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Finals Day 2020, sponsored by Hannay Robertson Financial Planning

It was only two weeks ago but it feels like a lifetime. Stay safe everyone…
First our Finalists. (70+ & Junior Championships were postponed).

Finals Day, 2020

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CURTC Reopens on July 25th

from President Vix

I received confirmation this morning that the work carried out during the lockdown, and the risk assessment we have developed is sufficient to allow us to reopen on a restricted basis. I am extremely grateful to Jim Ludekens for carrying out essential tests and other tasks during the lockdown period, which has been crucial to our success today. Please now feel free to book as normal. Booking the courts acknowledges your acceptance of four important ‘Booking conditions’ below and that you will comply with the ‘Regulations for Real Tennis over the current period’ which follow. Please take particular note of Sections 2 and 3.:

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Cambridge win the East Anglia Pennant!

On Wednesday the 11th March, Hatfield visited Cambridge in the last match of the 2019/20 East Anglia Pennant season. Coming into the match Cambridge were top of the table on 21 points with Hatfield in second on 15 points, meaning that Hatfield could take the league to a playoff match if they won 0-6.

The evening started with Alan Sharpe’s singles. Alan started slowly with his opponent making very few errors, at 1-5 Alan started to gain some momentum and picked up a couple games, but he fell short, losing 3-6. Up next was Sonja Badenhorst, who played very elegantly to race to a 5-2 lead, when her opponent started to make a comeback. Many long rallies later, at 5-5 Sonja kept her cool to win 6-5. This ensured the pennant would be coming home to CURTC, this was a fitting way for the pennant to won as Sonja was without a doubt the MVP of the tournament; winning all of her matches. Next was Andrew Barker who battled hard in a close fought contest, with the match going to 5-5, 40-all game point, Andrew narrowly lost 5-6. Richard Jones was next in the last singles match of the evening. Richard struggled to find his form whilst his opponent was playing incredibly well, Richard ended up losing 0-6. CURTC were 1-3 down after the singles and were under real threat of losing their unbeaten status. Andrew and Alan had their doubles next and played well together to win 8-3. The final match of the season came down to Sonja and Richard, who played in a very close fought contest, narrowly winning 8-7. This meant that the evening concluded 3-3, with CURTC finishing the season unbeaten!

Hatfield were great opponents and all the tennis was played in a good spirit, which resulted in a thoroughly enjoyable evening for all.

Andrew Barker (EAP Captain)

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Inter-Universities Weekend: The Report

Inter-Universities 2020

Cambridge and Newmarket once again hosted the annual Inter-Universities Cup & Tournament last weekend. Players came in representing Exeter, Bristol, Middlesex, UCL, Coventry, St Andrews by car, train, minibus and even one player flying in from Dubai. Play began on Friday, with the first rounds of the Inter-University Cup. As the stronger teams would enter in the second round, it was a chance for the higher-handicapped players to get some game time. There were a couple of close matches. Fresh from their doubles victory at the Varsity Match the weekend before, India Blaksely and Sophia Lewis (Cambridge) had a good battle against the better-ranked Exeter pair of Felix Delaforce and Toby Calder, with a live doubles after the singles went one match each way. Similarly, Bristol’s Louis Richards held strong against the Middlesex 2 pair of Ana Rainea and Jack Carter, winning both the singles and the doubles without dropping a game, although Carter did manage to beat Richard’s teammate Arthur Guy. Elsewhere, Middlesex 1 and Cambridge 3 cruised through to the second round.

Friday also saw the first matches of the handicap singles competition. This year, the draw was divided into two divisions. In the second division, the Middlesex players adapted to the Cambridge Green court well, with their pros Chris Bray and Will Burns dropping in to lend some support. Across the day, Amirreza Khorsandi and Kenny Chiang looked strong from Group F, both enthusiastically taking to the marking as well. Meanwhile, Thomas Gray from Exeter was cruising through Group E until he came unstuck to Ruben Roque from Middlesex, making the mathematics of the group interesting. Ultimately, Roque would lose a place in the final to his teammate Carter.

In the first division, the matches from the premier group took place across both courts in the evening. There was some fantastic tennis played, especially by the UCL pair of Tom Carew Hunt and Hugh Pemberton. But there wasn’t anything any of them could do against Charlie Wells (Coventry), fresh from a victory in the Boomerang earlier in the year. He could serve very consitently and found the targets seemingly on command to win through into the knockout round. Meanwhile, groups C and D saw lots of close matches featuring a lot of players from Cambridge, but also Calder, Rainea, Samuel Asgedom (Middlesex) and Jack Collingwood (Bristol). Every match was a roller coaster ride, with momentum swinging violently. Both groups were incredibly close, and every game mattered.

Saturday morning saw the second round of the Inter-University Cup. Richards form for Bristol 1 carried forward from the previous day, besting Jack Drew from Cambridge 2. However, Ashwin Ahuja was too strong despite the very early hour and took Cambridge 2 to victory. Out at Newmarket, Ben Geytenbeek (Cambridge 3) very nearly got the better of Charles Stevens (St Andrews 1), but couldn’t convert several chances to close out the match. In the doubles however, Geytenbeek and Bobby Bruce were successful in picking of the weaker player in Sebastian Flame, taking a nailbiting upset victory. Back in Cambridge, Carew Hunt and Pemberton from UCL cruised past Middlesex 1, and the Cambridge 1 pair of Ivo Macdonald and Marc Bonaventura had a rusty time against Exeter 1, coming off their big Varsity matches.

The final group stage matches were on Saturday afternoon. In group B, Geytenbeek narrowly qualified through ahead of Richards, thanks to the latter’s defeat to Bruce. Delaforce cruised through the group to win comfortably. Guy D’Oyly (Exeter) breezed through Group H out at Newmarket, though Sean Cummins (Bristol) was not far behind. Play stopped early on the Blue Court to set up for the evening, while Cambridge 1 annihilated Cambridge 3 over on the Green Court to reach the Inter-University Cup Final.

By the time everybody returned that evening, the Blue Court had been transformed into a dance hall thanks to some great work by Vix Harvey and Andrew Barker. Lights were draped from the penthouses and a ceilidh band played music. A roast dinner was served, followed by dancing at the hazard end late into the night.

By the time the players returned the next morning, the court was back to its usual playable condition. The second semifinal of the Inter-University Cup was that morning. Drew and Ahuja couldn’t quite get the better of Carew Hunt and Pemberton from UCL in the singles, though won a close dead-rubber doubles match. Then followed the knockout stages of the Handicap Singles. In Division 1, there were some large handicap odds being played, with Thomas Whitworth (Cambridge) winning through against both group A qualifiers. Meanwhile, India Blaksley fought through to the final only playing against other Cambridge players in Ed Furst and Miles Kempton. The star players from the group stage, Wells and Delaforce, both came unstuck early on. The final was a repeat of an earlier group stage match. Blaksley hung on well against Whitworth as it was clear both of them were better than their handicaps. But ultimately, Whitworth got the break and held strong to victory.

In division 2, one half of the draw was dominated by Middlesex players, while the other half was dominated by Exeter players. Yet Arthur Guy from Bristol, improving with every match played, made his way past two Middlesex players to meet Tom Gray from Exeter in the final. Gray had made it through in bittersweet fashion, as his opponent in the semifinal, Sean Cummins, rolled an ankle and could not continue his match. In the final, Gray was clearly the stronger player, racing to a quick lead and holding on to win. Finally, in the Inter-University Cup, Cambridge 1 would take victory over UCL 1. Despite showing some fight, the Cambridge pair were clearly too strong and were getting better and better with each game played.

Huge thanks to the sponsorship of Pol Roger, the Tennis and Rackets Association and the Dedanists Foundation. Thanks to the Cambridge Pros for their organising and marking. Further thanks to Christie and Paul for their wonderful streaming*, to Vix Harvey and Andrew Barker for organising the ceilidh and to Ben Geytenbeek for managing the draws.

Ben Geytenbeek

* Special mention to Ben for the amazing scoring/stats addition to the stream, Ed

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Inter-Universities Cup & Tournament

1st: A big thanks to our Sponsors: The Dedanists Foundation and Pol Roger2nd: Congratulations the The Inter-University Cup Winners & Runners Up

Ivo Macdonald & Marc Bonaventura, Cambridge

Hugh Pemberton** & Tom Carew Hunt, UCL

3rd: Congratulations to the Tournament Winners: Thomas Whitworth and Tom Gray

**Div 1 Finalists: India Blaksley & Thomas Whitworth

Div 2 Finalists: Arthur Guy & Tom Gray

and last, but by no means least, thanks to all those who made the weekend possible including

Ben Geytenbeek, Chief organiser, photobombing a shot of CURTC’s racket collection

Peter Paterson, Kees and all the markers and commentators

** Please note exemplary over the shoulder photo technique as taught by Vix and demonstrated by Hugh, India and Thomas

Photos by Kees and Kees’ camera

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Inter-Universities: Finals Day

Semis and Finals of the Inter-University Cup and Inter-University Handicap Singles sponsored by the Dedanists and Pol Roger

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Inter-Universities: Day 2

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Cambridge Varsity Teams, 2020

2nds, played at Oxford

the 149th Varsity Match at Lords which……means that 2021 will be the 150th!

Photos: Ben, Jacki and Kees’ camera

ps more at

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Inter University Cup 2020

Streaming now and all weekend….

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Varsity Match sponsored by Pol Roger: Day 2

Jacqueline Siu lost to Eve Shenkman 0/6 1/6
The first match of the morning went the way of Oxford with a clincial display from Shenkman. She settled into the match quite quickly, as Siu was trapped down the hazard end. Shenkman kept finding the grille or the tambour as she raced away with the first set. Siu settled down at the start of the second, as the rallies got longer Siu started playing better and better. Siu took a game early in the second set, attacking two very short chases to win it. However, it seemed as though no matter how good a shot Siu had, Shenkman always had an answer and went on to win it in straight sets.

Jack Drew lost to Frederick Freeman 3/6 2/6
Drew started well, much like in his doubles match the previous day, taking the first few games against his stronger opponent. However, very quickly Freeman was able to impose himself into the match, making Drew run to all corners of the court. That said, Drew held his own, with some excellent retrieval especially off the tambour and under the grille. By the second set, Drew took another lead, and had chances to extend it, but Freeman was able to beat some relatively short chases to hold on. Despite throwing everything he could at it, there wasn’t much more that Drew could do as Freeman held steady to win comfortably.

Marc Bonaventura lost to James Bates 6/2 4/6 2/6
Bonaventura continued his trend of starting well, pummeling consistent shots into Bates’ backhand corner to race to an early lead in the first set. His play was consistently inches over the net and very accurate with his volleying. Bates never looked in it as Bonaventura raced to take an early lead. However, in the second set, Bates started to find his groove. A close deuce battle in the second game set the tone, with momentum shifting one way to the other. Bonaventura looked to have the edge, but Bates kept asking questions of his game. Bonaventura had the advantage with the score at 4-all, and up in the game. But Bates showed a lot of class across a long series of deuces, just edging out a lead, cheered on by a raucous crowd. Bates took the set and momentum, racing to a lead in the third. But Bonaventura wasn’t out of it yet, fighting back and making an interesting 2-4 game. A bit of fortune and a lot of skill gave the game, and the match, to Bates. With that victory, Oxford sealed the match, with the Cambridge team ruing several missed chances.

Sophia Lewis and India Blaksley defeated Georgie Willis and Charlotte Hoskin 6/1 6/5
Cambridge notched up its first win of the weekend in a surprise but well earned victory in the Women’s first seed doubles. Lewis and Blaksley went out with a solid plan to target Hoskin and it appeared to be paying off. The near-capacity crowd transitioned from stunned disbelief to a loud and boisterous cheer squad as the Cambridge pair kept picking off Hoskin at the net. At the service end, Blaksley demonstrated her deadly net volleys and Lewis stayed solid at the back of the court. The games kept going Cambridge’s way as Willis frustration grew. Blaksley hit a fantastic net volley into the winning gallery to seal the first set. Oxford switched receivers in the second, and it appeared to have paid off, racking up four quick games. But the Cambridge girls held their nerve and returned to their initial strategy of picking off Hoskin. Slowly, they clawed their way back into the set. Their confidence grew, and started hitting shots at Willis that even she couldn’t get back. Towards the end, her frustration boiled over. Despite dropping the game at 4-all, Cambridge finished strong, with Blaksley winning the match with an ace under-arm twist against Willis to the joy of the crowd.

Ivo Macdonald def Benedict Yorston 6/4 5/6 6/3
Following the success of the women’s doubles, Macdonald notched up the first victory for the men’s team. It was a hard fought nearly three hour long match, with the two players barely separated by more than a couple of points or games at any point in the match. A lot of the games went to deuce, which were all narrowly won by the small margins. Both players used the whole court, boasting the ball of any surface they felt like. Yorston pushed Macdonald again and again, but Macdonald was up to the task and was able to get just about everything back. Macdonald took the first set as Yorston celebrated early, assuming he had hit the grille, but Macdonald retrieved it and went on to win a chase and then the set. The second set was even tighter, neither player seemed to get much momentum and both were starting to feel low on energy though they didn’t want to show it. By the time the set went to 5-all, Yorston had the better game and managed to take the set. By the third set, Macdonald started to get the upper hand, serving his tight railroads and finally managing to get a few main-wall boasts into the dedans. As the match approached three hours, Macdonald got the edge in a couple of games to take Cambridge to victory.

Ed Hyde lost to Rory Giddins 1/6 0/6
By comparison, the final match was over rather quickly. Giddins had Hyde running to all the corners of the court, but the shots were far too accurate and too precise. Despite getting an early game, it was all one way traffic. Nevertheless, the crowd were now giddy on their Pol Roger Champagne and ready for the reception and dinner. Many thanks must go to the MCC for hosting a fabulous event and to Pol Roger for their continued sponsorship. Best wishes are sent from all the players, staff and spectators to Chris Swallow with hopes for a speedy recovery. Huge plaudits must go to Lord’s professional Jack Clifton for a sterling effort with the marking and to Peter Patterson and the Oxford pros for their assistance. Congratulations go to Oxford, although plans for revenge are already in the works!

Ben Geytenbeek

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Varsity Match, sponsored by @PolRoger, Day 1

Oxford took the honours on Day 1 of the Varsity Match at Lord’s. Oxford have an unassailable lead in the Women’s Varsity, and the men stole a key advantage going into Day 2.

Ulla Petti lost to Charlotte Hoskin 2/6 3/6
The day started with the 4th seed women’s singles. Petti started well for Cambridge, putting the first point of the day into the grille as she raced to a solid start. However, Hoskin held her nerve on several key points midway through the set. Petti was retrieving well, heaving the ball back over the net with some excellent retrieving from her double-handed backhand. Hoskin played some excellent shots and put the ball into difficult areas, but Petti held her own. She pushed Hoskin hard in both sets, but ultimately Oxford ran away with the momentum in the second half of both of them.

Jacqueline Siu & Ulla Petti lost to Nanami Yamaguchi & Eve Shenkman 0/6 1/6
After her sister made her debut for Cambridge the week before, N. Yamaguchi demonstrated the pedigree of lawn tennis in the family. Siu managed to get a handle on Shenkman’s serve, but kept hitting it to N. Yamaguchi up at the galleries who was able to volley anything and everything near her. The Cambridge pair were able to hold their own through enough of the points, but never seemed to get enough momentum going until the end of the match, where two aces from Petti into the nick finally won them a game.

Marc Bonaventura & Jack Drew lost to Benedict Yorston and James Bates 6/3 2/6 0/6 1/6
Bonaventura came out strong in the first match of the Men’s Varsity. The Cambridge pair hit the ground running, racing through the first few games. The match was epitomised by long rallies along the main wall between Bonaventura and Yorston, with Drew chipping in well off the tambour and up at the galleries. Both played with calmness and focus through the first set, chasing everything down and taking a 6/3 lead. However, in the second set a controversial call seemed to rattle the Cambridge pair: a ball bounced off the back wall onto the ledge of the last galley, and Yorston scooped it over the net whilst it was still rolling as the crowd cried throw. Yorston began to play better and better as the match went on, as the Cambridge pair struggled to get their feet moving well. By the third set, the match turned into a rout, with Oxford playing classy tennis and Cambridge fighting hard to stay in it.

India Blaksley lost to Nanami Yamaguchi 2/6 0/6
Despite double faulting on the first point, Blaksley settled into the match much faster than N. Yamaguchi, as she took two early games and made the match look like it was going to be close. It wasn’t to be, however, as N. Yamaguchi took her volleying skills from the earlier doubles match and executed it brilliantly in the singles. Blaksley tried hard to put the ball in difficult places, but as soon as it went anywhere near her favourite areas, N. Yamaguchi was able to place the ball wherever she wanted. Blaksley couldn’t seem to find a tactic that would work, as Oxford ran away with it from the middle of the first set onwards. Blaksley held her head high and keep fighting for the rest of the match, but it wasn’t to yield any more games.

Sophia Lewis lost to Georgie Willis 0/6 0/6
Willis kept her dominant streak in the Women’s Varsity going as she dispatched of S. Lewis, showing why she is the best female student player going around. To her credit, S. Lewis fought well, keeping the ball in play and even getting a few good winners in. Willis was a class above though, and though the crowd was on her side, there wasn’t much S. Lewis could do against it. So she fought brave and played in good spirit.

Ed Hyde & Ivo Macdonald lost to Rory Giddins and Frederick Freeman 2/6 3/6 6/3 6/5 5/6
The most exciting match of the day was saved until the very end. A passionate crowd witnessed an absolutely nailbiting match from start to finish, with plenty of high quality tennis on display. The first few games oscillated back and forth, with Oxford winning the key points to take a 1/4 lead early on. Both Macdonald and Hyde took a bit of time to settle into the match from there on, as Giddins played them to all corners of the court. Soon enough, Oxford had won the first set, and was on their way to taking a commanding lead in the second. Despite being ten handicap points below the rest of the field, Freeman was holding is own as well, putting a few winners past the Cambridge pair. By the third set, it was do-or-die for Cambridge, and both players started to fight for it. Macdonald found his range with the accuracy on the dedans, with hard, straight forces that were difficult to return. Hyde also showed how excellent a retriever he is, combined with some excellent and accurate backhand volleys. When Cambridge took the third set, it looked to be anybody’s match. All of a sudden, the crowd were deeply invested in the match, cheering on every point. Cambridge came from behind in the fourth set, going to a tense 5-all game. In the fifth set, and with the match heading deep into its third hour, Cambridge took the lead for the first time since the first ten minutes of the match. Games were traded each way, and momentum swung wildly. At 5-4, Cambridge looked to be running away with it, but their shots hit every side and ledge around the grille without going in. Eventually, Oxford took the serve, and by the final 5-all game, held on for the match.

Cambridge go into Day 2 needing a series of excellent performances in the Men’s singles. The Women’s singles is even more uphill, with a tough first seed doubles match still to come. The dinner and champagne reception sponsored by Pol Roger will be held following the play.

Ben Geytenbeek

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Varsity 2nds

Oxford took the honours at the Varsity Seconds match over the weekend.

After months of training and practice, the Cambridge seconds team made their way to the “other place” for their much anticipated fixture against the Oxford Unicorns. The first match Read More

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East Anglia Pennant: Cambridge visit Prested

On the 13th of February, Cambridge travelled to Prested for the penultimate fixture in the East Anglia Pennant. Having won every match of the season so far, Cambridge were sitting comfortably at the top of the table and were hoping to continue this form to bring the pennant to CURTC! Read More

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MURTC Students Visit


The student team of Middlesex University paid a mid-week visit to Cambridge as part of their reconnaissance for the upcoming Inter-University Tournament. In response, they met a Cambridge team looking for some pre-Varsity competitive tennis. All of the Middlesex players had just picked up a racquet for the first time this year, and had rapidly improving handicaps, even during the matches. The only highlight of the day for the Cambridge students was an 8/3 win to student co-president Rosie Taylor over MURTC’s Jack Carter in a near-flawless performance.

Jacqueline Siu almost got the better Ana Rainea with both their singles and doubles matches (the latter with William Waldock) going to a 7-all, with MURTC managing to hold on for the win. William Waldock also pushed Ruben Roque to another 7-all match, but again could not seal victory. In the remaining matches, Middlesex proved too strong with their burgeoning talent notching up win after win. Nevertheless, everything was in good spirit (and so was the food) and the Cambridge players are keen for their rematches in a few weeks time.

Ben Geytenbeek


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Giraffe Club Cup 2020

Visuals from the Giraffe Club Cup in Montage or…
…Menu form

With special thanks to our sponsor, Nicholson Gin!

Links are to Google Photos Galleries and Youtube videos

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