On 23rd November, the men’s blues faced off against Loughborough in a playoff match, with the winner progressing to the premier stage 2 ‘upper’ round, and the loser going into the stage 2 ‘lower’. We were at home for this one, and the newly fixed heaters above the courts provided temperature and humidity which might be likened to that of a rainforest.
On first was Adam, playing at 5. After a close fought opening two games, the match was tied at 1-1, but unfortunately Adam was edged on the last two games so lost 3-1. Contrary to the previous match report, Adam’s attendance at fitness in the preceding weeks had not been at all exemplary, and there was some suggestion that this might have been a deciding factor in the match. Alas, we will never know unless Adam actually turns up to a few fitness sessions.
Jimmy played at 4 against the opposing team’s captain, who was dubbed ‘Meerkat’ by his team due to his appearance (I’d love to make a pun about rainforests and meerkats, but I’m not just not knowledgeable enough about biology). Jimmy’s opponent played a calm and steady game, but not well enough to cause Jimmy any trouble, leading to a 3-0 win. After all, there is only one outcome when a meerkat faces down a wrecking ball.
Tom was next up at 3, against an opponent who seemed to think moving out of the way after hitting a shot was optional. Things may have got tense due to this, but fortunately the result of the match was rarely in doubt, as Tom took a comfortable 3-0 win.
Meanwhile, Phil was playing at 1. Despite losing the first 2 games, Phil kept his cool and switched tactics, forcing his opponent into more of a front court game. This change of strategy proved effective and frustrated to his opponent, and Phil managed to take a hard fought 3-2 victory, sealing the match for Oxford.
Alex went on after Phil. Living up to his nickname, he ran around tirelessly until his opponent was exhausted into submission. After the game, Alex said he was ‘dinking it up’ to his opponent, in order to give himself a better run around, but this is hard to verify as it is basically impossible for anyone else to tell whether Alex is ‘dinking it up’ or just trying to play a drop shot. Nevertheless, Alex won 3-0.
A 4-1 victory was as a fantastic result for us, and we look forward to the next round robin weekend on 28-29th January.