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2017 Review

This season has been full of action: two trips to Switzerland, a return visit by a dozen players from Zurich and Geneva, a tour of weird courts, strengthened links with the school and a record-breaking Adams Cup.

It also saw us pass a significant couple of landmarks: the strength of our younger players was emphasized by the (Queen Victoria Street) Youngies besting the (Victoria Embankment) Oldies for the first time in our annual internecine clash.

Our Barber Cup team (Nick Gill, Spencer Chapman, Jivan Navani, Alex Nice, Bobby Friedman and Stephen Kelly) was also dominated for the first time by those who have learned the game without home courts.

This was also the season our longstanding Thursday-evening knockabouts became one of the best-attended weekly fives events in the country. Our eight adopted home courts at Highgate are frequently full, with 32 players from a variety of clubs.

Some half a dozen increasingly skilful boys from the school have helped to swell the numbers – and our thanks go to them and new master-in-charge Rahim Dharamshi.

However, our bid to donate three courts to CLS was becalmed by the news that the current head will soon be leaving the school.

We’ve just held our best-ever-attended Adams Cup, our end-of-season in-house trophy, for which we’ve competed since the late 1920s. It attracted more than 30 players and was won by Bobby Friedman and guest John Caudle. The season-opening tournament for the Wood Plate was again won by Bobby Friedman, that time with Jacob Greenhouse (who also made it into Oxford’s top six pairs against Cambridge).

Last summer, we had two trips to see our friends in Switzerland and in return this spring we welcomed a dozen players from Geneva and Zurich to a weekend of fives at Eton and Highgate. This featured a six-pair match at Eton for the Hawken Garrett Cup (which we retained).

Our now-traditional Christmas knockabout and lunch drew dozens of festive fives-players. Our end-of-season black-tie St James’s dinner also drew dozens (thanks to Harrison Jones and Stephen Kelly for organising that).

It has been a transitional year for our two league teams but thanks to organisers Alex Nice and Rachel Douek we avoided wooden spoons.

We’ve just held a fascinating tour of weird courts in the West Country and South Wales, helping to re-establish versions of fives in Warminster, Downside and Nelson (thanks to Mark George Jacobs for the germ of the idea).

Next season sees our 125th anniversary and we are planning some celebrations to mark the event.

(Photos in The Gazette, Autumn 2017)