Oxford Men’s Blues dominate 2017 Varsity Match while Women’s Blues are narrowly beaten

Having taken an historic 5-0 victory in both the men’s and women’s fixtures last year, Oxford were excited heading into the 2017 varsity match, hoping to continue their good form.

The women’s team was eager to defend our varsity win from last year and we travelled into London with anticipation. The Cambridge side had lost their top player Rina from last year but the Oxford team was also missing Emily and Alysia and so it was difficult to predict how this year’s varsity might turn out. Christy was playing the reserve match in her first appearance at the RAC after very strong performances in the seconds varsity match for the previous two years. She recovered quickly from the setback of breaking her strings in the warm up and borrowing an unfamiliar racquet to dominate her opponent with powerful hitting and take a 3-0 win. Sarah played at 5 in a titanic affair and her first blues varsity appearance that only concluded as the second string match was starting on the next court. Sarah triumphed at the end of five long and well fought sets, much to the joy of the team and the many supporters who came down to watch her game. She was awarded woman of the match for this immense match. Katie was on at 4 in much swifter fashion. Katie hammered her opponent away quickly in a blitz, bagging a quick and decisive win. At 3, Eleanor was excited for a rematch of last year’s 4th string, but her opponent had made massive improvements and put her under much more pressure than last year. Eleanor fought hard but couldn’t execute her usual consistency and speed after this term’s injury, and only hit her best shots a bit too late in the third game so was beaten 3-0. Kiki was on at 2. While the first two games seemed like a daunting task for Kiki against her hard-hitting and physically strong opponent, Kiki dug deep to take the next two games but unfortunately lost the match 2-3. Last was Sam at 1, who was facing a former middle school senior from Singapore in a very strange but exciting reunion. The first two games were a fairly even match ending 1-1, but the Cambridge side eventually pulled through to win the match 3-1, and the fixture 3-2 overall.

Women's Blues squad: (left to right) Christy Barnard, Eleanor Law, Susana Hawken, Katie Abell, Eve Shenkman, Kiki Warren, Samantha Phey (captain), Sarah Williams Women’s Blues squad: (left to right) Christy Barnard, Eleanor Law, Susana Hawken, Katie Abell, Eve Shenkman, Kiki Warren, Samantha Phey (captain), Sarah Williams

 

The men’s team had performed particularly well so far this season, with their BUCS results placing them as the 4th best University team in the country (and Cambridge were certainly not one of the top three!). There had been no dramatic changes in either the Oxford or Cambridge side from last year either, further indicating the likelihood of a sound win for Oxford. Andrew Turner (Merton) played the reserve string in what was his first varsity match for Oxford. Unfortunately, despite battling hard in some long rallies, Andrew lost 3-0 to his Cambridge counterpart. Adam Bainbridge (Jesus) played at 5. Adam played well to clinch a tight first game, and demonstrated an edge of his opponent in fitness (a rare feat for Adam!) allowing him to take the remaining games very comfortably for a 3-0 win. OUSRC president Jimmy Cetkovski (New College) played 4th string for Oxford. Jimmy played the characteristic steady squash that has become his trademark over the season. He dominated most of the rallies, and ground out a comprehensive 3-0 win. Captain Tom Paine (Oriel) played 3rd string. The first game was over seemingly before it had started, as Tom made no errors and took a 9-0 win in a matter of minutes. The remaining games were slightly scrappier, but the outcome was never in doubt and Tom also took a 3-0 win. Alex Roberts (Merton) played 2nd string against the Cambridge captain. He clearly demonstrated his superior fitness and skill over his opponent, dividends of many hours of training in the run up. Alex took a straightforward 3-0 win. Last up was Phil Nightingale (Wycliffe) playing at 1, in a rematch from last year. The fixture went much the same way as before, with Phil commanding the centre of the court with ease, and thoroughly beating his Cambridge counterpart 9-0, 9-2, 9-0, sealing a monumental 15-0 (in games) win for the Oxford team.

We would like to say thank you to the RAC for hosting the match and a fantastic meal afterwards, and to everybody who came to support. There were also some videos taken on the day (including some slow motion rallies!), which can be found on the OUSRC Twitter and Facebook.

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Women’s match

  1. Samantha Phey (Captain, Jesus) lost to Anira Perera 7-9, 9-5, 1-9, 5-9
  2. Katherine Warren (Balliol) lost to Laura Mullarkey 4-9, 6-9, 9-3, 9-4, 3-9
  3. Eleanor Law (New College) lost to Katie Hanlon 5-9, 4-9, 5-9
  4. Katherine Abell (St. Peter’s) beat Anisa Shahira 9-5, 9-6, 9-3
  5. Sarah Williams (Jesus) beat Miranda Nicholson 7-9, 9-5, 5-9, 9-4, 9-1
  6. Christina Barnard (Reserve, Lincoln) beat Sasha Haco 9-3, 9-3, 9-1

Men’s match

  1. Phil Nightingale (Wycliffe Hall) beat Josh Carter 9-0, 9-2, 9-0
  2. Alexander Roberts (Merton) beat Luis North 9-1, 9-2, 9-5
  3. Thomas Paine (Captain, Oriel) beat Ben Robinson 9-0, 9-4, 9-5
  4. James Cetkovski (New College) beat Jamie Giddins 9-2, 9-3, 9-3
  5. Adam Bainbridge (Jesus) beat Thevesh Theva 9-3, 9-6, 9-0
  6. Andrew Turner (Reserve, Merton) lost to Tom Mitchell-Williams 3-9, 5-9, 0-9