16 September 2021
After so long without tournament Fives, the RFA is delighted to be in a position to publish new Singles and Doubles rankings today. Naturally, a huge amount of thought has had to go into how to calculate these latest figures, given the extraordinary times we have lived through in the last 18 months or so. So to accompany the latest Rankings (which you can see on the Rankings page on this website), here is an explanation from the RFA’s Rankings Tsar, Dave Hebden:
These are the first rankings to be published since those following the U25 Championships held back in Feb 2020. Sadly, in the interim we have missed three events at the end of the 2019-20 season (North of England, National Doubles, & Scottish), and all events had to be cancelled in the 2020-21 season.
It has been tricky to adjust the rankings system to allow for these unusual circumstances. After some deliberation I have decided on the following:
1. I have treated the 2020-21 season as though it didn’t happen (some may wish this from a more general point of view). So, from a rankings perspective, for an event that is “12 months ago” we actually look at the 2019-20 season (i.e. 24 months ago).
2. The three events cancelled at the end of the 2019-20 season are included from a schedule point of view, but they carry zero points for ranking. This approach preserves the situation where, for example, any points gained in the SW event at the start of 2021-22 will replace points available for the SW event “3 years ago” (actually the start of 2017-18 because of #1). This “3 years ago” event disappears from the rankings radar.
At the same time I have also made a change to bring the Singles more into line with the Doubles process where we take a rolling three-year approach rather than a season-by-season view. That is, the results that count cover a three-year time span going back from today, rather than including results from the current season and the previous two seasons. This change had been suggested by others and I think it is an improvement, particularly now that there is no significant break in the tournament calendar between the end of one season and start of the next.
All this means that the rankings published today do contain some fairly significant changes, some of which may appear puzzling. Rest assured, things will settle down as we get back into a more normal situation.
So, let’s take a look at these new rankings. We see Dan Tristao retaining top spot in the Singles, while Will Ellison regains top position in the Doubles. In both lists Ed Kay sits in second place, this by a reduced margin in each case.
In the Singles there are no major movements in the top 20, although Julian Aquilina (finalist at the Yorkshire), and Charlie Brooks (semi-finalist in the SW) make progress in the top 10. The highest riser at #22 is Anthony Goodwin from Derby Moor, who did well in the Yorkshire event. Other notable advances in the top 30 are made by Joe Sumner, Chris Davey and Addie Chai.
We see just one new entry at #67, Louise Mathias. Louise has battled for some years in the Open Singles arena with increasing success. A win in the South East against a ranked player finally sees a well deserved appearance in the Open Singles list. Louise of course currently tops the current Women’s Singles Rankings.
In the Doubles, we see Will Ellison and Ed Kay move up to occupy the top two positions. Ollie Arnold moves up to #3 following his win with Ed Kay in the Yorkshire. A word needs to be said about Dan Tristao dropping down to #6, which is partly due to the disruption to the event calendar due to Covid. We lost two National Doubles championships, an event in which Dan usually picks up significant points. Secondly, it happens that Dan has not played in the more recent events, a period in which his main rivals have played in three or four competitions. No doubt Dan will see a higher position restored as we return to more normal times.
Tom Watkinson at #11 (finalist in the Yorkshire) and Sam Russell at #12 (finalist in the South East and in the Yorkshire) make good progress in the top 20. Highest riser is Bart Callaghan, who won the South East event with David Butler. Because this event is “draw for partner”, reduced points are on offer here, but a win was sufficient to propel Bart into the top 20 at #17.
Plate wins in the SW and Yorkshire see Lewis Keates enter the top 20 at #18. Other good performances result in Douglas Law, Anthony Goodwin, Max Frost (new entry), and Joe Sumner enter the top 30, while Chris Davey, Addie Chai, and Bally Singh (new entry) enter the top 40. In addition to the two players mentioned above, Dan Sorensen is a third new entry at #52.
I think we should be quite encouraged by the numbers playing in the three events we have had so far this season. The entry of 15 for the Singles at the Yorkshire was a record, and the Doubles entry of 10 pairs was the highest since 2013. Possibly playing at Derby helped a bit. The SW entry for both Singles & Doubles was also slightly up on recent years, and the South East entry was similar to past events. Well done to all the organisers and players!