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.
A huge delegation from the Executioners will travel to Merchant Taylors School this Sunday to face the biggest challenge in Fives, the President’s Cup – a VERY full day of competitive Fives. Among the 32 players will be Guy Matthews (pictured left – last year’s winner of the Love Mug), Tom Webster, Jon Peterson, Jon Abecassis, Alex Steel, Ben Hale and Simon Stokes. Does this loading of the draw mean we could end up with a winner or two? Let’s hope so!
No less than five Executioners played in the annual RFA v Old Bradfieldians match: Alex Steel, Alex Wall, Simon Stokes and Andy Pringle made up the RFA team, while Tom Webster kindly played for the OBs. At least that meant one Executioner wound up as a winner, as the OBs proved just why they are the second best Old Boys team in the country. Although Andy & Alex S won their games against Tom and Dave Butler, the other games were big wins for the OBs, giving them a comprehensive win overall.
Club president Andy Pringle was delighted to be one of four players to be the first to christen the newly refurbished Fives court at his old prep school, St Andrew’s in Eastbourne. Ironically, while a pupil, Andy had no idea that the building he used to walk past every day (and regularly kick a football against) was a Fives court – or that Fives even existed! However, with both technical and financial help from the RFA, the court – which is believed to date back to the 19th century, but most recently had been used as a storeroom – has been returned to its originally intended use. What’s more, Andy can proudly boast that he has never lost a match on the court, as he and Tessa Mills beat Eastbourne College teachers Simon Beal and Kathleen Briedenhann two games to one in a Mixed Doubles clash during an Open Day at the school.
(Full story can be read on the RFA website)