The West of England Club successfully defend the Wood Cup

News  Tournaments

St Paul’s School and Alleyn’s School
Saturday/Sunday, 23-24 April 2022

Organiser Tom Watkinson reports: After a number of years of reduced entry to the Wood Cup (the National Club Knock-Out) I am delighted to report that this year’s entry is the largest I have been able to find a record of.  A total of 12 teams descended upon the twin venues of Alleyn’s and St Paul’s to contest the two-day event, played in the traditional format of both singles and doubles

Before laying out the story of the weekend the organiser would like to extend his sincere thanks to all 12 teams who took part and put up with the sort of glitches that occur only when an event is run by a first-time organiser.  Particularly I would like to thank the team captains who were able to field two IVs, who in no particular order were: Olllie Arnold (West of England), Lewis Keates (Derby Moor) and Michael Suddaby (Old Rugby).  So, on to the story of the two days …

Day 1 – Group Stage

Day 1 consisted of the group stages, with the twelve teams split into 3 groups of 4 teams.  Group winners and the team with the second most points were to progress to the semi-finals, with the next-best-placed four teams to progress to the Plate semi-finals. 

Group 1

Group 1 included the number 1 seeds and defending champions, the West of England 1st IV – comprising Ollie Arnold (c), Theo Parker, Tom Watkinson and Tom Maconie.  With such depth, WoE1 were always likely to be a tough team to take on in the group stages and so it proved, with them winning every set they played, running out with a maximum total of 396 points.  That said, with the format allowing the second-best placed team to qualify for the semi-finals there was still left much for the other three teams to play for. The pick of the Group 1 games was Derby Moor 2 vs. Old Rugby 1, which the latter managed to win by the narrowest of margins. Michael Suddaby deserves tremendous credit for fielding two Old Rugby teams, given he is the only regular tournament player from the Old Rugbeians, and it must be said that Old Rugby 1 played brilliantly despite their lack of match practice.  Thus, when all was said and done, West of England 1 went through as group winners (396 points), with the Executioners as group runners-up on 295 points.

Group 2

Group 2 was described by many as the group of death, with three very strong sides in WoE2, Derby Moor 1 and the second seeds, the Old Paulines. The main topic of discussion going into the event was what team the Old Paulines would field at each stage.  Constrained by availability (and potentially by the fact a host of their players were playing for different teams), up until Saturday morning it was unclear to all but reigning National Doubles champion and team captain Charlie Brooks who would be taking part. Rumours abounded that Ben Beltrami was flying in from Dubai specially for the weekend, or that Ed Kay had taken his gloves with him on holiday and so would be able to fly into Heathrow and come straight to the courts for the Sunday morning. However, neither proved to be the case and in the end Charlie Brooks lined up alongside three current St Paul’s pupils for their first match against Old Rugby 2.  All the uncertainty didn’t seem to do the Paulines much harm though, and they duly won their first match with relative comfort.  As the tournament progressed Charlie would bolster his line-up with journey-man tournament player Sam Russell (currently ranked 11 in the country) and – on Sunday – with reigning National Singles champion and number 1 ranked player in the country, Dan Tristao. As a result Old Paulines lived up to their seeding, winning all their games and progressing to the semi-finals on the Sunday. That just left WoE2 and DM1 to fight it out for second place.  In what was one of the closest games of the weekend WoE2 edged it 100 points to 91 and hence cantered in second place in the group. Final standings in the group were 1st Old Paulines, 2nd WoE 2 (295 points), DM1 (224 points) and 4th Old Rugby 2.

Group 3

Due to the size of the entry, group 3 played all their matches at Alleyn’s in order for the event to take two days only. Unfortunately as organiser I was at St Paul’s for the whole of the Saturday and so missed out on all the matches played there, although I have been assured that there were some fantastic games, not least the grudge match between Old Cambridge and Old Oxford, won this year by Old Oxford. With all the scores totted up the 3rd seeds, the Jesters Club, won all their games and so progressed to the semi-finals. The Edward Alleyn Club (which seemed to consist almost entirely of players under the age of 18), caused the upset of the day by beating the experienced teams from Cambridge and Oxford and hence came in second. However, such was their surprise at this result that they hadn’t made contingency plans to be able to play on the Sunday and hence they were unable to feature in either the Plate or the main competition.

Thus, overall the three group winners, along with the Executioners , progressed to the semis, whilst WoE2, DM1, Old Rugby 1 and Old Oxford progressed to the Plate semis.

Day 2 – Finals Day

I am conscious that this write-up is stretching somewhat and so I shall restrict myself to making only brief allusion to events on Sunday. In the first semi-final WoE1 were in ruthless form in beating the very strong Executioners IV, whilst in the second semi the crowds were treated to the match of the tournament: Old Paulines versus Jesters, led by prominent Old Pauline Julian Aquilina. The deciding factor in the contest was perhaps the fact that the Old Paulines were able to call on a fresh Dan Tristao for the Sunday, with the Jesters team quietly admitting that they had “played a lot of fives”. Particular mention should go to singles game between Dan and Julian, which was truly epic and had most of the players crowded around the gallery (as opposed to playing  … much to the annoyance of the organiser).  Thus, the final was to be WoE1 vs Old Paulines. Much can be said about the final, and doubtless has already been said in much detail at various pubs around the country, and so the organiser (who cannot claim but be somewhat biased) will leave it at this – WoE1 managed to hold strong against the Old Paulines to run out eventual winners and retain their trophy. 

The Plate was just as hotly contested: a repeat of one of the group fixtures in the final – DM1 vs. WoE2.  The WoE team again proved victorious and thus the West of England Club took home both the Plate and the Cup, cementing its place as the dominant club in the country for 2022.

I would again like to express my gratitude to those who both played and attended over the weekend (including one or two perhaps disgruntled girlfriends/partners).  I am looking forward to next year’s instalment already and hope to welcome back some of the clubs who were unable to take part this year (to name but a few: Wessex, Manchester Y Club, Exeter, Caledonian Club, City of Durham and more). The aim for next year is very much an entry of at least 16 teams.


Derby Moor 1: C Blackaby, C Davey, L Keates, V Singh, R Yusuf (5)
Derby Moor 2: Tadhg Davey, K Davins, S Kendrick, S Kirby, C Yates (5)
Edward Alleyn Club: P Harrison, L Milner, G Nsenga, S Scott, T Vernacchio, G Wiseman (6)
Executioners: C Barnett, P Chai, B Hale, O McIntyre (4)
Jesters: J Aquilina, H Jefferies, P Hanton, J Tilston (4)
Old Cambridge University: A Ahuja, S Leboff, E Thursfield, H Tunks (4)
Old Oxford University: A Cranstoun, M Hale, T Owen, C Rogers, J Vanclare, N Whitney (6)
Old Paulines: C Brooks, B Harrison, B Roberts, S Roberts, S Russell, D Tristao, A Whitham (7)
Old Rugbeians 1: F Evans, R Hunter, G Romain, M Suddaby (4)
Old Rugbeians 2: C Blakeley, J Ensor, W Manners, R Warner (4)
West of England 1: O Arnold, T Maconie, T Parker, T Watkinson (4)
West of England 2: S Dansie, C Low, A McCreath, L Mathias (4) 
= 57 players


Group 1

WoE1 bt DM2 132-12; bt Executioners 132-20; bt OR2 132-16
Executioners bt OR2 128-48; bt DM2 132-27 
DM2 bt OR2 108-68

Group 2

OPs bt WoE2 122-63; bt DM1 80-47; bt OR1 132-20
WoE2 bt DM1 100-91; bt OR1 123-60
DM1 bt OR1 86-69

Group 3

Jesters bt EdAll 126-71; bt OOU 135-22; bt OCU 132-28
EdAll bt OOU 120-69, bt OCU 131-55; 
OOU bt OCU 86-57

Semi-final: WoE 1 bt Executioners 132-20 ; OPs bt Jesters 106-93
Final: West of England 1 (Arnold, Maconie, Parker, Watkinson) bt Old Paulines (Brooks, S Roberts/Tristao, B Roberts, Russell) 132-50

Plate final: West of England 2 (Dansie, Low, Mathias and McCreath) bt Derby Moor 1 (C Davey, T Davey, Keates and V Singh) 86-69

The Champions once more


Group 1 – StPS Group 2 – StPS   Group 3 – Alleyn’s
WoE1     WoE2       Edward Alleyn  
DM2     DM1       Old Oxford  
OR1     OR2       Old Cambridge  
Executioners     OPs       Jesters