The club maintained its unbeaten record this year with another match win last night. A crack team of Ben Chua, Tom Webster, Alex Wall and Andy Pringle took on a team of Old Shirburnians – which included Executioners Richard Bridge and Simon Stokes – and emerged victors after a series of hard-fought games. The exact score is unrecorded, but as far as we know, the Executioners won every game.
The club made a winning return to match action after the Xmas break, recording a comfortable win over Oxford University last night. The four gallant Executioners were Andy Pringle, Ben Hale, Charles Compton and (stepping in at the last minute for Tony Julius) Guy Matthews. Ben played number one in the singles – in order to play his brother! – and although he just came up short, both Charles and Andy scored decisive wins over their opponents; and, they also remembered that they were only meant to be playing to 11. No one can remember what happened in Guy’s singles, but there was certainly a lot of noise coming off the court… Come the doubles, Andy and Charles (both Cambridge Half Blues) won their four games comfortably to put the match beyond Oxford’s reach, ably backed up Guy and Ben, who won three of their four games.
The next match is yet to be confirmed, but it could be either an in-house RFA v Executioners clash or it’s possible that a Sherborne Old Boys IV (possibly featuring Simon Stokes and Richard Bridge) could take the club on. Watch this space, as they say…
Organiser Richard Dyke (left) has today published details of the ambitious format and draw for the 2017 Executioners Cup. Replacing the old Singles Ladder (which has been won for the last two years by Andy Pringle), the Cup starts off with a round-robin league system, in which the players are split into four groups – and which even allows for late entrants. From these groups, the top two players in each progress to a knockout tournament, which will produce a champion by the middle of May (we hope!). The ambition is that the league system will be completed by the end of March, with the quarter- and semi-finals played in April, and the final in May. For full details of the tournament, visit the 2017 Executioners Cup page on our website, where the leagues will be updated as soon as matches have been played.
Richard Dyke is looking for club members to take part in the annual singles championship. In recent years, this has taken the form of a ladder, and the current champion is Andy Pringle (pictured, left, receiving his prize from Guy Matthews). However, this year, Richard is considering a change to that format, and may institute a ‘league’ system. So, please enter the championship (which is free to club members) and then watch this space!
The club’s leading lady, Alex Steel, was in good form at the Ladies National Championships, which were held on our ‘home’ courts at St Paul’s School in Barnes. She reached the semi-finals of the singles, losing only to eventual champion Tessa Mills, but went one better in the doubles: playing with fellow Old Blundellian Maddy Raynor, she reached the final. However, again it was Tessa (along with partner Kathleen Briedenhann) who stopped Alex’s progress, winning the title in three games. You can read a full report on the event on the RFA website.
Club nights returned on Wednesday January 11th after the Christmas break, and a good number of club members took to the courts to work off some of the seasonal excesses. As yet, we don’t know when the St Paul’s Sports Centre will close for the next school holidays, but we expect club nights to continue throughout March and possibly into April.
Yet again, the Executioners proved their mettle at the game’s toughest event, the President’s Cup. And, yet again, Guy Matthews proved the worth of his annual tactic: barely playing for 12 months to ensure a good partner and then winning a trophy. This year, he was paired with the Top 10-ranked Ben Beltrami, and the two of them (pictured left with RFA President Bernard Atkinson) went on to win the Mate’s Plate – and our only regret is that they did so by beating Jon Peterson (paired with multiple national champion Hamish Buchanan). Meanwhile, Alex Steel (the only lady to play in this year’s event) partnered another former national doubles champion, Robin Perry, and only lost in the semi-final of the T-Pot, but at least that trophy was won by occasional Executioner Jon Abecassis, partnering Angus Hanton.