Some of you may have seen this statement from the President of the RFA on the Association’s website, but we are happy to reproduce it here:
As you are only too aware, the Covid-19 pandemic necessitated the suspension of Fives playing due to the closure of schools in the middle of March.
On 25th July, the Government permitted some lifting of lockdown rules, including those that applied to sporting facilities. In anticipation of this, a sub-committee led by Stuart Kirby had been set up by the RFA Board to establish guidelines that would allow for Fives playing to resume once schools reopened in September.
This proved to be a difficult task, as the game had to be analysed very carefully to include both on- and off-court practices, and it is a tribute to the hard work and commitment of Stuart’s group that a set of guidelines was produced within a very tight timescale. These have now been agreed by the Board and submitted to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport for approval. The Department had previously advised us that this last step was not strictly necessary, as Government consent was only required for “team” sports. Nevertheless they agreed to review our proposals, which we welcomed as it will give a formal seal of approval and may help satisfy schools and other court owners that Fives can safely resume on their premises.
We will of course press for an early response, and will communicate the outcome widely. We are hopeful that approval will be given, although it must be borne in mind that Fives can only restart if and when the schools give their permission.
The Executioners have yet to hear what this means for the resumption of play at St Paul’s, but we are delighted to hear that progress is being made. And, as soon as we have concrete news about the RFA’s and the school’s plans, we’ll bring them to you here.
With Fives suspended all round the country, some enterprising young players have launched a podcast – and naturally they came to the Executioners when they wanted some erudite comment. That came from Ibby Lee, who was joined by Guy Matthews in a chat with the current national champion, Dan Tristao, Manchester legend John Beswick, and host Sam Russell.
The podcast is available on a variety of platforms, but you can hear it on Spotify by clicking on this link, or on this link to access in other ways.
The club is sad – if not surprised – that St Paul’s has announced the closure of its Sports Centre until further notice as a result of the global coronavirus pandemic. This means our regular Wednesday evening sessions are therefore also suspended until further notice.
We received the following message last week:
“It is with a heavy heart that SPS are having to close their indoor facilities to prevent any spreading of germs and virus’, namely covid-19.
The sports centre is therefore shut until further notice. Apologies for the inconvenience this may cause. [The Manager will] be in contact as soon as this situation changes.”
We will advise club members as soon as the Centre reopens: and in the meantime, we pass on our very best wishes to all at the club, Fives players everywhere, and their friends and loved ones.
We’ll see you again when all this is over.
The Executioners were out in force on the courts of New Portugal Place for the annual Cambridge Past vs Present match – always held a week before the Varsity Match.
As well as Steve Platts, Helena Tunks and Andy Pringle (pictured here), Lawrence Cook, Charles Compton and new member Charlie Mabbutt all took to the courts on February 15th.
And they all had successful days, with the Men’s and Women’s Past teams emerging as victors in their matches. Better still, Lawrence and Helena were nominated as captains of the Past teams on the day, meaning two trophies for the Executioners. Well, sort of…
The club’s usual Wednesday night sessions are back up and running after our Christmas break. We resumed on Wednesday Jan 15th and will be playing every Wednesday evening from 7 to 9.30pm for the rest of this term.
Do come and join us!
Three club members made the trip to Marlborough for the annual President’s Cup tournament last weekend – and two came agonisingly close to winning silverware.
The three were Ben Hale, Helena Tunks and Dick Warner, and all but one survived tough first-round matches to reach the quarter-finals. That one was Dick, who was beaten by Helena and partner Ollie Arnold – who went on to join Ben in the next round.
Sadly, that was as far as Helena would get, but Dick was able to gain some satisfaction, going on to reach the final of the Mate’s Plate. He and partner Jamie Graham came close in the first game, but in the end lost out to Louise Mathias and Robin Perry – both with several national championships to their names, and the same pair who had ended Helena’s interest in the main competition.
That left Ben to fly the Executioners’ flag – and he did it with some distinction. They overcame the bogey pair of Louise and Robin, beating them in three games in the semis, winning a nail-biting second game 16-15 before clinching the match with a 15-1 win in the third.
However, the final proved to be a match too far, with the official report saying they were ‘exhausted’ by this stage. Mind you, there’s no disgrace in losing to a pair that combined the court craft and local knowledge of Marlborough master-in-charge Tom Kiggell with the youthful energy of Alleyn’s schoolboy Stuart Scott.
That concludes the club’s Fives action for this year, and we’ll retire to toast our (near) successes in 2020.
Our hosts, St Paul’s School, have just confirmed the dates of our Xmas break…
The school’s term ends this coming Friday December 13th, so the club’s final session of this year will be on Weds 11th.
Then, as next term starts on Thursday 9th, the first Executioners Fives session of 2020 will be Wednesday 15th Jan.
There is a slight chance that we can play on the 8th, but we’re awaiting confirmation of that from the Sports Centre Manager.
Helena Tunks and Ibby Lee did the club proud by winning silver medals in the recent Ladies Under 23s Championships. Playing on the club’s ‘home’ courts at St Paul’s School, the pair did very well to reach the final, where they were beaten by the defending champions – Louise Mathias and Martha Nugent.
Given that Louise and Martha were also the finalists in the singles championship at the same event, it’s clearly no shame to lose to them. And perhaps the Executioners pair can go one better next year, when Louise will no longer qualify for this age category!
The club played its first match of the season last week – albeit as an ‘RFA’ team and with two of our club regulars playing for the opposition, one as a ringer.
That meant that, even if the other team did win, it would represent a sort-of win for the Executioners, especially as the Old Bradfieldian team was led by ex-Executioner Jez Sinton.
It was an immensely enjoyable match played in the very best of spirits. And, as it turned out, it was a close match, with the OBs running out winners by just 12 points.
The key to that was a dominant performance by the OB first pair, James Birch and Ed Ronan. Although there were lots of close, long and hard-fought rallies in their games, it was all too often they that came up with the winners or forced a mistake from the Executioners. And, while we won three of the four games against the OBs second pair, it wasn’t enough to make up for the margin of the losses to the top pair.
OB1 – Birch & Ronan. OB2 – Sinton & Cranstoun
RFA1 – Cook & Pringle. RFA 2 – Chai & Platts
OB1. bt RFA1. 11 – 5, 11 – 3
OB1. bt RFA2. 11 – 3, 11 – 3
OB2. lost to RFA2. 11 – 9, 7 – 11
OB2. lost to RFA1. 2 – 11, 4 – 11
OB Total 68 (winners)
RFA Total 56
Fellow Half Blues Andy Pringle and Laurence Cook returned to Cambridge at the weekend to represent the RFA in a match against the current students. And, very successful they were, too!
Both won their singles matches and then paired up in the doubles – and continued their perfect record. In total, and despite some rather confusing swapping of team members, the RFA ran out as comfortable winners in the annual fixture by 119 points to 75.