2019 Season Report

Wessex have had another good season in 2018-2019 although we were sad to see the Wood Cup head towards Bristol after a very exciting tight final- well played them. Our regular Tuesday nights have been well supported with a good intake of new and keen talented sportsman which include Aaron Pope (bowled out Sachin Tendulkar, Mark Waugh, Andy Flower and Greg Blewitt….. that is > 31,000 test runs between them….. but I am fairly certain he has never got Bev Boag or Frank Akerman out!) and Rob Moore (3 Olympics with GB hockey)….. whilst other newcomers Dougal Trentham and Dan Thompson are clearly more than handy enough sportsmen in their own rights! Hampshire Cricket physio Dan Young obviously spotted some potential new business for his clinic (middle aged men trying to be sportsmen struggling around the court) and has taken well to the game too. 

It was great to see Andy Passey back on court following in the footsteps of Wayne amongst others as he put his new hip though it’s paces with impressive agility. The Winchester College boys joined us most weeks and showed that there is enough talent to suggest that they can keep their place at the ‘fives schools top table’ with some very promising colts in particular.

Our end of season tournament (Letchworth Bowl) was competed by 28 players this year and was retained by Giles Munn who was playing with our first lady winner Wendy Carling.  Giles joins a group of only 4 others who have managed to retain the trophy since it was first played for in 1977, the others being Frank Akerman (1985/ 86), Tony Letchworth (1989/ 90), Tony Wolestenholme (1995/ 96) and a then up and coming player called Will Ellison (2007/ 8)….. whatever happened to him? Thanks again to Winchester College for letting us use their courts, to George Bowyer for continuing to do our accounts some 20 years after stopping playing and to the Wykeham Arms for continuing to provide delicious sausages to well deserving tired fives players!

2018 Season Report

Tuesday nights have been slightly quieter in the Wykeham Arms this season as this was the year when we realised at Wessex that we are not as young as we once were! We sadly lost regular members for large parts of the season with injuries to feet, knees, hips, hand, heart, eyes and brain!

I am happy to report though that we are expecting almost all on the sick list to be ‘fit’ and raring to go again come September ‘18 so fingers crossed for a healthier season next year.

Despite this we had some excellent fives with the club well represented in the WFA vs RFA match (which we lost 289-230) and the annual Jester’s trip to Edinburgh (12 players).

The highlight though was winning back the Wood Cup thanks to our squad of Will Ellison, Dave Butler, Ed Hawke, James Birch, Giles Munn, and Ian Mettam who survived the sauna that was St Paul’s on a hot April weekend.

For those interested in the Wessex version (well Dave Butler’s version!) of the events that weekend please see www.wessexfivesclub.org.uk/news

We also were lucky enough to have the strong Winchester College boys continue to join us and were delighted to see Tom Kidner win the National Schools singles again and also the doubles with his partner Kieran Mackison and we look forward to watching both of them climbing up the rankings in the years to come.

We welcomed a few players this year including the promising left handed, hard hitting (do orthopaedic surgeons know any other way?!) Chris Jack who together with Giles Munn won our end of season Letchworth Bowl.

Finally, a special note of thanks to our very patient treasurer, George Bowyer, who not only keeps us solvent but has the most unobtrusive way of extracting  our contributions just twice a year!

2017 Season Report

We enjoyed another good season on the Winchester Courts this year with our numbers and standards being boosted by the fantastically strong Winchester College Boys.

We have regulars on club evenings ranging from 12 years old through to 77 year olds (and maybe older… I’m too polite to ask!) and the Wykeham Arms continues to do good business from us afterwards.

This year we also welcomed Rory James-Duff back to fives after a nearly 20 year break from the game and he was soon back in the swing of things, but sadly needed a mid season break with a bruise so deep that the colour of the bruise could be seen on both the front and back of his hand!

A loss against a very strong RFA team 249-214 was respectable and leaves the series of these highly enjoyable matches tied at 3-3. Wessex also had a good representation on both the Jesters Tour to Edinburgh and for our road trip up to the Barnes Bridge in Sedbergh where we were very generously looked after by the school.

After 2 years of loosing the Wood Cup final to us, St Paul’s Old boys had had enough and so a stronger team including the previously missing Charlie Brooks ensured it would not be 3 in a row for Wessex.

The final of our end of season Letchworth Bowl competition was, as usual, a tough battle and Andy Passey with his partner, the ever sprightly RFA President Bernard Atkinson, did not make it easy for the eventual winners, Dave Butler and Bev Boag.

2016 Season Report

Another good year at the Wessex Club when we were delighted to welcome our first lady member Shi-Nan Zhang (played fives at Malvern College) who brought along with her 3 other fellow students from Southampton University (Laurence Reeves, Scott Jordon and Nayef Alzayani) all of whom are new to fives but are keen and talented sportsmen.

With these new players taking to the game so quickly and with the boys from Winchester College being so strong at the moment there were few gentle games to be had regardless of who is put on court together. Battles on the court seem to go on later and later into the evening, but we have not lost sight of the fact that sausages and the Wykeham Arms remain a core part of our evenings!

Other highlights in the year included a fantastic match of the ‘Winchester Fives Association’ against the RFA where we came out narrow winners with a 266-257 overall score.

We also had a very enjoyable curry and fives evening with Exeter Fives Club winning 211-173 (but Alex Rew and Alex Steel remained an unbeaten team for the second year running), and then in April we retained the Wood Cup…. but we had doubled our chances by entering 2 teams!

Our biggest ever end of season tournament saw 36 players competing for the Letchworth Bowl and this year Ed Hawke and Nigel Gainsborough came out eventual winners.

Thanks also needs to go to Mike Crompton and his team at Summit for so generously giving of their time to create our brilliant new club website.  Thanks Mike! (www.wessexfivesclub.org.uk)

2015 Season Report

We had a good season at Wessex this year, the standard of the club being raised by some excellent schoolboys from Winchester College.

Tom Watkinson won the National Schools U18 and Albert Song the U16 trophy and, with the continuing presence of a number of other almost equally talented colts, the College will be strong for a while.

The Wessex club was once again well represented on the Jesters Fives tour to Edinburgh in January and in the Winchester Fives team against the Rugby Fives Association in which a strong RFA won 258-230 after a very close fought match.

Newcomers this season, with between twenty and forty five years since they last played, include Nigel Gainsborough (Alleyns ), Giles Stimson (Blundell’s), Neil Sherrif (Sedbergh) and Philip Siddall (Winchester local).

Jonathan Dunlop and Rainier Valcarel started from scratch and like most good squash players were soon holding their own: for any struggling Club, there must be a huge pool of potential players who would enjoy the switch to a doubles game.

The highlight of our season though was, without doubt, winning the Wood Cup Club knockout. The entry of a Cambridge University team, their top players being Old Paulines, weakened the OP’s representative team just enough to enable our four of Ellison, Butler, Munn and Akerman to enjoy a victorious weekend in the Spring sunshine at St Pauls. No doubt St Pauls will come back stronger next year!

Our own internal Letchworth competition was won by two of the colts (Pete Kullavanijaya and Alec Younger) from Winchester College so we already know how hard we will have to work trying to keep up with them next season!

2014 Season Report

We had another enjoyable season of Tuesday night Fives in Winchester this year with 20 players turning out most weeks. Highlights this year included the fantastic match against the RFA (RFA vs ‘WFA’) with the RFA shading it 237-217.

A strong representation from Wessex was seen on the annual Jesters tour to Edinburgh in January, but the highlight for us was reaching the final of the National Club knockout (Wood Cup) thanks to wins against Alleyn’s Old Boys and Executioners.

Our team in the final consisted of Will Ellison, David Butler, Harry Akerman and Giles Munn, but St Paul’s Old Boys did to us what they do to most teams and deservedly ran out comfortable winners.

Our annual end of season tournament (the Letchworth Bowl) was won by Fred Kelly and Jonathan Russell. Fathers following in their sons’ footsteps may not be the usual source of involvement in any physically demanding sport but I think there was some genuine amazement from James Pinder, who played for Cambridge this year and Benedict Grassi at the progress of their respective fathers, Charles and Jon in this tournament!

We were also delighted to welcome back to Fives Mike Crompton who last played at Sedbergh in 1991 and Ben Lovett who won both the national U25 singles and doubles in 2000 as well as twice winning the university singles title (1999 & 2003).

2013 Season Report

This year saw our numbers slightly down and it was the first year in many that we sadly had no students from Southampton University. However, enthusiasm remains strong and we always had 4 courts in constant use with the usual age mix including school boys to those well into their 8th decade.

Club matches against Oxford University, Old Bradfieldians, the Marlborough Club and Winchester College were keenly contested and again the club was well represented in the ‘annual ‘RFA vs ‘WFA’ match.

Sadly we were outclassed in the Club knockout by a very strong St Paul’s II team following which there were the usual resolutions to be fitter for next year!

The evergreen Bev Boag and his partner were the runners up in the National Masters competition(over 65) and our end of season club tournament saw 26 players competing for the Letchworth Bowl, which was won by David Spiegel and Ben Hale who defeated Matt Burden and Rupert Graham Evans in the final.

2011 Season Report

Another busy year on the Winchester Courts with our usual mix of players ranging from two thirteen year old sons of Club members to four players in their seventies (although sadly we did not get all four on court at the same time!).

Our standard also ranges from beginners to players right at the top of the national singles and doubles rankings with fifty one players in total playing during the year. In addition, a number of boys from Winchester College regularly joined us on Tuesday evenings, including Ed. Wylde and Jerry Ganendra who won the national U16 doubles trophy, with Ed Wylde also reaching the singles finals of that competition.

Will Ellison and Hal Mohammed won several open competitions in the doubles and Will also in the singles.

We had several excellent club matches with victories over Oxford University and the West of England Club. Undoubtedly the highlight of the year was our win against Alleyn Old Boys in the national club knockout tournament where the winning margin was only 4 points with the 4 point margin being the biggest gap between the teams at any stage in the whole match. However, in the afternoon the Old Paulines, who went on to win the competition, proved to be too strong especially for a team that had little left to give after their morning exertions!

Twenty eight players competed in our end of season tournament for the Letchworth Bowl and Toby Marshall and Jamie Orchard proved to be a formidable pair winning all six games in their group before defeating Martin Patterson and Will Akerman in the final.

2010 Season report

We have had another enjoyable season at Wessex this year with 54 different people playing fives (not including the pupils from the college), and an average of 20 players for each of the 30 weeks in the season.

As ever we have the full range of abilities from beginners to the current Barnes Bridge Winchester Fives Champions (Will Ellison and Hal Mohammed). The tournament in Malvern was a successful one for the club as 5 of the 8 players in the semi-finals came from Winchester.

Our matches have been keenly fought, none more so than the home and away games against Oxford University. At home in the Autumn we won 115-102 and in the away match in January they beat us by the same 115-102. Fair to say it was honours even!

We were really pleased this season to have Nick Wolstenholme and Julian Pearce-Smith return to playing fives on a regular basis, so increasing our numbers of top end players. With any luck we will reach our aim next year of selecting a team for the club knockout picked on ability rather than availability!