Eton’s day at the Public Schools Rackets
Today was a busy one with four rackets matches involving Eton pairs on at Queens Club in London.
Junior Colts Final
Eton (Tom Loup mi and Ben Brooks) played St Pauls (seeded one) in the first final this morning. The St Pauls pair are very strong and PAB and I both knew that we would have to play at our very best to be able to compete. As it turned out, St Pauls started the match serving very powerfully and to a good length. We couldn’t return enough serves to get into any kind of rhythm and so the early exchanges all went in their favour. Any nerves they might have had as favourites were quickly dissipated as they won the first game to love. The remaining two games were much more closely contested but the reality of this match was that we were outplayed throughout by a better pair. St Pauls won the final by three games to love, 15/0, 15/9, 15/7. Tom Loup and Ben Brooks have had a good week overall and have shown that they can play well as a pair. Both have improved through the week and the boys were disappointed that the quality of opposition was too strong for them on this occasion. We know now exactly how much we need to improve to be able to take these boys on and I look forward to seeing how these two and our other E block players rise to the challenge in D block.
Eton’s Colts pair was also an all-RDOC affair. Rory Giddins and George Nixon have been favourites for this competition all season and were seeded one. They reached the final easily enough and had not really been extended or put under pressure before today. Their opponents in the final this morning were the old enemy Harrow whose pair comprised a talented but inexperienced left hander and a hard-hitting and more experienced player on the right side of the court. Eton started well and were made to work really hard in the first game. Harrow actually took an early lead and had several serves with 12 points already accumulated. The Harrow boys were fired up and we had to keep our cool and focus to win this game. As the match went on, the boys became more comfortable and Harrow’s mistakes made it hard for them to stay in the rallies. Nixon served well at times and Giddins played his usual high quality consistent game. More and more unforced errors were creeping into our opponents’ play and we were able to exert some control from in the service box when we served to a good length. The Eton pair won the match and the Colts Doubles trophy by four games to love 15/12, 15/8, 15/4, 15/6. Well done to Rory and George for winning Eton’s first trophy of the week!
Second pairs semifinal Eton (George Loup and Ed Rowell) won well to reach tomorrow’s final. They beat a good Harrow 3rd pair by four games to love 15/10, 15/3, 15/10, 17/16.
First pairs semifinal Eton (Toni Morales and Charlie Braham) played much better today to win their match this evening. Braham served a much better length and was taking the ball earlier in the rallies, Morales hit some great winners at times and it was clear we were trying to play more at the front of the court. This is the only way to win games on the Queens court and although I thought the Wellington pair played well at times, once we started keeping the ball off the back wall in the rallies, they were always going to find it tricky to match our play. Wellington won the first game having been well down in it, but from then on, the remaining games all went to Eton. I was pleased with the improved performance today and I hope we can make another step up in quality for the final tomorrow. Eton II beat Wellington II 14/17, 15/5, 15/8, 5/8, 15/6
11am Second Pairs Final: Loup ma and Rowell play Harrow II
1.15pm First Pairs Final:
Morales and Braham play Harrow (Robbie White and Henry Goodfellow)
It was good to see a collection of beaks and boys at Queens today to support the team. Thank you to everyone who made the effort to come into London to see the boys play. Do please come along tomorrow for the two remaining finals if you are free. Both are Eton-Harrow clashes of course and the galleries tend to be packed on these occasions so get there early to make sure you have a good view.