The National Schools Championships 2022

News  Schools  Tournaments

St Paul’s School, Barnes
Saturday/Monday, 26-28 March 2022

Bob Dolby reports: After the hiatus caused by the pandemic the National Schools Championships returned to St Paul’s School this year, in a stream-lined format, run by Dave Butler, aided principally by Ian Jackson, Hector McFarlane and Alex Smith. More than 200 people attended over the three days, either as spectators or players, and huge thanks must go to all of them and to the players’ coaches for their enthusiastic support of the event. It was good to see the Deputy President of the RFA, Julie McIntyre, supporting her City of Durham Club, and the new Secretary General of the RFA, Chris Blakeley, familiarising himself with this annual feast of Fives.

The standard and intensity of play in all three age-groups was remarkable, and was highest in the U18 category. Such was the quality of the top 20 or so of the players of that age, among them several regional champions, that upsets were expected, and they duly occurred in both the Singles and the Doubles. The 8 players representing Alleyn’s, Durham, Tonbridge and Winchester who reached the quarter-finals of the Singles had ousted highly fancied players from St Olave’s, St Paul’s, Fettes and Merchiston, and it was by no means certain that the two top seeds, Gwydion Wiseman and Shiloh Wu, would progress to the final. Once they did so the topic of discussion in the gallery was: Can Gwydion make it three titles in a row and equal Peter Mellor’s unique record from the 1960s? Peter was himself present to see if it would happen. It didn’t. Shiloh played extraordinarily well, Gwydion rather below his best. The Jesters Cup went to Winchester, giving Shiloh a chance to return next year to defend it.

In the U18 Doubles there was also the question: Could Wu & Cloke Browne make it a clean sweep of all three Schools Doubles Championships, a feat rarely accomplished, or could the Alleyn’s pair of Wiseman & Scott make it three in a row, never done? Both pairs first had to beat pairs from St Olave’s and City of Durham in semi-final matches which were as fine as any seen at that stage of the competition. Once more the two top seeded pairs did get through and, yes, the Winchester pair did pull off the treble of Winchester Fives Doubles in November, West of England Schools Doubles in January and National Schools Doubles in March.

The U16 age-group was enlivened by the presence of very good players from Edinburgh Academy and Merchiston Castle challengng the traditional strength of Alleyn’s, St Paul’s, Winchester and the emerging players of Stamford School. There was very little to choose between the eight players who made the quarter-finals, with some of the encounters going to three games. There was no doubt that the top seed from Alleyn’s was increasingly hampered by injury, but it was no great upset to see the fine top player from Scotland, Merchiston’s Sam Park, win a three-game final. It was a wonderful surprise though for the Edinburgh Academy pair of Hugo Rintoul & Calum Swanson to win the magnificent Marchant Cup for U16 Doubles, the first time the school has done so. In that final, another three-gamer, it was again Alleyn’s who took the silver.

The U14 competition was run over two days. Seeding was worked out by the organiser in conjunction with the various coaches and proved to be very accurate once the group stages were completed. Year in, year out those watching are amazed by the promise shown and the level already achieved by this inexperienced group. Young players from Alleyn’s, Merchiston, St Paul’s, Tonbridge, Winchester and increasingly Stamford caught the eye in both Singles and Doubles. In the end it was double gold for Winchester and double silver for Merchiston.

Dave Butler deserves great credit for managing to run, so calmly, an event with nearly 150 players from 17 schools in just three days, but so too do the players — once they get going they run much of the show themselves. Branded shirts are a huge help to everyone in finding their opponents!

Equally warm thanks must go to St Paul’s School, to its master i/c Sam Roberts, and to the very accommodating Sports Centre staff for hosting the championships so generously.


U18 Singles

Group 1: 1st K Bremner (Win); 2nd C Boy (StO); 3rd E Swarbrick (Blu); 4th A Young (Rug); 5th P van der Spuy (Ton)
Group 2: 1st G Nsenga (StO); 2nd M Mayor (Blu); 3rd M Bolt (All); 4th K Lee (Ton)
Group 3: 1st B Harrison (StP); 2nd A Todd-Leask (Marl); 3rd J Bartlett (Blu); 4th E Arie (All)
Group 4: 1st O McIntyre (Dur); 2nd J Johnston (All); 3rd M Freudenheim (Ton); 4th F Clayton (Blu); 5th R Menhart (Bed)
Group 5: 1st L Ferguson (Mer) (StP); 2nd F Stone (Blu); 3rd M Hughes (CH); 4th D Leng (Rug); 5th J Wormersley (Bed)
Group 6: 1st B Roberts (StP); 2nd W Chan (Fet); 3rd T Whyte (EdA); 4th J Cole (Blu); 5th V Bobrakov (Rug)
Group 7: 1st P Harrison (All); 2nd A Ridley (StP); 3rd O Hanger (CH); 4th A Murat (Ton); 5th D Swinbank (Dur)
Group 8: 1st N Groombridge-Westacott (Lor); 2nd C Calzia (StP); 3rd H Shaw (All); 4th A Khurana (EdA)
Group 9: 1st C Lee (Win); 2nd M Nugent (EdwA); 3rd I Coates (Mer); 4th W Sauvel-Porter (StP); 5th A Hicks (Dur)
Group 10: 1st T Chan (Fet); 2nd H Akerman (Win); 3rd A Glover (Sed); 4th T Worth (CH)

Round of 16: G Wiseman(All) bt C Lee (Win) 11-1; 11-5; N Hudson (Ton) bt K Bremner (Win) 11-3, 11-2; O McIntyre (Dur) bt A Whitham (StP) 11-4, 11-7; M Cloke Browne (Win) bt L Ferguson 11-4, 11-1; S Scott bt B Roberts (StP) 11-6, 11-1; B Harrison (StP) bt M Campanale (Ton) 3-11, 11-4, 11-6; S Beattie (Dur) bt G Nsenga (StO) 11-5, 11-5; S Wu (Win) bt P Harrison (All) 11-4, 11-3
Quarter-finals: Wiseman bt Hudson 11-0, 11-2; Cloke Browne bt McIntyre 11-2, 11-6; Scott bt Harrison 11-3, 11-9; Wu bt Beattie 11-7, 11-1
Semi-finals: Wiseman bt Cloke Browne 11-6, 11-3; Wu bt Scott 11-3, 11-3
Final: S Wu (Win) bt G Wiseman (All) 11-3, 11-5

U18 Singles Plate

Quarter-finals: M Freudenheim (Ton) bt W Chan (Fet) 12-10; M Mayor (Blu) bt N Groombridge-Westacott (Lor) 12-11; J Johnston (All) bt T Chan (Fet) 11-7; A Todd-Leask (Marl) bt T Whyte (EdA) 11-9
Semi-finals: Freudenheim bt Mayor 15-10; Johnston bt Todd-Leask 15-6
Final: M Freudenheim (Tonbridge) bt J Johnston (Alleyn’s) 15-8

U18 Doubles

Round of 32: Rugby 1 bt Marlborough 1 11-4; Blundell’s 2 bt Tonbridge 3 11-9; Winchester 2 bt Blundell’s 3 11-5; Durham 1 bt Christ’s Hospital 1 11-1; Merchiston 1 bt Alleyn’s 2 11-9; City of Durham 2 bt Bedford 1 11-6; Christ’s Hospital 2 bt St Paul’s 3 12-11; St Olave’s 1 bt Blundell’s 1 11-5; Alleyn’s 4 bt St Paul’s 2 11-5; Edinburgh Academy 1 bt Tonbridge 2 11-6
Round of 16: Alleyn’s 1 bt Rugby 1 11-0; Winchester 2 bt Blundell’s 2 15-2; City of Durham 1 bt Merchiston 1 15-2; St Paul’s 1 bt City of Durham 2 15-2; Tonbridge 1 bt Alleyn’s 3 15-4; St Olave’s 1 bt Christ’s Hospital 2 11-8; St Paul’s 2 bt Fettes 1 15-12; Winchester 1 bt Tonbridge 2 15-2
Quarter-finals: Alleyn’s 1 bt Winchester 2 11-5, 11-5; City of Durham 1 bt St Paul’s 1 11-4, 11-8; St Olave’s 1 bt Tonbridge 1 11-8, 12-10; Winchester 1 bt St Paul’s 2 11-0, 11-1
Semi-finals: Alleyn’s 1 bt City of Durham 1 12-11, 11-4; Winchester 1 bt St Olave’s 1 10-12, 11-7, 11-7
Final: Winchester 1 (M Cloke Browne & S Wu) bt Alleyn’s 1 (S Scott & G Wiseman) 11-9, 11-4
Plate Final: Fettes 1 (T Chan & W Chan) bt Alleyn’s 3 (P Harrison & H Shaw) 11-5, 11-6

U16 Singles

Group 1: Qualified T Vernacchio (All). Into Plate F Edelmn (Ton), T Miers (Win), H Wright (Stam)
Group 2: Qualified A Cloke Browne (Win), S Park (Mer). Into Plate T Blythe (All), H Mountain (Stam)
Group 3: Qualified W Hodgson (EdA). Into Plate F Delaney (StP), A Kulkami (Win), O Collett (Stam)
Group 4: Qualified J Chan (Win), A Dorokhov (All). Into Plate W Gale (Mer), A Tully (StP)
Group 5: Qualified N Prabhu (StP). Into Plate D Britton (Stam), L Chilton (Win), L Saunders-Aroma (Ton)
Group 6: Qualified L Milner (All), H Rintoul (EdA). Into Plate F Hewitt (Stam), O Wilson (Ton)
Group 7: Qualified Y Negyal (All), C Swanson (EdA). Into Plate A Cliff (Ton), M Di Gleria (Marl)
Group 8: Qualified M Cunningham (EdA), S Inglis (StP). Into Plate G Bowden (Win) T Cowin (Stam)
Group 9: Qualified C Drutman (Stam), K Davins (DeM). Into Plate B Aubury (Win), S Richarz (All)
Group 10: Qualified C Burgess (Stam). Into Plate R Goodman (StP), E Watson (DeM), R Zhou (Win)

Round of 16: Vernacchio bt Milner 15-5; Drutman bt Cunningham 15-13; Dorokhov bt Prabhu 15-7; Cloke Browne bt Chan 15-12; Hodgson bt Negyal 15-11; Rintoul bt Inglis 15-4; Swanson bt Burgess 15-5; Park bk Davins 15-0
Quarter-finals: Vernacchio bt Drutman 15-3; Dorokhov bt Cloke Browne 15-11; Hodgson bt Rintoul 15-9; Park bt Swanson 15-2
Semi-finals: Vernacchio bt Dorokhov 11-4, 10-12, 11-6; Park bt Hodgson 11-5, 11-6
Final: S Park (Mer) bt T Vernacchio (All) 11-6, 7-11, 11-9

Plate Semi-finals: Prabhu bt Inglis 12-11; Gale bt Milner 12-10
Plate Final: N Prabhu (StP) bt W Gale (Mer) 11-3

Bowl Final: A Hogben (StP) bt A Kulkami (Win) 11-5

U16 Doubles

Preliminary round: Winchester 3 bt Stamford 2 11-10; Alleyn’s 3 bt Tonbridge 2 11-7; Winchester 4 bt Derby Moor 11-6
Round of 16: Alleyn’s 1 bt Edinburgh Academy 2 15-12; Winchester 2 bt St Paul’s 2 15-9; Marlborough 1 bt Winchester 3 15-3; Stamford 1 bt Alleyn’s 3 15-0; St Paul’s 1 bt Winchester 4 15-13; Merchiston 1 bt Tonbridge 1 15-2; Edinburgh Academy bt Alleyn’s 2 15-4; Edinburgh Academy 1 bt Winchester15-9
Quarter-finals: Alleyn’s 1 bt Winchester 3 15-3, Stamford 1 bt Marlborough 1 15-12; Merchiston 1 bt St Paul’s 1 15-3; Edinburgh Academy bt Winchester 1 15-9
Semi-finals: Alleyn’s 1 bt Stamford 1 11-5, 11-6; Edinburgh Academy 1 bt Merchiston 1 11-9, 11-4
Final: Edinburgh Academy (H Rintoul & C Swanson) bt Alleyn’s 1 (L Milner & T Vernacchio) 9-11, 11-2, 11-6

Plate Final: Alleyn’s 2 (A Dorokhov & Y Negyal) bt Edinburgh Academy (M Cunningham & W Hodgson) 11-5
Bowl Final: Stamford 2 (D Britton & O Collett) bt St Paul’s 2 (S Inglis & A Tully) 11-7

U14 Singles

Group 1: Qualified L Fiddes (Mer), J Haurie-Pelleg (Ton). Into Plate I Madhok (StP), A Sabharwal (Marl)
Group 2: Qualified J Kennedy (Win). Into Plate R Hargreaves (Mer), J Henderson (Marl), L Orlandi (StP)
Group 3: Qualified M Arie (All). Into Plate C Burrows (Stam), E Calzia (StP), D Radia (Ton)
Group 4: Qualified A James-Duff (Win). Into Plate O Carroll (Ton), J Ferro (StP), S McMurray (Bed)
Group 5: Qualified F Corrie (Mer), J Lawrie (EdA). Into Plate A Parkinson (Win)
Group 6: Qualified F Foley. Into Plate R Jones (Stamford), L Shields (All), E Xiao (Win)
Group 7: Qualified S Khurana (All), P Monro-Davies (StP). Into Plate H Attenborough (Ton), F Birkin (Marl)
Group 8: Qualified R McGregor (Win). Into Plate A Bogan (Stam), S Christie (StP), F James (EdA)
Group 9: Qualified J Bourne (Ton). Into Plate T Carling (StP), T Jarrold (EdA)
Group 10: Qualified C McNaughton (Stam), H Spoerri (Win). Into Plate T Evans-Gough (Marl), A Twinch (StP)
Group 11: Qualified Z Goulding (Win). Into Plate N De Villiers (Mer), S Stevenson (Ton), L Wyman (Marl)
Group 12: Qualified A Shaw (All). Into Plate M Bilagi (StP), H Jones (Stam), R Winkley (Win)

Round of 16: Fiddes bt Khurana 15-2; McGregor bt Bourne 15-7; Shaw bt Lawrie 15-8; James-Duff bt Spoerri 15-2; Arie bt Haurie-Pelleg 15-4; Foley bt Goulding 15-8; McNaughton bt Monro-Davies 15-7; Kennedy bt Corrie 15-0
Quarter-finals: Fiddes bt McGregor 15-13; James-Duff bt Shaw 15-4; Arie bt Foley 15-10; Kennedy bt McNaughton 15-1
Semi-finals: Fiddes bt James-Duff 15-10; Kennedy bt Arie 16-14
Final: J Kennedy (Win) bt L Fiddes (Mer) 11-5, 11-3

Plate: L Shields (All) bt O Carroll (Ton) 15-10
Bowl: A Parkinson (Win) bt E Xiao (Win) 15-13

U14 Doubles

Preliminary round: Marlborough 2 bt Tonbridge 3 15-10; Merchiston 2 bt Marlborough 3 15-4; Winchester 4 bt Marlborough 1 15-10; Stamford 3 bt St Paul’s 2 15-2; Alleyn’s 2 bt St Paul’s 4 15-5; Winchester 3 bt St Paul’s 5 15-2; Stamford 2 bt St Paul’s 3 15-12
Round of 16: Winchester 1 bt Marlborough 2 15-1; St Paul’s 1 bt Tonbridge 2 15-5; Tonbridge 1 bt Merchiston 2 15-10; Winchester 4 bt Stamford 1 15-6; Merchiston 1 bt Stamford 3 15-0; Winchester 2 bt Alleyn’s 2 15-2; Edinburgh Academy 1 bt Winchester 3 15-2; Alleyn’s 1 bt Stamford 2 15-0
Quarter-finals: Winchester 1 bt St Paul’s 1 15-2; Tonbridge 1 bt Winchester 4 15-6; Merchiston 1 bt Winchester 2 `15-5, Alleyn’s 1 bt Edinburgh Academy 15-6
Semi-finals: Winchester 1 bt Tonbridge 1 11-2, 11-2; Merchiston 1 bt Alleyn’s 1 11-5, 11-7
Final: Winchester 1 (A James-Duff & J Kennedy) bt Merchiston 1 (L Fiddes & F Foley) 11-8, 11-4

Plate: Stamford 1 (C McNaughton & C Sharpe) bt St Paul’s 3 (M Bilagi & E Calzia) 15-13
Bowl: Merchiston 2 (N De Villiers & R Hargreaves) bt Winchester 3 (A Parkinson & H Spoerri) 15-4

In fact three days

All questions to Messrs McFarlane and Butler!

Messrs Smith and Jackson running the show

The National Schools U18 Singles Champion from Winchester

Shiloh congratulated by Wayne Enstone

Singles Plate winner from Tonbridge

U18 Doubles Champions from Winchester

U18 Doubles finalists from Alleyn’s and Winchester

How it ended

U18 Doubles Plate winners from Fettes

U16 Singles Champion from Merchiston Castle

U16 Doubles Champions from the Edinburgh Academy

Winchester’s U14 Singles and Doubles Champions

Stamford U14 Plate winners

2 days of U14 Fives

Over 200 people attended as players or supporters

Spirit of the day

Winchester with multiple titles

The Stamford squad