Updated: Aug 16, 2018
This year’s Blue’s Varsity matches returned to the fantastic venue of Moor Park in Watford, and despite some questionable weather during Trinity term, the weather on Varsity weekend could not have been better, with bright blue skies and baking hot temperatures. The Blues trained hard throughout the entirety of Trinity Term and the rest of the year, going into the weekend full of confidence and playing some of their best tennis, although knowing they would have to fight hard in every match to beat Cambridge.
Women's Blues For the women’s blues, the 2018 varsity weekend will be remembered as one of blood, sweat and many tears. Going in with a strong, determined side, the dark blues were optimistic, however, no amount of optimism could have prepared them for the 16-5 victory that they emerged with.
Every match across the weekend was tightly fought, meaning that at no point was victory expected or assured. From the first epic 3-setter where Sarah Cen triumphed 8-6, to the final match with Annabel Westermann & Nanami Yamaguchi pulling through 20-18 in the third; the atmosphere was sporting, determined and above all competitive. Huge shoutout to Amy Partridge for competing in her 6th straight Blues Varsity (winning five no less) and winning practically every single match along the way. OULTC will be worse off not having her. Thank you Amy!
In spite of going into the second day with a strong 9-3 lead, the dark blues treated every match with care, and did not take their victory for granted, with both Miriam Chapman-Rosenfeld and Diana van der Wattdigging particularly deep in each of their matches. The third singles result of the second day secured the win. Finishing with a forehand winner, Captain Fran Benson was greeted on court by her jubilant team mates to celebrate the victory together. According to Fran, the 2018 varsity match “reflected the importance of team work, support and determination.” These attributes were visible in the faces and celebrations of Oxford’s triumphant women, and reflected a year’s worth of dedication, commitment and hard work.
Men's Blues Following a warm-up at Moor Park on Friday to become accustomed to the “slightly parched” courts, the evening was filled with some solid carb-loading; two main courses followed up by a further visit to Zizzi’s for some takeaway pasta. Word on the street says Novak followed a similarly regimented diet in order to reclaim his Wimbledon title. Saturday morning came with the team raring to go. After a team-huddle and some words of wisdom from skipper Saleem ‘the Grinder’ Rizvi, the men were more than ready to fight tooth and nail for victory. However, despite some close three-set matches, and a lot of fiercely contested tennis, the Oxford Blues were down 10-2 after the first day and knew they faced an up-hill battle going into day two. Dinner that night again featured far more mains than people present, the chaps sticking to their guns.
The Men were willing to lay down their lives for games, sets and wins on Sunday, playing each point like the result of the weekend depended on it. Sadly, in a cruel twist of fate, Oxford lost every match on the Sunday and so the end result was 19-2 to a strong bunch of Tabs. However, both Oxford and their lighter blue (green) counterparts agreed that the score did not reflect the quality of the tennis and the competitiveness of each match. The evergreen Titov lost despite winning more games over three sets #justiceforKT, Saleem threatened to achieve one of THE great comebacks in the second set, and Cameron hit some hard balls. Kandeland Gakuto Fuse showed their class but unfortunately their efforts in securing victory on day one took their toll, Goose Nicholson whipped that delightful ‘caressed’ forehand of his to please the crowd, and Oliver Nunnand Shunta Takino took to the court to play some competitive but not too competitive doubles.
The Dark Blues gave all they had, fighting admirably for every point as if it was their last, even if the overall Varsity result had already been decided. In spite of the result, the team had a fantastic weekend and enjoyed every moment, on and off the court, displaying they were more than just teammates, and that they were great friends to boot. Saleem had to say, “those eight men involved should hold their heads high and be immensely proud of their performances over the weekend, as well as their commitment and hard-work throughout the year. Have no doubt, Oxford’s Blues will be back hungry for revenge next year…”