Brian Kirk & Vishal Singh, Richard Christie & Lewis Keates motored down to Devon to take part in the South West Open Championships at Blundell's School. Each pair lost in the first round of the main Doubles competition, Richard & Lewis to the the 4th seeds, Aquilina & Tilston, Brian & Vishal to Exeter Club members Hughes & Rew.
In the Plate Richard & Lewis reached the final, which they lost 13-15 to the Old Blundellian pairing of Richard Dyke & Alexandra Steel.
Organiser Brian Kirk reports: On Sunday 24th June, Derby Moor Fives Club ran its summer invitation tournament. 24 players entered, with long-standing supporters of the event coming from White Rose in Halifax, plus other individuals from around the country. This year saw a strong entry from newcomers, the City of Durham Fives Club, who brought along both adult and junior players of both sexes.
The draw contained a mix of experienced and new players playing the best-of-three games to 11 points with first and second round losers migrating to two Plate pools. With a mix of abilities some of the early games proved a little one-sided, but both the semi-final and final proved competitive, with long hard games in a best-of-three-to-15 format. It took a three-setter for Anthony Goodwin & stalwart Bob Sandie to beat the nicely balanced combination of Nick Geere & Lewis Keates. The initial game was won by the latter pair, setting the scene for what many thought would be a short final. However, with Goodwin “stepping up” and Sandie playing his usual consistent defensive game, keeping the ball in play, victory was assured in the second game, thus setting the scene for a tense final contest, winner taking all. Initially the game ebbed and flowed, favouring one then the other pair. However, as fatigue set in, mistakes were made by Geere & Keates, allowing Goodwin & Sandie to move into a lead which they quickly consolidated into a win.
It was Anthony’s 4th victory in this annual contest and Bob’s 3rd. They previously won it together in 2013.
The Plate was a round-robin funfest in which junior players were given the opportunity to challenge more experienced players and pairs. Hamish Buchanan, partnering up-and-coming junior player A.R., won through in pool 1 while Neil Roberts and the slightly more experienced left-hander Vishal headed pool 2. The final ebbed and flowed but Hamish & A.R. finally won the contest for the silver boules.
Lewis Keates led the repair of the left-hand-court left-wall render using a coloured epoxy render system on Saturday. The lower part of the wall had become cracked and contained loose pieces of render and this is now fixed after a gruelling day for Lewis, Richard Christie and Stuart Kirby.
Richard and Stuart also searched for balls in the nooks and crannies around the roof with a total of 15 discovered - most of them usable. The holes were then plugged so hopefully we will not lose any more.
On the Tuesday following, the old flourescent tube lighting, which had become a bit dim and yellowed, was replaced on both courts. The new fittings are enclosed LED units and the courts are now much brighter and more inviting. They look much more professional and will last a lot longer compared to the old ones.
5 junior members of the Club entered the Midlands Schools’ Regional Fives Championships this year. Dean was injured, so Vishal was the only player in the U18 section. He was unable to make it out of the pool into the main draw of the singles, but in the doubles he teamed up with a player from Rugby to win one match before exiting at the hands of the eventual winners.
Great success was had in the U15s. Raheem triumphed in the singles competition with a superb three-game win in the final over his opponent from Rugby. Raheem showed great application and desire to gain his first piece of silverware. Kais lost to Raheem in the semi-final but had the consolation of winning the third-place play-off, and with it the plate, by beating Matthew. Matthew had had his own very satisfying moment in the quarter-final when he defeated an older Rugby player who had beaten him in the pool.
In the doubles Raheem & Kais reached the final but just made a few too many mistakes to gain a win. It was the second time Raheem had been in this final, having partnered Dean last year. Not to be outdone, Matthew & Callum won the Plate by coming a clear third in the round robin. So, one gold, two silvers and three bronzes! What’s more, Kais, Matthew and Callum will still qualify next year.
Richard Christie and Stuart Kirby travelled to Marlborough for the doubles only and progressed to the semi-final losing to Hughes and Kiggell 15-2 15-10. In the third place playoff we beat Jenkinson and Sharp. It was nice to see old DMF player Oliver Steed who has retired to the West Country and encourage him to start playing again.
Organiser Brian Kirk reports -- Singles: From the two pools Stuart Kirby and Neil Roberts eventually emerged to contest the final. Defending champion Stuart found Neil’s service difficult to cope with and was forced into more errors this year. Neil also appeared to have greater mobility than last year when Stuart enjoyed great success playing the ball relentlessly into the back corners. Neil won the match 15-10 and thus won the title for just the first time.
In the Doubles the final was, once more, between defending champions Stuart & Neil and Richard Christie & Brian Kirk. The latter pair reached the final for the second year in a row after a testing encounter with Tony Hamilton & Bob Sandie, with long rallies and multiple discussions concerning court positioning. In the final Stuart & Neil gradually wore down their tiring opponents and won 11-8, 11-4.
Chris Davey and Mark Kiteley came to Derby in the snow and with DMF players Richard Christie and Brian Kirk formed the RFA team. They were opposed by Stuart Kirby, Lewis Keates, Dean Ali and Vishal Singh. After some disastrous singles DMF was 60 - 23 down with only Dean putting up a fight losing 15 - 13 to Brian. Ground was made up in the doubles with DMF winning 92 - 77 but the RFA won the match with an overall score of 137 - 115.
Sadly, the competition was cancelled because of the high likelyhood that the courts would be wet through condensation. The weather has been just below freezing for over a week and the sudden increase to a balmy 4C was predicted to make the courts unplayable. It will be re-scheduled for next term.
Richard Christie & Aaron Wheatley, Lewis Keates & Brian Kirk took part in a quadrangular doubles tournament involving players from Malvern Town, the Old Blundellians and Derby Moor Fives, played on the Winchester Fives courts at Malvern College. Richard & Aaron came third.
Rob Whitehorn reached the quarter-final of the Singles by beating James Smith from Manchester University. Rob then lost to the title-holder and eventual winner, Ed Kay. Rob and his partner Chris Davey also lost in the quarter-final of the doubles but were then eligible for the Plate, which they won against Smith and Julian Hanton from Sheffield University.
Tessa Mills and Kathleen Briedenhann came to Derby Moor to complete their assessment for a Level 2 Coaching qualification under the supervision of Mark Yates. We trust it was successful!
The Derby Moor boys and one girl who were coached by Tessa and Kathleen greatly appreciated their advice and encouragement.
Lewis Keates, Richard Christie, Brian Kirk and Stuart Kirby travelled to Rugby to help coach four of the sixth formers via a match in which each DM player paired with a Rugby School player. A great evening.
Brian Kirk partnered Keith Kennerley in the doubles losing in the first round to Arnold and Beltrami and then had a good time in the plate.
5 members of the club joined Joe Sumner from Bedford Modern School to form a VI to play Cambridge University at Cambridge.
In the Singles Stuart, at 2, and Richard at 3 had comfortable victories, as did Kais playing at 6 against the University Ladies captain. Vishal and AR suffered narrow defeats but gained several points each to contribute to a 25 point lead.
In the Doubles Joe & Richard won all their matches to come out 23 points up. Stuart & Vishal had the closest matches of the day and came out just 5 points to the good, while AR & Kais did their job at 3rd pair by picking up 14 points in the course of four games.
In the end the RFA won by 159-136.
Stuart Kirby took Dean Ali (U16), AR (U15) and Kais Mahmood (U14) to the Colts (U16) competition. In the singles, Dean won his first round convincingly and his second against Pymont of St. Paul's was very tight and difficult but he won 15-8. In the next round he met the first seed (Perceval of Winchester) and took the first game 12-10 with many rallies played on 9-all and 10-all. In the second and third games, Perceval and Dean both played more agressively with Perceval winning 11-8 and 11-7. Dean's excellent serve was a deciding factor early on with Perceval beginning to learn how to get it back as the match went on.
Kais won his first match against an Under-16 from St. Paul's 15-11 and then lost his second 11-5 against Lewis of Tonbridge. Meanwhile, AR won his first match 15-10 and lost his second 15-4 against Fraser from Winchester and ended with a twisted knee - thankfully back to normal for the Doubles Competition the following day.
In the Doubles on the Sunday, AR played with both Dean and Kais as repectively DM1 and DM2. DM1 beat Tonbridge 2 in the first round 15-8 and then lost in the Quarter Finals to Winchester 1, 15-11 15-7 in a very close and hard hitting match.
DM2 lost their first round and went into the plate which was run as a round-robin. They won 2 and lost 2 and came third.
All of the players had a creditable weekend and learned a lot!