Scottish Schools Girls’ Doubles Championship
Fettes College, March 2019
Richie Murby reports: This year, as with last year’s inaugural Scottish Schools Girls’ Championships, 4 institutions were represented by a total of 8 pairs, from Fettes, Edinburgh Academy, Loretto and the Caledonian Club. The galleries were very busy for this event, and no one was disappointed by the standard of play, which was equal to, and perhaps even higher, than last year, despite there being a couple of significant absences from Fettes through injury.
In the quarters, Loretto’s young team were good-humoured in defeat and will come back stronger next year; similarly, Holly and Cecily (EA V) look like good prospects. Maud and Flora EA (IV) demonstrated technical fives and court-craft, gaining an impressive win over the bigger-hitting Fettes pair of Cora and Lucy; while in the pick of the early matches Ambereen and Ailsa (EA III) recovered from a nervy start to come back from several game balls, eventually winning 16-15 in a nailbiting quarter-final.
Consolation for the losing Fettes and Caley Club pairs arrived in the form of a Plate final, where Alley’s doggedness and determination and Anna’s poise and smooth hitting on both sides (and her ability to return Cora’s dangerous serving) won them the day in a close final.
In the all-Academy semi-finals, the matches went with seeding in fairly convincing fashion, although both matches were highly competitive — a testament to the strength and depth of EA fives at present.
The final itself was an exhibition of high-quality, fast fives. Last year’s champions Olivia and Meryl, tried to assert dominance with accurate length and width along the side walls, while the challengers. Zara and Sophie. sought to attack the left corner area with a combination of round-the-walls howitzers and dying-in-the-corner drives. Their attack-mindedness paid dividends, as did their lower error count and crisper, more organised defensive work off the back walls. Congratulations to Zara and Sophie, and well done to all four players for a great final.
With last year’s champions, now in their final school year, handing on the trophy to the younger pair, this seems an apt moment to acknowledge all the EA and Fettes players who will be leaving school this year. They are a generation of players who have made an immense contribution to the game — blazing a trail for girls’ and women’s fives in Scotland and inspiring the many younger players coming through.
Quarter-finals: Maud M & Flora M (EA IV) bt Cora & Lucy W (Fettes) 15-10; Meryl S & Olivia T (EA II) bt Holly B & Cecily M (EA V) 15-1; Ailsa C & Ambereen H (EA III) bt Alley Scott & Anna Laakkonen (Caledonian Club) 16-15; Zara E & Sophie L (EA I) bt Louise W & Robyn B (Loretto) 15-0
Semi-finals: Meryl S & Olivia T (EA II) bt Maud M & Flora M (EA IV) 15-3; Zara E & Sophie L (EA I) bt Ailsa C & Ambereen H (EA III) 15-2
Final: Zara E & Sophie L (EA I) bt Meryl S & Olivia T (EA II) 11-1, 11-3
Semi-finals: Cora & Lucy W (Fettes) bt Holly B & Cecily M (EA V) 11-4; Alley Scott & Anna Laakkonen (Caledonian Club) bt Louise W & Robyn B (Loretto) 11-0
Final: Alley Scott & Anna Laakkonen (Caledonian Club) bt Cora & Lucy W (Fettes) 15-8