Executioners past and present took to the St Paul’s courts to play out a keenly contested match between the RFA and the Old Bradfieldians.
The RFA team included Andy Pringle, Ben Hale, Alex Cranstoun and Laurence Cook, while the OBs featured current Executioner James Birch, as well as former club member Jez Sinton, university champion David Butler and Toby Marshall, playing his first game for two years.
It was a match played in great spirit, but the OBs always had the edge. They won all four of the first-round games, although the RFA scored at least five points in each – so the game was still well poised at the halfway stage.
However, the first game of the second half effectively sealed the match for the Bradfieldians: the hard-hitting pair of Birch and Sinton beat Hale and Cook 11-1. At least the RFA pair struck back to take the second game and regain some pride.
In fact, this was the only game the RFA won all evening, as Andy and Alex lost their games against David and Toby – although, with scores of 8-11 and 9-11, they were tantalisingly close to winning at least one.
Still, the OBs scored a deservedly clear win in the end – by 85 points to 54.
Pringle & Cranstoun lost to Sinton & Birch 6-11, 6-11; lost to Butler & Marshall 8-11, 9-11
Hale & Cook lost to Butler & Marshall 5-11, 8-11; lost to Sinton & Birch 1-11, 11-8
- Overall: RFA lost to OBs 54-85
Three Executioners swapped codes – walls and balls – to play in the UK Wallball 1-Wall Open last weekend.
Lawrence Cook played in the singles, while Dick Warner and Andy Pringle took part in the doubles.
Lawrence played in the beginners grade and showed just how well Fives players can adapt to the different demands of Wallball. He reached the semis of his grade, which is no mean feat in his first event.
Dick and Andy, meanwhile, are much more experienced and both played in the Over 40s category – with Andy also playing in the Mens B.
It made for a very long day of competition and Dick was a constant threat in his category. Andy did well to reach the semis – in both categories, no less – and in the Mens B grade only lost out to the eventual champions.
However, greater things were to come in the Over 40s, where he and partner George Miller were defending champions.
They duly qualified for the semis by topping the round-robin group and won a tough clash with an Irish/American pair to reach the final.
There, they had great hopes, as they had already beaten the Irishmen they faced in the round-robin. However, since then they had really picked up their game and thoroughly outplayed Andy and George in the final. They went into a big lead quickly and, although Andy and George steadied the ship, they could never peg back their opponents and went down 25-13.
Still, a silver medal was a good reward for their efforts and they’ll be back next year to try and regain the title…
The club made a successful start to matches at St Paul’s in 2019, with a good win against Oxford University.
The side was led from the front by the, err, ‘seasoned’ pairing of Dick Warner and Andy Pringle, who used their considerable combined experience to win all four of their games. The Oxford pairings found it hard to cope with Dick’s guile and resilience down the left-hand side, while the pace and power of Andy’s right-hand shots found him plenty of winners.
The second pair was another right-/left-hand combination – Ben Hales and Guy Matthews – but with the latter carrying a slight injury, they found the going a little tougher. Nevertheless, they fought hard in their match with Oxford’s first pair, sharing the two games and finishing only two points down overall.
The pair’s close games continued in their match against the Oxford second pair and the first game went to the Executioners 15-13. However, at this point, Guy’s injury forced him to retire and Super-Sub Ibby Lee took his place. Although she and Ben couldn’t quite win the second game, they only lost 16-14 ensuring that the Executioners were comfortably the winners overall in the fixture.
Warner & Pringle bt Longden & Naum 15-7, 15-6
Hale & Matthews lost to Whitton & Mcgee 15-13, 11-15
Warner & Pringle bt Whitton & Mcgee 15-11, 15-7
Hale & Matthews/Lee drew with Longden & Naum 15-13, 14-16
RESULT Executioners bt Oxford Uni 115-88
The club’s first match of 2019 is set to take place on Wednesday February 6th. The opponents will be Oxford University, who will return to St Paul’s later in the month to play Cambridge in the annual Varsity Match. Executioners Dick Warner, Ben Hale, Guy Matthews and Andy Pringle will take on the Dark Blues and we’ll publish the result here as soon as possible afterwards.
Ibby Lee – a new member of the club – did us proud at the recent Ladies Championships in Manchester. Just a week after a sterling performance on the Jesters Tour to Edinburgh, she competed at the very highest level in the Ladies game.
She reached the quarter-finals of the singles – only losing to a girl who was playing well enough to go on to win the doubles title the following day – and got as far as the semis of the doubles, where sadly injury prevented her and her partner Anna Laakkonen from progressing any further.
Also falling at the same stage was ex-Executioner and defending champion Alex Steel. However, she and partner Maddy Raynor were only knocked out in a match that was described as ‘worthy of a final’ and in which they lost in three tight games to the eventual champions.
As ever, plenty of Executioners braved the long journey and cold weather for a long weekend of warm hospitality in Edinburgh on the annual Jesters Tour to the Scottish capital. The trip itself was organised by Ben Hale, and he was accompanied by Guy Matthews, Tom Webster, Ibby Lee, Jon Peterson and James Birch. And, among the opposition they faced were ex-Executioners Malcolm Borthwick and Jez Sinton.
There’s a full report of the weekend on the RFA website, but suffice to say, the club’s reputation was done no harm – which is quite an achievement when you think about it. Despite this being a Jesters tour, there were two ‘Executioners’ matches, in which the club was represented by Ibby, Tom, Jon and exiled (in Kent) Executioner Rupert Mathieu.
The results saw a win over Cambridge University and a loss at the hands of the Wessex Club, but everyone played their heart out and enjoyed the tremendous hospitality shown by the various schools and clubs in Scotland.
After a well-earned Christmas break, the club’s regular Wednesday night sessions will start again on January 9th. With the Jesters’ Tour and even our first fixture of the season in the near future – not to mention the Club Championship – there’s much for our players to prepare for. So, we hope to see plenty of you back on court working off the extra pounds that Santa brought…