UNDER 13s CHAMPIONSHIPS
St Paul’s School, Barnes, March 15th
Organiser Peter de Winton writes: With 36 competitors from six schools, it was a healthy field of players, with all the usual competitive spirit and enthusiasm. We missed having boys from Rossall and Derby Moor, but once again welcomed Shrewsbury House School, who in spite of not having their own four-walled courts, show great enthusiasm for the game. It is also encouraging that various schools are sending boys from Year Six onwards to take part and that they are not cowed by their older competitors.
In the pool stage of the Singles, the six Pilgrims’ boys showed their strength and all progressed into the last 16 and the knockout stage. Gibbs of Blundell’s, who had competed in 2014, showed no mercy to his opponents and lost only eight points, thereby becoming top seed.
Meanwhile, Ellington of Pilgrims’, the second seed, worked his way through the draw with consistency and patience, but had a tough semi-final with the third-seeded Wiseman from Alleyn’s Junior, who took him to three games. Gibbs, however, made easier progress to the final, losing 12 points in three rounds, so setting up an intriguing match that went to three tight games: Ellington drew on all his reserves of fitness, but could not quite match Gibbs’ firepower, and it was the Blundell’s boy who finished as winner. No singles Plate or third/fourth playoff was staged in the interest of sustaining boys’ energy for the Doubles.
With no pools, we went straight into the knockout stage after a lunch break, with the first-round losers going into the Plate. However, the Singles finalists were tired after their endeavours, and this affected the outcome of the Doubles. We will need to change how the event runs in 2016 to prevent this happening, as the Doubles tournament deserves equal billing and importance.
This year Pilgrims’ once again showed their strength in depth, beating a succession of Alleyn’s Junior and Senior School opponents on their way to winning the Doubles Cup. However, they only did so after meeting strong opposition in their semi-final against the Alleyn’s Senior first pair, coming through by just one point. Indeed, we must commiserate with the Alleyn’s teams, who occupied three out of the four semi-final places! In the end, though, all the doubles prizes went to Pilgrims’, after their third pair won the Plate, beating Merchant Taylors’ in the final.
My thanks to St.Paul’s for allowing us the use of the courts, to the coaches for their enthusiasm and flexibility, to all the parents who turn up to support, feed and nurture their charges, and to Frank Akerman for his tireless support and PR activity. It is still my wish that one day we can grow the entry to include the many schools who have players of this age and run the championships over a weekend. To get the best out of the present format, we shall need to shorten the final stages of the Singles, and perhaps start half an hour earlier. But I look forward to next year’s championships with confidence, knowing that it is going to be as enjoyable as always to organise, and is likely to include some additional schools who have indicated their interest this year.
Ist round: Gibbs (Blundell’s) bt Matthews (Merchant Taylors’) 15-0; Krone (Pilgrims’) bt Shah (Merchant Taylors’) 15-8; McCleery (Pilgrims’) bt Mahendran (Alleyn’s) 15-13; Meredith (Alleyn’s) bt Beardmore-Gray (Pilgrims’) 15-4; Wiseman (Alleyn’s Junior) bt Tier (Alleyn’s) 15-1; Martin (Pilgrims’) bt Harvey (Pilgrims’) 15-2; Watson-Gandy (Alleyn’s) bt Mangat (Merchant Taylors’) 15-5; Ellington (Pilgrims’) bt Casanova (Alleyn’s) 15-0
Quarter-finals: Gibbs bt Krone 15-10; McCleery bt Meredith 15-8; Wiseman bt Martin 15-5; Ellington bt Watson-Gandy 15-6
Semi-finals: Gibbs bt McCleery 11-0, 11-2; Ellington bt Wiseman 11-9, 2-11, 11-3
Final: Gibbs (Blundell’s) bt Ellington (Pilgrims’) 11-8, 5-11, 11-6
Plate: not played
1st round: Alleyn’s I bt Pilgrims’ III 11-8
2nd round: Pilgrims’ I bt Merchant Taylors’ III 11-2; Alleyn’s Junior I bt Blundell’s II 11-0; Alleyn’s I bt Merchant Taylors’ I 11-8; Blundell’s III bt Alleyn’s Junior III 11-8; Alleyn’s III bt Pilgrims’ II w/o; Alleyn’s Junior II bt Shrewsbury House 11-10; Alleyn’s Junior IV bt Alleyn’s II 11-2; Blundell’s I bt Merchant Taylors’ II 11-8
Quarter-finals: Pilgrims’ I bt Alleyn’s Junior I 11-1; Alleyn’s I bt Blundell’s III 11-0; Alleyn’s III bt Alleyn’s Junior II 11-8; Alleyn’s Junior IV bt Blundell’s I 11-8
Semi-finals: Pilgrims’ I bt Alleyn’s I 11-10; Alleyn’s Junior IV bt Alleyn’s III 11-6
Final: Pilgrims’ I (F.J.H.Krone & J.H.Martin) bt Alleyn’s Junior IV 11-3
Plate: Pilgrims’ III (J.W.Beardmore-Gray & M.C.Harvey) bt Merchant Taylors’ I 11-8