Bedford Modern School and Bedford School,
Sunday 28th February 2016
The 4th Midlands Schools championships were conducted as usual on the courts of the two Bedford schools, with the final stages of both sets of Singles played at Bedford School.
The 20-strong U18 tournament began with the Doubles. Three schools reached the semi-finals: Rugby I versus Bedford Modern II was the better contest, ending with a 15-11 win for Rugby’s Romain & Skirokiy, while the Oundle pair of Manger & Barlow came through comfortably against Rugby II. Oundle were then too strong in the final, winning 15-5. Meanwhile in the Plate competition for first round losers it was Derby Moor, represented by Bally Singh & Lewis Keates, who added to their collection of silverware.
The same three schools provided the semi-finalists in the U18 Singles, with Oundle’s Tom Barlow and Jeremy Manger working their way through to the final with wins over Rugby’s George Romain and James Attwood from BMS. The final was the closest match of the day: Barlow muscled his way to an 11-8 win in the first game but then ran out of steam over the course of the next two games under pressure from Manger’s accurate left-handed attack. There was no time for Romain and Attwood to play for the Plate, which was entrusted to the latter for engraving.
The U15 event featured 15 young players of varying ages and included two girls from Rugby. The Rugby contingent dominated the event, providing three of the four pairs in the semi-finals of the Doubles and all four players in the semi-finals of the Singles. The Doubles ended with victory for Rugby’s 1st pair of Jacob Drabble and Arun Mehta, the latter sticking it out through a three-game match with an obviously painful ankle injury. In the Plate competition for first round losers the young pair of Awan & Sorensen picked up the silverware for Bedford School.
Doubles-winner Drabble did not have the same success in the Singles, losing in the final by a wide margin to Noah Martle. The Plate match between losing semi-finalists Miles Shaw and Sam Stoddart was a close-fought, topsy-turvy affair won by the latter once he rediscovered his service after a period in the middle of the game when it went AWOL.
The RFA’s thanks go to Bedford School and to Bedford Modern for hosting us, to masters i/c Michael Croker and Phil Smith for their help with the organisation, to Stuart Kirby for running the U18 event, and to the catering staff of Bedford School who provided excellent lunch and tea, plus ice-packs for the walking wounded. There is no doubt that this event, along with the Colquhoun Trophy and the South East Regional Schools competition, helps to boost the standard of play to be seen some weeks later at the National School competition at St. Paul’s. Which we now look forward to.
Quarter-finals: Attwood (BMS) beat McKay (Rugby) 15-12; Barlow (Oundle) beat Sumner (BMS) 15-1; Manger (Oundle) beat Keates (Derby Moor) 15-0; Romain (Rugby) beat Larrington (BMS) 15-6
Semi-finals: Barlow beat Attwood 15-2; Manger beat Romain 15-3
Final: Manger beat Barlow 8-11, 11-0, 11-3
Plate: Attwood and Romain (shared)
Also competed: Colbert, Pradhan, Rees-Bidder (BMS); Beard, Hutchings, Jones, Msindo, Rogers (Bedford); Farren, Skirokiy, Somervail, (Rugby); Singh (Derby Moor)
1st round: Rugby II bt Bedford III w/o; Bedford I bt BMS III 15-8; BMS II bt Rugby III w/o
Quarter-finals: Rugby II bt BMS I 15-11; Oundle bt Bedford I 15-0; Rugby I bt Bedford II 15-1; BMS II bt Derby Moor 16-14
Semi-finals: Oundle bt Rugby II 15-0; Rugby I bt BMS II 15-11
Final: Oundle (Barlow & Manger) bt Rugby I (Romain & Skirokiy) 15-5
Plate: Derby Moor (Keates & Singh)
Quarter-finals: Drabble (Rugby) bt Williamson (Bedford) 11-7; Stoddart (Rugby) bt Ali (Derby Moor) 11-5; Martle (Rugby) bt Pong (Bedford) 11-7; Shaw (Rugby) bt Fagan (Rugby) 11-2
Semi-finals: Drabble bt Stoddart 11-3; martle bt Shaw 11-3
Final: Martle bt Drabble 11-3, 11-3
Also competed: Knox (BMS); Denton, Sloan (Rugby); Awan, Singer, Sorensen (Bedford); Singh (Derby Moor)
Quarter-finals: Rugby I bt BMS w/o; Bedford II bt Rugby IV 15-7; Rugby III bt Derby Moor 15-1; Rugby II Bedford I 15-3
Semi-finals: Rugby I bt Bedford II 15-1; Rugby II bt Rugby III 15-2
Final: Rugby 1 (Drabble & Mehta) bt Rugby II (Martle & Stoddart) 9-11, 12-11, 11-5
Plate: Bedford I (Awan & Sorensen)