3 national titles makes it the most successful year ever for Berkhamsted Eton Fives
The 2018 Nationals has been a historic year for Berkhamsted Fives, with a total of 111 players taking part through Y5 – Y13 crossing four of the school sites; Prep, Girls, Boys & Sixth.
This resulted in a total of 7 major finals, three of which were won and one still yet to be decided later in Trinity Term.
Ellie and Lola find form to claim U14 Girls title at Eton College
U14 Eton Fives National Champions 2018 pic.twitter.com/opnOErT4ED
— Berkhamsted Sport (@BerkoSport) February 7, 2018
The inaugural U14 girls’ competition held on Wednesday 7 February had a healthy entry of 72 players with Berkhamsted making up 11 of the players.
With one of Berkhamsted’s top players was rule out due to injury, our first pairing was made up of Lola, last year U13 & U15 National champion, and Ellie who reached the U15 semi-finals last year.
Lola & Ellie had initially struggled to find their stride and they nearly had an upset in their best of 3 semi-final match against a solid Highgate 2. They lost the first set 6 – 12 and then battled through the second set just crossing the finish line first 14 – 11.
In the third set Ellie suddenly found her form and dominated the match taking the set 12 – 4 putting them through to the final. Here they came up against Highgate 1 but Ellie’s fine form combined with Lola’s solid play allowed them to power through the first set 12 – 4.
In the second they somehow found another level and smashed the opposition off court with a convincing 12 – 0 win. It is fair to say Ellie was certainly the best player on court throughout the final.
Bethan back from injury to win U15 Girls title with Lola.
4 Berkhamsted players travelled to Eton College on Sunday 18 March. All were U14s, playing one year above.
Our top pairing of Lola & Bethan were again looking to reclaim their title having won the competition last year at U13, and Bethan in particular having been out due to injury most of the first half of term. They stormed through their matches to make the semi-finals comfortably.
This was then played on Friday 23rd March where they took on a solid looking Shrewsbury 2; the girls had a wobbly start but in the end won in three straight sets.
The final took place on Saturday 24th march, Finals Day, against Shrewsbury 1. The girls tore through the first set and it was over in the blink of an eye taking the set 12 – 3. In the second and third sets the Shrewsbury girls began to find a bit more form, but Lola & Bethan the formidable pair were just too solid on both back and top step as well as dominating the set piece play allowing them to take the win 12 – 6, 12 – 5 and retaining their U15 Nationals champion’s title.
Prep Championships at Harrow School – Berkhamsted’s best performance for 42 years
The illustrious Prep Championships, now in its 51st year, took place at Harrow School on Friday 16 March.
This is stand-alone tournament where schools are invite only and may enter up to four pairs.
It is a tough tournament where only the top pair from each group of four pairs progress through to the main competition; in the past Berkhamsted were often happy to make the 3rd place slot having played many schools who have already played the game for three or four years longer than us.
It was incredible to see this year that our top two pairs topped their groups with the remaining three all claiming the 2nd place slots putting those three pairs into the main plate competition. This was then won by our 3rd pairing of Toby & Jack in a tight final against a talented Summer Fields pair.
The most impressive result however came from our top pairing of Roman & Matthew who made the main final; the last time Berkhamsted reached this stage was 42 years ago!
They came up against a very strong Summer Fields 1 pairing and in a best of three final lost the first set 5 – 12. Not to be phased however they then fought back hard changing their game plan and taking the second set with a convincing 12 – 4 win. The final set was a bit of an upset with a change of match ball having to be made which certainly affected the game, but the Summer Fields pair also adjusted their own tactics and took the final set 12 – 6. Still though an incredible day in Berkhamsted Fives history and a clear sign of how the investment in the Prep courts is now beginning to show.
by Anthony Theodossi
A full and comprehensive report of Berkhamsted’s Fives season on SOCS.