Sherborne School, 21st/23rd November
The 55th championships were the first to be held totally under the auspices of the RFA, writes David Gardner, since BUCS recently adopted a policy of getting rid of minority sports which could not command a large entry, in order to concentrate on major-participation events.
Such a move has involved an enormous amount of work for the organisers, but, in the end, another highly successful event has been completed. Entries were down a bit, as anticipated, and for various reasons, the number of Universities was smaller. We hope that this number will rise again next year.
37 entered the Singles and 19 pairs were in the Doubles, representing seven institutions. The major players on the scene were Oxford, Cambridge, Durham and UCL as always, but it was pleasing to see enthusiasm continuing to rise in Bristol and further representation from Imperial and Bath.
Missing sadly this year were Birmingham and Edinburgh but we hope they will be back! We do need to keep trying to trace schoolboys that go to the smaller universities and encourage them to keep playing. Everyone can help with this, so please let me know names if you have details.
In the Singles, Dan Grant of UCL was in a class of his own and conceded few points throughout the event in winning a hat trick of titles and his fourth in five years. In the Plate event Theo Parker from Bristol had an equally comfortable victory.
The Doubles was far less predictable and there were four or five extremely strong pairs in contention for the title. Quite often a pair has one strong and one medium player. Not so this year where Cambridge, UCL, Bristol and Durham all had quality pairs.
The top four seeds met in the semi-finals where the Holders, looking for their third title in a row, were narrowly defeated by UCL, represented by Dan Grant & Tom Chase. In the other half the ‘Young Pretenders’ to the throne, Ben Beltrami & Matt Shaw, were quietly, but forcefully, wending their way through the field and finally emerged victorious in the final after a gripping match which gave them the title in their first year at Cambridge.
The Plate final was an all Oxford affair, but it was no walk-over. Matt Hale & Oliver Sale finally emerged the winners in a long three-game match.
Our thanks are due to all the Organisers who give so freely of their time; to Sherborne School for hosting the event, for the eleventh occasion; to Messrs Barnes & Gardner for adding to the silverware by giving new Plates; and to President Dolby for giving them all away!
For a colourful account of much of the three days’ play see the RFA Twitter feed.
For 212 photos (!) of the event go to https://www.facebook.com/rugbyfives. See also a smaller selection on our Gallery (‘Season 2014-2015’) at https://therfa.uk/gallery/, as well as a dedicated gallery ‘2014 November BUSF’ at https://therfa.uk/gallery/. Our thanks to photographers Dan Grant and David Barnes.
Videos of the Singles and Doubles finals are now posted. See https://therfa.uk/videos/.
Round 1: S Esin (Imperial) bt J Tugwell (UCL) 15-12, 15-9; O Arnold (Bristol) bt O ) 15-5, 15-0; T Hoskins (Oxford) bt D Taylor (Bristol) 14-16, 15-7, 15-9.
Round 2: D Grant (UCL) bt A Horsewood (Oxford) 15-3, 15-5; J Ader (Cambridge) bt S Woollard (Durham) 15-10, 16-15; J Malde (Cambridge) bt T McCahon (Durham) 15-11, 15-9; C Burrows (Imperial) bt T Nixey (UCL) 15-0, 15-0; M Shaw (Cambridge) bt D Bateson (Durham) 15-2, 15-0; Arnold bt Esin 15-1, 15-4; T Chase (UCL) bt D Robson (Durham) 15-2, 15-0; B Beltrami (Cambridge) bt O Even (Oxford) 15-1, 15-1; D Butler (Durham) bt B Mills (Oxford) 15-3, 15-4; R Law (Cambridge) bt Hoskins 15-3, 15-6; O Quarry (Durham) bt Taylor 15-4, 15-2; J Brubert (Cambridge) bt W Yates (Oxford) 15-0, 15-0; T Parker (Bristol) bt T Bury (Cambridge) 15-5, 15-7; S Russell (Durham) bt N Whitney (Oxford) 15-5, 15-3; B Ashraf (Durham) bt E Griffiths (Bath) 15-0, 15-0; E Kay (Cambridge) bt M Hale (Oxford) 15-2, 15-0.
Round 3: Grant bt Ader 15-7, 15-4; Burrows bt Malde 16-15, 15-0; Shaw bt Arnold 15-6, 15-8; Beltrami bt Chase 15-4, 15-2; Butler bt Law 15-2, 15-0; Brubert bt Quarry 15-10, 15-5; Russell bt Parker 11-15, 16-15, 15-6; Kay bt Ashraf 15-4, 15-2.
Quarter-Finals: Grant bt Burrows 15-7, 15-9; Beltrami bt Shaw 15-13, 15-5; Butler bt Brubert 15-13, 15-2; Kay bt Russell 15-12, 15-3.
Semi-Finals: Grant bt Beltrami 15-3, 15-7; Kay bt Butler 5-15, 15-9, 15-7.
Final: D Grant (UCL) bt E Kay (Cambridge) 15-1, 15-1.
Singles Plate Final: T Parker (Bristol) bt B Ashraf (Durham) 15-2, 15-1
Round 1: Davies & George-Carey (Bristol) bt Chandra & Nixey (UCL) 15-3, 15-3; Hoskins & Horsewood (Oxford) bt Ibbetsen & Tugwell (UCL) 15-8, 15-10; Even & Yates (Oxford) bt Robson & Bateson (Durham) 15-10, 15-8.
Round 2: Kay & Brubert (Cambridge) bt Davies & G-Carey 15-11, 15-7; Quarry & Ashraf (Durham) bt Hale & Sale (Oxford) 15-6, 15-0; Butler & Russell (Durham) bt Whitney & Mills (Oxford) 15-0, 15-5; Grant & Chase (UCL) bt Bury & Law (Cambridge) 15-6, 16-14; Parker & Arnold (Bristol) bt Woollard & McCahon (Durham) 15-1, 15-0; Malde & Ader (Cambridge) bt Hoskins & Horsewood 15-1, 15-7; Burrows & Esin (Imperial) bt Even & Yates 15-1, 15-6; Beltrami & Shaw (Cambridge) bt Griffiths & Taylor (WoE) 15-0, 15-0.
Quarter-Finals: Kay & Brubert bt Quarry & Ashraf 15-2, 15-6; Grant & Chase bt Butler & Russell 16-14, 15-4; Parker & Arnold bt Malde & Ader 15-8, 15-7; Beltrami & Shaw bt Burrows & Esin 15-1, 15-8. Semi-Finals: Grant & Chase bt Kay & Brubert 15-16, 15-10, 15-10; Beltrami & Shaw bt Parker & Arnold 15-8, 15-12.
Final: B Beltrami & M Shaw (Cambridge) bt D Grant & T Chase (UCL) 15-4, 15-12.
Doubles Plate Final: M Hale & O Sale (Oxford) bt T Hoskins & A Horsewood (Oxford) 3-15, 15-13, 15-13.