Women’s Blues vs. Nottingham 2s – 3rd week
Another BUCS Wednesday was upon us. Feeling fresh from a few more training sessions the blues set off for Nottingham extremely promptly, possibly the most timely Jowett walk meet in the history of the game (miss you Kiki). The journey was fairly straightforward, with Katie managing to get us to the venue in time despite missing the same roundabout exit as in first week and actually physically driving the car onto a roundabout in a separate incident. Parking was another issue entirely. We arrived at the shiny new David Ross Sports Village in Nottingham and took in some gasps of dusty construction site-y air at the brilliance of it. Inevitable conversations of “why isn’t our sports centre this nice” were had. We had plenty of time to warm up on the particularly springy courts and were raring to go by the time our opponents arrived. Eleanor and Isabel, at 2 and 4 respectively, were on first. Isabel found her opponent challenging as their drop shots were extremely neat and somehow Isabel’s limbs were just not long quite enough to reach them. Or perhaps it was the pressure of having both her mum and sister at the game that got to her. Anyway she lost her match 3-0 against a very tough opponent and will work on her movement to ensure that next time her incredibly long limbs always reach the ball. Eleanor, meanwhile, was storming ahead with her typical aggressive play against a very skilful but slightly passive player. When she managed to keep the ball tight or drop it to the front the point was almost inevitably hers. Katie was giving some feedback on the performance but mostly concentrating on using the beautiful glass-backed courts as an opportunity to document the event on film for video-feedback purposes. Eleanor ran away with the match quite easily, maintaining excellent composure and barely breaking a sweat (we don’t know how she does it). 3 -0 to Oxford. Next on were Sam and Katie at 1 and 3. Both were quick to take control of their matches. Sam appeared to be immediately in the groove – quite literally – hitting an impressive number of nicks in the first game. Her opponent presented a little more challenge in the second and third games but Sam’s offensive game carried her to a 3-0 victory. Katie used her aggressive style to force her player into the back out of her comfort zone and took the first two games. The third game was more difficult, as fatigue was setting in and the shots were getting less tight. Her opponent read Katie very well and started to anticipate where the shots were going, and Nottingham took the very close game 12-10. Sam, who’d wrapped up her game by this point, was on hand to give some advice to slow down the points and utilise the drop, lob and trickle boast. This was taken on board and Katie came off the court with both the victory and slightly more breath than in previous games. Overall we were thrilled with the victory having had relatively low expectations of the day. Nottingham were previously top of the league and we can now very realistically set our sights there.