Success for all at the 10th National Schoolgirls’ Championships


The National Schoolgirls’ Championships
Marlborough College, Wiltshire
Sunday, 28th April 2019

With a late Easter and public examinations looming in England and Scotland there was some worry about potential numbers for this ever more popular event, now in its 10th year, but in the end 9 schools attended, their coaches bringing 63 girls in all. Stamford School competed for the first time with the encouragement of their master-in-charge and the tournament organiser, Alex Smith, and Blundell’s School returned, led by Alexandra Steel. Sadly no Scottish players this year, nor any of the promising contingent from the City of Durham Club. What we wouldn’t give for a suite of 4 or more courts north of London to facilitate a truly national entry!

The U18 competition was small, featuring players from Bedford Modern, Rugby and Marlborough only. The Singles final was an all-BMS affair, with Katie Sumner holding off her partner and good friend Maddie Kent. These two then came up, in the Doubles final, against Lena Barton and Kirsten Bell from Marlborough, who had beaten them in the final of the U16s last year — and history repeated itself. Perhaps these four will meet for a third time next year! The Doubles Plate, donated by Malvern 3 years ago, went to Rugby for the third year in a row; the non-existent Singles Plate went to Lena, whose parents promptly offered to donate one. All 8 players involved will receive Women’s Ranking points for their participation in this event.

The U16s were, not surprisingly, dominated by Alleyn’s, even though the winning Doubles pair, Martha Nugent and Claudia Davey, are actually U15 and U13 respectively. Martha won the Singles against her former partner Katie Innes; then Lucie Arie paired up with Katie for the all-Alleyn’s Doubles final to complete the domination of the South East Londoners. Not to be totally outdone, Marlborough provided both players in the Singles Plate final, while in the Doubles Plate Christ’s Hospital edged past the Eastbourne pair, a first success for newly installed CH coach Bart Callaghan and a disappointment for the Eastbourne duo of Kathleen Briedenhann and Simon Beal.

A large entry in the U14s necessitated some creative thinking to complete play before dark, so games were shortened by the flexible use of ‘American scoring’. At the end of several hours of play, masterminded largely by Chris Thomas, medals of various hues — and their accompanying cups and plates — were won by players from Marlborough, Eastbourne, Malvern and Stamford. Some of these youngsters had been playing for only a very short time but have already reached a commendable standard — we look forward to seeing them back again next year.

The same applies, and more so, to the entrants in the U13 category, though Claudia Davey from Alleyn’s, who successfully defended her Singles title, now almost counts as a veteran. The beginners from Blundell’s, Malvern and Alleyn’s who made up the rest of the entry threw themselves into the competition with gusto.

A demanding day, some lengthy journeys ahead but a general feeling of achievement and success. The RFA’s thanks to Marlborough College and Tom Kiggell as ever, to the providers of Cup Cakes for Charity, and to Alex Smith for ten years of service to schoolgirls’ Fives.

Alex writes: “It has been a fantastic privilege running the National School Girls’ Tournament for the past ten years, with the help of many other enthusiasts. Many of the girls who started competitive Fives in this tournament have gone on to play in adult tournaments at a high level, and I look forward to seeing the tournament continue to grow in strength.

This year was notable for having a very strong field in all age groups, and I think that the younger age groups are now playing at a very competitive level, to match the senior age groups. Each year the strength in depth of players across the draw is improving.

I thought the girls showed impressive tenacity and skill throughout a long day, a testament to their enthusiasm and the dedication of their coaches.

I am very grateful to the coaches and players from all the schools for making the day such great fun to participate in, and to Bob Dolby for supporting us from the start and compiling the scores and report.”


Key: All (Alleyn’s School); Blun (Blundell’s School); BMS (Bedford Modern School); CH (Christ’s Hospital); Eastb (Eastbourne College); Malv (Malvern College); Marl (Marlborough College); Rug (Rugby School); Stam (Stamford School)

U18 Singles

Pool A 1st Katie Sumner (BMS); 2nd Kirsten Bell (Marl); 3rd Mollie Molloy (Rug); 4th Jika Nyirenda (Rug)
Pool B 1st Maddie Kent (BMS); 2nd Freya Harrison (Rug); 3rd Lena Barton (Marl); 4th Alice Day (Rug)
Semi-finals: Sumner bt Harrison 11-2; Kent bt Bell 11-4
Final: Sumner bt Kent 15-6

Semi-finals: Barton bt Nyirenda 11-5; Day bt Molloy 11-0. 
Final: Barton bt Day 11-7

U18 Doubles

Semi-finals: Bedford Modern bt Rugby 2 15-2; Marlborough bt Rugby 1 15-5
Final: Marlborough (Barton & Bell) bt Bedford Modern (Kent & Sumner) 15-12

Rugby 1 (Harrison & Nyirenda) bt Rugby 2 (Day & Molloy) 15-10

U16 Singles

Pool A 1st Martha Nugent (All); 2nd Georgina Wood (Malv); 3rd Eleanor Moorcroft (CH); 4th Rebecca Lamb (Eastb); 5th Sacha Hood (Eastb)
Pool B 1st Honor Richards (Rug); 2nd Amelia Dipper (Eastb); 3rd Charlotte Stanworth (Eastb); 4th Mina Lamb (CH)
Pool C 1st Katie Innes (All); 2nd Sophie Lambert (CH); 3rd Saffy Grant-Down (Eastb); 4th Mel Stewart (Marl)
Pool D 1st Lucie Arie (All); 2nd Shona McGuiness (Rug); 3rd Maddy Smith (Marl); 4th Bella Park (Eastb)
Quarter-finals: Nugent bt McGuiness 7-4; Lambert bt Richards 6-5; Innes bt Dipper 7-4; Wood bt Arie 8-3
Semi-finals: Nugent bt Lambert 9-2; Innes bt Wood 7-4
Final: Nugent bt Innes 11-5

Semi-finals: Stewart bt Moorcroft 6-3; Smith bt Grant-Down 6-3
Final: Stewart bt Smith 11-8

U16 Doubles

Quarter-finals: Alleyn’s I bt Marlborough 11-3; Eastbourne 1 bt Eastbourne 3 11-0; Christ”s Hospital bt Rugby 11-7; Alleyn’s 2 bt Eastbourne 2 11-4; 
Semi-finals: Alleyn’s 1 bt Eastbourne 1 11-6; Alleyn’s 2 bt Christ’s Hospital 11-3 
Final: Alleyn’s 1 (C.Davey & Nugent) bt Alleyn’s 2 (Arie & Innes) 11-6

Semi-finals: Christ’s Hospital bt Rugby 6-5; Eastbourne 1 bt Marlborough 1 7-4
Final: Christ’s Hospital (Lambert & Moorcroft) bt Eastbourne 1 (Dipper & Park) 11-9

U14 Singles

Pool A 1st Carys Stephens (All); 2nd Vicky Monilor-Bessio (Malv); 3rd Georgie Cresswell (Marl); 4th Georgie Balfrey (Malv); 5th Leonie Hart (Stam); 6th Theodora Sogunro (Stam)
Pool B 1st Hally Barton (Marl); 2nd Bethan Morgan (All); 3rd Megan Linden (Eastb); 4th Lucy Underwood (Malv); 5th Amy Rule (Stam); 6th Neve Murison (Stam)
Pool C 1st Erin Butler (Marl); 2nd Milly Clayton (Marl); 3rd Kiri Marshall (Eastb); 4th Rhiannon Mallard (Malv); 5th Maddie Pike (Stam); 6th Evie Joyce (Stam)
Pool D 1st Grace Hornby (Marl); 2nd Chloe Mackellar (Malv); 3rd Zara Pollock (Stam); 4th Gracie Piggott (Rug); 5th Jolie Mitchell-Clark (Stam); 6th Eliza Roche (CH)
Quarter-finals: Cresswell bt Stephens 8-7; Barton bt Pollock 10-5; Morgan bt Butler 8-7; Linden bt Hornby 8-7
Semi-finals: Barton bt Cresswell 9-6; Linden bt Morgan 8-7
Final: Barton bt Linden 11-3

Semi-finals: Balfrey bt Underwood 6-5; Mallard bt Sogunro 6-5
Final: Mallard bt Balfrey 8-7

U14 Doubles

Quarter-finals: Marlborough 2 bt Eastbourne 11-5; Alleyn’s bt Malvern 2 12-11; Stamford bt Malvern 1 11-8; Marlborough 1 bt Malvern 3 11-0
Semi-finals: Marlborough 2 bt Alleyn’s 11-7; Marlborough 1 bt Stamford 11-0
Final: Marlborough 1 (Barton & Hornby) bt Marlborough 2 (Butler & Clayton) 11-5

Semi-finals: Stamford 3 bt Christ’s Hospital; Stamford 2 bt Stamford 4
Final: Stamford 3 (Hart & Sogunro) bt Stamford 2 (Mitchell-Clark & Rule)

U13 Singles

Pool A 1st Claudia Davey (All); 2nd Hannah Thomas (Malv); 3rd Jemima Mitchell (Blun); 4th Jasmine Kriedt (All)
Pool B 1st I Wayman Scarlett (All); 2nd Tilly Lane (Blun); 3rd Elenor Harrison Bell (All); 4th Rachel Collins (Malv)
Pool C 1st Honor Tobin (Blun); 2nd C Isherwood (All); 3rd Annie Guo (All)
Pool D 1st Flossie Ames (Blun); 2nd Emily Erdmeier (All); 3rd R Fathipour (All)
Quarter-finals: Davey bt Isherwood 9-2; Lane bt Erdmeier 8-3; Thomas bt Ames 8-3; Tobin bt Wayman Scarlett 9-2
Semi-finals: Davey bt Lane 11-0; Tobin bt Thomas 11-3
Final: Davey bt Tobin 11-6

Semi-finals: Mitchell bt Collins 8-3; Guo bt Harrison Bell 8-3
Final: Mitchell bt Guo 11-8

U13 Doubles

Pool A 1st Blundell’s 2; 2nd Alleyn’s 1; 3rd Alleyn’s 3
Pool B 1st Blundell’s 1; 2nd Alleyn’s 2; 3rd Alleyn’s 4
Semi-finals: Blundell’s 1 bt Alleyn’s 1 11-4; Blundell’s 2 bt Alleyn’s 2 11-5
Final: Blundell’s 2 (Ames & Lane) bt Blundell’s 1 (Mitchell & Tobin) 11-10 
Plate: Alleyn’s 4 (Erdmeier & Harrison Bell)  bt Alleyn’s 3 (Fathipour & Kriedt) 11-2

A full house for a full day’s play

The mastermind at work!

The U18 Singles finalists

Back to Rugby for the third year in a row!

Alleyn’s dominate the U16s

Post match chat — good friends and rivals

First competition for the Stamford girls

“This is how you do it!” says Mr Smith

The spirit of Fives