Eton enjoyed another successful week at the Public Schools Rackets Championships at The Queen’s Club. There are four competitions with a total entry of around 230 boys from the 14 rackets playing schools. Eton was represented by a strong team and Peter Brake and I knew going into the tournament that we had chances in all competitions. Charlie Courtenay (DMG) was our only representative in the main event, the Foster Cup. Courtenay won his first round match but his preparation was hampered by illness at the end of the half and his challenge ended as his energy reserves ran out against the fourth seed in the second round. Matt Brooks (RDOC) was seeded two in the Renny Cup and he played well on several occasions to reach the final. The final today was a tense affair but in the end his opponent was a little too consistent in his technique for Brooks to emerge victorious. Leo Popplewell OS MS (MJP) also had a great Renny Cup tournament and reached the semi-final stage. He had been the soloist in the School Concert on Sunday night and translated his outstanding cello playing into beautiful and consistent rackets on the Queens Club courts.
Eton was expected by many to dominate the Incledon-Webber event for under-16 boys and so it proved. No-one in the draw could live with the power, skill and strong match temperament of the two top seeds Toni Morales (MJP) and Charlie Braham (NCWS). Their final today was a match of exceptional quality and both boys emerged with tremendous credit. The first four games were shared evenly and although the scoreline in the final game makes it look comfortable for the eventual winner Morales, in fact he had six unsuccessful championship points due to the quality of Braham’s play before emerging as victor at the seventh attempt. Morales won the Incledon-Webber event by three games to two: 9/15 15/5 15/10 15/17 15/2. It is also worth mentioning that Ed Rowell (RDOC) also had a good week at Queens and reached the semi-final in which he lost to the eventual winner.
The fourth event is the Jim Dear Cup for E and F block boys. Rory Giddins (RDOC) ended up as the losing finalist in this event and although he was disappointed with his performance in the final, he has shown he can play really well and he has made massive progress at his game this half. Eton’s other E block entrants in this event all played well at times and the performance of Eton’s only F block entrant Hector Hardman (RDOC) is also worthy of mention. If all these boys can keep playing and improving, the future of the sport for the next few years at Eton seems assured.