It was a nail-biting weekend of tennis in the first ever W5 Varsity match! It couldn’t have been closer, but unfortunately, Cambridge just had the edge and beat us 11-10.
At the beautiful Jesus College grounds, we faced treacherous conditions! Having never experienced heat and sunlight quite like it at the Iffley grounds, the Dark Blues adapted quickly and began with a lead on Day 1. Notably, our 4th and 5th seeds Laura Bailey and Nicole Rosenfeldsecured convincing wins in their singles. Yet, Cambridge wasn’t going to give up and proved that despite never having met one another, they had stronger doubles teams. At the end of the day, adding the few forfeits in our favour, Oxford’s W5 were leading 5-4.
On Day 2, the weather was cooler, but so too were the moods of the Cambridge players. Oxford not only had to tackle the slices of Varsity squash players and formidable shots of former W3 players, but also heated discussions on whether to change the playing order and matches forfeited. Luckily, we talked them down from picking and choosing which matches to forfeit and let us get on with some tennis. The anger seemed to be translated best by Cambridge though who stormed ahead in the doubles matches. Nevertheless, Oxford put up a good fight with Rebecca Bun stepping in as first seed and taking the Cambridge captain to 3 sets and Minnie Karanjavala thrashing both the first and second Cambridge seeds in straight sets. With Laura Bailey and Nicole Rosenfeld beating the 3rd Cambridge doubles pairing with pure power and strategy, things were looking up. It all came down to the last match - would we win or lose? Despite Lizzie Craig’s perseverance, there was a race against the clock and the match was won by Cambridge’s (very dodgy!) last minute addition of a 6th player.
The finals score of 11-10 may have been disappointing for the players, but it represents the first of (hopefully) many more W5 Varsity matches! As the saying goes, ‘first the worst, second the best’ - will 2020 be the year to shoe the tabs?