Sherborne, Dorset, December 2nd 2018
Boys from Marlborough and Blundell’s won the two big titles at this year’s Colquhoun Trophy — the RFA’s South West Regional Schools’ tournament. It was Harry Powell from Marlborough who beat Harry Harvey from host school Sherborne in the Open final, while the Colts title went to Boris Ames from Bllundell’s, who scored an emphatic win over Marlborough’s Conrad Peck.
In fact, Boris had been scoring emphatic wins all day, so his triumph was no surprise. He finished top of his round-robin group with a 100% record and conceding more than a single point in only one of his four games. Behind him, the battle was for second place — a battle only won by a tiny margin, when Boris’ fellow Blundellian Max Mayor beat Marlborough’s Oliver Light 11-9 in their round-robin game.
In the second group, too, things went down to the wire, again with a battle between boys from Marlborough and Blundell’s. Ed Swarbrick from Blundell’s and Conrad Peck from Marlborough both came into their match with a 3-0 record in their first three round-robin games, meaning this match would decide first and second places in the group and, as a result, their seedings in the knockout section.
In the end, it was a comfortable win for Peck, which meant he was able to avoid Ames in the semis and claim a place in the final after a comfortable win over Max Mayor (also from Blundell’s). Instead, the dubious honour of facing Ames fell to Swarbrick, who was duly brushed aside by his fellow Blundellian.
It was the same story in the final — on paper — although the scoreline belies the amount of effort Conrad put in to try and stay on terms in the rallies. In the end, though, he simply couldn’t compete with his opponent, who displayed a fine mix of power, length and deft touch, while his speed around the court was matched only by his speed of thought. A deserved winner.
In the Open category, too, the competition produced another worthy winner, although the all-Marlborough final that had been suggested by the round-robin results didn’t materialise.
Marlborough’s Harry Powell and Charlie Jobson had topped the two groups to secure top seedings in the semis, but here Jobson was undone by Sherborne schoolboy Harry Harvey — a semi-finalist in the Colts category last year. Powell — himself a semi-finalist last year, but in the Open category — duly made it through to the final and went on to claim the title with a fine all-round display. Harvey put his heart into it, but in the end just couldn’t get the better of his opponent, who had already beaten him in the round-robin.
However, with another year’s experience under his belt, who’s to say Harvey won’t go one better in 2019 — the tenth running of this event, which was set up in memory of Charlie Colquhoun and inspired other regional schools’ tournaments. It would seem appropriate to celebrate the anniversary with a home winner on the courts of Sherborne School, who have so generously hosted the event since its inception — for which the RFA is extremely grateful.
Pool 1: 1st Conrad Peck (Marlborough); 2nd Ed Swarbrick (Blundell’s); 3rd Will Buckenall (Blundell’s); 4th Freddie Clayton (Blundell’s); 5th Alex Grubb (Blundell’s)
Pool 2: 1st Boris Ames (Blundell’s); 2nd Max Mayor (Blundell’s); 3rd Oliver Light (Marlborough); 4th James Bartlett (Blundell’s); 5th Harry Rackham (Blundell’s)
Semi-finals: Peck (Marlborough) bt Mayor (Blundell’s) 15-4; Ames (Blundell’s) bt Swarbrick 15-0
Final: Ames bt Peck 11-1, 11-0
Plate: Buckenall (Blundell’s)
Pool 1: 1st Charlie Jobson (Marlborough); 2nd Harry Lack (Marlborough); 3rd William Barker (Sherborne)
Pool 2: 1st Harry Powell (Marlborough); 2nd Harry Harvey (Sherborne); 3rd George Gibbs (Blundell’s)
Semi-finals: Harvey (Sherborne) bt Jobson (Marlborough) 15-4; Powell (Marlborough) bt Lack (Marlborough) 15-2
Final: Powell bt Harvey 11-3, 11-4
Plate: Gibbs (Blundell’s)