After a few weeks’ frenetic activity, the line-up for the quarter-finals in this year’s singles championship has been decided. Changing from the ‘ladder’ system we’ve used in the last few years has produced a lot of singles games, and you can see the full results on the Championship page on this site. However, to save you the bother, this is a brief report of what happened…
Group A was dominated by Tom Webster, whose dedication and smart observation of the rules catapulted him to the top of the group. Alex Wall snuck into second place on points difference. Laying down the marker was defending champion Andy Pringle, registering a clean sweep in Group B (aka the Group of Death), although he was pushed hard in his clash with second-placed Ben Chua. Experience registered a win over youth in Group C, as a resurgent Dick Warner notched 7 points to top the table ahead of Penn Chai, despite an unfavourable head-to-head record. Charles Compton was unbeaten to take pole in Group D, while Tony Julius’ demolition job of Guy Matthews saw him move into second.
That means the quarter-final draw is:
1: Tom Webster v Tony Julius
2: Andy Pringle v Penn Chai
3: Dick Warner v Alex Wall
4: Charles Compton v Ben Chua
It was a case of So near, yet so far for Andy Pringle & Alex Steel in their fifth campaign in the National Winchester Fives Mixed Doubles Championship, held at Bradfield. Although they played superbly – probably the best they’ve ever played as a pair – they just fell at the final hurdle, finishing as runners-up for the second year in a row.
As in 2016, they were undone by a younger pair, Tessa Mills and Ollie Arnold, but can be very happy that not only did they come through a very tough round-robin to reach the final, they pushed the eventual winners very hard in what was reckoned to be the highest-quality mixed doubles match in recent memory. In the best-of-three-games final, they only lost the third and deciding game 15-10.
Mind you, with three titles to their names, they still hold the record for the most number of victories in this event, as well as the record for the highest number of consecutive appearances in the final.
For the full story of the event, click here to visit the RFA website.
The club enjoyed a six-a-side match last night against a Jesters team organised by ex-Executioner Rupert Mathieu – and enjoyed it particularly after emerging as the narrow winners. Rupert and partner Penn Chai led from the front, winning all three of their games for the Jesters, but their other two pairs (Simon Stokes/Jon Peterson and Charles Rogers/Malcolm Borthwick) weren’t able to match their team-mates’ performances; and, with wins in every other match, the Executioners ran out winners. Top scorers for the home side were Alex Steel/Andy Pringle, who took 42 from a possible 45 points, while both other pairings (Ben Hale/Guy Matthews and Richard Bridge/Dick Warner/Robert Mathias) scored 35 points. In the end, and despite Rupert’s frantic efforts, the Executioners took the match 112-104.
Scores: Bridge & Warner/Mathias bt Stokes & Peterson 15-8, bt Rogers & Borthwick 15-11, lost to Mathieu & Chai 5-15; Pringle & Steel bt Stokes & Peterson 15-3, bt Rogers & Borthwick 15-10, lost to Mathieu & Chai 12-15; Hale & Matthews bt Stokes & Peterson 16-14, bt Rogers & Borthwick 15-13, lost to Mathieu & Chai 4-15
Overall: Executioners bt Jesters 112-104 points
After a year’s break, the club took part in the National Club Championship again this year. Sadly, the crack squad of Charles Compton, Ben Hale, Tom Webster and Richard Dyke (left) couldn’t have had a tougher draw: facing eventual winners the Old Paulines in the first round. They were further handicapped by injury – Charles, in true club fashion, tweaked his back that morning at home by ‘standing up'(!) – but all four put in a sterling performance that doubtless entertained the crowd. Better still, Ben and Richard went on to play in a hastily arranged RFA team that won the Plate.
After a brief break for Easter, the club’s regular Wednesday evenings restarted on April 19th. We don’t yet know when term will end, but by the time it does, we’ll have a new singles champion, and maybe even a Doubles tournament. Watch this space, as they say…
Several club members took part in the National Veterans’ (over 45) Championships, held at Marlborough College over the first weekend of April. Joe Gribble, playing in his first singles tournament for many years, reached the final of the Plate, while ex-Executioner Rupert Mathieu reached the quarter-finals of the doubles. Tony Julius and Andy Pringle (pictured) also played in the doubles, with Andy (and super-fit partner John Minta) going on to retain the doubles title they won in 2016.
The club is now on a short break while St Paul’s School is closed for the holidays. Our next Wednesday evening session will be on April 19th, although several members will be competing in the Veterans’ Championships over the first weekend of April. Watch this space for news of how they (Andy Pringle, Joe Gribble, Rupert Mathieu and Tony Julius) fare in the competition…