By Hayyu Imanda, OULTC Women's Blues Captain 2021-2022
The weekend of June 25-26, 2022 was one we looked forward to: it was the first time since 2019 that the Varsity matches are opened to spectators. The Varsity bar (ran by our alumni and former Blues Captains Nanami and Ed) and the Moor Park BBQ station served our guests refreshments and lunch throughout the weekend. In addition, we organised a supporter’s coach between Oxford and Moor Park to allow friends and family from Oxford to come support, selling every single available seat.
Both the women’s and men’s Varsities are of exceptional standard this year — the Cambridge women’s team was nearly unbeaten this season, as they won the BUCS Premier South league, but our Dark Blues went to the weekend ready to take on the challenge. The men’s Varsity match was highly anticipated, with the Oxbridge team having done exceptionally well in their annual friendly matches, including a win against Queen’s Club and a very close loss against the All England Lawn Tennis Club.
The women’s singles lineup started with convincing win from Sama, as well as a spectacular win from our number one, Izzy, winning 6-4 in the third set, with both sides putting up a show with their serve and volley routines. The men’s had a tough start, losing three 3-set matches in the singles rounds, but Jack and Brendan took two matches in straight sets.
During the doubles rounds, heavy rain fell down and it was clear that play had to be stopped for the day. By the end of Saturday, the women’s Dark Blues were behind 3-7, while the men’s 3-5. After a discussion with the referee, the next day will have to start with the singles rounds, before completing the interrupted doubles round.
The teams arrived on Sunday morning, with an earlier start to stay on schedule, ready for the weekend’s deciding matches. “Focused” was the word the Chris used to described how he and the Oxford team felt that morning.
The Cambridge women’s side brought their best game, winning all remaining six singles matches. Inda and the Cambridge no 4 hugged goodbye, as it was their final singles Varsity match, with three matches played between the pair. On the men’s side, the Oxford side won five matches; today, it was Oxford’s time to take the win on three-set matches, with Olivier with a spectacular comeback winning 7-5 on the third set, and Chris convincingly won the set 6-1.
Into the doubles, the men’s were 8-6 up and the women’s have lost 3-13 but were still keen to get the numbers up in doubles and using the tactics they have practiced all year. Izzy and Grace took overall took two doubles wins including a three-set match against the Cambridge no 2 pair, while Mandi and Sama took a win against the Cambridge no. 3 pair. The women’s Cambridge team retains the trophy with a 16-5 win, but the Oxford team was proud of how they competed.
The men’s Oxford team entered the last round of doubles leading 10-8, which means they need one match to secure the trophy. The first match ended in favour of the Cambridge no. 3 pair, but shortly afterwards Ross and Louis won theirs. On the top court, the doubles no. 1 pair went into a third set tiebreak, which Chris and Jack won 11-9. The men’s Blues retains the trophy with a 12-9 win, following 2021’s 11-10 win.
After the trophy presentation, the players, coaches, senior committee members and alumni were welcomed into the dining hall in the Moor Park mansion, with exceptional dinner to accompany the captain’s speeches. It was another great Varsity year for the history books. We thank Moor Park for hosting us and accommodating our players and supporters throughout the weekend, and to Embedded Insurance for sponsoring our Varsity match.
Our 2022 Blues are:
Men’s Blues: Jack Molloy, Ross Martin (Captain), Louis Manson, Brendan Emmanuel, Jack Pickering, Christopher Grassick, Olivier Witteveen
Women’s Blues: Isabelle Marshall, Mandi Furaji, Grace Kim, Hayyu Imanda (Captain), Sama Malik, Barbora Schonfeldova, Nicola Jennings
Full results can be found on the link below.
In addition to the Blues Varsity, the 2-5s Varsity were held in Cambridge on 26-27 June 2022. In addition to allowing players to attend commemoration balls, the day gap between the Blues Varsity and the 2-5s Varsity meant that we can have more spectators from across different teams to support on either the 25th in Moor Park or the 27th in Cambridge.
Result (Oxford - Cambridge)