|12 Jan 2021|
Never would I have imagined that we would be starting 2021 in our third lock down and isolating ourselves from others, when COVID-19 erupted into our lives way back in March. As most of you, I am wondering where 2020 has gone to! So many lives have been affected and so much has been cancelled or postponed. This time last year was the last time the Old Bradfieldians played a Fives match, a regular fixture on the Jesters Fives tour of Edinburgh. Unfortunately, nothing is regular about the current times and this years' tour (along with so many other Fives fixtures) has been cancelled.
The Old Bradfieldian Fives Club usually start the year with this Jesters tour fixture. The Jesters are an invitation-only club for men and women who play one or more of the games Squash, Real Tennis, Rugby Fives, Eaton Fives, Rackets or Padel. For many years, the Jesters have been sending a team up to Edinburgh to promote Rugby Fives in Scotland, playing clubs and schools, coaching and furthering the game for men, women, boys and girls. For me, the magic of this tour (along with furthering the game of Fives) is the inclusivity and breadth of players ranging from university freshers through to long time veterans of the game. Over recent years there has been a steady support of the tour by Old Bradfieldians, so much so that a friendly rivalry has been built between the Old Blues of Christ Hospital and a yearly match organised. It may not always be the best quality match on tour, but it is usually a spectator's highlight! Last year the Old Bradfieldian team consisted of Dave Butler (also co-organiser of the tour), Jez Sinton, James Birch and Ian Mettam (who I believe was the oldest player on tour….sorry Ian!). A victorious and entertaining but rather one-sided match against the Old Blues. Off court it was fantastic to see David Barnes attend last year and support from the galleries. Not only a past teacher and Fives coach at Bradfield College but admired and respected across the fives community. As most Old Bradfieldian matches are played in London, this Edinburgh tour has enabled Old Bradfieldians and other players from all over the country to stay in touch, come together and play Fives.
Another notable fixture missed this year was the Owers Trophy, usually held in September. As the name suggests is a much more competitive tournament against other old school clubs. Held at St Pauls school in Barnes this usually brings out some of the best players in the sport and is a fiercely fought event. The Old Bradfieldians have won the trophy just the once in its history however I am proud to say that we have made it all the way to the finals in the last four years. Despite not raising the trophy, it is a triumph to have made the final four years in a row. Perhaps 2021 will be our year! Thank you to Ed Ronan, James Marshall, Jez Sinton, James Birch, Tim Hebblethwaite and Dave Butler. All of whom have represented over the last four years.
During lockdown and with the lack of matches, tournaments and fives fixtures, there have been other ways the Fives community has kept things current and maintained the motivation within the sport. There have been virtual quizzes, and Old Bradfieldian Dave Butler has been co-hosting Fives Podcasts. Dave has had much success on the Fives circuit, winning many tournaments and is currently 5th in the UK rankings. Check out Dave in the 'Fanzone' on the new Rugby Fives website https://therfa.uk/players/dave-butler/ His support of the sport both as a player, podcast interviewer and recently as Rugby Fives Association board member is notable and great to see him flying the flag for both Fives and Bradfield. To see the latest Fives Podcast visit https://t.co/hJqej28z4O
My best wishes go out to you all and your families over these turbulent times, and I hope Fives and all other sports and club events can come together in 2021 for much enjoyment and success.
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