Oxford Blues vs. Queen’s 2018
The annual fixture against Queen’s Club London took place on the 3rd of October, and as always, proved to be a great match in our calendar. Our captains have written their team reports below:
Saturday saw a number of Oxford blues travelling down to London for the first annual match vs Queen’s. It is a lovely club and always a fantastic opportunity to be able to use squash to see such amazing places, and we hope the fixture will be become a staple of the Squash Fixture Calendar. It was also nice for some of our older members to see ex-Oxford players at the club.
Oxford Men’s Blues: Win 4-1
Tom Trott (aka ‘the Kid’) stepped up first onto the hallowed floorboards of The Queen’s Club, facing a deceptively quick opponent. Despite taking the first in a fairly comfortable fashion, Tom’s opponent fought back well, using his experience to push Tom hard. However, Tom proved too strong in the end, taking advantage of his flagging opponent to secure the next two games and take the match 3-1.
Following Tom, it was the captain, Joe Sibley, coming up against a difficult opponent who took full advantage of his height, dominating the space and pushing up for the volley. Joe took the first game but then struggled to push on, losing the next two games. However, he soon came back, working his opponent out to take the next two and win 3-2.
Meanwhile, on the adjacent court, Pranav Sharma (aka ‘Grandpa’) took on a very experienced player, who pushed him hard. Pranav was forced to move into all four corners and pressured into errors. However, Pranav’s (relatively) younger legs managed to hold out. And he won the match 3-1.
Tom Paine (aka T-Paine) stepped up in the battle between ex-Blues captains. Facing Dave Phillips, who used his reach and variety of pace to great effect, Tom was forced to play some of his best squash. Tom raced off to a good start but Dave managed to hit back and take the second. Tense all the way through, Tom eventually took the match 3-1.
In at number one in the absence of Alex Roberts, new recruit Mandela Patrick faced off against another ex-Blue in the shape of Alex Portz. Mandela tried to produce some of the flair squash that has electrified the courts of Iffley this season, but it wasn’t quite coming off for him on that occasion. Alex Portz proved too steady for Mandela, hardly making any errors, and took the game in what was ultimately a comfortable 3-0.
The match ended in a much welcomed evening in the bar at The Queens’s Club, with exceptional hospitality provided by Queen’s. The match was a fantastic event and the club and all those who attended would like to extent their gratitude to Queen’s.
Oxford Women’s Blues: Win 4-1
The Women’s Blue took a team of 5 players down. Due to availability we weren’t able to play our strongest team, but were able to display the depth of talent in our club instead. Their team was definitely stronger than ours though, and we had a tough job to face. Their top seed in particular was a very strong American girl, who had played in American Varsities, and although Laura fought hard, she didn’t manage to get a game, and Queen’s took the match 3-0. The majority of the matches went the same way, although we were by no means demolished, and we could see that with a full team we might even have taken the match! As it was, only our beloved Catherine managed to get a game, and we comfortably lost the match overall. Thankfully the boys were on better form, and managed to save some of Oxford’s dignity.
The matches might not have been the highlight of the day for the girls, but we had a lovely dinner all together afterwards, and it was great to be able to get to know some of the players a little better, between the two genders of our team as well as with the Queen’s players. All in all it was well worth the trip, and hopefully we’ll be able to put up a stronger fight against them next year!