The club put up a truly impressive showing in the National Club Championship today, reaching the semi-finals, where they only lost to the multiple champions, the Old Paulines.
Represented by Richard Bridge, Ben Hale, Tom Webster and Penn Chai, they scored a notable win over the Old Blues (from Christ’s Hospital) in the quarter-finals. It was a close and hard-fought match, but remarkably the Executioners took a lead in the singles and never lost it.
Sadly, the semi against the Paulines was rather less successful, but it was an enjoyable match. And, most importantly, all four players could emerge with their heads held high.
The club is delighted to report that former member Alex Steel has won her second national title of the season. At Bradfield College last weekend, she and partner Maddy Raynor won the Ladies National Winchester Fives doubles title – adding that to the Rugby Fives title they won earlier this year.
Next challenge for both will be the Winchester Fives Mixed Doubles championship in May – in which Alex will be partnering Andy Pringle.
Following a short Easter break, our regular Wednesday club nights are back on again from April 18th. We’ll then be playing right through to the end of June, meaning that our final session of this season will be on June 27th.
Andy Pringle and Conrad Davies both made the journey to Marlborough College for the ever-enjoyable National Veterans’ championships – although both only played in the doubles.
Sadly, Conrad’s original partner had to withdraw, but a new partner was found and they won through to the quarter-finals – where they had to face Andy, who was defending the title he had won with John Minta for the last two years.
Sadly for Conrad, although John was injured and unable to play, Andy had found a more than adequate replacement: multiple champion Hamish Buchanan. And, so the resulting match went according to the seedings, with top seeds Andy and Hamish winning through – and then going on to reach the final.
That was a match against local heroes Tom Kiggell and Jim Hughes, and it was the best match of the day, with guile, power and great sportsmanship on show from both pairs.
There wasn’t much to choose between the pairs, but in each of the final’s two games, Tom and Jim suffered a crucial lapse in concentration, during which they conceded a run of five or six points.
That allowed Andy and Hamish to secure decent leads in both games, which they never looked like losing. In the end, they won 15-7, 15-7, securing a third successive title for Andy – and a sixth for Hamish.
The club’s hosts, St Paul’s School, have confirmed that the school’s Sports Centre will close from Good Friday until Sunday 15th inclusive.
This means that the last Executioners session of this term will be Wednesday March 28th, with the first session of the Summer term taking place on April 18th.
For those of you planning ahead, the centre will then stay open until Friday 29th June, meaning the final session of this academic year will be on Wednesday June 27th. All being well, the club’s singles and doubles championships will have been completed by then.
Several Executioners demonstrated their transferrable handball skills by taking part in the UK Wallball Open championships at the Westway Sports Centre this weekend.
All had a great time, and while Penn Chai and Tom Webster returned home with nothing more than a huge smile, it was left to the club’s more senior statesmen to uphold the honour of Fives.
Dick Warner played in the 40+ category and reached the quartet-finals of the singles, as well as the semi-finals of the doubles.
The club’s top performer was seasoned 1-waller Andy Pringle. Already a veteran of international tournaments, he had his own marathon on Sunday, competing in two doubles categories and playing more games that day than any other competitor.
After reaching the semi-finals of the Mens’ B – where he and partner Ben Gill only lost to the eventual champions – he went on to win the 40+ category (helped in no small part by being drawn to partner the winner of the 40+ singles, Irishman George Miller).
This means Andy now has the distinction of holding, at the same time, the National Rugby Fives Veterans Doubles title and the UK Open 40+ Wallball titles.
Just a week after defeat at the RFA’s hands, the Executioners came back to form with a win against the students of Oxford University.
The club was represented by Guy Matthews, Dick Warner, Penn Chai and Robert Mathias. And, while there wasn’t enough time to finish the match, by the time the 9.30 curfew curtailed the match, our four had already built up an unassailable lead: Executioners 106, Oxford University 66.
As you’ll see from the scores below, there were plenty of close games, but it was always the Executioners who came out on top.
Warner and Mathias bt George and Antony 15-9, 7-2 (DNF): bt Tom and Will 15-12, 16-15
Matthews and Chai bt George and Antony 15-9, 15-10; bt Tom and Will 15-9, 8-0 (DNF)