Yorkshire Open Fives Tournament
Giggleswick School, October 10/11th
For the second year, writes organiser John Hawke, the tournament comprised both singles and doubles, with doubles played on Saturday and singles on Sunday. Late entries ensured a quality field for both days, with participants travelling from London, Scotland and the Borders, Derby and even some from Yorkshire itself.
New faces to the competition included Andy Boyd and Ben Jourdan from Edinburgh Academy, who surprised the more established players on both days with their expertise and tenacity, showing maturity beyond their years as they won points, games and matches, both jointly in the doubles, and individually on Sunday. In addition, Richard Murby had a stellar maiden visit, reaching the singles final at the expense of more experienced players. Although all the cup games in the doubles competition were of the highest quality, they were overshadowed by the final, in which late entrants Butler and Tristao, as expected, played the incumbent champions, Buchanan & Ellison.
Often, finals completed in two games are a disappointment, but this one was riveting. In both games, Buchanan and Ellison eked out a small lead as their score rose to double figures, only to be pegged back by the tenacity of their opponents, losing the first game 16-15 after having game point. The score at the end of the second game was identical, this time with Tristao and Butler reaching game point first, and then going on to win.
The organiser always likes the plate competition to satisfy the desire of the participants for Fives. This year, the chosen torture was a round-robin of four pairs each playing two games to 15, the results to be decided on points difference. As Bob Sandie had neglected to provide himself with a partner for the day, Andy Boyd and Ben Jourdan were drafted in to assist him in different games once their semi-finals were over. In the first round of the cup, Richard Christie had the honour of that supporting role. Winners of the plate were the sometime Halifax pairing of Ed Hawke and Tim Widdop, whereas the second place, and second plate, went to the juvenile Derby pair of Craig Baxter and Lawrence Taylor.
Sunday’s play started early in order to let those travelling a distance return home at a reasonable hour. Once the complaints about having to forego the Full English had died away, another day of Quality Fives started. Finalists Ellison and Murby eased their through the early rounds, devouring all with the minimum of points lost. Again, the young Edinburgh Academy pair shone, with Boyd beating Roberts and Jourdan forcing Buchanan into a third game before losing his first-round match.
In the final, Ellison was merciless, although the eventual score of 11-2, 11-5 did not reflect the sternness of his competition. Again, a masterclass of Fives.
The plate competition was another round-robin, this time with five protagonists playing a single game to 15. The winner was again Ed Hawke, who went through the robin undefeated. A filial relationship with the organiser had no bearing on his weekend of success, which was won with sheer determination and ability.
To those who withdrew their entries late in the day, you missed a great tournament. Please ensure that, next year, wife’s birthdays and children’s start of college terms are rescheduled to a different weekend.
One sad event to report, however, was that Bob Sandie has announced that this will be the last singles tournament to be played by him. He has decided to bow to the pressures of age and a gammy knee and stop playing competition singles. We assume, however, that he will continue to attend post-tournament meals. The organisers’ match-day food spreadsheet will require substantial amendment; and, his mates from the White Rose Club will miss trying to prise him out of the car after a gruelling day of competition.
Doubles – Saturday 10th October
First Round: Buchanan & Ellison beat Sandie & Christie 15-1, 15-2; Boyd & Jourdan beat E Hawke & Widdop 15-7, 9-15, 15-10; Beswick & Roberts beat Christie & Kirby 15-7, 15-9; Butler & Tristao beat Baxter & Taylor 15-3, 15-4
Semi-Finals: Buchanan & Ellison beat Boyd & Jourdan 15-5, 15-9; Butler & Tristao beat Beswick & Roberts 15-8, 15-10
Final: Butler & Tristao beat Buchanan & Ellison 16-15, 16-15
Plate: E. Hawke & Widdop
2nd Plate: Baxter & Taylor
Singles – Sunday 11th October
Preliminary Round: Ellison beat Sandie 11-3, 11-1
First Round: Ellison beat E. Hawke 11-0, 11-0; Boyd beat Roberts 11-5, 11-6; Buchanan beat Jourdan 7-11, 11-2, 11-6; Murby beat Widdop 11-2, 11-2
Semi-Finals: Ellison beat Boyd 11-1, 11-4; Murby beat Buchanan 11-0, 11-3
Final: Ellison beat Murby 11-2, 11-5
Plate: E. Hawke