RFA Schoolsʼ Winchester Fives Doubles 2014
Winchester College, 9th November 2014
1st Round: Winchester III bt Bedford Modern 15-9, 15-11; St. Paulʼs II bt Derby Moor III 15-6, 15-3; Derby Moor II bt Winchester II 15-6, 11-15, 15-9; St. Paulʼs III bt Marlborough 15-10, 15-6.
Quarter-finals: Derby Moor I bt Winchester III 15-8, 15-2; Winchester I bt St. Paulʼs II 15-9, 15-9; St. Paulʼs I bt Derby Moor II 15-4, 15-7; St. Paulʼs III bt Malvern 16-15, 13-15, 16-14.
Semi-finals: Derby Moor I bt Winchester I 15-9, 15-5; St. Paulʼs I bt St. Paulʼs III 16-14, 15-10.
Final: Derby Moor I (R Whitehorn & J Halligan) bt St. Paulʼs I (Z Jopling & M Nunes) 15-6, 15-13.
Plate final: St. Paulʼs II (H Mahajan & S Bhushan) bt Derby Moor III (M Blunden & B Singh) 15-13.
David Barnes reports: Six schools entered pairs for this yearʼs competition, including welcome newcomers to the event from Bedford Modern School. The first round contained some good matches, the outstanding one being the three-game battle of the second pairs from Winchester and Derby Moor, eventually won by the Midlanders.
The closest match of the day came in the quarter-finals, as St. Paulʼs 3 squeezed past a good Malvern pair by 16-14 in the third game. Winchester 1, having disposed of St. Paulʼs 2 in the quarter-finals, were unfortunate in that their best player was recovering from illness and was consequently short of practice and fitness, spoiling what might have been a classic semi-final between them and the very competent top Derby Moor pair. In the other semi, St. Paulʼs 1 were strongly challenged by their third pair but came home slightly unconvincingly in two close games.
The final was a good one, if not a classic. Derby started nervously but then put together a solid run of points to win the first game comfortably. In the second game they built up a good lead but were then pegged back in typical fashion by the Paulines, who fought as hard as many of their distinguished predecessors but just failed to maintain the pressure, the Derby boys managing to keep it together and take the game 15-13, and with it the match. This was Derby Moorʼs first win in this competition, indeed their first success in an National U18 competition, and it bodes well for them in the Rugby Fives events later in the season.
St. Paulʼs and Derby also contested the Plate final, with a repeat of the first round match between their respective second and third pairs. The result was rather a good game, with the same outcome as before but the score a lot closer!
Many thanks to Winchester College and Giles Munn in particular for hosting the event, and congratulations to all competitors – many of them comparatively inexperienced – on their enthusiasm and the excellent spirit in which their matches were conducted.