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This Saturday was the much-anticipated annual Jester’s fixture. For the second year in a row, the Jester’s club (many thanks to Emily Peach and Oli Jeffreys) managed to field a 5-string women’s team so Sam, Katie, Eve, Isabel and Charly were all able to play the fixture. When we arrived at Radley College it was lovely to see several familiar faces and old teammates. The courts were much colder than we are used to at Iffley, but the extra two courts including a show court make it an ideal venue for the fixture. First up was Charly at string 5 vs. Anna Gibson. The first game saw a lot of good rallies and more hand-outs than could fit on the score sheet. Charly moved well and executed some good drops and drives but Anna dominated on the serve and took the game 9-4. In the next games Anna’s serve was fully warmed up and she offered Charly absolutely no mercy. Charlie won plenty of rallies, but the English scoring system was unkind to her and Anna won the game 9-0. The next game looked frustratingly similar, but Anna got her comeuppance at the dinner when she was awarded a fine for bagelling her opponent.

Playing at the same time was Isabel against her opponent Sue Wastie. In the first game Isabel used her drop effectively but was often caught out by her opponents trickle boasts, which proved difficult to retrieve. Isabel became more tactical in the second game targeting her opponents weaknesses: speed and retrieving from the back corners. Both of the players were strong at the font of the court and many of the points were won and lost in front of the service line. Unfortunately the jester stepped up to the back court challenge and started targeting the corners in the final games. The cold court made it difficult for either player to retrieve consistently from the back and subsequently Isabel lost a bit of momentum. The English scoring went against her too and she lost the third and fourth games. Overall both players showed some great play and particular flare with regards to nifty drops and boasts!

Next up Katie had the privilege of playing on the show court against a rather familiar-looking opponent, Eleanor Law. Eleanor hasn’t actually graduated yet (we’re not sure if she’ll ever leave Oxford) but was playing for the Jester’s this year. The first game saw some good rallies and plenty of hand-outs and Katie was pleased to come off having only lost the game 9-4. In the next game the level of squash stepped up somewhat. Eleanor took the first 6 points, but Katie came back to make it 6-6. At this point there were some ridiculously long rallies with Eleanor managing to retrieve just about everything. Fatigue set in for Katie and Eleanor won the game 9-7. The final game was a similarly close-fought fight and Eleanor took it 9-6. Both players agreed that it was probably their closest game yet, which is promising for Katie’s season ahead.

Eve was on at the same time playing Jester Nicky Simonds-Gooding. She lost the first game but came back in typical Eve fashion, totally focussed and fiery to win the second. Unfortunately her opponent got the best of her and Isabel partly blames herself for some sub-par scoring. Perhaps we should’ve taken the BUCS refereeing course after all…

The final women’s match was Sam vs. Emily Peach, her predecessor as captain two years ago. Having had a relatively quiet few weeks playing weaker opponents, Sam was ready to step up her game and prove to Emily just what she’s made of. Sam played well, retrieving many of Emily’s well-placed shots and hitting a lot of her own to take the first game. Her tight drops and cross court kills were particularly impressive. The standard of squash was extremely high and the whole team was watching in awe. She won some points and lost some others and by the end of the third game was 2-1 down. Unfortunately in the fourth Sam was getting knackered and Peach used this to her advantage. A large crowd of friendly faces encouraging her just wasn’t quite enough and Peach took the next game to make it 3-1. With many a pair of lips turning blue, the team were happy to get into a warm car back to Oxford.

We regrouped later for drinks and dinner at Wadham College. The evening was a great success enjoyed by students and jesters alike and we would like to thank Wadham for their hospitality and excellent service. The high table provided a great location for a women’s squad picture of members past and present.

Sam playing Emily Peach at No. 1 Sam playing Emily Peach at No. 1 Womens Blues Past and Present Women’s Blues Past and Present