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Varsity Report: Seconds 2016, March 4-6, Oxford

Posted on March 7, 2016 | in Giraffe, Match Report | by

Following on from the epic success of the first team last weekend at Lord’s, the seconds were not to be outdone and performed outstandingly in Oxford at the weekend. CURTC launched two formidable teams at the enemy, led by fearless captains Jimmy ‘the beard’ Campbell and Amanda ‘stockings’ Murphy.

The Cambridge teams comprised, for the girls: Leah Bramwell (3), Emily Chadwick (2), Mia Lewis (4) and Amanda Murphy (1) (capt.); and for the boys: Jimmy Campell (1) (capt.), Matt Shaw (2), Oli Quarry (3) and Nick Worsnop (4).

Kees Ludekens, Oli Quarry, Matt Shaw, Jimmy Campbell, Nick Worsnop, Mia Lewis, Amanda Murphy, Leah Bramwell, Emily Chadwick

Kees Ludekens, Oli Quarry, Matt Shaw, Jimmy Campbell, Nick Worsnop, Mia Lewis, Amanda Murphy, Leah Bramwell, Emily Chadwick


The Women’s Team

After almost a month of rigorous training including a three layer alarm system for early morning sessions for Mia and Amanda, we were ready to take on Oxford.

Leah was first on court to represent Cambridge against Lizzy Harnett. After two close sets, Leah started sending the ball deep into the corners and easily took the final set and the match to get us off to an awesome start. Emily and I, in our signature coloured shoes, then took to the court for Ladies 1 doubles against Izzie Watts and Rachael Griffiths. After a nervous start it was locked at three games all. Fortunately a few flamboyant cheers from the galleries calmed our nerves and we won the next five games. We completed the victory 8-3 following a stunning forehand from Emily into the winning gallery to give us match point. We finished the day two matches up. While Leah began her return journey to Cambridge to fulfil other commitments, we headed to The Bear, Oxford’s oldest pub, for a celebratory drink.

We awoke the next morning to light falling snow making the warm up a little tough, fortunately for us though Emily got us going with some very punny jokes. Leah clocked up another 80 odd miles to be back in Oxford to witness a fantastic clash between Mia and Lucinda Maxwell in the Ladies 4 Singles. Mia comfortably took the first three games but Lucinda staged a comeback to take the first set 6-3. However, despite some moments of real tension, Mia was able to take the next two sets and the match for Cambridge. Leah and Mia then faced Lizzy and Lucinda in the Ladies 2 Doubles in an epic match. Leah and Mia went down 4 games to love and it looked like we might be in trouble. Luckily Leah’s trademark killer net volleys started hitting their mark and they came back to level at four games all. A number of close games took the score to 7 all and Kees’ ball stitching body language said it all. Two brilliant chases were able to get Mia and Leah to the service end and they won the match 8-7.

Taking to the court in the signature pink shoes, Emily took on Isabella in the Ladies 3 Singles. After a slow start, it was a comfortable win 6-5, 6-2 and took the tie to 5-0 for Cambridge with one match remaining. After the performances of the rest of the team, I knew I would never live down losing the Ladies 1 Singles and had no choice but to win 6-2, 6-0. This took Cambridge Ladies Second’s Team to a 6-0 Varsity victory in 2016.

Leah clocked up another 80 odd miles to get back to Cambridge and we would like to thank Leah’s father for making Leah’s weekend odyssey possible. We would also like to thank Maggie, Andrew and Craig at Oxford for their incredible hospitality, Pol Roger for their sponsorship and Rachael, LIzzy, Izzie and Lucinda for being such worthy opponents and giving us some really exciting matches. Thanks should also go to members of CURTC for being there to provide us with such excellent competition, allowing us to pick up our game considerably and of course many thanks go to Kees, Scott and Peter for all their coaching and encouragement.

The Men

The Seconds Varsity match began for the men with Cambridge’s Oliver Quarry taking on Ben Kay, both of whom recently had their handicaps adjusted down. In this battle of the bandits it was the Oxford man who played to a standard far better than his adjustment would suggest, and he came through 6-0, 6-1. There was no time to dwell on this result though, as Quarry teamed up with captain Jimmy Campbell for what could be a decisive doubles match. Each side exchanged games up to 2-2, before Cambridge pulled away, with some sumptuous volleying from Quarry, and Campbell keeping it tight at the back of the court. Game, set and match 8-3 to Cambridge, leaving the scores tied at 1-1 after the first day and all to play for.

The second morning saw Cambridge’s Nick Worsnop take on Dan Escott, an Oxford rackets convert, who would certainly test the more experienced Worsnop. The task was made much tougher as the Cambridge man lost the opening 9 games of the match, leaving him looking down the barrel of a double bagel. After adjusting his length to compensate for the smaller Oxford court, Worsnop took the following 6 games to level the tie at one set all. The Cambridge man (and support) felt like he was now the favourite to take the match, but Escott played some lovely shots to take the final set as he did in the first, 6-0.

Once again, with Cambridge 2-1 down, the doubles would be key. Worsnop joined Matt Shaw, who had been following a strict training plan of going out every night in the lead up to the match, and Captain Campbell had complete confidence. The match was very close in the opening stages, until Cambridge pulled away to a 6-3 lead. A few loose shots later and they found themselves 6-5 up and back at the hazard end. An outstanding game from Worsnop took them to 7-5 and back at the service end, leaving Shaw to serve out the final game to provide an 8-5 win, 2-2 overall.
Showing no signs of tiredness from his week of excess, Shaw stepped back on court to take on the Oxford number 2, Alexander Flint. Shaw looked very sharp in the first set and wrapped it up quickly 6-1. In the second he took a 5-2 lead and it looked as though the game was over. However, the Oxford man rallied and brought the game back to 5-4 and Shaw, having lost a few match points, looked like he wanted to get off court as soon as possible. He took the set 6-4 – Cambridge was on the cusp of victory.

It was left to Jimmy Campbell, a man of five Seconds Varsity matches, to finish the tie against the Oxford fresher George Peel. Again the opening stages were close and somewhat nervy but as the set wore on, Campbell took hold of the match, playing in a very positive manner to win 6-3. Peel continued to play above his handicap station in the second, but the experience of Campbell proved too much for the youngster and he took the set 6-2.

A Cambridge victory 4-2 to add to the successes of the other boys and girls teams sealed an overall 4-0 score line. Many thanks to Oxford for being great hosts and the pros for their continued support both on and off the court. We’ll work towards doing the same to the old enemy next year.

Pics Leah and KL. Reports Jimmy and Amanda. Editor – Vix.

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