Cambridge University Sports Centre
Saturday, 15th October 2022
Bob Dolby reports: 13 pairs contested the Lady’s Cup, with competitors from Durham, London, Stamford and Cambridge in this event designed to encourage young or inexperienced female players. Among those players we had three mums, three Cambridge students, 7 schoolgirls ranging from 14 to 18, and two ladies from Durham including our RFA President Julie McIntyre, some of them playing for the first time. Male partners included 7 schoolboys from Stamford and Alleyn’s, one undergraduate from Nottingham University, and Alex Smith, the master i/c from Stamford. Numbers were ideal for an introductory stage of three round robins, each played out on one of the superb glass-backed courts.
From those round robins an 8-pair knock-out draw was drawn up to play for the Lady’s Cup and the Lady’s Bowl, while the remaining 5 pairs contested the Lady’s Petit Pot in a further round robin. This was won by Bea & Alex from Stamford School, narrowly beating Marcas and his mother, who was playing for the very first time.
In the knock-out 4 pairs progressed to the semi-finals of the Cup, while the 4 losing pairs went into a further knock-out for the Bowl. The players mastered the complexities of the three mini-competitions brilliantly — courts were seldom empty for more than a minute! Not once was the organiser asked “When am I playing?”
In the Bowl Annabel & Conor had the satisfaction of beating their coach and his adult partner in a close semi-final and went on to beat Charlie and his mother, another total beginner, in the all-Stamford final.
In the main competition for the Cup Stamford’s Emily & Teddy were a strong pair but not quite steady enough to beat Eleonora & Simon in a close semi-final, though they had success in the Ball-in-the-Box Challenge! In the other semi-final Anna & Skye from Alleyn’s were too powerful for another promising combination from Stamford, Issy & Rory. It is only a matter of time before Stamford carry off this trophy.
The day ended with the final of the Cup. Anna & Skye, Year 13 and 11 respectively, hit the ball hard on both wings, as you would expect from an Alleyn’s pair, and covered the court unstintingly as they tried to break down Simon’s defence and direct their attack upon his young partner Eleonora, who was playing in her first ever tournament after just a few months experience of the game at the City of Durham Club. The final score of 11-7 to Eleonora & Simon truly reflected the quality of the contest. Simon, now at Nottingham University and playing his Fives at Derby Moor, was particularly pleased to get his name on the trophy as his younger sister Camille won it 3 years ago! The RFA President was even more delighted to award the Cup to members of her Durham Club.
Many thanks to those parents who came and supported their children, to our players from Durham and London for making the trip to Cambridge, to Lucy Richman for drumming up interest among the students, to Alex Smith for his unfailing support of this event, and to the ever reliable staff at the Sports Centre for their help in setting up the facilities.
Cup Final: Eleonora Vallascas & Simon Beattie bt Anna Chance & Skye Richardz 11-7
Watching the final
Eleonora V. and Simon Beattie with trophy ….
… including previous winner in the Beattie family