22 Sep 2022
Derek Whitehead Tournament 2022

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Last Sunday saw the 7th annual Derek Whitehead Cup. A tournament, for those who are unfamiliar, where Old Berkhamstedians & teachers are paired up with some of the younger students in the Senior school. 13 pairs entered, a slightly smaller field than previous years, but this was compensated well on the day by the depth and strength of the competition!

The group stage involved two pools of 6 and 7, playing to 8 & 6, respectively. The top four pairs qualifying for the quarter finals. Special mention goes to OB Chris Eaton who stepped in last-minute to partner his son. Whilst many years had passed since last donning the gloves, Chris' instincts remained sharp as he fought valiantly for every point. Time constraints due to our late substitution led to some games in Pool B playing to 7. Results can be seen below:

Pool A

Savill &

Beau C

Baines & Will F

Hadcroft & Louie H

Pett & Matthew B

Roen-Tate & Jack T

Capaldi & Monty H

Wiles & Harry B

Total

Savill &

Beau C

6 – 4

6 – 0

3 – 6

1 – 6

6 – 2

6 – 0

3rd

Baines & Will F

4 – 6

6 – 1

2 – 6

5 – 6

6 – 1

4 – 6

5th

Hadcroft & Louie H

0 – 6

1 – 6

0 – 6

2 – 6

6 – 5

1 – 6

6th

Pett & Matthew B

6 – 3

6 – 2

6 – 0

5 – 6

6 – 0

6 – 2

2nd

Roen-Tate & Jack T

6 – 1

6 – 5

6 – 2

6 – 5

6 – 0

6 – 3

1st

Capaldi & Monty H

2 – 6

1 – 6

5 – 6

0 – 6

0 – 6

5 – 6

7th

Wiles & Harry B

0 – 6

6 – 4

6 – 1

2 – 6

3 – 6

6 – 5

4th

Pool B

Pemberton & Leo H

Gibbons & James B

Hornsey & Billy N

Eaton &

Ben E

Dennis & Charles A-B

Khare & Harry B

Total

Pemberton & Leo H

8 – 5

7 – 4

8 – 3

3 – 7

7 – 6

2nd

Gibbons & James B

5 – 8

7 – 6

7 – 6

4 – 8

6 – 8

4th

Hornsey & Billy N

4 – 7

6 – 7

7 – 8

4 – 8

7 – 2

5th

Eaton &

Ben E

3 – 8

6 – 7

8 – 7

0 – 7

5 – 7

6th

Dennis & Charles A-B

7 – 3

8 – 4

8 – 4

7 – 0

8 – 4

1st

Ashwin K & Harry B

6 – 7

8 – 6

7 – 5

2 – 7

4 – 8

3rd

This leads us on to seeded quarter finals, where 1st seeds would have afforded themselves an easier path to the final games – or so we thought! Only upon reflecting on the results since Sunday, I have realised a clear dominance of one Pool over the other – in every match-up, pairs from pool B came out victorious! A particular mention goes to Gibbons & James B, who, qualifying last in their group, must have found several new gears after fuelling themselves on delicious barbeque. A word of thanks must go to Ashley and the catering team for their help on Sunday.

QF1

1st Pool A

Jack T & Roen-Tate

5

Vs

4th Pool B

Gibbons & James B

12

QF2

1st Pool B

Dennis & Charles A-B

12

Vs

4th Pool A

Wiles & Harry B

5

QF3

2nd Pool A

Pett & Matthew B

8

Vs

3rd Pool B

Khare & Jack M

12

QF4

2nd Pool B

Pemberton & Leo H

12

Vs

3rd Pool A

Savill & Beau C

7

Approaching the Semi-finals, we now had an exciting mix of pairs:

  • Ms Gibbons & James B – James, being a defending champion from 2021
  • Richard Dennis & Charles A-B – Richard, winner from 2018, being the most experienced player in the tournament
  • Aswhin K & Jack M – Aswhin, being a current Year 13 and newly appointed school captain
  • Jack Pemberton & Leo H – Jack, ex-school captain, now Old Berkhamstedian

The results are as follows:

Winner Quarter-Final 1

Winner Quarter-Final 4

Gibbons & James B

Vs

Pemberton & Leo H

13 – 11

Winner Quarter-Final 2

Winner Quarter-Final 3

Dennis & Charles A-B

Vs

Ashwin K & Jack M

12 – 8

The first semi-final was a nail-biter. Speaking to Jack Pemberton after his match, he complimented Miss Gibbons’ “darts” into the buttress and James’ ever improving reading of the game. The second semi-final saw a mix of styles, but the Charles & Richard pairings’ court-craft came through to complete our draw: Gibbons & James Vs Dennis & Charles.

Interestingly, as well as James B being a previous winner, Richard Dennis had his share of success at this tournament, winning in 2018 and losing out to James who won the 2021 tournament. Could this be the start of a rivalry for the ages?

The final was a best of three format to 12. Mr Foster spoke highly of the battle between the two pairs, but the clearest figure in the fog of war was that of Richard Dennis. His experience and placement were too much for Gibbons & James. The strength of cutting kept Dennis & Charles on the back-foot and in the end allowed them to succeed in two games.

Dennis & Charles A-B

Vs

Gibbons & James B

12 – 5, 12 – 5

Elsewhere in the tournament, our plate matches came to a close after a round-robin of our unqualified pairs. Success came to Ashley Hornsey, OB, & Billy N, who managed to fend off all other competition.

My thanks to Derek Whitehead for his time and presence. It was great to hear a small portion of his experience and memories of Berkhamsted Fives. Thanks also to Anthony Theodossi for organising the event and all those who came to play & support. I look forward to seeing you all next year.

Chris Davey