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Giraffe Club Cup

Posted on February 7, 2019 | in Event, Giraffe, Match Report, NewsTicker | by
On Court!

Giraffe Club Cup, February 2nd, 2019

Thanks to Niholson Gin for their….

Nicholson Gin

…generous sponsorship!

CURTC played host to the Giraffe Club Cup over the weekend to promote students Real Tennis in Cambridge, with 32 players across two divisions playing doubles. The match play was followed by an exhibition match between Ed Kay and Jamie Giddins, before everyone headed out to Jesus College for a black-tie dinner. Huge thanks go to Nicholson Original London Dry Gin for their sponsorship of the drinks reception and to Kees ,Vix, Peter, Simon and Mark for their organisation and marking, and to those who prepared food for the lunch and canapes.


The morning group of Division 1 began with Vix Harvey and Andy Smith taking on Andrew Petrie and Jack Drew. Harvey was up at the galleries with some great volleying, but Drew was attempting to smack winners almost every shot, with Smith struggling to defend the back of the court, eventually running away with the match 6-3. Next on court was the student pair of Ed Hyde and Jimmy Campbell against Mark Perriton and Ivo Macdonald. Macdonald and Perriton showed a glimpse of what was to come. Both of them had lightning reflexes, Macdonald showing his rackets’ pedigree by standing up at the first gallery and vigorously defending anything that came his way. Perriton’s reach helped cover the back of the court, and they rolled over every other team in the group without losing a game. It was then a race for second place, after Hyde and Campbell overcame a large handicap difference against Harvey and Smith, it was all to play for in their final match against Drew and Petrie. However, Campbell was struggling to recover from a late night out, leaving Drew and Petrie to qualify without dropping a game.

The afternoon group was a much more evenly matched affair, the first match saw Charles D’Oyly and Steven Doel narrowly eek out the Newmarket pair of Colin Clifton-Brown and John Burnett 6 games to 5. The Holyport pair of Jon Speirs and Colm O’Shea got off to a better start against Anthony Dean and Aaron Weinkers, despite an impressive series of main wall boasts from Dean. In a last gasp attempt to salvage the match, Dean lined up for the winning gallery, only to find the post of hazard second gallery. D’Oyly and Doel played exceptionally well against Weinkers and Dean, with several impressive cross-court cut shots by D’Oyly which died off the back wall, and a series of impressive net volleys by Doel. They would later win the group comfortably with a 6-1 win over Speirs and O’Shea. Weinkers and Dean were helped by the handicap against an onslaught from Clifton-Brown and Burnett, as Clifton-Brown challenged Weinkers with his excellent demi-piques, while Burnett threatened at the net, but Weinkers’ volleying would prove enough for the pair to notch their first win. It wouldn’t be enough though, as Clifton-Brown and Burnett got the better of Speirs and O’Shea in the match between the visitors, letting the Newmarket pair qualify as runners up on games won.

The semi-finals saw the continued dominance of Macdonald and Perriton who didn’t lose a game against Clifton-Brown and Burnett to go into the final with an impressive record of 24 games won, 0 lost. The drama was instead saved for the second semi-final which saw D’Oyly and Doel against Drew and Petrie. D’Oyly and Doel took an early lead, with D’Oyly forcing Drew to play some awkward shots from the galleries by slamming the ball short and into the main wall. But Drew’s winners were enough to fight back, levelling up the game. But in the end, D’Oyly and Doel were able to take the win 6-5. The final saw Macdonald and Perriton lose a game for the first time in the tournament, as D’Oyly and Doel were able to push the match to 4-4, but Macdonald and Perriton raced away with it once more to take the trophy 6-4.

Div 1 Winners, Mark Perriton & Ivo Macdonald


Division 2 saw pairs with handicaps around 50 or greater face off, and while the quality of the tennis arguably wasn’t as high as Division 1, the tension certainly was. In the morning group, all but two matches went to 5-all. One of those that didn’t was the first match of the morning between Christie Marrian and Guy Kirk and the Ladies Varsity pairing of Olivia Chesser and Alexandra Baranowski. The students warmed up much faster and were belting balls at the dedans, forcing several racket errors out of Marrian and G. Kirk to take the match 6-0. Ben Geytenbeek and Andrew Barker got their first win against Kate Kirk and Sophia Lewis coming from behind by playing consistent tennis against the handicap, before getting two short chases at 30-all in the final game to take the match. K. Kirk and Lewis then had to handle the onslaught of hard forces and consistent volleys from Chesser and Baranowski, but held their own and came back from 2-4 down to level at 4-all then 5-all. In the final game, Lewis finally broke through the volleying efforts to lay a 2 and 3 chase on match point, and took the game 6-5. Marrian and G. Kirk took Geytenbeek and Barker to 3-all, before an ill-fated volley by Geytenbeek found the net and Marrian and G. Kirk ran away with the match. Geytenbeek and Barker again found themselves behind against Chesser and Baranowski, with a growing crowd following the early finish in Division 1. Geytenbeek and Barker chased back and saved several match points to find the score at 5-all 40-all, the winner progressing through and the loser knocked out. In the deciding moment, Chesser mishit a volley to put Geytenbeek and Barker through. It was then winner-takes-all in the final match with the first of several partner vs. partner games with G. Kirk and Marrian against K. Kirk and Lewis. Lewis and K. Kirk held on well, with some excellent return-of-serve by Lewis and retreiving by K. Kirk, to take a narrow 4-5 lead. A switch to demi-piques by Marrian levelled the game and took a 40-30 lead in the final game. G. Kirk went for glory but found the net, only to finish the match on the final point, qualifying through with a lob into the grille.

The afternoon group began with Kevin Heffernan teaming up with Emma Samia-Aly, an alumna who hadn’t been on a real tennis court since her graduation. Over the course of her matches, she slowly started to find her form again, but it wasn’t quick enough in their first match against Linda and Jeremy Fairbrother, going down 6-3. The next match was between two Ladies Varsity pairs: Krittika D’Silva and Cameron Roker against Jacqueline Siu and Rosie Taylor. The match swung backwards and forwards depending on who had the serve, ending up at 5-all. Then Taylor smashed towards the dedans to take the win 6-5. D’Silva and Roker stayed on court against the Fairbrother pairing, and the students used their youth to their advantage taking the match 6-0. Siu and Taylor qualified through by beating Heffernan and Samia-Aly, before struggling against the spin and loop of the Fairbrother’s serves. In the final game, D’Silva and Roker needed a win against Heffernan and Samia-Aly to qualify, but Samia-Aly finally got into her groove on court again, to get their first win of the competition, sending the Fairbrothers into the semi-finals in the processes.

The two semi-finals in Division 2 had vastly different fortunes in terms of handicap. The first semi-final between Geytenbeek and Barker against the Fairbrothers saw two teams of roughly similar handicaps, but Geytenbeek and Barker served well to take the match 6-1. The second semi-final saw the largest possible handicap difference in the division. Marrian and G. Kirk gave one serve, banned tambour, owe 30 receive 30. In response, Siu and Taylor smashed everything they could towards the dedans, with enough either going in or forcing racket errors to take the match 6-3, G. Kirk losing the final point of the match by striking the base of the tambour.

The final again saw a massive handicap difference, Geytenbeek and Barker giving one serve, banned tambour to Siu and Taylor. Geytenbeek and Barker played consistent shots, focused on getting the ball safely over the net and forcing their opponents to make errors. It proved enough, and when Barker switched to a side-wall serve, they ran away with the game and the trophy 6-3.

Div 2 Winners, Andrew Barker, Ben Geytenbeek and man in a suit



After the Club had calmed down, everybody settled in to nibble through the canapes and Nicholson Gin. That evening was the exhibition match between Ed Kay and Jamie Giddins. After the presentation of trophies to the cup winners, the match got underway, first to 8 games. Kay raced away with the first two games against Giddins’ demi-piques and railroads, but Giddins was able to take the third game to deuce, taking the game after a shot at the grille went high. However, Giddins served poorly, Kay opting to leave a hazard chase between his legs. Giddins responded well, cut-volleying the return-of-serve a couple of times to leave a short chase, but Kay careered a volley into the backhand corner to take the game.

Kay started to play to the crowd, aiming at the winning gallery but settling for a smack at the grille. He switched to a high drop serve, but Giddins did enough in response, benefiting from a tough bounce from the penthouse. Giddins pushed Kay to deuce, and then rounded off the game with a pair of excellent railroads. In the next game, the rallies became longer and longer and the crowd got more excited after Ed hit both a winning gallery and, later, a force into the dedans to win the game so hard that all of the spectators flinched. Fortunately, the perspex held strong. Kay was in control of the game, targeting the corners and making Giddins scramble. An impressive cut-volley on a medium-length chase led to Kay going up 5 games to 2.

Kay was on fire, playing off the walls at every opportunity, punishing a poor serve to a half yard chase, hitting a winning gallery from a double-boasted return-of-serve and defending a main-wall dedans. He got a little greedy, however, netting a hazard second gallery for the first of several occasions. But Giddins could do nothing as Kay forced twice into the dedans finish the game and raced on to seven games. Kay kept going for glory in the winning gallery, but instead found hazard second gallery twice more. Giddins started to get back in the game with a long rally before he too found hazard second gallery. The game went to deuce, and Giddins finally took one back from a failed volley from the tambour by Kay.

Kay was relaxed, and kept aiming at the winning gallery, but it let Giddins back into the game. He tried a couple of times to volley behind his back, but it didn’t work, and some loose shots by Kay meant Giddins could fight back, winning the next four games. In that time, there were some epically long rallies and fantastic gets off the tambour. Finally, with the score at 6-7, Kay pulled off the shot of the match, with a behind-the-back volley off the tambour. Giddins put a couple into the net, and Kay went for glory, but missed the winning gallery high twice. He finally took the match by placing the ball into the base of the tambour.

Ed Hyde @the dinner in Jesus

Vix Harvey

The evening ended with a wonderful dinner in the Upper Hall at Jesus College, some post dinner drinks in their rather stylish College bar…and some stragglers spotted leaving ‘Spoons at 230….

Ben Geytenbeek, reporting from the dedans

Photo credit: Jon Speirs


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