Updated: Aug 16, 2018
W2 The Robins went into the 2018 Varsity weekend powered by Jennifer Ehr's barbecued burgers and Fran's fab cake, and despite playing with determination and finesse, finished the first day biting at the heels of a strong Cambridge W2, 6-5 down in matches. To this day we still do not know what happened to the missing match. Highlights of the Saturday include Lizzie Johnson's inability to give up on a single ball, Caitlin Knights never-ending rally-battles, and captain Katie Baston presenting even more fab cake (thank you Mrs Baston) to fuel the troops.
On Sunday morning the girls reassembled at University Parks, slightly sore and sunburnt, but acutely aware of the importance of every single victory the next few hours would bring. Heavily contested singles games levelled the score at 9-9 entering the final round of doubles. Despite a superb performance by Alex Reyner and Jen , it was soon 10-10, with one match left on court. Eloïse Hamilton, on fiery form and yet to drop a match, was the perfect picture of composure in the face of such pressure. Aided by the cheering of a supportive crowd, her and partner Lucy Denly (thankfully oblivious to the crucial nature of the match) clinched the deciding doubles to win W2 Varsity 11-10. The friendship and pride in such a hard-fought victory was visible in the slightly soggy celebrations of Oxford’s triumphant women.
M2 Taking place at University Parks, the M2 Varsity match this year was a well-fought contest from start until finish. Following a difficult fixture the previous year, the boys knew they were in for a tough couple of days, and were confident but not too confident following some strong results throughout Trinity term.
The weekend kicked off with a round of very competitive singles matches. Daniel Heathcote, only recently promoted from M3, made light work of Cambridge’s captain, whilst captain Casper 'the Oaf" Scheible won his first match in straight sets. However, Cambridge unfortunately came out of the singles with a 4-2 lead, culminating in an epic three setter, in which their 1st seed just edged Ignacio Perez 10-8 in the third, despite a bagel by the Chilean in the first set. Two rounds of doubles followed, and although the whole team put in very strong performances, the first day finished with Cambridge 8-4 ahead.
The men of M2 went into the second day still confident in themselves to pick up a few wins early doors to put the pressure on Cambridge. After all, if England could win a world cup match 6-0, anything was possible. Things started well with Casper ruthlessly dispatching his opponent, throwing in a bagel to rub salt into the wounds, Ignacio comfortably winning his singles, and Louis Bell-roberts going a set up against the Tab’s skipper. However, with the overall Varsity tantalisingly poised, the momentum shifted mid-way through this round of singles and Cambridge came out victorious with 3 doubles matches yet to be played. Nonetheless, admirable efforts and exceptional tennis was still played by the battling boys in blue, Casper keen to highlight the tenacity of Luke Pitman, the cool steeliness of Maximilian Müller, and Mark Brooke's plethora of aesthetic backhands. The weekend unfortunately ended in a 14-7 defeat, but the team should nonetheless be proud of their efforts in both the weekend and over the course of the season too. Bagels and hotdogs were served up by Oxford throughout the weekend, and the final result represents a big improvement from last year’s score and is certainly something to build on for 2019 #Allezlesbleus