Christie & Kiggell triumph in the Rugby & Eton Fives Medley at Marlborough

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Marlborough College
Saturday, 3rd June 2023

Last played in the early 2000s this dual event has been revived by organiser Lewis Keates. Six pairs of mostly Rugby Fives players took part, the majority from the two clubs who play both codes, the Marlborough Town Club and the Derby Moor Fives Club. They were joined by multiple Ladies Eton Fives Champion Karen Hird, and by Stuart Watson from the Exeter Club and Charlie Lacewing from Christ’s Hospital. Lewis plans to play next year’s event on the courts at the Cambridge University Sports Centre.

Lewis Keates reports: With the sun shining down 12 players descended on the Wiltshire town of Marlborough to play the revived Medley of Eton and Rugby Fives. Most were more accustomed to the latter, but with the prospect of facing a multiple Ladies Eton Fives champion in Karen Hird, it soon became apparent that winning all your Rugby games would not be enough.

With six pairs split into two pools and each pair playing one game of each code to 12 and 15 respectively, long rallies and tight scorelines made it very close as to who would go through to the semi-final stage. With Pool A winners losing to Pool B runners-up and Pool B winners beating Pool A runners-up, it set the scene for a rematch of Richard Christie & Tom Kiggell versus Karen Hird & Harvey Bishop.

The final was a spectacular one. In the four-wall contest, thanks to big hitting and good teamwork, Richard and Tom took first blood on familiar turf 15-7. Next up was Eton Fives, where the experience of Karen and accuracy of Harvey made the fight for every point intense, but eventually Richard and Tom managed to gain those all-important 5 points, thus winning the championship by just one point! A Plate final was held for the 3rd place pairs in both pools, in which Brian Kirk & Paul  Folland beat Stuart Watson & Lewis Keates.

A great day of Fives was had by all. A special mention must go to Charlie Lacewing — not only the youngest entrant but also the only one who learnt Eton Fives on the day and therefore takes the title ‘Player of the Day’.

A big thanks to Marlborough College for hosting us. We hope to see you all again — and more — next year as we move to the Cambridge. 

Results (Eton Fives scores first)

Pool A

1st Charlie Lacewing & Bally Singh 24/28; 2nd Jim Hughes & Brian Kirk 21/25; 3rd Lewis Keates & Stuart Watson 11/24

Pool B

1st Harvey Bishop & Karen Hird 24/23; 2nd Richard Christie & Tom KIggell 15/30; 3rd Paul Folland & Stuart Kirby 7/11

Semi-finals: Christie & Kiggell bt Lacewing & Singh 12-1, 13-15; Bishop & Hird bt Hughes & Kirk 12-7, 15-12

Final: Christie & Kiggell bt Bishop & Hird 5-12, 15-7

Plate: Folland & Kirby bt Keates & Watson

Lewis in pink

Perfect balance

Not an easy skill to master!

Karen Hird placing the ball

Richard Christie serving