There are some moments in a persons life that defines them as a human, moments that will be looked back on in years to come and remembered with such fondness by those present in body and in spirit that it brings a tingle to the spine and causes the hairs on the back of the neck to ruffle ones collar. Moments and events like these occur rarely and should be savoured and kept long in the memory. Of course one of these moments happened this past week - Giles Munn finally winning the Letchworth Bowl.
This brings us on nicely to the much more irrelevant topic of the Wood Cup. Months of preparation by Captain Akerman was not done and the week leading up to the tournament involved many frantic email exchanges and WhatApp groups being set up. However, finally a crack squad of Ellison, Butler, Hawke, Munn, Birch and Mettam was formed. A group of players so eager to fly the flag for King Frank of Wessex it was tough to see how they could lose.
For those who have no idea who half the people mentioned above are or indeed what the Wood Cup is, let me enlighten you.
The Wood Cup is the national club championship, four a side matches with some singles then doubles - you get the idea. That is the boring part done - now onto those fine individuals.
Ellison (Winchester, Imperial): Never missed a Wessex session in three years at school. We salute you brother William.
Hawke (Christ’s Hospital, Southampton): No, Hawk-Eye was not named after him. Yes, he was once on a video on the BBC sport website measuring a snooker table. No, on one has ever seen him in shorts.
Birch (Bradfield, Exeter, Army): A steely eyed deliverer of death who could kill with one stare.
Munn (Malvern, Imperial): Governor of the dynasty of Fives that is Winchester College.
Mettam (Bradfield, some medical school somewhere that may well have been Cambridge): Great bloke, always up for hiding the Sinton-Matthews cup when we have lost it, doesn’t happen often.
Butler: I will let Harry fill this one in.
Now I will endeavour to describe our semi final against the West of England Club. Messers Ellison, Butler, Hawke and Birch lined up to fly the flag. In the end this was a relatively straight forward win. My personal highlight was some advice from Hawke before yours truly was about to take to the doubles court with the steely eyed warrior, ‘don’t let him get carried away with the left handed volleys’. ‘Okay, Ed, I will bare that in mind’. Unbeknown to me Rear Admiral Birch had dug himself in on firm ground about halfway up the court on the left hand side and proceeded to give a left-handed volleying masterclass.
We were now through to the final against St Paul’s, the sergeant major rested, Braveheart (of Letchworth Bowl fame) came into the side. Tensions were high, chatter on the WhatsApp group fierce and the crowds were brewing. Wessex won the battle of the supporters, two to none. However it was tremendously disconcerting to find The Spiegal fraternising with the enemy before the match - but fear not, the Group Captain, who also came to support, split them up with ease.
The contest was going to be a close one. The top two on each side separated by only one ranking position, the singles was certainly going to set the tone for the match. However, neither was that close. Overall Wessex coming out 22 - 6 winners (one game to 11 each). Onto the bottom two games of singles. Fully trousered up, the Hawke battled hard to get to 7 in his match with Top 15 player Tilston, however it was in the battle of the fourth seeds where it could be argued the match was won. Giles, having gone a good margin down to the powerful left hander Tom Dean clawed his was back to win, a swing of about 10 points - life defining moments for the Winchester College head of sport. King Franks men went into the doubles 16 points to the good. The first round of doubles allowed the Paulines to claw back 4 points. Wessex 12 up going into the last round of doubles. Butler and Hawke decided to do their best to make it even closer by picking up the grand total of 0 points in the first of their games with the Pauline top pair, however restored some pride as they took the second game. This, along with the ever dependable Ellison and Munn pairing was enough to bring home the title to the great Kingdom of Wessex.
I am sure Harry has paraded the trophy and told you he taught us everything we know, this is a lie. A wonderful two days Fives, well done all, same again next year.
Disclaimer, I take no responsibility for the accuracy of any of this report or for that matter the spelling and/or grammar. It has been a tough morning getting over an awful hangover and watching the snooker.
Wessex vs Old Paulins
Will Ellison vs Charlie Brooks 11-5
Dave Butler v Julian Aquilina 11-1
Ed Hawke vs James Tilston 7-11
Giles Munn vs Tom Dean 11-7
Ellison + Munn vs Brooks + Dean 11-4, 12-11
Butler + Hawke vs Aquilina + Tilston 6-11, 4-11
Ellison + Munn vs Aquilina + Tilston 11-8, 11-9
Butler + Hawke vs Brooks + Dean 0-11, 11-9
Wessex win 106 - 98