Inter Schools Doubles Championship - Report

10 Feb 2014

Another fine tournament masterminded by Mick Dean. The senior event was finally won by Altrincham GS (Robert Shenkman & Guy Maxwell) who narrowly won the competition over Eton (Charlie Braham & Tony Morales), with Clifton and Radley in very close contention. Highgate and Canford were also in the top group.


SENIORS (Queens’) Winners Altrincham GS

16 pairs contested the Senior Schools Doubles at Queens’ Club, including debutants Seaford and second timers Westminster. Qualifying groups were won by Canford 2 and Radley 3, however while Clifton 2 managed to edge out both Westminster 1 and Seaford 2 to claim the plate. Radley 3 and Canford 2 then met Radley 2, Eton 2, Canford 1 and Charterhouse in the penultimate group. Here, Canford 2 sprung a surprise by beating Radley 2 before losing to Eton 2. Canford 1 (Nicholson & Wordsworth) just edged out Charterhouse (Gus Giddins & James Rendell) and just beat Eton 2 in the last set to qualify for the top group. Charterhouse beat Canford 2 to claim the 2nd pairs plate, but Eton 2 (Peel & De Fries) won the 2nd pairs trophy.

In the top group, Canford joined several pairs with players in the low 20s handicap and below (Altrincham GS, Eton, Radley, Clifton and Highgate. Early on, Radley (George Buckley & Rupert Boddington) stumbled 5/6 to Highgate (Sam & Georgie Willis) but recovered against Eton (Charlie Braham and Toni Morales) but losing 5/6 after match points in a fine match. Eton beat Altrincham (Robert Shenkman & Guy Maxwell) 6/3 and Highgate. A strong Clifton pair (Henry Mullan & David Parry) beat Highgate and Canford before losing to both Altrincham and Radley, who continued to revive their form. Canford struggled manfully, but after their 9th set of the day looked , understandably, rather spent.

Eton, unbeaten with just Clifton to play, looked odds-on winners, but stumbled 2/6 as fatigue appeared to set in. The final set of the day saw Radley vs Altrincham, with a win likely to give them 2nd behind Eton, while Altrincham could still equal Eton for 1st place. All top 4 places were in the balance. After 3 match points at 5/5 and advantage-all, Radley (it was not their day), finally succumbed to Altrincham, who took the overall title by 1 game after the calculators had been consulted.

Some terrific and mature doubles was seen, with the dedans packed all day long and the tension palpable. Altrincham were deserved winners, but credit must go to all the other pairs, all but one of whom won at least 2 of their matches. We are very grateful to Queens’ Club for their hosting of this event – this year did not disappoint! 

COLTS (U16) (Radley)          Winners Radley

With some of the best U16s playing in the senior event (affecting both Canford and Clifton), and the late withdrawal of slight favourites, Eton, this event at Radley was slightly reduced in size to 6 pairs, 4 from Radley. The round-robin was won by Radley 3 (Freddie White and Olly Martyn-Hemphill) who beat strong pairs Radley 1 (Henry Batstone & Leo Boddington ) and Radley 2 (Olly Smith and Charlie Seddon), who only lost 4/5 to Radley 1, who thereby reached the final. Radley 4 (Sam Hoddinott & Seb Hill) beat Oratory (Stephen Blount and Hugh McMutrie) who in turn beat MCS (Vincent Graham & Walter Thompson), who completed the circle by beating Radley 4 – so no pair failed to win a match!

The final saw the tables turned, as Henry Batstone and Leo Boddington saw off the talented younger boys by a convincing 8/4 in a very pleasing final. These boys are all pressing the 50 handicap barrier, and will provide some stiff competition in the Senior event next year. Thanks to Chris Ronaldson and Zak Eadle for running this event.

U14 (Hardwick)          Winners Canford

Late withdrawals from Bisham and a late injury to Benedict Yorston (Radley) rather hindered this event, which was won decisively by Canford (Nicky Milton and Monty Dix) although they were given a encouragingly good game by Radley 2 (Alex Rayne and Val Brooke) in the effective final (8/3). Oratory (Tufnell & Schmidt), Radley 2 & 3 (Ned Gordon – Yorston’s intended partner -, Miles Greene & Jonny Evans) all played with real promise in their first competition and not a single love set was lost. Thanks to Mark Eadle and Ali Hakimi for masterminding this event.

U13 (Oratory)            Winners Moulsham

Qualifying groups were won by Moulsham (Zak & Finn Ramjane), Portsmouth GS (Hugh Thomas & George Charlton) and Oratory Jun/Moulsford (Jack Sykes and Max Wetton). Westbourne House 1 paid for a slow start, losing to Oratory Jun/Moulsford but went on to claim 4th place over pairs from Caldicott and Westbourne. Caldicott 1 claimed the 3rd final group and 7th place overall from Westbourne 3.

The top final group was won by Moulsham, beating Portsmouth 6/2 in what proved the crucial match, while Portsmouth beat Oratory Jun/Moulsford for 2nd place.

Thanks to Liam Taylor and Steve Tomlinson for running this event.

** A total of 41 pairs entered these events on February 9th, from over 20 schools. Each age group had a different winner (Altrincham, Eton, Radley, Canford & Moulsham). Some 20 more will contest the handicap event on March 2nd at Radley, Oratory and Hardwick.

Huge thanks, as ever, are owed to Neptune who provided a host of free towels and T shirts for the players, besides the large number of trophies required for 5 events.

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