Oundle School, 4-5 February 2017
STOP PRESS Normal service was resumed when Ed Kay won his third successive National U25 Singles title, beating Ben Beltrami in the final. Ed then went on to win his third successive Doubles title with Matt Shaw, beating Ben Beltrami & Ollie Arnold in the final. It is Ed’s sixth in a row, having previously won 3 times with Dan Tristao. It was a year of repeats elsewhere, with Robert Whitehorn winning the Singles Plate once more, defeating Ben Chua; and then Cameron McKelvie winning the Doubles Plate Plate (aka Sleep-Eat-PlayFives-Repeat Fives Mug) he had won last year, but this time with Oundle Sixth Former Will Richardson. Ben Chua won the Doubles Plate with James Smith, and Christian Blackaby the Singles Plate Plate.
Organiser Ed Kay reports: The Under 25s was held at Oundle for the 6th year in a row. With a total of 32 players across the singles and doubles, it is one of the best attended tournaments in the RFA calendar. This is in no small part due to the extraordinary commitment of the current crop of young players, who are willing to travel from far and wide for this event. The organizer would especially like to thank the teams from Oxford and Durham for continuing to support the tournament in great numbers.
The Singles draw had some interesting first rounds, with Francis Thomas vs. Oli Quarry the pick of the bunch. Francis started strongly, taking the first 15-3, but Oli outlasted him to win the final two games 15-7, 15-4. Sid Bhushan had a good win against Ben Chua 16-14,15-12, and James Smith beat Dan Hutt 15-13, 15-11.
In the second round Sam Russell played some great fives to beat schoolboy champion Andrew Boyd 15-2 15-3. The rest of the matches went to seeding, except for James Tilston’s win over Henry Jefferies 14-16, 15-7, 15-4. However, Tilston couldn’t continue this form into the semi-final and lost 15-4, 15-3 to Shaw. Parker vs. Arnold was picked as the match of the second round; however, Ollie managed to cruise past Theo 15-0, 15-6. The semi-finals were quick affairs as well, with Kay and Beltrami making it to the final for the third year running. In the final Ed was too strong for Ben, who made uncharacteristic unforced errors. Ed thus took his third Under 25s singles title 15-5,15-4.
In the Plate, Rob Whitehorn became the first person to retain it, beating Francis Thomas, Oli Quarry and Ben Chua on his way to the title. Meanwhile in the Plate Plate Christian Blackaby overcame James Smith in the final to ensure that the title remained in Durham hands for another year.
In the Doubles, the first rounds were all fairly comfortable for the top 8 seeds, except for Blackaby & Hutt. Their tough draw saw them take on Chua & Smith and, in a match that went to three games, Christian & Dan came through 15-10, 11-15, 15-6. The quarter-finals had some great games. Thomas & Jefferies took down Goodwin & Whitehorn in a hard-hitting game. Tilston & George needed 90 mins to beat Russell & Quarry in 3 close games. In the semi-finals, fatigue overcame Thomas & Jefferies and they fell meekly to Kay & Shaw. In the other semi Tilston & George put up good resistance in the first game, but Beltrami & Arnold were too strong, taking the match 15-7, 15-0. The final was a keenly anticipated affair, and with as many as 8 spectators. In the first game Kay & Shaw showed the consistency that took them to the previous two titles and won it 15-7. Then Beltrami & Arnold bounced backed with a stunning performance in the second game to win 15-6. The third was touch and go, and at 7-7 it was anyone’s game. However, Kay & Shaw managed to make it over the line 15-7.
In the Doubles Plate, Chua & Smith overcame all their opponents in the round robin of death to take the silverware. In the Doubles Plate Plate Cameron McKelvie retained his 2016 title, this time with a new partner, Will Richardson, a talented Oundle schoolboy.
Many thanks go to Tony Burrows and Oundle School for allowing us to use their excellent facilities. Thanks also go to the Jesters Club for helping to fund the university students playing in this tournament.
1st round: Quarry bt Thomas 3-15, 15-7, 15-4; Russell bt Alex Wordley 15-3, 15-2; Boyd bt Raikes 15-4, 15-1; Parker bt Marshall 15-0, 15-0; Whitehorn bt Hale 15-0, 15-1; Bhushan bt Chua 16-14, 15-12; Arnold bt McKelvie 15-12, 15-1; Blackaby bt Manger 15-7, 15-6; Tilston bt Adam Wordley 15-9, 15-4; Jefferies bt McGee 15-0, 15-3; Goodwin bt Mills 15-4, 15-1; George bt Sumner 15-3, 15-8; Smith bt Hutt 15-13, 15-11
2nd round: Kay bt Quarry 15-3, 15-0; Russell bt Boyd 15-2, 15-3; Parker bt Whitehorn 15-6, 15-13; Arnold bt Bhushan 15-3, 15-4; Shaw bt Blackaby 15-6, 15-0; Tilston bt Jefferies 14-16, 15-7, 15-4; Goodwin bt George 16-14, 15-12; Beltrami bt Smith 15-4, 15-3
Quarter-finals: Kay bt Russell 15-4, 15-0; Arnold bt Parker 15-0, 15-6; Shaw bt Tilston 15-4, 15-3; Beltrami bt Goodwin 15-3, 15-0
Semi-finals: Kay bt Arnold 15-5, 15-1; Beltrami bt Shaw 15-2, 15-8
Final: Kay bt Beltrami 15-5, 15-4
Plate Plate: Blackaby
1st round: Blackaby & Hutt bt Chua & Smith 15-10, 11-15, 15-6; Jefferies & Thomas bt Marshall & Alex Wordley 15-3, 15-0; Goodwin & Whitehorn bt Davey & Sorensen 15-2, 15-2; George & Tilston bt Bhushan & Mills 15-1, 15-4; Quarry & Russell bt Raikes & Adam Wordley 15-6, 15-4; Boyd & Manger bt Hale & McGee 15-0, 15-3; Arnold & Beltrami bt McKelvie & Richardson 15-7, 15-1
Quarter-finals: Kay & Shaw bt Blackaby & Hutt 15-2, 15-6; Jefferies & Thomas bt Goodwin & Whitehorn 15-12, 7-15, 15-5; George & Tilston bt Quarry & Russell 15-12, 13-15, 15-10; Arnold & Beltrami bt Boyd & Manger 15-5, 15-3
Semi-finals: Kay & Shaw bt Jefferies & Thomas 15-6, 15-0; Arnold & Beltrami bt George & Tilston 15-7, 15-0
Final: Kay & Shaw bt Arnold & Beltrami 15-7, 6-15, 15-7
Plate: Chua & Smith
Plate Plate: McKelvie & Richardson