Eton’s rackets players enjoyed a fantastic week at Queen's Club in the Public Schools championships at the end of March. As the four competitions reached their latter stages, it became clear that Eton would face Harrow in three finals. The fourth competition also featured an Eton pair in the final but this time the opponents were the physically strong and technically proficient St Paul’s pair. Eton’s Junior Colts pair (Tom Loup and Ben Brooks) had a good week and improved significantly through the tournament but the reality was that on this occasion, the opposition were simply too good to allow us to compete. St Paul’s won the final of this tournament 15/0, 15/9, 15/7.
The first final played against Harrow was in the Colts tournament. The Eton boys (Rory Giddins and George Nixon) were defending the U15 title won last year and so entered the final as favorites. The Harrow players were dangerous opposition but in the end our superior experience and control of the ball allowed us to win the match well. Eton won the Colts championship final 15/12, 15/8, 15/4, 15/6. The two senior finals were played on Saturday and again only Eton and Harrow were involved. Eton’s Second Pair (George Loup and Ed Rowell) have had a good season beating many school first pairs and in a Second Pairs final of considerable quality they emerged victorious 12/15, 15/3, 15/5, 15/6, 12/15, 15/7.
Eton’s first pair is made up of two C block boys Toni Morales and Charlie Braham. They too were favorites prior to the event but their performances in the earlier stages of the competition had not perhaps been up to their usual high standards.
But the atmosphere and tension of the final brought the best out of both Eton boys and after a few nerves were banished in the early stages, they played with a consistency and quality of striking that the opposition could not match. Eton beat Harrow for the third time in a final to win the Public Schools’ Championship 15/11, 12/15, 15/7, 15/5, 15/4.
All the boys deserve tremendous credit for these achievements as do the rackets professionals Peter Brake and Dan Fisher. The boys could not produce winning performances without the calm advice and sound coaching they receive at the Eton courts.
(Photo by Isabel Braham)