The National Schools Doubles Rackets Championship, now in its 150th Year, was held at Queen’s Club in London.
The Rackets Championship is made up of four competitions for boys. Eton has won the Public Schools' Doubles Championship (1st Pairs) 27 times, second only to Harrow who stand at 31 titles. Eton have been catching Harrow up with 4 wins in the last 4 years – could they make it five out of five? The second competition, the Professional Association Cup (2nd Pairs), is currently held by Eton. The 3rd competition is the Eric Angus Cup (U16s) and the fourth, the Peter Gray Cup (U15s).
Our 1st Pair of Thistlethwayte (JDN) and Duncan (JRBS) were unbeaten this year and had already won 3-2 against the first seeds from St Paul’s in an inter-school fixture. Eton had eight pairs take part in the competition and every pair won at least one round.
As the week progressed, it seemed it would be one for the records. Eton had a pair in the semi-final of each of the four competitions – the aforementioned Thistlethwayte (JDN) and Duncan (JRBS) in the 1st Pair, Manson OS (MJP) and Hardy (JRBS) in the 2nd Pair, Smart OS (ABH) and Genieser (ASR) in the U16s and Spiridonov (NCWS) and Capstick-Dale OS (JCAJ) in the U15s. Had this been done before? When all the Eton pairs won their semi final match to progress through to the final the same question was asked.
When all four Eton pairs won their finals it was generally accepted that this feat had not been achieved before! The first pair were victorious against St Paul’s in a 6 game thriller; Eton's other pairs each won their games, 3 – 1 against Wellington (2nd pair), 3 – 1 against Malvern (U16s) and 3 – 1 against Wellington (U15s).
This is quite simply a remarkable achievement and all the pairs taking part in the championship should be congratulated. Thanks must go to Peter Brake for his tireless, good-humoured and, clearly, highly effective coaching and organisation.