|25 Nov 2016|
With both teams at their full strength, the annual match between the OCs and the School for the David Vaughan Trophy kicked off with some strategic positioning of the order of play. A last-minute call from Alistair Chesser, who cancelled a career changing meeting in central London to make the match six string, threw captain of the school Mr Bartlett into a blind panic.
First contestants on court were No.2 seeds, Lewis Bedford (Cubitt) vs Ed Coplestone (OC). This was grudge match born on the cricket pitch. Both parties equally determined to prove the greater all round sportsman. Bedford in the UVIth was hoping to use his youth and fitness to outwit ageing Copleston … to no avail as Copleston took no prisoners and ran in a 3-0 win. One up to the OCs.
The third string match had started on the opposite court with Benji Chesser (Cubitt – UVth) doing battle with new OC recruit Mat Harris. This was a fiercely competitive match with each game going to the wire and ended up falling Mats way 9/11 11/13 10/12. Two up to the OCs.
Also on was Leo Thompson (Cubitt – LVIth) v Mike Stonebridge. Thompson (17 ) had a strong start winning the first 11/5 but Stonebridge (71) fought hard and won back the second 10/12. Thompson soon realised the age gap was in his favour and kept Stonebridge running until he ran out of gas taking the third and fourth 11/7 and 11/6. 2/1 to the OCs.
Next up Toby Chesser took to the court with Mark Robson (OC). Robson is an OC stalwart and well known for his many facial expressions of agony as he concludes a point with a drop shot in the tin. He was out of the starting blocks with the energy of a gazelle. Going two games up Chesser saw a glimmer of light as Robson’s drops into the tin became more regular and Chesser sneaked back the third game 12/10 tipping the scales back in his favour. Robson fought hard but lost the last 2 games 11-9 11-5. Two games all.
Toby Rust (Loveday – Upper Fifth) up next to take on the veteran Chesser (who strategically avoided playing either of his two sons to avoid the embarrassment of losing in front of the crowded gallery) took to the court hoping not to replicate the injures he incurred in the past few matches. Rust (a tennis player at heart),being egged on in the gallery by both Chesser boys, was not going to let the school or the family down, and he made it a clean 3-0 win. Chesser senior complaining he didn’t even get a chance to break into a sweat.
So with the match at 3-2 to the school, captain and squash master Jamie Bartlett was up against Richard Winter. Bartlett was focused on reversing the result from two years ago. The match was a cliff hanger with Bartlett using drop shots and an excellent length to run Winter around the court. Smashes into the nic and a determined grit in his step he took the lead. At 2-2 and after a very even match it was all down to the last game. Winter was lucky to grab victory from the jaws of defeat…11/5 in the fifth.
The match result at 3/3, The Ashes rules were applied and the OCs retain the title for another year.
A huge thank you to Carolyn Nichols for all her support and for scoring my match! Thank you to all the scorers and supporters – Mike Payne, Martin Williamson, John and Betty Parry and guest of honour Jane Vaughan who kindly made herself available to present the David Vaughan Trophy. Thanks also to Ella Winter aged 12 for her support and photographic skills. Most of all well played all, especially the school who played with great passion and excellent sportsmanship.
Sad that it will be the last match on the Old Courts but very much looking forward to christening the new courts with a Cranleigh School vs OC match in 2017.
Jamie Bartlett lost to Richard Winter 2/3 (11-56-11 11-6 6-11 5-11)
Lewis Bedford lost to Ed Coplestone 0/3 (6-15 5-15 7-15)
Toby Rust beat Alistair Chesser 3/0 (11-8 11-5 11-8)
Benji Chesser lost to Mat Harris 0/3 (9-11 11-13 10-12)
Toby Chesser beat Mark Robson 3/2 (8-11 10-12 12-10 11-9 11-5)
Leo Thompson beat Mike Stonebridge 3/1 (11-5 10-12 11-7 11-6)
The Old Courts were opened in 1979 with an exhibition match between Rahmat Khan (a squash player from Pakistan who coached his cousin Jahangir Khan throughout his career, partnership led to Jahangir winning 10 British Open titles and a spectacular winning streak of 555 consecutive matches) and Mohammed Yasin, a squash coach and retired squash player from Pakistan. Replacement glass back courts will be opening in 2017 on the side of the Trevor Abbott Sports Centre.
The David Vaughan Trophy is now in its fourth year. David Vaughan was at the Junior School and then in 1&4 South between 1940 and 1943 and is probably the most decorated OC squash player. He won many club tournaments at Richmond, the RAC, Hurlingham as well as the GB veteran championship twice. He was the president of the Jesters from 1995 to 2015. The Jesters is a club that enjoys ball games in a manner that fits the name of the club. He lived his life making friends though squash and real tennis and he inspired me to organise the Cranleigh v OCs fixture four years ago.