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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

MURTC – CURTC

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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Wood is Good!!

Victory at the 2020 Boomerang Cup in Melbourne

Boom Boom

Charlie, Julian, Katie & Derrick

This biennial team handicap doubles tournament takes place in Melbourne in January and 33 teams participated from around the world. The “Wood is Good” team consisting of CURTC members Julian Stafford and Derrick Wells along with Derrick’s son Charlie and Katie Leppard from Oxford was not feeling optimistic when we started the tournament as we had all 4 of our group matches owing handicap including several rubbers which were one serve ban tambour. Our stalwart team laboured through only dropping one set during the group stage. Our secret advantage was Charlie Wells having recently only played with a hangover under the auspices of Ben Taylor-Matthews at Leamington and Rob Fahey at Prested Hall. Charlie now staying with the team at our splendid Yarra Valley billet played in fine form and attracted bandit status – one of several improving players – but crucially very consistently.

Entering the knock out stage we met RMTC “The Rest” with a straightforward victory 4-0. At this point we had only lost one set. Then in the quarter-final, we met Oxford. They arrived with a supprt team that resembled cheerleaders from an NFL match that drowned our miserable encouragement. 2 sets all and level games after all four rubbers. Twenty-two games apiece. The last pair on court had to slug it out in a best of a five game set. Our pair on court was Charlie Wells and Katie Leppard. Three games to love and the match was ours. Off to the semi-final.

The semi-final fixture was against our old nemesis Julian Snow (ex British Amateur Champion over a period spanning 25 years) leading a very competent low-handicap Leamington team including Freddie Dixon, Chis Kroeger, Henry Bryan, and Rob Stuart. A formidable team but dispatched with some great floor shots from Julian, volleys from Katie and the odd force from Derrick at crucial point moments. The result, 3-1 to Wood is Good.

The final was against the US Secret Service which included the former Ladies world Champion Penny Lumley and a bunch of very capable Americans with one Australian. At two up we were challenged by Penny and Andrew Gould. Facing 6-2 down Derrick and Julian pulled up their laces and stormed back to an 8-7 win and sealed the title. Charlie and Katie finished off the last set to make it a 4-0 love win.

Julian Stafford

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CURTC vs MCC, Pol Roger Trophy

MCC take the tie 4-1 after some highly entertaining high class Doubles and Singles

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East Anglia Pennant Update

On Thursday the 16th of January, Cambridge travelled to Newmarket for a crucial fixture in the East Anglia Pennant. At the start of the evening Cambridge were top of the league on 12 points whilst Newmarket were second on 10.
The tennis started with Andrew Barker playing his singles but struggled to find his form and got crushed 6-0. At this point it looked as though the evening could be a long one for Cambridge. Andrew was then joined by Alan Sharpe in the doubles. Andrew and Alan played well together to achieve a comfortable 4-8 win. Andrew left Alan on court to play his singles. Which was the definition of a nail biter; 11 games, of which 8 went to 40-all game point. Alan displayed composure in many high pressure situations and ultimately took home a very hard fought victory, 5-6. Up next was Richard who played well to achieve a narrow win 5-6. Cambridge were looking good at this point; 1-3 in the lead, and with the seemingly unbeatable duo of Sonja and Richard stepping up to play their doubles. Read More

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MCC visit in the Pol Roger Trophy, Sat, Jan 25th

Some familiar faces from the MCC will be facing CURTC’s full complement of Ed’s on Saturday. Please come along to the club if you can and if not please support the CURTC Stream team who will be back in action. Check back for the link.

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CURTC visit Hatfield House

The first away fixture for 2020 took a team of ten players to our near neighbours Hatfield on a crisp Sunday morning.
The first match saw Ben Geytenbeek and Andy Smith (Cambridge) up against Mark Wilcox and Joe Thompson (Hatfield). Cambridge raced to a fast start, with Smith playing some excellent retrieving especially from the backhand corner and Geytenbeek just holding on to Thompson’s fast cut volleys. Cambridge took the first set 6/1, but lost a little concentration to let Hatfield into the second set. It soon became clear that the hazard end was the safe place to be with Thompson’s hard forces at or under the dedans. A little more to and fro and Cambridge took the second set 6/4. Read More

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Sign-up, Sign-Up, Sign-Up

Sign up for the 2019/20 Season Club Fixtures & Tournaments. Links for CURTC Calendar and Membership Forms: Seniors/Students and Juniors.

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The Dutch, 4/1/20

A New Decade’s visit from our friends across the North Sea.

CURTC vs The Dutch, 4/1/2020

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How do I Become a Member?

CURTC is on Grange Road, next to the UL

Membership of CURTC is open to all, very much town as well as gown. We love welcoming new members, please come in and find out about this ancient and intriguing game. Our professionals are usually here 9 am – 5 pm on weekdays or 9 am -12 noon on Saturdays, they will be happy to explain and encourage.

We offer free one hour taster lessons in groups of up to 6 people. Just register your interest with the pros in person, by telephone (01223 357106) or by email (pros@curtc.net). Read More

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CURTC Xmas Tournament

Gabriele & Catherine

With all the top seeded players being unable hold their nerve under the stress imposed by the handicap algorithm, we saw Catherine Stewart defeat Nina Ludekens and Gabriele Bailey defeat Alasdair in their respective semi finals. Read More

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