Five Derby Moor players travelled to Durham to play as the Rugby Fives Association against the University and were joined by Richie Murby who arrived on the train from Edinburgh.
After the singles to 15 we were ahead 74 - 60. Then in the doubles, Lewis Keates played with Sean Kendrick, Richie with Jacob Drabble and Stuart Kirby with Raheem. It had been deemed that each pair would play the opposing three pairs in two games to 15 making a punishing 6 games for each pair. Unfortunately, there had been a large increase in temperature overnight and the courts began to suffer from condensation which led to some funny angles and balls dropping off the back wall but the floors remained essentially OK. The doubles was eventually abandoned due to a bruised hand and a lack of time but not before the RFA had beaten the University by 268 - 188.
Richard Christie, Jacob Drabble, Brian Kirk and Stuart Kirby represented the RFA while Tim Widdop and Bob Sandie from White Rose were joined by Lewis Keates and Sean Kendrick. After the Singles the RFA was down 38 - 31 and after the singles we lost 134 - 106.
We retired to the White Swan for some refreshments with old friends.
Brian Kirk played with Stuart Kirby and Lewis Keates with Alex Smith representing the RFA in a Doubles-only match. For BM they fielded Mark Kiteley with Neil and Chris Davey with Joe Sumner. We narrowly lost with Chris and Joe overpowering both of our pairs to win all of their matches.
One of the four Nationals Singles Qualifiers was held at Derby Moor due to ongoing repairs at Manchester following a flood. Derby was honoured to host the qualifier for the first time with Raheem Yusuf and Lewis Keates being joined by Julian Hanton from Sheffield University. Despite there only being 3 players, the quality of fives was high and thoroughly enjoyable.
The round-robin matches were played as 2 games to 15 with Raheem scoring 38 points, Julian 49 and Lewis 60 having won all of his games.
Thus Lewis qualified for the finals weekend at St. Paul's School on the 7/8th December.
Lewis Keates partnered with Bally Singh, Stuart Kirby with Dean Ali and Raheem with Adrian (an Eton Fives player). On the first day, Lewis & Bally and Raheem & Adrian progressed through the initial round-robin stage winning 3 and losing 3 games which on points put them both into the main competition. Stuart & Dean won 1 and lost 5 putting them into the Festival Competition. All three pairs won some and lost some on the Sunday, had a great time but did not win any silverware ..... although, Stuart and Dean found themselves in the Festival Plate second competition which they won by winning all of the matches in their round-robin.
We entered 6 players for the Doubles on Sunday, 4 of whom stayed on for the Singles on Sunday.
In the Doubles Vishal & Raheem and Anthony & Lewis won their first matches and progressed to the semi-finals, both losing at that stage. Meanwhile Dean & Bally were beaten in their initial match.
Raheem and Lewis won their first matches in the Singles, while Dean and Vishal lost. All went into the Plate, where Lewis reached the final despite being burdened by a heavy cold.
Derby Moor took six people to Rugby for a friendly evening including Stuart Kirby, Lewis Keates, Raheem, Dean Ali, Anthony Goodwin and Max Frost. We all had a great evening playing against three adults and one of the students. Trevor White and Richard Christie also came as spectators and provided pork pies in the pub afterwards for those that did not have to leave early.
Lewis Keates and Rob Whitehorn entered the Singles. Rob beat the National Ladies Champion, Louise Mathias, then exited the main draw, beaten by the eventual winner, Will Ellison, in the 2nd round. Rob went on to make the semi-final of the Plate. Lewis was beaten by James Tilston in the first round of the main draw.
Lewis & Rob teamed up for the Doubles but went out in the first round to the Alleyn Old Boy Club combination of Carr & Hebblethwaite. However, they made it to the final of the Plate where they lost to the vastly higher ranked Aquilina & Tilston.
Richard Christie also played in the Doubles, partnering Keith Kennerley, but they were knocked out in the 1st round by local pairing, Heathcote & Lawson.
Anthony Goodwin, Lewis Keates and Raheem formed Team A with Rob Whitehorn, Bally Singh and Vishal Singh forming Team B.
Team A beat Bedford Modern 2 and Oundle but lost to Bradfield in the initial round-robin leaving them in 2nd place.
This put them into the main competition where they lost 11-3 11-2 11-9 in the semi-final to St. Paul's - the eventual winners.
Meanwhile Team B beat Bedford Modern 1 and Rugby but lost to Alleyn's and St. Paul's. This put them into 3rd position and into the plate competition in which they beat Rugby in the semi-final and then Oundle in the final.
Lewis Keates travelled down to Horsham to participate in both the Singles and Doubles. Lewis had an easy first round against Louise Mathias winning 11-2 11-3 and then a tough match against Dave Butler losing 11-5 11-0. This put him out of the Plate Competition as a second round loser but it had been decided that all of the second round losers would form their own plate to ensure that they all had their fill of singles for the day. Lewis beat all of the players in this upper plate and so was declared the winner.
In the Doubles, Lewis was partnered with Morgan Spillane, a powerful left hander who learned his skills playing Irish Handball. They beat all of the pairs in their round-robin competition and progressed to the final where they were beaten in a three game battle by Rupert Mathieu and James Tilston 11-5, 11-12, 11-6.
Eight players from Derby Moor travelled up to Durham, not for a match or competition but just to play some enjoyable fives with the City of Durham Club. Playing for four hours we mixed in with Durham Club for some excellent Fives. Thanks go to Lewis Keates and Tom Wakelam for organizing and to Brian Kirk and Richard Christie for driving.
12 players from Derby Moor joined 8 from the City of Durham Club, 3 from the Old Bedford Modernians and Bedfordians and 1 from the Halifax White Rose Club to contest the 16th Derby Moor Invitation Doubles. Organiser Brian Kirk arranged play in such a manner as to provide both a competitive Main Draw and a game-packed Plate competition. In the Main Draw Joe Sumner & Raheem emerged victorious in the final, beating Max Frost and Nick Baron, while in the Plate final Aaron Wheatley & Tom Wakelam beat Anthony Goodwin & Oscar McIntyre.
A young Derby Moor IV featuring Max Frost, Anthony Goodwin, Lewis Keates and Rob Whitehorn formed one of 8 sides competing for the Wood Cup. Grouped initially with Wessex and West of England II the Derby Moor players made it into the Plate, where they lost in the final to a strong Pauline IV consisting of Ben Beltrami, Sam Russell, Julian Aquilina and Tom Dean.
Lewis Keates entered and was paired by organiser Hamish Buchanan with left-handed Pauline, Henry Jefferies. Losing in the first round to eventual semi-finalists Butler & Watkinson, Lewis & Henry went on to reach the final of the Plate where they lost to the Alleyn Old Boys pairing of Julian Hanton & Ben Kirwan.
Stuart Kirby and Richard Christie entered the Doubles, losing in the quarter-finals to the eventual 3rd place pair of Hebblethwaite & Spillane, then in the final of the Plate to Harvey Bishop & Tim Widdop.
Dean Ali entered the U18 Singles, came third in his pool but nevertheless reached the final of the Plate, losing to a player from St. Paul’s. Raheem entered the U16 Singles, came 2nd in his group and also reached the Plate final, losing to a player from Winchester College. Together Dean and Raheem played in the U18 Doubles but did not advance to the knock-out stage, however, they were entered into the doubles Plate and again lost in the final.
Brian Kirk organised this event as usual but was unable to play, having incurred a leg injury some weeks previously. Stuart Kirby and Richard Christie entered. Stuart reached the semi-final of the Singles, where he lost in three games to eventual runner-up, Angus Hanton. Playing with Tony Burrows instead of his customary partner, Neil Roberts, Stuart reached the final of the Doubles after defeating the much fancied pairing of Ian Jackson & Richard Christie 12-11, 12-11. However, Stuart and Tony had to settle for silver in the end.
Kevin Valentine and Karanveer Singh played in the singles and doubles. They both suffered from being young within their year group so had to face bigger and more powerful players - not a problem at the U16 or U18 level as growth rates have slowed by then. Kevin won one game out of six in his singles pool and Karanveer won two meaning that they did not progress to the knock-out stage. In the doubles, they lost their first round match against Stamford 11 - 5 and progressed into the Plate where they had some wins and some losses. Kevin had some good serves but lost a lot of points through serving down in both the singles and doubles. Karanveer had a consistently good serve but found it difficult to receive some serves due to being too far forward so that the ball bounced around his feet. Both players learned a lot and that is what it is all about.
Brian Kirk (still suffering from his broken leg) drove Dean Ali, Stuart Kirby and Lewis Keates to Malvern where we were joined by Richard Christie for a fixture against the South West team that had driven up from Devon. Richard and his wife had travelled earlier to make a weekend of it. The DM players were joined by some children from the school and two Malvern old boys. The Winchester fives was very closely fought in the newly refirbished courts including extensive repairs/replacement of the roof and was very enjoyable. The DMF/Malvern combined team won narrowly.
We entered Dean Ali, Raheem, Abdul Zulfwar and Denis Bazykijski in the U18 category at Bedford Modern School, while Callum Yates and Kais Mahmood were our sole representatives in the U15s at Bedford School. Callum and Kais built on their experience of playing in the same competition last year: Kais reached the final of the Singles and Callum the semi-final. In the Doubles Callum & Kais won the Plate for 3rd Place.
In the U18s we had similar success, with Dean reaching one semi-final where he lost to the eventual winner from Sedbergh. Two years young, Raheem narrowly lost the other semi-final against the Number 1 from Rugby but won the play-off for 3rd Place by beating the Number 1 from Bedford. In the Doubles Dean & Raheem took silver, losing to the Sedbergh pair in the final.
As part of a tour of the Midlands, Sedbergh School came to Derby to play us before moving on to Oundle and Bedford. Anthony Goodwin played at Number 1 against Sedbergh’s very good top player, Taylor McGuire, which produced a superb contest won by Taylor 15-11. Good wins by Callum Yates and Raheem, though, meant that Derby Moor led 44-31 after the Singles. Both teams subbed in players for the Doubles: Sedbergh’s master in charge, Jonathan Lidiard, joined in for his side, while Stuart Kirby, Kevin Valentine, Denis Bazylijski, Lewis Keats and Kais Mahmood all played some part for Derby Moor. The result was a very close victory for the home side by 112-109.
Richard Christie, Lewis Keates and Stuart Kirby travelled to Edinburgh with five others to play against the four schools (Edinburgh Academy, Fetes, Merchiston Castle and Loretto) and the Caledonian Club. Generally, the senior players mixed in with the boys and girls to even the stengths of the teams but Merchiston Castle and EA fielded stronger teams that put up a good fight. Our match against the Caledonian Club was a bit lopsided with each of our pairs easily beating their second pair but losing badly to their first. A very socialable weekend which included a memorable meal at restaurant called 'Under the Stairs' where the lighting was very dim (2 lux as measured on a calibrated phone app) requiring use of mobile-phone torch-light assistance to read the menus.
Six players from the Club represented the Rugby Fives Association in this annual encounter with Cambridge University, played on the glass-backed courts at the University Sports Centre. Lewis Keates, Stuart Kirby, Richard Christie, Dean Ali, Vishal Singh and Raheem all played Singles, at the end of which the RFA was leading 49-36. In the Doubles, the pairings of Richard & Stuart, Dean & Lewis and Vishal & Raheem furthered increased this lead to win the match by 131-76. Match Manager Bob Dolby and club member Brian Kirk spectated.
Richard Christie, Stuart Kirby, Dean Ali and Lewis Keates visited Rugby to play against the boys. We mixed the players up - 1 with 4 and 2 with 3 to even up the teams and had an enjoyable session. Trevor White took us to the pub afterwards.
Stuart Kirby rented a seven seater Citroen and headed off to Sherbourne in Dorset for the weekend with Dean Ali, Vishal Singh, AR, Kais Mahmood, Callum Yates and Denis Bazylijski. Vishal, Dean, Callum and Raheem won their first games but lost their second putting them out of the competition. Raheem's second game against Scott of Alleyn's was very close losing 15 - 10. Meanwhile, Denis and Kais lost their first round matches and entered the plate where Kais won three games in his pool but had a disastrous game against Nugent losing 15 - 1 with seven foul serves! This put him in third place and so he did not progress to the knockout.
In the U18 doubles, Vishal and Dean lost their first round match against Tonbridge 11 - 1, 11 - 5 and then progressed into the plate where they won the single pool to become plate winners. The final game was the hardest against St. Paul's II winning 15 -11. Dean played well and Vishal was much improved with consistent attacking shots. In the U16s, Raheem and Kais won their first round against St. Paul's III, 11 - 7, 11 - 9 but then lost to Alleyn's in their second match 11 - 8, 11 - 6. Callum and Denis lost their first round to St. Paul's II and continued into the plate. Denis's style was slightly cramped by having been bitten by a horse while walking through the village! - thankfully some extra padding saved the day.
The weekend was marked by a pleasant meal in the Wincanton Tandoori.