The Oxford Men’s team traveled to the Edgbaston Priory Club early in the morning on Sat 28th Jan to compete in the Premier Stage 2 Upper, being a round robin between the best performing 4 Universities of the season so far.
Our first match was against Nottingham University, who we anticipated to be very strong. 2nd team captain John Townhill made his début in the premier division at 5, but his Nottingham counterpart proved too strong, and John lost 3-0. Jimmy, playing at 4, had a hard fought battle with close scorelines in each game, but unfortunately went down 3-0 as well. Tom also lost 3-0 at 3 against a strong opponent. Alex was up at 2 against Ollie Holland, notable for his success as a junior. Despite the superb racquet skills of his opponent, Alex’ steady play backed up by some marvelous retrieving enabled him to wear down his opponent, taking a well earned 3-2 victory. Phil played last at 1. There was some quality squash on display, and despite some serious ‘traffic issues’ on the court between Phil and his opponent (leading to some heated discussion), Phil kept his cool and took a 3-1 victory.
The overall result was then 3-2 in Nottingham’s favour. Whilst not a win, the Oxford team were not too downhearted having expected Nottingham to be a strong side.
Our match against Birmingham was next. Adam played at 5, and alas, had not been attending as many fitness sessions as necessary. He took the first game, but was unable to continue his good form and lost 3-1. Jimmy played extremely well at 4, taking a comfortable 3-0 win against a tricky opponent. Tom had a poor showing at 3, losing the first two games seemingly before waking up. He fought back to win take the third, but it was not enough as he lost 3-1. Alex and Phil were both unfortunately somewhat worn out after their difficult matches in the morning, and were unable to produce quite the same quality. Alex lost 3-1, and Phil lost 3-2.
The team were disappointed to lose to Birmingham, who we hoped to have beaten, especially with the prospect of facing a strong UWE team in the morning. Alex also had sustained an injury during his 2nd match. Our team was beaten fairly quickly and convincingly in the morning, meaning we finished 4th over the weekend. We now have to face Edinburgh in a playoff match in order to secure our place in the premier division for next season.