Three members of the Club entered the President's Cup at Merchant Taylors' School this year.
Rob Whitehorn, who was runner-up in the main competition last year with Tom Maconie, found himself partnered this year with left-handed Phil Atkinson, General Secretary of the RFA and a past winner. Phil and Rob worked their way through to the final of the T-Pot where they lost to John Minta and his schoolboy partner Julian Hanton.
Lewis Keates, who is the youngest member of the RFA, was paired with national Singles Champion Will Ellison and played brilliantly in support of his illustrious partner, reaching the quarter-final of the main competition, and then the final of the Mate's Plate, where they beat a pairing which consisted of the Number One Doubles player, Daniel Tristao, and our other representative from Derby Moor, Jeremy Stubbs. The score, 16-14, 15-12, gives an idea of the intensity and standard of play that Lewis experienced and more than coped with.
A Derby Moor Junior IV composed of Hasan Rehman, Lewis Keates, Dean Ali and Vish Singh took on the 1st IV of Bedford School at Bedford. We were 33-35 down after the Singles, in which Hasan recorded a heavy win at number 1 and Lewis Keates suffered a narrow defeat at 2, while Dean and Vish lost honourably to older opponents. In the doubles Hasan & Lewis were unable to inflict sufficiently heavy defeats on their two sets of opponents to make up for Dean & Vish's losses on the court next door. In the end Bedford won by 8 points (105-113) in what was the customarily friendly and worthwhile annual encounter.
John Halligan and Bally Singh were seeded 4 and duly reached the semi-final by beating Malvern II and St. Paul's II comfortably. In the semi they faced the favourites, Winchester I, on their own courts. The home pair gave John and Bally a lesson in hard hitting round the angles and retrieving off the buttress, both of which activities are alien to a Rugby Fives pair, but John and Bally both made progress in playing the game as the day went on.
Stuart Kirby and Brian Kirk were knocked out in the first round of the Festival Competition and went into the Festival Plate which they won in a close final by 3 games to 1. They also won the same Plate in 2010. Lewis Keates and Bally Singh were knocked out in the second round and then participated in a different round robin plate competition with some wins and some losses. As always, a great weekend without having to travel too far.
Richard Christie, Stuart Kirby, Lawrence Taylor and Craig Baxter went up to Giggleswick on Saturday to play in the Doubles competition. Richard and Stuart were knocked out of the main competition by Neil Roberts and John Beswick while Lawrence and Craig exited after losing to the eventual winners - David Butler and Danny Tristao.
In the plate competition, there was a round robin in which Lawrence and Craig narrowly beat Richard and Stuart and others to win the second plate.
Apologies for the lack of a photo - I took two but they are out of focus!
A young team of Anthony Goodwin, Craig Baxter and Lawrence Taylor went down to St. Paul's last Saturday to take part in the new-look Owers Trophy, the team competition for Old Boys. This year's format involved three per team playing one game of doubles against each possible combination of opponents: so a quick fire match consisting of three games.
The ODM trio were grouped with the seeded 2012 Paulines, who consisted of Francis Thomas, Sam Russell and Theo Parker, and the Old Wykehamists II. Our boys were understandably outplayed by the Paulines but had a decent contest with the Old Boys from Winchester.
In the Plate they then came up against experienced previous champions, the Alleyn Old Boys, and had a fiercely contested semi-final match which ended in defeat by 26-27.
Richard Christie, Lewis Keates, Lawrence Taylor and Stuart Kirby travelled to Halifax (as the RFA) to play against the White Rose Club. We were 44-19 down after the singles. Lewis and Lawrence were playing in their first adult matches with Lewis managing to take 8 points off Bob Sandie in the singles and Lawrence taking 4 off a former national champion - Neil Roberts. The presence of both Neil and John Minta made the White Rose club too strong for us and we ended 164-72 down after the doubles.
Eight members of the Club travelled down to Blundell’s School in Tiverton for the first RFA tournament of the season. Anthony Goodwin, Robert Whitehorn and Jai Singh all won their first round singles matches. Robert then went out to the eventual runner-up Ed Kay; while Jai lost to the eventual winner Will Ellison. Anthony, however, beat the higher-ranked Ed Hatton over three games before losing in the quarter-finals to Ellison. Stuart Kirby, James Milnes, Chris Davey, Craig Baxter and Brian Kirk meanwhile contested the Singles Plate, where Stuart reached the final, to be beaten by surprise participant Hamish Buchanan.
In the Doubles Goodwin & Whitehorn had the satisfaction of taking more points off the favorites Ellison & Brooks than anyone else, having won their first round match against a local pair. Our other pairs – Stuart Kirby & Chris Davey, Jai Singh & Craig Baxter, Brian Kirk & James Milnes – dominated the Plate, with Jai & Craig winning an exciting final against Stuart & Chris 15-13.
Anthony Goodwin won the 12th Derby Moor Invitation Doubles for the third time, partnered this year by Chris Davey, ex-Bedford and currently Birmingham University. On the way to victory Anthony & Chris had a tight quarter-final match against Derby Moor schoolboys Jai Singh & Lawrence Taylor; then an even tighter three-gamer in the semi-final against two-times winner Tim Widdop and his partner John Halligan, bidding to win this event for the first time. Stuart Kirby & Bob Sandie had an equally arduous semi-final against Ashley Hill and James Milnes (ex-Blundell’s, now playing regularly at Derby Moor). Perhaps it was no surprise that young guns Goodwin & Davey then had the better of the final.
With such long games going on the latter stages of the Plate have had to be postponed till Club Night. It’s looking like an internal battle: Kirk & Rehman versus Singh & Taylor.
1st round: Brian Kirk & Hasan Rehman bt. John Hawke & Lewis Keates 15-7, 15-7
Quarter-finals: Anthony Goodwin & Chris Davey bt. Jai Singh & Lawrence Taylor 15-10, 15-10; Tim Widdop & John Halligan bt. Richard Christie & Mark Kiteley 15-1, 15-0; Stuart Kirby & Bob Sandie bt. Matt Orr & Rob Christie 15-9, 15-7; Ashley Hill & James Milnes bt. Kirk & Rehman 15-7, 15-10
Semi-finals: Goodwin & Davey bt. Widdop & Halligan 15-16, 16-14, 15-12; Kirby & Sandie bt. Hill & Milnes 13-15, 15-13, 15-8
Final: Goodwin & Davey bt. Kirby & Sandie 15-12, 15-11
Plate: to be confirmed
4 senior members of the Club took part in the National Veterans Championships at Marlborough College. Jeremy Stubbs alone played in the Singles and then paired up with Angus Hanton for the Doubles. Stuart Kirby & Richard Christie played in the Doubles and reached the semi-final, where they lost to eventual runners-up Beswick & Roberts. Brian Kirk paired up with Keith Kennerley and together they reached the final of the Doubles Plate, where they lost to locals Bob Davison & Tom Kiggell.
Stuart Kirby, Richard Christie, Rob Christie and Jai Singh travelled to London for the Club competition and met a very strong Wessex team in the first round - consisting of National Singles and Doubles Champion Will Ellison, David Butler, Harry Ackerman and Giles Munn. Wessex were 60 - 9 up after the singles and 148 - 46 after the doubles. An enjoyable but unbalanced match.
Wessex went on to beat Cambridge University in the semi-final and Old Paulines in the final.
The Derby Moor players retired to a relaxing lunch by the river, with Richard's daughter and Rob's sister Lorna, before heading north again.
John Halligan and Rob Whitehorn won the Open Doubles at the National Schools Rugby Fives championships this weekend, beating the much fancied pair from Edinburgh Academy in the final. In the semi-final John and Rob, seeded Number One, had beaten Winchester I. Both victories were achieved in straight games.
Their victory means that they have completed the triple of Doubles titles: Schools Winchester Fives in November 2014, the West of England Schools in January 2015 and now the National Schools.
Earlier in the day Robert, seeded Two, was runner-up in the Open Singles, losing to the favourite Tom Watkinson of Winchester College in a three-game match.
There were other successes during finals day for Derby Moor. First Jai and Bally Singh won the Open Doubles Plate for early-round losers, beating a pair from Sedbergh. A few hours later Bally Singh won the 2nd Singles Plate. Jai now has the distinction of having won both Plates -- he won the Singles Plate last year.
During the four-day competition Derby Moor Juniors were represented by the above, plus Matt Blunden, Craig Baxter, Sam Johnson, Lewis Keates and Hasan Rehman. All reached the later rounds of their respective competitions.
All very chuffed!
In the National Vintage competition, held at the courts in the Cambridge University Sports Centre, Brian Kirk and Stuart Kirby both enjoyed success.
Brian Kirk, stepping in at the last minute to fill a place in the Singles draw, won the Plate (see photo) by beating Peter Westwood, a converted Eton Fives players playing for the first time in this competition
Earlier Stuart Kirby has lost narrowly in a Pool match against Tony Hamilton. Victory would have guaranteed Stuart a place in the final of the main Singles competition.
In the Doubles, Brian teamed up with Dick Warner from the Executioners, while Stuart was partnered by Tony Hamilton from the Old Whitgiftians. Stuart & Tony reached the final where they lost 15-8 to 10-times National champions, Ian Fuller & Dave Hebden.
Four players from Derby Moor travelled to Winchester to take part in the Winchester Fives Open Doubles competition, or the Barnes Bridge, as it is known.
Matt Blunden teamed up with ex-RFA President Dick Warner but they were dumped out in the first round by two Winchester 14-year-olds!
Anthony Goodwin & John Halligan lost twice to the same pair: once in the second round and once in the Plate.
The good news is that Rob Whitehorn paired up with Tom Watkinson of Winchester College to win the Plate, as Anthony Goodwin and Max Frost did in 2013. Robert & Tom won their first round match but were then knocked out by previous winners Buchanan & Minta. In the 8-pair Plate competition they beat Winchester schoolmasters Munn & McManus in the semi and then Ed Hawke & James Marshall 16-14 in the final.
In the absence of our U18s through injury and academic commitments we fielded a scratch side of Adam Ali, Usman Hussain, Usama Rathor and Stuart Kirby to play Malvern's talented U16s at home on Thursday March 12th. It was a slightly one-sided contest, with Malvern coming out 44-9 ahead in the Singles and 105-30 in the Doubles. We shall try to take a full IV to Malvern next year to take on the same IV and the wide Malvern buttresses!
Derby Moor made a clean sweep of this year’s U18 competition, played at Bedford Modern School with a field of 26 players from five schools. The senior players won both Cups and both Plates.
Robert Whitehorn completed a hat-trick of wins in the Singles and, likewise, in the Doubles, this year partnered by Jai Singh. John Halligan had the unfortunate experience of being runner-up in both, though he and Bally Singh gave their year-older rivals a hard fight in the Doubles final and will be the pair to beat next year.
Jai Singh won the U18 Singles Plate for losing semi-finalists beating the Rugby School number One, while Sam Johnson and Hasan Rehman, playing as Derby Moor IV, won the Doubles Plate for first-match losers in a round-robin competition. It is the second time Sam has won a Plate competition at this event.
All the Derby Moor players were pushed hard by players from Oundle, Bedford Modern and Rugby. We can expect the rivalry between these schools to continue next year.
Dean Ali and Talha Rathor played in the U15 section. They were there to gain experience, particularly Dean, who is actually U12! Dean should be strong enough to play next year in the National U13 competition from which we have been absent for some years now.
Five young players from DerbyMoorFives took part in the National Under 25 championships at Oundle School this weekend. Anthony Goodwin, Jai Singh, Bally Singh and John Halligan played in the Singles and had the experience of playing much older players in the first round, then got more experience in the Plate.
On the second day Rob Whitehorn came down and paired up with John Halligan; they had the pleasure of winning their first round match against Cambridge half-blues Jack Malde & Richard Law. Jai (see photo) and Bally got plenty of games in the Plate, winning against the Oundle 1st pair. Anthony teamed up with an old friend from London and Durham, Jay Gravatt.
All of our players will be eligible for several years yet.
On Sunday there was a friendly at home between Derby Moor Juniors and Rugby School. Rugby brought a male Colts pair and their strongest Senior Girls pair. Derby Moor fielded our Colts pair Adam Ali & Hasan Rehman, plus Emily O’Malley & Sam Johnson for the first half of Doubles and Lewis Keates & Dean Ali for the second round. After the Singles Derby Moor led by 38-29. The Doubles was more even, so that the final game came down to Rugby needing to beat Lewis and Emily by a margin of 8 points. It was not to be: Derby Moor Juniors won the match by 102-97.
Stuart Kirby, Richard Christie, Lawrence Taylor (U18) and Bally Singh (U17) travelled to Oxford for the fixture. After the singles, DM was up 43 to 34.
It was planned that Richard would play with Lawrence and Stuart with Bally but Lawrence was keen that the two juniors should play together as better practice for the junior competitions. They battled hard and registered a 15-11 loss and an 8-15 win against the second pair making them 3 points up. They then recorded a 15-8 win and a 7-15 loss against the first pair, thus adding one more point.
Richard and Stuart won all of their games and DM won the match 151-111.
On Saturday the Club’s strongest IV – Anthony Goodwin, Rob Whitehorn, Stuart Kirby and John Halligan took on a Jesters IV consisting of ranked players James Tilston, Adam George and Jez Sinton plus Hamish Hunter, back in the game after a break of four years.
The Derby players won three of the four Singles to build up a lead of 36-25 which they increased in the first round of Doubles to 23 points. The Jesters managed to restrict their opposition to just one more point after the turn. Overall a win over the Jesters for Derby Moor by 127-103.
A busy weekend for DerbyMoorFives.
On Saturday a senior VI representing the RFA and comprising Anthony Goodwin & Rob Whitehorn, Richard Christie & John Halligan, Stuart Kirby & Brian Kirk, took on the mighty Cambridge University. Anthony Goodwin managed to win his Singles against ex-Captain Jack Malde, but the others found their opponents too much of a handful on their own courts, so that they went into the Doubles down by 22-61.
In the Doubles Anthony & Rob excelled themselves by beating all three Cambridge pairs: Ed Kay & Zach Brubert, Jacob Brubert & Rikki Houlden, and Jack Malde & Jacob Ader. Our other pairs, however, continued to struggle to find a length or any nicks right until the last game, which Stuart and Brian had the satisfaction of winning against the Cambridge 1st pair. Overall a defeat for the RFA/DMF by 86-165
On Sunday a Derby Moor Junior IV consisting of Adam Ali, Usama Rathor, Talha Rathor and Dean Ali took on the Oundle School U15 team. Again the unfamiliar courts proved a problem, though Adam won a high-quality match against the Oundle Nr. 1 by 16-15. As so often we improved in the course of the Doubles but had a deficit of 29 to make up, a task which proved too much, though by the end it has been cut to just 16 points. Particularly pleasing were the performances of Adam, who won all his matches, and of his partner Dean, technically an U13, who backed him up bravely in the Doubles. Usama and Talha found it hard to serve effectively on the rapid Oundle courts but finished with their best game, losing 7-11 to the 2nd pair.
In a match against the Rugby School 1st IV a Junior Derby Moor IV of Jai Singh, John Halligan, Lawrence Taylor and Hasan Rehman won by 127-61. Up by 39-35 in some close Singles the Derby Moor players used their greater power and experience to good effect in the Doubles, winning all their games by clear margins. Indeed, in the last game the Derby Moor 2nd pair of Halligan & Rehman beat the Rugby 1st pair by 11-0.
Anthony Goodwin enjoyed success at the North West Open, played on the courts of the Manchester Y Club on the 17th and 18th of January 2015. In the Singles, after a 1st round defeat by last year's schoolboys Doubles champion, Ollie Arnold, Anthony reached the final of the Plate, where he lost 4-15 to the current Captain of Cambridge University, Jacob Brubert.
In the Doubles Anthony and Robert Whitehorn won the Plate for the second year running - and for Anthony a third time in 4 years. In the first round they had lost to Ben Beltrami & Tom Dean, both champions in their own right, but in the final of the Plate Anthony and Robert beat the very experienced pair from the West Country Jim Hughes & Alex Rew 15-10.
Lawrence Taylor, Bally Singh and Richard Christie also competed in this tournament, which attracted 7 top ten players.
A very good weekend for the 12 boys who represented DerbyMoorFives at the West of England Schools Championships at Sherborne School in Dorset.
John Halligan and Rob Whitehorn won the U18 Doubles title (see photo), beating Winchester I in the semi-final and St. Paul’s I in the final. This is their second victory in a schoolboy event, after winning the National Winchester Doubles in November. It is the Club’s second time of winning the title since Anthony Goodwin & Max Frost won it in 2010.
In addition Craig Baxter and his partner Matt Blunden won the Doubles Plate (see photo).
Other pairs representing the Club were Jai & Bally Singh (quarter-finalists), Lawrence Taylor & Ashley Timney, Sam Johnson & Lewis Keates, plus Hasan Rehman & Adam Ali in the U16 section.
In the Singles Rob Whitehorn, seeded One, was runner-up. Jai Singh and John Halligan were quarter-finalists.