Colquhoun Trophy (South West Schools Regional Tournament)
Sherborne School, Dorset, November 27th
History was made in two ways at this year’s Colquhoun Trophy: not only did Addie Chai from Blundell’s become the first player to follow a Colts title with the Senior title, Benedict Mercer became the first boy from Sherborne to win either of the two titles.
Addie’s achievement was all the more impressive as this year’s Senior title came only a year after his Colts title. But, all the qualities that helped him last year – a very mature and patient game, working his opponent hard with excellent line and length, backed up with excellent retrieving – were in evidence again this year; and, after some tight rallies early in the first game of the final (against James Barrows from Marlborough), he went on to secure the title in comprehensive fashion.
Equally comprehensive was the way in which Benedict secured the Colts title. With only six players, this was decided in a round-robin, but not only did Benedict have a 100% record in that, he never conceded more than two points in any game. What’s more, Sherborne could celebrate another prize in this category, as Harry Harvey won the Plate by finishing third in the round-robin. The two home players were separated by Blundellian George Gibbs, who won four of his five matches to finish second behind Benedict.
It’s clear from these players that future Open events will be very closely contested, as indeed this year’s was. No less than 12 players competed, split into two pools; and, if there was any question over Addie’s ability to step up into the Open category, he answered them with a 100% record in his group games to qualify for the semi-finals.
Here he would face fellow Blundellian and fellow former Colts champion Tobias Francis, who had finished second in the other pool behind Marloborough’s Arthur Rigg. Like Addie, Arthur had a 100% record in his group games, but the route to that result was much harder, with one win being 11-9, and two others 11-8. Nevertheless, he secured his semi-final spot, where he faced fellow Marlburian James Barrows, who had survived a close battle of his own: he only reached the semis after an 11-9 win over Sherborne’s Will Shardlow. It was tough on Will, last year’s runner-up, but he had the consolation of going on to win the Plate this year.
When the dust had settled, that meant two in-house semi-final battles, with Addie winning the Battle of the Blundellians, and James securing bragging rights in Marlborough. It also meant the final would be a repeat of an earlier group game; and, just as in that game, it was Addie who emerged the winner, but by an even more decisive margin this time. Few would bet against Addie repeating this win next year, and becoming the only boy ever to retain a Colquhoun Trophy title.
As ever, the RFA wishes to express its thanks to Sherborne School for allowing us to use their courts, and for the hospitality shown to players, coaches and parents alike.
Round robin Pool 1: 1st Arthur Rigg (Marlborough); 2nd Tobias Francis (Blundell’s); 3rd James Maclaurin (Blundell’s); 4th Christian Cabburn (Blundell’s); 5th Archie Buston (Sherborne)
Pool 2: 1st Addie Chai (Blundell’s); 2nd James Barrows (Marlborough); 3rd Will Shardlow (Sherborne); 4th Jack Lockwood (Blundell’s); 5th Milo Martin (Marlborough); 6th Barney Ames (Blundell’s)
Semi-finals: Barrows (Marlborough) bt Rigg (Marlborough) 15-1; Chai (Blundell’s) bt Francis (Blundell’s)
Final: Chai bt Barrows 11-1, 11-0
Plate: Shardlow (Sherborne)
Round-robin final positions
1st Benedict Mercer (Sherborne)
2nd George Gibbs (Blundell’s)
3rd (and Plate winner) Harry Harvey (Sherborne)
4th Boris Ames (Blundell’s)
5th Joe Horsey (Blundell’s)
6th Tommy Ryder (Blundell’s)