barney upped several levels in his overall competitive performance and proved to himself that despite the 18 months he was out due to injury, that with more court time he would have got through to the main draw of the completion. He played with much greater tactical skill and accuracy. Barney has made a huge contribution as mentor to the younger players and has established himself in the squad as invaluable social secretary!

Doubles
Addie and James gave a good performance in the Open doubles. They had a convincing victory in the first round against Alleyns II and had a very good first games against the St Paul’s first pair in the quarters beating them 11-9. Unfortunately they were unable to sustain this level in the following 2 games as James shoulder issues reduced his performance substantially.

Colts
Blundell’s were a young squad this year and in many instances were playing opponents who were a year above them in age. Nevertheless everyone showed plenty of pluck and determination. Boris showed much courage in playing through with an injured hand and demonstrated some superbly accurate clean hitting in all his single matches. He was always in contention and never gave adversaries an easy ride. He secured an impressive victory against Jourdan of Edinburgh Academy 15-10 that got him through to the semis of the plate competition. Will also had some tremendous moments in his Match against Birch of Winchester. Harry Rackham and Alex Grubb were often really up against it in terms of facing bigger boys with much greater fire-power than themselves. However, they were really dogged and not to be put down, and showed a total improvement in all aspects of their game. The highlight in many respects was Boris and Will’s performance in the doubles where they moved up several levels of Fives ability. This revealed itself in their much improved understanding of court positioning to stay in the game and general tactical nous. Their communication was excellent, swapping sides regularly to stay on their strong hand. Will served out his opponents on several occasions with his unplayable high velocity and accurate left hand serves. They had convincing but not easy wins against Winchester and St Paul’s IV on their way to the semis where they gave a real run for their money to the St Paul’s first pair who eventually went on to win the competition.

U14’s
The U14’s were a very merry crew through out the tournament and withstood very creditably the upsets and disappointments of playing at a high national level and came back with a smile! We felt that they emerged at the end of the tournament as much more confident and technically assured Fives players. In the Singles Ed Swarbrick was unlucky not to have got through to the main draw having secured two handsome victories at the pool stage and again just missed a place in the final of the plate competition by one point after a gruelling game 11-12 against McIyntyre of City Of Durham. The Doubles competition in many ways showed the Blundell’s squad at its best. Freddie Clayton and James Bartlett worked well as the second pair and played with increasing flair and grit. They made very effective use of James’ ability to serve on both the right and left side of the court. Ed and Max as the first pair had two terrific matches at the pool stage that they won 12-11 each time and they realized the importance of maintaining stamina and playing through discomfort in the long game. They showed much greater tactical awareness and were able to weather the storm at 10 all!  Over the next year the squad will be developing more consistency in their playing.

The great news is that both the Colts and the U14’s are very eager to return to the Nationals in 2019!

CHD, Wayne Enstone, Richard Moore

Under 13 National Championships, St Paul's School, London

SQUAD
Yr 8: Ben Fitzherbert, Oscar Wetherall, Felix Stone, Jacob Cole
Yr 7: Harry Southgate, Barnaby Hull, Dan Pugsley, Charlie Tomlinson

Wayne and I were delighted with the squad’s performance at the U13 national Championships..
One of the most gratifying aspects of the trip was the their cohesiveness and good humour as a team and there was no hint of ageism between the years 7’s and 8’s; they all were extremely supportive of each particularly when the pressure was on. The competition was stiff, the standard of play high and Blundells in many cases was facing opposition with more experience and time on the court. Nevertheless the squad were up for the challenge and never let their heads down. Much was learnt by the end of the day.

In the singles, Ben, Felix and Oscar were at the top of their pools and were entered in to the knockout stages of the competition for the first 16. They had convincing victories on the way. Ben Fitzherbert did extremely well to get to the quarter finals where he was taken down by the superior fire power of Boy of St Olaves, who eventually went on to win the singles trophy.

In the doubles, Blundell’s performed very creditably. Ben and and Felix, the Blundell’s first pair played with increasing fluency, tactical nous and grit as the afternoon progressed and had convincing victories against Alleyn’s Junior 2  and Bedford 2, 11-2 and 11-5 respectively. They were undone in the semi finals by Alleyns senior 2, but not without a fight.
The other 3 pairs were knocked out in the first round of the main draw and played in the plate. They played some confident fives in this competition and were hitting the ball with much greater accuracy and power. Harry and Barnaby as the 4th pair got through to the semis, having taken down Alleyns junior and Bedford 3  11-5, 11-8. Harry and Barnaby played some courageous fives against Pilgrims 1, before eventually succumbing to superior fire power and placement. Oscar and Jacob got to the semis and were just pipped by Pilgrims 3, 11-10 in a long, thrilling and closely contested game that could have gone either way.

The boys should be extremely proud of their performance on the court and their general conduct at the tournament, carried off in the best Blundellian spirit. As usual they composed a Blundell’s song on the way up which they sang full blast as we entered the gates of St Pauls and on our return to Blundell’s!

A great weekend! CHD/Wayne Enstone

 

v Exeter and Tiverton Fives Club
SQUAD: Seniors: Addie Chai, James Maclaurin,
Colts: Seb Farrant, Oscar Voysey,Tommy Ryder, Oscar Choi,
Boris Ames,Will Bucknell, Harry Rackham

As usual, we had an entertaining and tough fixture against the men’s Clubs. The boys played with commitment throughout. The format consisted of singles and a variety of mixed pair doubles.

Singles
Addie Chai and James Maclaurin as the senior pair played extremely well. Addie having been defeated by Wayne Enstone 11-2 in the first game came back with a vengeance and took Wayne down 11-2 in the second! James also gave Dan Hill a serious run for his money and after a long game won 12-10. Seb Farrant played with great tenacity against Nick Gear and managed to take 10 points off him, a real achievement. Boris Ames and Will Bucknell also showed real pluck in their first adult singles.

Doubles
Addie and James used their complementary skills to best advantage in the doubles. They were narrowly defeated by Wayne and Dan Hill 9-11, but had a convincing win against Andrew Wyeth and Dan 11-7 in their second game. There were some great passages of play from Boris, Will and Harry Rackham in their various combinations. They shouldn’t be overly disappointed by results as being put under severe pressure by adults will bear fruit in the future when they play their peers in school fixtures and tournaments.

The Clubs complemented the boys on excellent attitude, sportsmanship and willingness to learn. All in all it was an excellent evening of Fives. CHD 

West of England Tournament 2018

Seniors:
Addie Chai (capt), James Maclaurin, Barney Ames
Colts: Boris Ames, Tommy Ryder, Will Bucknell, Harry Rackham, Alex Grubb

We had another productive and in some cases exceptional time at the West of England Tournament at Sherborne. Blundell’s fielded 3 Seniors and 5 colts this year the balance of the tournament this year being weighted in favour the Colts with 30 + entrants and the seniors with 20 +. The squad conducted themselves in their usual enthusiastic and competitive manner and as ever were extremely supportive of each other.

HIGHLIGHTS
The main highlights were Addie Chai getting through to the Finals of the main sIngles  competeition, Boris Ames winning the Colts Plate and James Maclaurin and Barney Ames getting to the semi Finals of the senior Doubles. 

SENIORS - Singles
Plaudits must go to Addie for his quite brilliant performance in the Singles. He is turning into an outstanding and masterful player. It is a testament to his hard work and commitment to the sport that he got so far and proved a very serious challenge to Tom Kidner of Winchester, the Current senior National Fives Champion. He made sure footed progress through the earlier rounds of the tournament against some stiff opposition, particularly in the semis where he played against the very able Chievely of St Paul’s. In the Final, Tom Kidner was completely non plussed by Addies’ tactical nous and capacity for retrieval In the first game which  Addie won 11-4. Being the champion he is, Kidner revived and after many hard contested and long rallies won the next 2 games 11-6, 11-7. Not since Sam Wyatt-Haines have we seen such a performance from a Blundellian at this level of the game. Addie is not the finished article yet, and he will be no doubt honing his skills in the coming season, but he has put down a serious marker for the National Championships in April. Other schools beware!

Doubles - James Maclaurin and Barney Ames made an effective partnership in the Doubles and by the end Barney was playing with impressive fluency. James’s extraordinary glove skills were particularly on display in the match against Tonbrige which they won 11-0, 11-6.

COLTS - Singles
The west of England is becoming an increasingly important part of The Blundell’s Colts development as players. As ever the standard was extremely high and the squad often faced  opposition with much more experience, particularly from some of the London schools. However it was a great Learning experience for our players. Tommy, Will and Harry were playing much more convincingly by the end of the singles and were positioning themselves and hitting the ball much more effectively. Boris played with confidence throughout and was unlucky not to have won against Harvey of Sherborne, there just being 2 points between them. He more than compensated in the Plate competition where he won all his matches in the pool section and went on to beat Redfern of Winchester 11-3 in the final.   

Doubles - In the Doubles Boris and Tommy had a convincing win against Derby Moor 15-3 in the opening game. They had much tougher opposition from the Sherborne pair and although they lost, managed to get 9/11 points off them in the second game. It was very gratifying to see the progress that Will Bucknell and Harry Rackham made by the end of day and in their last game against St Paul’s II. They should be proud of the transformation in their communication and game strategy skills.

All in all,It was great 2 two days and the team thoroughly enjoyed themselves.
CHD/Wayne Enstone

REICHWALD TOURNAMENT 2017

Blundell’s Players: Addie Chai, James MacLaurin, Barney Ames, Toby Pearce,
Tommy Ryder, George Gibbs, Boris Ames, Harry Rackham, Max Mayor,
Oscar Wetherall, Dom Wielenga, James Bartlett

OB players: Daniel Hill, Alexandra Steel, Maddie Raynor, Melanie Whitehead, Christian Cabburn, Christian Brooks, Katharine Armstrong, Christy Bartlett, CHD,
+ Exeter Club payers: Tim Lewis, Keith Kennerley, Nick Geere,

Reichwald Trophy : James Maclaurin & Melanie Whitehead
           Runners up : George Gibbs & Christian Brooks
      
1st Plate: Addie Chai & Katharine Armstrong
2nd Plate: Dom Wielenga & Keith Kennerley
3rd Plate: Boris Ames & CHD

We had another lovely Reichwald tournament on Sunday now in its 9th year, with 24 players and 10 parents and other guests.

Despite various spells of rain and the closure of two courts due to slippery surface this year’s tournament produced many fine performances from pupils, OB’s and parents, some who hadn’t played fives for many years, 35 in one case. Well done must also go to the spectators who seemed unphased by the conditions and were treated to many compelling matches that took their minds off the weather.

The day began with the usual meeting in the Beale Centre where Janet Wolf, assisted by husband, produced a superb lunch and players were introduced to their partner, OB’s playing with pupil. Mr CHD also announced various new positions of Blundell’s Fives for the season: Captain, Addie Chai; Vice Captain, James Maclaurin: and Social Secretary, Barney Ames.

The initial tournament was three pools of four pairs that established the next round of pools for the main Reichwald Trophy competition and three Plate competitions. In Pool 1 James Maclaurin and Melanie Whitehead had a hard fought match against Addie Chai and Katherine Armstrong, just winning and going through to the Reichwald Trophy draw. In Pool 2 there were three pairs, Toby Pearce and a newcomer to OB’s fives, Christian Cabburn who was Captain of fives last year, such was his enthusiasm he had only just come back from a European trip the day before, and he produced some fine shots throughout the day considering his lack of practice, Tommy Ryder and Alexandra Steel gave eventual winners George Gibbs and Christian Brookes a very close match with a one point difference. Finally, Pool 3 was the most hotly contested with three pairs, Max Maher/ Maddy Raynor, Dom *Wielenga /Keith Kennerely, and Oscar Wetheral / Dan Hill all winning two matches, the positions were decided on who beat who and that meant Max and Maddy went through to contest the Trophy Pool.

The event finished with the usual thanks and presentations and tea back in the Beale Centre. This year was a significant occasion as Frank Akerman, who initiated the Reichwald, noted in his speech the recent sad passing away of Maureen Reichwald, Chris Reichwald’s widow.
Mr Chis H-D handed over the Master In Charge of Fives role to Mr Richard Moore. Captain of Fives, Addie Chai, responded with a speech thanking Mr CHD for the great contribution that he has made to Fives since taking it on in 2006. A moment of reflection for us all on the many good times CHD has given us all, over those years. Fortunately, CHD is still involved for the time being and for this season at least. Farewells were said as some OB’s had quite a way to travel home, and all were looking forward to next year’s event!

Wayne Enstone

 

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