2014 Match Report

OR v Rugby School Rugby Fives

The first - or possibly the third - annual Rugby School v Rugbeians Rugby Fives match took place on Tuesday 25th February, on the new courts.

There was almost as much talk about the status of the match as there was about the match this year. Why the controversy? With fives being new to the school, and the new courts just three years' old, we have not had enough Old Rugbeians to make up the team of four, so we had "ringers" in the first two years, according to the Fives Master, Trevor White. (He should know, he "guested" for us last year.)

Since we old boys won the first two fixtures, and lost the third, this seems more than usually one-eyed, even for a schoolmaster. So we claim 2-1, and look forward to next year. Especially as the school used five players, subbing in and out. No sour grapes here!

In truth - and this is something to be celebrated as Trevor has built up a really strong cadre of young players, who are already winning titles on the national schools' canvas - we were well beaten in a very absorbing contest, on excellent courts.

No-one could claim that we were not given a hiding this year by a very strong school team, fielding not even their strongest IV. The OR's selected two recent leavers: in the singles George Terry at no 1 got beaten 11-8 by the tall and powerful Harry Mallinder; at number 2, Tris Edwards, whose preparatory schedule eschewed playing the game since last year lost 11-4 to the captain Marcus Hunter. The pre-lapsarians, Jeremy Ensor (the last captain, before the old courts were demolished in 1989) won an epic battle against Tom Mourant, 12-10, at number 4 - our only singles win; and the antediluvian Dick Warner succumbed to Theo Chadwick 11-7, amid his trademark banshee howls.

31-43 down in the singles, could the older parties show superior craft and pull the match out of the fire? Ollie Rowlands subbed in for two games, to good effect, with Marcus amid other selection complexities, which perplexed the old people.

Sad to say, we could not pull back the deficit - in fact it only got worse, as only George and Tris (back in the groove now) managed to win a doubles match against Harry and Tom. Jeremy did what he could to cajole Dick along, but he is surely for the knacker's yard, and will have to sit out next year's match. Doubles won by the school 74-54, quite comfortably.

Match result 117-85 to the school.

Lots of competitive sabre-rattling during the excellent supper laid on by the school - with four leavers, our team will be stronger next year, we can confidently say. Thanks and praise to the inspiring Trevor White. See you on court next year!

Dick Warner (W 64-69)