A double for Lewis Keates at the National U25s

News  Tournaments

Oundle School
Saturday/Sunday, 28-29 January 2023

STOP PRESS  Derby Moor Club’s Lewis Keates won the Singles at the National U25 Championships, beating Cameron Low from the West of England Club in the final. Lewis then went on to win the Doubles title with clubmate Bally Singh, this time against Cameron and his partner Archie McCreath. Both Plates went to Oxford University, Louis Odgers winning the Singles and Vivek Thakrar & Harry Turner the Doubles. Young players from Stamford School won both the traditional PlatePlates (for losers in first round matches): Hari Jones the Singles, and Rory Jones & Charlie Burrows the Doubles. 21 players contested the Singles and 20 pairs the Doubles. Warmest thanks go to Joe Sumner for organising and to Oundle School for hosting.

Organiser Joe Sumner reports: On the last weekend of January, the National Under 25s returned to Oundle School after last having been played there in 2020. With some big names no longer eligible by age this year, the draw promised an exciting tournament with a lot of players very evenly matched.

The Singles started early on Saturday morning, and the seeded players made swift progress through to the quarter-finals. Special mention should go to young Charlie Lacewing from Christ’s Hospital, who put in a very impressive performance against Joe Sumner, which can probably partly be attributed to the amount of time he appears to have spent in the gym recently! In the quarters, everything again went to seeding, except, typically, for Joe who was outplayed by Gwydion Wiseman in a two hour plus three-game marathon. This set up interesting semi-finals of Lewis Keates against Addie Chai, and Cameron Low versus Gwydion.

After going 8-1 down against Addie in the first, Lewis eventually overcame what appeared to be a tiring opponent relatively easily in two games. In the other match, Gwydion couldn’t quite reach the level he had displayed in the previous round, and Cameron, with his deceptively relaxed style of play, was able to win through comfortably in two games (although it must be said, looking a bit worse for wear by the end). Thus, the final was set: First seed – Lewis Keates, against Second seed – Cameron Low, the match to be played Sunday morning.

Running alongside the main competition was the Plate and the ‘PlatePlate’ for those who lost in the second round and first round respectively. The Plate was a very high-quality affair and eventually what emerged was an all-Oxford final of Louis Odgers versus Teddy Monro-Davies. It produced an excellent game between two players who know each other well, which Louis eventually just edged  16-15. The PlatePlate (an U25s tradition) was contested mostly by young school-age players, who all showed a lot of promise; In the end, Hari Jones from Stamford School outplayed the competition to deservedly claim his prize.

Sunday morning, most were wanting to watch thee Singles final. Onc this started, it soon became obvious that Cameron hadn’t recovered from the previous day’s play, and Lewis was able to win fairly comfortably in two games.

The Doubles then kicked into action and, as per seeding, eventually produced semi-final line-ups of Cameron Low & Archie McCreath against scratch pair Gwydion Wiseman & Marcus Cloke Browne, with Lewis Keates & Bally Singh playing Addie Chai & Joe Sumner. Both games went the distance, with Cameron & Archie coming through 14-16, 15-7, 15-5, and Lewis & Bally winning 15-13, 11-15, 15-12.

The same format as for the Singles, the Doubles Plate was contested by those who had lost in the second round. After some tough games, it ended up producing the Varsity-preview final of Oxford’s Vivek Thakrar & Harry Turner against Cambridge’s Emrys Thursfield & Savanna Leboff. Credit must go to Emrys for playing with his damaged ankle, and to Savanna who, as with all the ladies who played, has improved dramatically over the last few years. However, in the end, Vivek & Harry deservedly took the win 11-5, 6-11, 11-9, giving Oxford the double in the plates. The PlatePlate was again for those who lost in the first round, and was another all-schoolboy affair. In the end, it was Charlie Burrows & Rory Jones from Stamford School who won, meaning Stamford returned home with both PlatePlate titles!

Owing to the length of the main competition semi-finals (and to how tired some of the players were), it was very late when the final eventually got going. Cameron & Archie started well, and took the first game relatively easily 15-4. However, Cameron’s obvious exhaustion, and perhaps Bob Dolby’s inter-game Derby Moor pep talk, seemed to help rally Lewis and Bally, who managed to take the second 15-9. The deciding game was very exciting to watch; If there’s one thing that’s certain in fives, it’s that Derby Moor players will hit the ball hard, but Cameron and Archie matched it well. The game eventually got to 14-14, and then 15-14 championship point for Cameron & Archie. Cameron thought he’d won and stopped playing when Bally appeared to hit the bar, but the players eventually agreed that the bar was not hit – no let! Lewis & Bally won the next point – 15-15, championship point for them, which they converted, winning the final 4-15, 15-9, 16-15! Congratulations to Bally, and even more so to Lewis for winning both titles – he showed impressive fitness across the whole weekend, and the two titles were a massive achievement for him.

Well done to everyone that took part this year, it was a great competition. Quick mention for a few players; Isaac Weaver and Marcus Cloke Browne – I think both of these guys will be turning into top players in the open circuit over the next couple of years. Gwydion – doesn’t really need a mention, but title contender next year? All the school players – you all played extremely well and should be very proud of yourselves; keep playing and it could be you winning the trophy in the not-too-distant future.

Thank you to Alex Smith for helping to run the Plate competitions, and especially to Bob Dolby and Chris Blakeley for all their help. Thank you to NoLimitz (Bedford) for your excellent work doing the tournament shirts. Thank you to all the parents and teachers that came as support/taxi drivers!

And finally, massive thanks to Oundle School and Victoria Brown for hosting us – a lot of work behind the scenes was put in by Victoria and others at the school to allow this event to take place, so on behalf of everyone who was at the tournament, thank you!

See you all next year.



1st round: A Murat bt M Ho 15-2; H Turner bt L O’Connor 15-1; V Thakrar bt A Nazim 15-2; A Hutchinson bt H Jones 15-4; C Lacewing bt B Luttman-Johnson 15-0
2nd round: L Keates bt Murat 15-1, 15-0; M Cloke Browne bt L Odgers 15-9, 15-1; A Chai bt Turner 15-0, 15-1; S Beattie bt Thakrar 15-9, 15-1; C Low bt Hutchinson 15-1, 15-0; I Weaver bt V Singh 15-5, 15-2; J Sumner bt Lacewing 15-8, 15-6; G Wiseman bt T Monro-Davies 15-2, 15-2
Quarter-finals: Keates bt Cloke Browne 15-10, 15-10; Chai bt Beattie 15-2, 15-7; Low bt Weaver 15-9, 15-11; Wiseman bt Sumner 15-5, 15-16, 15-5
Semi-finals: Keates bt Chai 15-12, 15-4; Low bt Wiseman 15-6, 15-8
Final: L Keates bt C Low 15-11,15-3
1st Plate: 1st L Odgers; 2nd T Monro-Davies; 3rd C Lacewing
PlatePlate: H Jones


1st round: R Hunter & H Jones bt C Lacewing & L O’Connor 15-11; A Hutchinson & A Murat bt B Luttman-Johnson & A Nazim 15-0; C McNaughton & C Sharpe bt A Kiesal & M Ho 15-3; C Burgess & O Collett bt C Burrows & R Jones 15-7
2nd round: C Low & A McCreath bt Hunter & Jones 15-1, 15-0; T Monro-Davies & L Odgers bt H Nugent & B Yass 15-2, 15-1; M Cloke Browne & G Wiseman bt Hutchinson & Murat 15-4, 15-3; A Ahuja & E Pyman bt V Thakrar & H Turner 13-15, 15-10, 16-15; L Keates & B Singh bt McNaughton & Sharpe 15-3, 15-1; S Beattie & V Singh bt S Leboff & E Thursfield 15-8, 15-6; A Chai & J Sumner bt Burgess & Collett 15-0, 15-1; S Garella & H Tunks bt T Cowin & H Wright 15-4, 15-2
Quarter-finals: Low & McCreath bt Monro-Davies & Odgers 15-8, 15-2; Cloke Browne & Wiseman bt Ahuja & Pyman 15-0, 15-1; Keates & B Singh bt Beattie & V Singh 15-11, 15-8; Chai & Sumner bt Garella & Tunks 15-0, 15-2
Semi-finals: Low & McCreath bt Cloke Browne & Wiseman 14-16, 15-7, 15-5; Keates & Singh bt Chai & Sumner 15-13; 11-15, 15-12
Final: L Keates & B Singh bt C Low & A McCreath 4-15, 15-9, 16-15
Plate: V Thakrar & H Turner bt S Leboff & E Thursfield 11-5, 6-11, 11-9
PlatePlate: C Burrows & R Jones

U25 Singles Champion 2023

Cameron and Lewis post-match

Lewis and Cameron before the Singles final

Organiser Joe Sumner with Singles Plate winner Louis Odgers from Oxford

Doubles Champions Lewis Keates & Bally Singh

Doubles finalists from West of England and Derby Moor

Main Doubles Plate goes to Oxford’s Turner & Thakrar

Stamford pair win the Doubles PlatePlate

Before the All-Derby Moor encounter

Between-games conference


Action from the final: Cameron to Bally

All-Cambridge contest : Emrys to Holly