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The Public Schools Rackets championships - Finals Day

Well that is Queens over for 2009 and indeed for the first decade of the 21st century…. This is a decade in which Eton have had three singles winners at the Championships - Will Hopton in the Foster Cup of 2006, Matt Readman in the Renny Cup of 2003 and Chris Stefanowicz in the Jim Dear of 2003.
One of the most rewarding things about being master in charge of rackets is to see these young men still playing and enjoying the game in adult life, and it was fantastic today to see Readman OE and Stefanowicz OE both playing in an U21 and U24 competitions at Queens - two tournaments being expertly run by Will Hopton OE. In fact at Queens this week the following Old Etonians are all playing in these tournaments: Tom Redmayne, Freddie Burgess, Jamie Bingham, Will Hopton, George Maltby, Chris Stefanowicz, Dhruv Ghulati, Harry Franks, James Rowland Clark, Horatio Cary, Henry Britton, Alex Faber, James Hopton, and Will Murray. 
Sadly we were not able to add a fourth singles winner to the list today. Jamie Giddins (MAG) played well but was not quite good enough on the day to overcome his Tonbridge opponent. Everyone reading this email knows how good a rackets player Jamie is and he didn't let himself down in any way at all this afternoon. But Johnnie Maltz really is an exceptional player for one so young and it is right to pay tribute to an excellent rackets player. Maltz has a crispness in his striking of the ball that is sometimes beautiful to watch and is also a languid mover around the court. His technique is so good that he always seems to have more time on every shot than all his opponents and I am happy to write that the only schoolboy player in the past decade I have seen who plays with the same class was Jamie Stout, the 2000 and 2001 winner of the Foster Cup, and the current World Champion. Jamie Giddins had some chances, particularly in the first game and retrieved really well at the back of the court, but in truth his opponent was nearly always one step ahead today - the game scores were 10/15, 4/15, 4/15.
This has been a good Queens for Eton with many boys performing to the top of their game. This is due to the hard work that the vast majority of boys make in fitting in rackets practice around both their academic work, music, drama and other sporting commitments. They all lead very busy lives at school but the practice they have done this half has paid off with some really good performances this week. Practice at the courts would not bring much benefit without the expert encouragement and guidance they have received from Mr Brake and Mr Snell, and my final words of the half should be to thank the two professionals for all their hard work. Coaching boys to play the most difficult sport they will ever play is not an easy task - the skills needed to be a good player take years to learn and can’t be rushed.   But boys at Eton know that they have two of the very best rackets coaches on the circuit so to Peter and Ben, thank you from us all and enjoy your Christmas holidays.
DATE POSTED: 19 December 2009

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