Ed Kay & Dan Tristao win their second National Doubles title

News  Tournaments

Alleyn’s School, Dulwich
Saturday/Sunday, 1-2 April 2023

STOP PRESS Ed Kay & Dan Tristao win their second Cyriax Cup, beating first-time finalists Ben Beltrami & Theo Parker in straight games in the final. Ben Chua & James Smith win the Plate.

Charlie Brooks reports: Ed Kay and Dan Tristao won their second National Doubles title together, beating first time finalists Ben Beltrami and Theo Parker 15-7, 15-11. Dan has now won the Cyriax Cup five times — two with Dan Grant and one with Will Ellison — and has made every final since his first win in 2012.

The first matches started on a chilly London morning, not the customary early-spring weather that has graced National Doubles weekends in recent years. Thankfully the scintillating pace of play from the outset soon warmed the players. Pick of the round was a returning Andy Pringle with Executioners partner Penn Chai against dual-coders Gwydion Wiseman and James Toop; having won the first game to 9, Gwydion and James came out on top in a very close second, 15-13, and marched into the quarter-finals.

Elsewhere, the remainder of the top 8 pairs progressed to set up some juicy quarter-final encounters, played after the local market had proved a popular re-fuelling spot. First up was a brilliant match between Ollie Arnold/Dan Grant and Archie McCreath/Cameron Low — the two left-right combinations in the quarters. As the match entered the deciding game, Cameron’s consistency and retrieval was playing the perfect foil to Archie’s pace, but ultimately the experience of Ollie/Dan won through despite the latter’s injury.

Injury also played its part in the other side of the draw, where James Tilston and Julian Aquilina put up a great fight against Ben and Theo; Julian’s left shoulder allowed only limited shots on that side and switching was required. This almost seemed like an inspired tactical decision, with James combining power and flair off his left. Alas, it was not enough — Ben and Theo now had a chance at the number one seeds.

Elsewhere, Matt Shaw and Sam Russell stepped up their level in the second game against Will Ellison and Charlie Brooks, smashing front wall nicks and applying plenty of pressure, but eventually succumbed. Ed and Dan beat Gwydion and James in the final match-up to set up a semi against Ollie and Dan.

Semi-finals next, and no upsets so far — top four seeds safely through. That was all about to change though, as Ben and Theo stormed ahead against defending champions Charlie and Will. A superb first game saw them race into a lead, taking it 15-6, winners flying off all four gloves. Charlie and Will fought back in the second before Ben and Theo rediscovered their form in the decider to triumph.

Dan and Ed made more serene progress, reaching their third consecutive final. That is not to say their opponents didn’t put up a fight, and you can never count out a string of Grant or Arnold thunderbolts, but, in the end, the score was reasonably comfortable.

So the final pitted the big-hitting, shot-making pair of Ben and Theo against the guile and athleticism of Dan and Ed. The newer pair had a decent start, settling their nerves early. However, it didn’t take long for the pressure to build on them; Dan and Ed’s courtcraft manoeuvred their opponents into awkward positions time and again, combining this with exceptional retrieving and defending when necessary. It was certainly not all one-way, with Theo playing the shot of the match — a drop shot winner from an impossible angle — to bring the score to 7-12 and a sniff of opportunity. Consistency from Dan and Ed made the difference in the closing stages, though, and a 15-7 scoreline in their favour was well deserved.

It was critical for Ben and Theo to up their intensity in Game 2, and they did just that. Ben opened with two winners and eradicated the unforced errors. Theo followed suit. But playing Dan and Ed, that only gets you to parity, and at 7-7 the game was in the balance. Which way would it tilt? Once more, pressure was exerted, the level raised, and within a few key moments Dan and Ed were again celebrating victory and lifting the trophy.

The Plate was, unsurprisingly, a close affair, with a high standard and exciting Fives. Pick of the matches was a superb semi-final where Ben Chua and James Smith beat Lewis Keates and Louise Mathias after saving multiple match points. This galvanised them for the final, where they beat Cambridge pair Ashwin Ahuja and Emrys Thursfield. James and Ben add their names to the plate alongside players who went on to win the Cyriax Cup multiple times — John East and Hamish Buchanan amongst others …

Once again, many thanks to Alleyn’s School for hosting another fabulous tournament, adorned with top quality Fives.


1st round: S Russell & M Shaw bt L Keates & L Mathias 15-7, 15-3; J Aquilina & J Tilston bt A Ahuja & E Thursfield 15-8. 15-3: B Beltrami & T Parker (4) bt B Chua & J Smith 15-2, 15-4; O Arnold & D Grant (3) bt P Harrison & S Scott 15-4, 1-5; C Low & A McCreath bt T Hebblethwaite & Y Negyal 15-12.15-7; J Toop & G Wiseman bt P Chai & A Pringle 15-9, 15-13; E Kay & D Tristao (2) bt E Arie & M Bolt 15-3, 15-4
Quarter finals: C Brooks & W Ellison (1) bt Russell & Shaw 15-0, 15-9; Beltrami & Parker bt Aquilina & Tilston 15-8, 15-12; Arnold & Grant bt Low & McCreath 15-8, 12-15. 15-5; Kay & Tristao bt Toop & Wiseman 15-6.15-10
Semi-finals: Beltrami & Parker bt Brooks & Ellison 15-6, 7-15, 15-6; Kay & Tristao bt Arnold & Grant 15-6, 15-11
Final: Kay & Tristao bt Beltrami & Parker 15-7, 15-11


Semi-final: Chua & Smith bt Keates & Mathias 16-14; Ahuja & Thursfield  bt Chai & Pringle 15-7
Final: Chua & Smith bt Ahuja & Thursfield 15-9, 15-6 

2nd time winners Ed Kay & Dan Tristao

Finalists Theo, Ed, Dan and Ben

Plate winners James Smith & Ben Chua

Plate finalists Ashwin, James, Ben and Emrys

Ed serving to Ben

Charlie filling in for Hamish

No Hamish t-shirts this year!