On Sunday 14th January, the 7th Richard Barber Cup competition was played at Eton. This is a competition whereby old boys partner current boys in a best of three pairs matches (same match format as the Alan Barber Cup is played i.e. two of the three pairs need to win in order to win each match.)
Shrewsbury brought down 6 boys, and the OSEFC brought 6 players so we had two teams enter the competition – the only school to do so.
The top team (made up of Chris Hughes (SH 2004-09), Sam Welti (I 2007-12) and George Thomason (G 2006-11) and Tom Bromley-Davenport (U6 Rt), Will Sissons (L6 Rt) and Nav Hari (U6 PH)) were unbeaten in the group stages, going through top. In the other group, the second string Shrewsbury team didn’t get through their group but they would have learnt a lot playing with seasoned pros Mike Hughes (SH 1975-80), Marc Quinn (M 1983-88) and James Skelton (O 1980-85).
The top team faced St Olaves in the semi-final, after an upset in their group saw St Olaves come second. The semi-finals were finely poised at 1-1 in all three pairs. Sam Welti and Nav Hari managed to win 2-1 in their pair three game, however Chris Hughes, Tom Bromley-Davenport, George Thomason and Will Sissons both lost 2-1 in very close games.
It isn’t all bad though – the St Olaves team had multiple Kinnaird Winners (the national fives competition – the top fives competition in the calendar) with James Toop and Howard Wiseman playing in their team, and the fact that Shrewsbury really should have won bodes well.