Fives has become so popular at this age group that the U12 national competition has been split into two sections, with a qualifying stage being introduced for the first time this year. Yesterday saw its inaugural running.
Fives at Cranleigh is run on a purely voluntary basis, with all practices taking place after school in the children’s, and also the staff’s, spare time. Essentially we play for the love of the game.
Therefore, it is particularly impressive and wonderful when we do achieve any success. So far this year has been spectacularly successful by any criteria. Following on from Charlotte B and Effie S’s success last month, where they were national runners-up in the girls’ tournament, it was now boys’ turn.
The school took three pairs of U12 boys and they all played with real distinction. These tournaments are very much a learning process and the opportunity to play competitive matches adds great spice and enjoyment to their play.
In the morning all three pairs came through their groups relatively unscathed. This put them all into the last 32. Further successes followed and saw all three pairs win, reaching the last 16.
The aim for all the pairs was to reach the quarter-finals as this would guarantee an invitation to the elite tournament in a couple of weeks’ time. Unfortunately Louis and Oscar, our 3rd pair, went out at this stage in a close run thing. However, they can take great pride from their performances.
The other two pairs reached the quarter-finals. Rory and Ivan, 2nd pair, had played some fantastic Fives all day but just lacked the consistency required to get over the line and went out in a hard-fought match. Meanwhile, our 1st pair, James and Henry, just kept winning and sailed through both the quarters and the semis.
In the final they were met by rather stiffer opposition in the shape of a very proficient Berkhamsted pair. However, in a very accomplished performance where both players showed great awareness, determination and skill, they wound up winners of both the match and the competition.
Mark Halstead, team coach, says “It was a fantastic achievement both for James and Henry, and for the School”.