|20 Nov 2020|
Sam Christopher and I travelled to Eton from Bristol and Loughborough University respectively on 25th October for the U25's Eton Fives Tournament. I am currently studying for a Masters in International Business and Sam is in his final year of accountancy exams with Grant Thornton, so neither of us had played for around two years. Given this, we both jumped at the rare opportunity to get back on court, particularly fuelled by the looming lockdown. We shared some great memories on the Eton courts over our five years of school together and it is always nostalgic to return, having not played competitively together since 2013.
The much-anticipated Sunday morning started with a round-robin group stage where we played four matches. The movement patterns and shot choices quickly returned to our game, met only by the aches, and pains our younger selves had not endured! I had played the previous day in the Universities tournament and fared worse than Sam. Despite this, we only lost one game to the eventual tournament winners. The score was 6-12 in a tough match against a well drilled and highly enthusiastic pair. We finished second in our group which allowed us to progress to the quarter finals.
At that stage we met Tom McCahon, an old partner of Sam’s from his time at Durham University, with whom he got to the semi-finals of a previous Universities tournament. Tom transitioned to Eton Fives having perfected his skills in the Rugby Fives world: this made for some challenging back court rallies that had us stuck. Our focus turned to keeping the ball on the step, aiming to utilise the buttress. Sam played exceptionally well at the front, keeping the ball in play, and more importantly avoiding their threatening volleys; however, our inability to kill the ball led to unfruitful, long, and tiring rallies. We fought well but a lack of polish in court positioning, shot consistency and ultimately cut returns resulted in a convincing 6-15 loss.
As always Gareth Hoskins organised and co-ordinated two very enjoyable tournaments that provided some much needed relief from these challenging times!
Isaac Wagland OI (2008-2015)