2010 Varsity Match: Light Blue skies over Eton

The sunny but bitterly cold weather favoured Cambridge this year in an enjoyable and closely fought match at Eton, courtesy of the Provost and Fellows.

Rodney Knight reports:

At first pair for Oxford, Captain Rex Worth and Peter Stewart made a devastating start going 10-4 up in the first game. Worth was dominant on the step well supported by his partner and they forced errors from the Cambridge pair, who could not find their natural rhythm. Just as onlookers expected an easy first game lead for Oxford, the Cambridge pair claimed two points and were inspired to mount an equally exhilarating fight-back to set the game at 10 all. Despite some very fine rallies Oxford could not prevent this momentum from carrying the Cambridge pair to game at 13-10 and on to a convincing win 12-2 12-2.

Robert Desmond, the captain became unbeatable on the step and with Laurie Brock’s assertive support, squeezed errors from Stewart and closed down their opponents relentlessly. A fine match ended too soon for the bemused watchers !

The delayed start to the second pair rubber meant that the match did not seem as finely balanced as it was. The Oxford pair of James Batting and Fritz von Guionneau in third pair had disputed every point in an entertaining rubber with Cambridge’s Alfie Jackson and Will Illingworth; but the Cambridge pair had won the decisive rallies and their steadiness brought them victory 12-10, 12-10, 15-11 to win the match for the Light Blues before the second rubber was well under way. When the crowd of watchers transferred their attention to the second pairs, they witnessed another fiercely contested and skilful encounter in which Balrik Kailey and Conrad Ryan for Oxford performed feats of athleticism to overcome a very determined Tim Fletcher and Michael McCulloch 12-5 12-10 14-11.

The Penguins/Peppers match also had its drama and play was to a high standard. A good Cambridge first pair, Watts and Wingfield lost to an even better Oxford pair, Greene and Hopton in three games and the Cambridge second pair, G Illingworth and Sakhrani defeated Franklin and Kirkhoff by the same margin in another good match. The Penguins were staring defeat in the face when their third pair Morgan and Patel lost the first two games to Oxford’s Hedley and Mostafavi. But Cambridge dug deep and from somewhere produced a remarkable comeback first to draw level and then to win the fifth and thus clinch the match for the Penguins and an overall 7-2 victory for the Light Blue Men.

Despite the unfortunate absence of Oxford’s Ladies’ captain Rosie Scott, a full three pair Ladies match was played, reflecting the enthusiasm for the game engendered in both universities over recent times.

In a high quality match at first pair, the consistency of Cambridge’s Bishop and the superior shot-making of Hird overcame the determination and forceful play of Cutmore- Scott and Mantle after losing the first game.

Cambridge captain Emmalina Thompsell was very well supported by Hullis in their convincing win at second pair over Oxford’s Watts and Macdonald and Prankerd- Smith and Tennyson for Cambridge allowed only three points to the Oxford third pair, giving a clean sweep to the Light Blues in the Ladies Match and reflecting their attention to regular training and match practice.

Pol Roger had again offered ample supplies of champagne for all contestants as well as sports shirts and Mark Williams had once more invited the teams to the masters’ suite at Bekynton where glamourised ladies and smarter men received their prizes and enjoyed an excellent Reception and Dinner. In their speeches the captains expressed thanks to Mark Williams and Eton for this hospitality and to Gareth Hoskins and Richard Barber for representing EFA interests at the event.

Blues Match: Cambridge beat Oxford 2-1

1. R.Desmond (Highgate & Corpus Christi) & L.Brock (Westminster & Girton) beat R.Worth (Shrewsbury & Lady Margaret Hall) & P.Stewart (Shrewsbury & Somerville) 3-0 (13-10, 12-2, 12-2)

2. T.Fletcher (Ipswich & Downing) & M.McCulloch (Shrewsbury & Churchill) lost to B.Kailey (St.Olave’s & Brasenose) & C.Ryan (Highgate & St.Anne’s) 0-3 (5-12, 11-14, 10-12)

3. W.Illingworth (Westminster & Queens) & A.Jackson (Westminster & Jesus) beat J.Batting (Harrow & Exeter) & F.von Guionneau (Eton & St.Hilda’s) 3-0 (12-10, 12-10, 15-11)

Penguins vs Peppers: Cambridge beat Oxford 2-1

1. O.Watts (Ipswich & Trinity Hall) & E.Winfield (Mill Hill & Peterhouse) lost to T.Greene (Highgate & Worcester) & J.Hopton (Eton & Lady Margaret Hall) 0-3 (6-12, 3-12, 9-12)

2. G.Illingworth (Westminster & Queens) & S.Sakhrani (Westminster & Jesus) beat A.Franklin (Highgate & Corpus Christi) & M.Kirchoff (Stowe & Downing) 3-0 (12-5, 12-6, 12-8)

3. R.Morgan (Abingdon & Pembroke) & A.Patel (QE Barnet & Fitzwilliam) beat W.Hedley (Shrewsbury & St.Hilda’s) & M.Mostafavi (Westminster & Christchurch) 3-2 (8-12, 7-12, 12-7, 12-6, 12-8)

Ladies Match: Cambridge beat Oxford 3-0

1. K.Hird (Wycombe HS & St.Catharine’s) & L.Bishop (Westminster & Magdalene) beat H.Cutmore-Scott (Westminster & Christchurch) & C.Mantle (Highgate & Exeter) 3-1 (8-12, 12-1, 12-3, 12-3)

2. E.Thompsell (Westminster & Caius) & E.Hullis (Ipswich High School & Caius) beat I.Watts (Woodbridge & Keble) & L.Macdonald (Notting Hill & Exeter) 3-0 (12-4, 12-7, 12-5)

3. O.Prankerd Smith (Westminster & Peterhouse) & R.Tennyson (Hucknall National & Caius) beat S.Cowen (St.Mary’s, Shaftesbury & Exeter) & A.Douglas (Oakham & Exeter) 3-0 (12-1, 12-1, 12-1)

Old Blues Match: Cambridge drew with Oxford 2-2

1. G.Hoskins & G.Chapman lost to T.Dunbar & G.Coren 0-3 (5-12, 2-12, 4-12)

2. J.Black & C.Vincent lost to N.Cox & M.Platt 1-3 (15-14, 9-12, 10-12, 8-12)

3. S.Woolfries & C.Cooley beat W.Howard & D.Ghui 3-0 (12-9, 12-6, 12-5)

4. K.Turnbull & J.Turnbull beat R.Black & I.MacAuslan 3-0 (12-1, 12-0, 12-7)

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