St Paul’s School, Barnes, 26th September 2015
The new three-player format was greeted with interest and enthusiasm, writes organiser Alex Smith, and with nine teams, we had three groups of three in the group stages. This allowed a lot of socialising, tea-drinking and spectating as there was always one team not playing as well as some team’s spare players in the gallery. All players agreed that this made for a very sociable atmosphere and gave the players a much-needed rest between some intense games over what is always a long day.
The group rounds got started by not long after 10am, although there were delays in one group as a team only arrived after mid-day. Games to 15 in the group stage also made for a longer set of group rounds in this case, but there were no complaints as the players got stuck in to some cracking doubles games. There was much enjoyable chat and speculation about the results in each group, which would be won by teams on the points scored.
The three highest-seeded teams – that is the two Old Paulines teams and the Old Eastbournians – expectedly dominated their respective groups, but there were some very close matches for second and third places: Alleyn Old Boys managed to beat Old Blues by just one point, while the Old Wykehamist teams used their experience to rack up good points tallies against their opponents. Old Derby Moor pushed the Old Wykehamists II all the way, and so it was Old Wykehamists I who made it through to the knock-out stages with the next highest points total of 64.
The senior Old Pauline team dominated their semi-final, but the young 2012 OP side had rather more work to do, with the Old Eastbournians desperate to repeat their feat of a few years ago in preventing an all-Pauline final. However, after each side took one game each, the young Paulines were looking strong and the OEs did not quite have the legs to push the third game to a win; and so it was the senior OPs against the 2012 Pauline leavers for the final. The senior OPs were not ready to relinquish their dominance to the young turks, and so the senior Old Paulines, with a virtuoso display, retained the Owers Trophy for 2015 – which was presented by Mr Owers himself, attending ‘his’ tournament for the first time.
Meanwhile, in the Plate, there were further close games, with Alleyn Old Boys sneaking through by one point for the second time, this time against a young Derby Moor side. The Old Wykehamists, who had fresh firepower with Ben Hale coming in, had a slightly easier win against a tiring Old Whitgiftian side, and the men from Winchester finished with a deserving final victory, to retain the Barnes Plate, fittingly donated by David Barnes, himself an OW and great supporter of Winchester Fives.
1. Old Eastbournians (Pringle, Meek, Compton) 89,
2. Old Wykehamists (Watkinson, Wylde, Hale M) 64,
3. Old Whitgiftians (Hamilton, Higgins, Norman) 33
1. 2012 Paulines (Parker, Russell, Thomas) 90,
2. Old Wykehamists II (Kelly, Chua, Woollard) 62,
3. Old Derby Moor (Goodwin, Baxter, Taylor) 40
1. Old Paulines (Tristao, Beltrami, Aquilina) 90,
2. Alleyn Old Boys (Geere, Sulkin, Carr) 39,
3. Old Blues (Hatton, Lebon, Webster) 38
Semi-finals: 2012 Paulines (Parker, Russell, Thomas) beat Old Eastbournians (Bate, Pringle, Meek) 30-22
Old Paulines (Tristao, Beltrami, Aquilina) beat Old Wykehamists (Watkinson, Wylde, Song) 33-7
Final: Old Paulines beat 2012 Paulines 33-tbc
Semi-finals: Alleyn Old Boys beat Old Derby Moor 27-26, Old Wykehamists II (Kelly, Chua, Hale B) bt Old Whitgiftians (Hamilton, Higgins, Hillier) 30-21
Final: Old Wykehamists II beat Alleyn Old Boys 33-17