22 Jun 2022
Scholars & Rogues 2022, Monday 20th June

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Yesterday we held the 15th incarnation of the annual Scholars & Rogues Eton Fives tournament. After a few last minute drop-outs and some slight rejigging to the draw the Castle courts catered for a huge entry of 37 pairs with representation from the Prep, Kings, Castle and 6th form sites. It was also wonderful to see all age groups and both boys and girls being able to mix back together again after last year’s Covid restrictions.

The 74 players were split into 8 pools with the top two from each qualifying through to the main competition. The games with quick-fire 6 minutes matches with players constantly rolling on and off the court for a non-stop flurry of Fives. As well as an increasing size of entry over the years, the standard of Fives has also improved hugely as could be seen throughout the group stages with lots of very close fought matches as well as a few upsets within the groups. It is also pleasing to note though that despite the standard of Fives being so high, the quality of sportsmanship, coaching and comradery was equally as impressive to witness throughout the competition.

After about an 1 ½ hours of play we had our last 16 players set and ready to go. Even at this stage the quality of Fives across the 8 matches was exceptional both from the young players and their less experienced staff counterparts! The closest matches came from last years winner Mr Foster with his new Y8 Swifts partner Robbie B winning a tight 3 – 2 match against S&C specialist Miss Gibbons and U18 National Champion Bethan M. The other close match saw newcomer to the game Mr Trickey with his last minute partner Federico G in a nail-biting 4 – 3 win over cricket specialist Mr Costin and Y9 1st pair player Theo P.

Last 16 (timed 8 min matches)

Mr Hockedy & Ed H BEAT Mr Findlay & Henry M

4 – 0

Mr Foster & Robbie B BEAT Miss Gibbons & Bethan M

3 – 2

Mr Trickey & Federico G BEAT Mr Costin & Theo P

4 – 3

Mr Campbell & Kasey BEAT Mr A. Hornsey & Rishy M

5 – 3

Mr Davey & James B BEAT Mr Stileman & Will F

8 – 1

Mr Sutton & Matthew B BEAT Mr D. Vila & Ashley D-S

6 – 2

Mr J. Savill & Jack T BEAT Mr Redman Luca E

8 – 2

Mr Hoad & Felix S BEAT Mr Pett & Zac S

8 – 3

We then pushed on through into the quarter-final stages with a slightly extended time limit of 10 min matches. Of the 8 staff reaching this stage, 6 of them were from the PE department; at least they are earning their keep and showcasing why they are such good games teachers! All four matches again showcased some superb Fives with all 16 players, staff and pupils, throwing themselves around the courts. Again it was wonderful to see the high standard of Fives paired with a similar high standard of sportsmanship from all the players. The Mr Trickey & Federico G Vs Mr Campbell & Kasey T was a notable game with underdogs Trickey & Feds making sure their opposition had to work hard for every point to earn the win.

Quarter-Finals (timed 10 min matches)

Mr Hockedy & Ed H BEAT Mr Foster & Robbie B

6 – 3

Mr Campbell & Kasey T BEAT Mr Trickey & Federico G

9 – 6

Mr Davey & James B BEAT Mr Sutton & Matthew B

5 – 3

Mr Hoad & Felix S BEAT Mr J. Savill & Jack T

5 – 2

Moving into the semi-finals all 4 pairs showed little sign of fatigue, perhaps now all finding a burst of energy coming within touching distance of the coveted Scholars & Rogues ‘Dossi Dish’. Fellow gappies Mr Hoad and Mr Davey found themselves facing off against one-another in the first semi; Mr Hoad had been improving all year from his short time on court, but more notable was his dramatic improvement just throughout the tournament that day, possibly thanks to some fine coaching points from his young U12 National Champion partner Felix S. The experience of Davey & James B paid off though allowing them a stronger set-piece play getting back lots of cut-returns giving them ample opportunities to get onto the score board while also consistently cutting down their opposition denying them the chance to score. This was the common theme throughout the set which allowed them to take the win. The other semi-final saw Head of Tudor Mr Hockedy taking on cricket maestro and Head of Tilman Mr Campbell with their respective partners and fellow Y9 squad mates Ed H (Schools Nationals U14 Champion) and Y9 Fives Captain Kasey T respectively. The game was extremely tight throughout; Campbell & Kasey T seemed to have the early edge just keeping a point or two beyond their opposition. Some fine top-step play from young Ed H sparring with Mr Campbell was a real treat to see, with one rally between the two lasting around 30 shots. In the end the Hockedy & Ed duo manged to creep a quick 2 points in the last 30 seconds of the match before the whistle blew allowing them to take the game.

Semi-Finals (timed 10 min matches)

Mr Hockedy & Ed H BEAT Mr Campbell & Kasey T

5 – 4

Mr Davey & James B BEAT Mr Hoad & Felix S

7 – 2

And so we moved into the final with the match time being extended again slightly to 15 minutes. This was Mr Hockedy’s second final, the last one being back in 2018 where he lost in a very tight game, so he was looking to finally have his name engraved on the illustrious Scholars & Rogues Plate. His opposition had other ideas though; young James B had already had a great start to his 2021-22 season winning the Derek Whitehead (OB & School Pupil) Trophy way back at the start of September so another trophy was needed for his ever growing collection. The Davey & James B duo got off to a flying start going 5 – 0 up quite early on; this was from some great cut-returning from both, though Mr Hockedy was nursing a nasty bruised hand which he had gained quite early on in the tournament. He had played through the pain up until this point, but it was clear his earlier effective and powerful cutting technique had lost some of its edge. In a similar vein to his partner young Ed H was struggling to return cut himself thanks to some precision and clever cutting from young James B. They began to battle back though at around the 10min mark gaining a point or two at a time, though they really needed to up the momentum if they had any chance of catching up. Davey & James B kept played a very safe and solid game though making sure they kept the ball tight with very few unforced errors in their rally play allowing them to also add a few more points to their total. Hockedy & Ed H battled back hard but it was too little too late with a solid score line of 9 – 4 in favour of Davey & James B claiming them the 2022 S&R title.

Final (timed 15 min match)

Mr Davey & James B BEAT Mr Hockedy & Ed H

9 – 4

A big thank you firstly to the Chartwells catering team for putting on the fine spread of refreshments and the always excellent BBQ. To the ground staff for kindly setting up the gazebos and preparing the courts for use, to Miss Potts for kindly stepping in at the last minute to help run the pool stages taking in all the scores and results. To Y8 Fives Captain Zac S for giving up his time before to also come along and help set up for the event. And finally to all the staff who gave up their time to come along and take part as without you we wouldn’t have such a fine event and highlight of the school calendar.

A special mention and thank you must also go to our departing MiC Martin Pett; as always his commitment, good humour and fine speeches at the end of each year which really help make the S&R the special tournament it is. He will be sorely missed but we hope he may return each year as a star guest player in future tournaments.

Hopefully we will see many of you either on or off the court at next years’ 2023 tournament.

Mr Theodossi