Same again in the Schools Winchester Fives Doubles championship!

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RFA Schools’ Winchester Fives Doubles 2016
Winchester College
Sunday, 6th November

Organiser David Barnes reports: A small but high-quality entry of ten pairs contested the fifteenth edition of the Schools’ Winchester Doubles on a cold November day. It was very good to see two pairs each from Marlborough and Bedford Modern, the rest of the entry coming equally from St. Paul’s and Winchester, old rivals in this event.

Winchester are very strong at the moment, and this was soon demonstrated by their third pair who, having beaten Marlborough II, then proceeded to win a mammoth three-game quarter-final against St. Paul’s I. Marlborough I had a similar encounter with St. Paul’s II, winning 15-12 in the third – a fine achievement. Bedford Modern I were unlucky to meet the talented Winchester second pair in their first match, losing in two games in which the scores didn’t reflect the quality of the rallies.

In the semi-finals, Marlborough I and Winchester III both showed the effects of their hard-won quarter-final matches, losing heavily to the top two Winchester pairs. This left the prospect of a battle royal in the final between the same two pairs (Kullavanijaya & Song and Kidner & Younger) as last year, and we were not disappointed!

In a superb match, the ball was struck fiercely and accurately by all four players, and the quality of the retrieving and volleying was as high as I have seen in Schools’ Winchester Fives. After sharing the first two games, both pairs continued to play as well as ever in the third, and it was hard to predict the result. Eventually last year’s winners established a lead at a crucial late stage and thus maintained the pecking order over their younger rivals – but only just! This is the first time in this event that the same pairs have contested successive finals, with the same pair winning, and it brings Winchester level with St. Paul’s in the number of victories at six wins each.

The plate was predictably won by St. Paul’s I, who beat St. Paul’s III in the final and take the modest trophy back to London for yet more engraving!

My thanks to those who came to play, those who brought them and those who came to support them; and particularly to Giles Munn for his help and to Winchester College for its hospitality.

Scores

First round: St. Paul’s III bt Bedford Modern II 15-4, 15-6; Winchester III bt Marlborough II 15-9, 15-2

Quarter-finals: Winchester I bt St. Paul’s III 15-0, 15-5; Marlborough I bt St. Paul’s II 8-15, 15-12, 15-12; Winchester II bt Bedford Modern I 15-4, 15-2; Winchester III bt St. Paul’s I 15-7, 11-15, 15-13

Semi-finals: Winchester I bt Marlborough I 15-3, 15-2; Winchester II bt Winchester III 15-2, 15-4

Final: Winchester I (P.Kullavanijaya & A.Song) bt Winchester II (T.Kidner & A.Younger) 15-10, 11-15, 15-10

Plate: St. Paul’s I (M.Evans & D.Whitham)