NATIONAL CLUB CHAMPIONSHIP
St Paul’s School, Barnes, London, 27 April 2019
Six teams took to the courts at St Paul’s to compete for the national club championship and in the end, it was the West of England Club that made history by winning the famous Wood Cup for the first time.
It was a hard-fought win for a team composed primarily of Bristol University students, but the team of Theo Parker, Ollie Arnold, Tom Watkinson and Tom Maconie just had enough to score a win over the defending champions from the Wessex Club – represented in the final by Will Ellison, David Butler, Giles Munn and James Bristow (James Birch also played in the earlier rounds).
The day had started with the six teams split into two round-robin groups. Organiser Tom Dean came up with a unique format for the games, allowing all the various matches to be played at the same time and ensuring the whole event was completed by the 5pm curfew.
Pool 1 was won by the Wessex Club, with Derby Moor and West of England 2 in second and third places, respectively. Meanwhile, Pool 2 saw the West of England 1 come out on top of the Old Paulines and the Executioners.
Those results dictated the positions for the next stage and saw the Old Paulines play Derby Moor for the Plate – with the OPs coming out on top – while the Executioners and West of England 2 played a match for the ‘Jaffa Cup’. This was won comfortably by the team from Bristol.
The main final, too, was won by a Bristol team, although it was anything but a comfortable win.
After the opening four singles matches, there were just three points in it – with the nine points that Ollie Arnold scored in his defeat to David Butler crucial in ensuring the Bristolians were slightly ahead as the match went into the doubles.
Here again, there was precious little to choose between the two teams, although the opening doubles matches were both very one-sided. Over the four games, the Wessex Club pulled back a single point, meaning that all was to play for in the reverse doubles.
As expected, the games were very close – three were 11-9 – but the West of England won all four games, ensuring that they would win the magnificent trophy.
Pool 1: 1st Wessex, 2nd Derby Moor, 3rd West of England 2
Pool 2: 1st West of England 1, 2nd Old Paulines, 3rd Executioners
Jaffa Cup: West of England 2 bt Executioners
Plate: Old Paulines bt Derby Moor
Final: West of England 1 bt Wessex 100-83
(Singles: Parker lost to Ellison 1-11; Arnold lost to Butler 9-11; Watkinson bt Munn 11-3; Maconie bt Bristow 11-4.
Doubles: Parker & Arnold bt Butler & Bristow 11-2, 11-1; bt Ellison & Munn 11-9, 11-2. Watkinson & Maconie lost to Ellison & Munn 1-11, 1-11; bt Butler & Bristow 11-9, 11-9)
West of England 1: Parker, Arnold, Watkinson, Maconie
Wessex: Ellison, Butler, Bristow, Birch, Munn
Old Paulines: Beltrami, Russell, Aquilina, Dean
Derby Moor: Whitehorn, Keates, Goodwin, Frost
West of England 2: McCreath, Low, Mathias, Brice
Executioners: Hale, Bridge, Horder, Even