Schools’ Winchester Fives Doubles Championship
Winchester College, Sunday 5th November 2017
David Barnes reports: Ten pairs, the same number as last year, contested the sixteenth edition of the Schools’ Winchester Doubles. Marlborough and Radley each brought two pairs, and the rest of the entry came from St. Paul’s and Winchester. A last-minute gap in the draw was filled at very short notice by a fourth Winchester pair, who eventually made it to the final of the plate.
The competition as a whole proceeded much more rapidly than last year’s, with few closely contested matches, an exception being the quarter-final encounter between St Paul’s II and Marlborough I. Here the rallies were long and exciting to watch, with the Paulines just doing enough to win in two games. The Marlburians had the consolation of deservedly winning the plate competition.
The first semi-final saw a clear victory for the impressive top seeds, Winchester I, who powered their way to victory over over the second St Paul’s pair. The other semi was a rather closer match, but St Paul’s I proved too strong in the end for Winchester II.
The first game of the final went the way of the home side, with Kidner – the only survivor from last season’s epic final – dominating the play with his hard, low hitting. St Paul’s managed to stem the flow for a while in the second game, but the Wykehamists always had the edge and came home to win comfortably.
My particular thanks this year go to Jamie McManus for his help and support; and to Winchester College for the use of its superb courts, still playing as true as ever.
First round: Winchester IV bt Radley II 15-1, 15-0; Winchester III bt Marlborough II 15-6, 15-8.
Quarter-finals: Winchester I bt Winchester IV 15-1, 15-1; St Paul’s II bt Marlborough I 15-13, 16-15; Winchester II bt Radley I 15-1, 15-1; St Paul’s I bt Winchester III 15-2, 15-2.
Semi-finals: Winchester I bt St Paul’s II 15-1, 15-0; St Paul’s I bt Winchester II 15-4, 15-9.
Final: Winchester I (T.Kidner & K.Mackison) bt St Paul’s I (M.Cheveley & H.Jackson) 15-2, 15-7.
Plate: Marlborough I (H.Powell & A.Rigg)