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The 2008 Varsity Match Report

Posted on February 28, 2008 | in Giraffe, Match Report | by

The Men’s and Women’s Varsity matches were again hosted at the prestigious MCC where the players and guests from both Universities were entertained by some superb tennis with the generous support of Pol Roger, the renowned producer of excellent champagne.

On the Friday the Women took to the court for their singles matches. Marsali Grant played a very controlled match, intercepting the ball early throughout; she won against Emily Johnson 6-0, 6-2.

In the next match it would have been understandable for there to have been some confusion in the crowd as the players had represented opposing Unis in the previous year. Clare Watson, now studying a PGCE at Homerton, was much too strong for Charlotte Barker, now doing her clinical years at Oxford – Watson winning 6-1, 6-0.

At this point Oxford was still in the match but was unable to win a further game in the remaining four matches of the event. Although the Oxford women gave it their all they were up against players rated 8 and 9 in the World. Sarah Vigrass defeated Victoria Ormerod and Karen Hird defeated Emma Ormerod.

On the Saturday, Karen partnered Marsali to defeat Victoria and Charlotte and Sarah partnered Clare to defeat Emma and Emily. Cambridge won 6-0.

The reverse of the format used by the women was employed for the men. Jamie Douglas and Burak Salgin started slowly in the second-string doubles but were able to withstand the Oxford pair, winning 6-5, 6-1, 6-0. In the first-string doubles, the Varsity veteran David Woodman was supported by the promising Edward Pearson. Their opponents tested the Cambridge pair and won the second set by a convincing margin to indicate to the crowd that there was more to come. Cambridge countered, winning the third set 6-0 and were just able to fight off Oxford’s final attack to win 6-4, 2-6, 6-0, 6-5.

On the Saturday, Ed Pearson was the underdog against the more experienced Sam Halliday. Ed knew he needed to start well, and he did, but at 4-2 up he was unable to withstand his opponent’s more penetrating shots. At 5-5 Halliday took command of the match, only dropping one further game to win 6-5, 6-1.

The Oxford no.3 was of a similar standard to their nos. 4 and 2, so Burak Salgin was expected to win. Although his opponent, Horatio Cary, showed excellent racket control, the formidable Cambridge player was always a step ahead, winning 6-3, 6-3.

The Cambridge Captain, known for his ruthlessness, was next. Jamie Douglas, still on a high from his recent Premier League match when he defeated Mark Hobbs, a scratch player, was matched with another Oxford fresher, Tom Dance. Tom was athletic and focused but Jamie gave away nothing, literally, as the score was 6-0, 6-0.

Cambridge had now reached an unassailable lead and as the proceedings were ahead of schedule there was an opportunity for the reserves to play an exhibition mixed doubles. This was also an excellent opportunity for Ali Hakimi and Julia Clarke (Ladies’ Captain ) to accumulate some valuable Varsity experience; it is hoped that they might both play in the first team in the future. After a slow start the Cambridge pair found their form, winning 4-6, 6-2, 6-4.

A huge crowd was in attendance for the premier match between David Woodman (+3) and the Oxford no.1 Will Fortune. Although Fortune is considered a future star he was unable to cope with Woodman’ mastery. Woodman won 6-2, 6-2.

An excellent dinner in the Long Room was preceded by a Champagne Reception in the Museum. The players and the guests of the MCC were treated to an excellent evening of fine food, wine and good company.

Many thanks to all the sponsors of the Varsity Match and Dinner Pol Roger and to the sponsors of the Cambridge University teams – Cambridge University Press, Kleinwort Benson, Mobilis, The Answering Service, Savills, Cambridge Saab, NW Brown Group, Lorimer, Longhurst and Lees, The Rice Boat, Noel Young Wines, D H Thomas Opticians – long may their generous support continue.

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