Updated: Dec 13, 2022
After a September 2020 Varsity due to the first pandemic wave, the Oxford and Cambridge Blues were keen to be back at the idyllic grounds of Moor Park Golf Club in Rickmansworth during the Summer heat, on June 26-27, 2021 for the 131st Blues Varsity.
The 24 hours before the dark Blues were meant to travel were not the most ideal: 3 key members of the women's team-- Isabelle Marshall, Alisa Musatova, and Daniela Apodaca-- were no longer able to join the team due to self-isolation rules. The end of Trinity term saw a massive peak of coronavirus cases amongst 18-25 year-olds in Oxford, and affected our players throughout our 10 teams.
Two members of the Robins team (Holly Russell and Louise Fitzpatrick) were kind enough to join the Blues team last minute, travelling down on the Saturday morning of the match to ensure we fielded a team. The Oxford and Cambridge women's captains and presidents in good spirits agreed to still have the fixture on. The Oxford women's Blues quickly changed their lineups and doubles pairs, and off we went to play our best tennis.
The day was no short of highlights. Holly, who travelled to Moor Park on the day had 3 match points, before unfortunately losing the second set tiebreak and the third set. Lucy Denly, who went up a bracket, also had a very close three-set match, unfortunately not taking the third set. On the men's side, many matches were won but a highlight was Ignacio Perez, playing his first Varsity match in style, winning in straight sets. The end of the first day saw the men's Blues with a 7-5 lead, and the women's Blues determined to continue playing their best tennis with a 2-10 score.
The second day was followed by light rain in the morning, with damp and windy conditions throughout the day, making the teams unsure whether the matches can be played on the grass. Regardless of the dark sky, no specks of rain fell until the last of the matches were played in the evening. The Men's Blues continued their confidence throughout the second day -- the last match of the day was a replay of the 2020 situation at 10-10. In 2020, the Cambridge took the final doubles but in 2021, Louis & Oli managed to ensure that the trophy goes home to Oxford this year, with a 6-4 victory in a nail-biting third set. Louis and Oliver both shone through the weekend, each winning all their 5 matches. The women's Blues, unfortunately, lost 4-17 but with their head held high.
Overall, it was a weekend like no other. We are extremely happy to have the Men's Varsity trophy in Oxford, and the women's Blues are extremely proud with how they fought to the last point given the circumstances. Thank you very much to Moor Park for having us again this year, and we look forward to returning in 2022. In addition, we are excited to be to welcoming back alumni and members of the general public.
Our 2021 Blues are:
Men's Blues: Ross Martin, Julien Huang, Louis Manson, Cameron Bowie (C), Oliver Nunn, Jack Pickering, Ignacio Perez, Olivier Witteveen.
Women's Blues: Mandi Furaji, Hayyu Imanda, Lucy Denly, Mary Strevens (C), Holly Russell, Barbora Schonfeldova, Louise Fitzpatrick.
In addition to the 131st Blues Varsity, the Varsity matches for the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th teams, including the first ever M6 Varsity, were held in various grass courts across Oxford: our first home match since 2018. Thank you to Oxford University Sport (for Iffley Road Sports Centre and University Parks), North Oxford Lawn Tennis Club, St John's College, Magdalen College, and Worcester College for accommodating us to use their facilities. The results are as follows:
Men's Seconds: 13-8
Women's Seconds: 12-9
Men's Thirds: 12-0
Women's Thirds: 2-11
Men's Fourths: 9-12
Women's Fourths: 12-9
Men's Fifths: 5-14
Men's Sixths: 8-13