Deputy Head Tim Cashell brings you the Eton Fives season review, which saw a number of notable performances against some high-profile competition.
The season began with the Welsh Open tournament which saw over 30 pupils take to the court alongside staff past and present, former pupils and legends of the fives community over two days of competition.
Will Sissons and Cal Earle took the spoils in the pupil competition with last year’s Gapper Isaac Wagland taking the main competition crown with partner Richard Sabisky. Over the Michaelmas Term two Sunday trips to Shrewsbury saw a number of pairs involved in competitive encounters against the hosts and pairs from Wolverhampton and Wrekin schools.
As we moved into Lent Term the focus turned to the national competitions at Eton in February and March, time in PE lessons and further matches against Shrewsbury serving as preparation for the main events of the season.
The first visit to Eton saw five U13 pairs taking to the courts where it all began. After a slow start, some good improvement was shown in the afternoon plate competitions, but with most boys returning later in term it was largely a case of better luck next time!
The next time was the U12s tournament, and with three of the four pairs making it out of their pools into the main draw results were pleasing indeed. The most notable performance was from Cal Earle and Josh Stewart who made it to the fourth round of competition, but all boys put in performances that meant they were able to return with heads held high.
The final event of the year was the U14s tournament with four Rydal pairs entered. The second pair of Ben Purcell and Juan Rajagopal and the third pair of Anthony Bowe and Baptiste Mazars both won their initial pools before losing out to strong opposition in the second round of the main draw. This was a particularly pleasing performance from Baptiste who was playing in his first competitive fives fixture!
By the end of the day all pairs had shown strong improvement and although narrowly missing out on silverware, losing the final of Plate A, the boys put in performances to be proud of.
Many thanks to Mike Leach, Kevin Curle and Andy Bale for driving during the season, and to the parents who have supported the fives by making their children available for fixtures at all times of the week!