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Inter University Handicap Singles

Once all the teams had battled with the snow on the drive down to Cambridge, the stage was set and it was time to battle it out on court to decide who would go home victorious.

Eight universities helped form an action packed three days of competing in both the Inter University Cup and the Handicapped Singles.

The group stages provided some thrilling games, with grills being smashed, serves being rolled and the bell in the winning gallery rung.

16 prevailed out of the group stages into the knock out stages of which five were represented by Middlesex. Another day, and another eight players prevailed into the quarter finals. Middlesex still having control of the draw with four players remaining.

2023 IUHS

However, come the final it was a shootout between Reuben Ard of Middlesex and Hugo Pennant of Durham. One set to eight to decide the champion. With the Dedans filled, mainly by the 16 person team of Middlesex, Peter called the handicap and the game begun. The score reached 5-5, before Hugo pulled away, winning 8-5.

Hugo Pennant, 2023 IUHS Winner

Reuben Ard, MURTC

Whilst what occurred on the court was a real success, as was that off the court. On the Saturday evening the CURTC hosted their annual Pol Roger sponsored drinks reception and dinner up in the viewing gallery. It provided both excellent food and drink but also a great opportunity to come together and socialise between the competing universities.

In addition, this whole tournament wouldn’t be possible without the organisational and logistical skills of the Cambridge team of professionals, who as always delivered a smooth running, competitive and memorable tournament. Finally, and perhaps most importantly it is important to thank the Dedanist’s Foundation for their continued financial support which permits all teams to not only train before the tournament but also enter the annual event. Without them the game wouldn’t be the same and hopefully the legacy can be continued, and the game of Real Tennis can be preserved or even better grow.

Cambridge 2023 over and out, see you all in 2024!

Hugo Pennant, Durham University

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Men’s Varsity

Arthur Adams, Jack Wilson-Smith, KL, Patrick Smart, Jin Seok Lee



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Women’s Varsity Team

Ulla Petti, Anna Chesca, Ellie White, Lucy Caines

It all happens this Friday and Saturday at Lord’s… Many thanks to Pol Roger, Grays of Cambridge and the MCC.





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Pre Varsity Tournament

The students spent last Saturday evening at the club polishing their serve spins and finalising doubles’ strategies. Numerous competitive singles and doubles matches were played off level in preparation for Varsity, and the sporty evening full of emotions lasted until late.

On the Green court, Miles Kempton (M2) and Jonathan Marrow were up against Leo Sanitt and Ulla Petti (W1), who managed to win a close match full of long rallies and deuces 8:2. Camice Revier (W2) and Jonathan Marrow put up a good fight against Lucy Caines (W1) and Julius Gasson, but Julius’s unbelievable forehands brought their team an 8:6 win. Practicing for Varsity doubles, Lucy and Ulla finished second against Miles and Julius after the deciding game at 7 all – but now the W1 first pair knows exactly what to practice for their big match!

In singles, the title of the longest match goes to Alison Dauris and Camice – in a match full of amazing points and cheers from the audience, Camice won 6:4. Miles remained unbeatable in singles thanks to Ulla and Leo, both going home with a bagel. Leo showed amazing consistency in his other singles matches, giving only 1 game to Jonathan and 2 to Ulla. Lucy showed great skills and focus, winning both of her singles matches against Julius (6:1) and Jonathan (6:5).

The winners of the evening were determined by our computer scientist Leo using complex algorithms and calculations – congratulations Julius, Lucy, Jonathan, and Miles!

We thank the Giraffe Club for the support – a hot bowl of soup and energizing snacks boosted our performance throughout the challenging matches!

It was a great evening and practice tournament – the team players certainly feel prepared to face their Oxford opponents at Second’s Varsity this Friday and Saturday (24th-25th February) in Cambridge, and First’s Varsity at Lords the week after (3rd-4th March) at Lord’s.

Ulla Petti, Women’s Varsity Captain, 2023

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Pt 3: Women’s Varsity 2nds

Camice, Kitty, Stacey, Phoebe

The Men’s and Women’s 2nds Varsity are both on the Blue Court this Friday (24th) and Saturday (25th). Hopefully the stream will be working but to be sure of catching the action, why not go along to the club? And I’m sure the players would appreciate any sustenance that you could bring with you!

Camice Revier

Kitty Croft

Phoebe Fox

Stacey Sandigurskaia

Women’s Varsity 2nds, 2023

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Busy Weekend: Pt 2 Men’s Varsity 2nds

Danny Leboff, Ollie Hilton, Peter, Kees, Miles Kempton & Oliver Anderson-Shah

This weekend sees the return of the Varsity 2nds match to Cambridge on Friday, 24th, and Saturday, 25th. Please come along to the club and support our teams if you possibly can.

Danny & Oliver

Ollie & Miles

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Busy weekend for our student players: Pt 1 CURTC Ladies visit Newmarket

On Sunday morning, 6 CURTC Ladies set off to Newmarket for an away match. For many of us, it was the first time playing on a different court to Cambridge, so you could feel the excitement in the air!

The morning started with Ulla Petti (W1) facing her long-time nemesis, Adam Mackintosh. After Ulla’s comeback from 0:4 down, Adam managed to keep his focus, and just like at their previous match in Prested, beat Ulla by one game – this just calls for a rematch! Next up was Anna Chesca (W1) against Logan Crawford – the games were close, but Anna’s mind-blowing talent brought home a 6:8 win. Lucy Caines and Ulla (W1 doubles) played the first doubles of the day against Adam and Logan – practising the formations and calling for shots at the student tournament the night before paid off, and CURTC ladies achieved a 7:5 win in a close match. Following the doubles, our newest addition to the lovely group of CURTC Ladies – Isabelle Olaes – played her first ever match against George Aretakis. While George’s serves were challenging even to the more experienced players, Isabelle surprised us all with her fast learning and enthusiasm, and managed to win a whole game against George. Go Isabelle! Phoebe Fox (W2) made it look easy – middling the ball and hitting the tambour, she brought home two wins for Cambridge – singles against Bill Mackintosh (10:2) and doubles with Isabelle against Graham and George (10:4). Lucy’s singles was a close one, with a deciding game going to Jeremy Barnett, and the match finishing in 8:7. After a collective decision, Stacey Sandigrurskaia (W2) played her singles against Bill – a 6 points lower handicap – off level. Although finishing second, she was only one game away from winning the match – final score to Newmarket 6:7.

With the first 8 matches finishing in 4-4 between Newmarket and Cambridge, the winner of the fixture came down to the final match – a doubles between Anna and Stacey, and Graham and Jeremy. The game was intriguing – both the audience and the players kept their eyes closely on the ball and helped with the sound effects! With unbelievable volleys from the lawn tennis blues, Cambridge ladies took a win of 10:2, and the final score of the day was 5-4 to CURTCL.

It was a great day full of emotions, fun, and competition – we thank Newmarket for inviting us, Bill for organising, Andrew and Adam for marking, and Giraffe Club for the support! Looking forward to our next fixture against Newmarket!

Ulla Petti, CURTC Ladies Captain

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CURTC At Narnia, Sunday, 19th Feb, circa 1950

Travel south for an hour then west for another and you’ll be met by a toll booth where admission to Narnia is gained only on the production of six florins. Payment made, its teenage guardian will uncaringly allow you to pass and only shrug when asked how you might find your destination. You journey on as the buildings age and the road cedes to a track just wide enough for a pony and trap. You drift back in time and the Tudor surroundings overwhelm you as the Hunter-wearing, dog-walking mothers and polo ponies stare disinterested as you pass. You turn around at least once, carefully avoiding the incongruous Maserati, but this time you do find the wooden signs, buried in the hedge. The welcome is warm and the open, wood-burning hearth is doing its best against the morning cold. Coffee is delivered to you weary travellers.

Tennis in Narnia is slow enough to have the one hour time limit invoked more than once and lunch is a generous, gentle and unhurried affair. The tennis had its highlights and no match was one-sided. That the rather fun day ended level was only fitting and, as we left, the world sped up again, gathering pace through Pangbourne and soon the motorways brought us back to the all too hurried real world.

TK aka TR

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Finals Day, Saturday February 18th

Please come along to the Club and support our worthy Finalists!

Finals Day schedule

or image below..


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Varsity Team Announcement

At the kind invitation of the Master of St John’s and CURTC member Herbie, the teams were introduced for this year’s Varsity Match sponsored by Pol Roger hosted by the MCC at Lords under the auspices of the Tennis & Rackets Association.
Looking forward to renewing our rivalries with the Other Place!! It all starts here in Cambridge with the 2nds Varsity on Feb 24/25 with the Varsity match at Lords a week later.

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A Hatfield Day Out, Sunday January 15th

Camice Revier’s win at 5 all, 40 all in the third to start the day followed by Alasdair Bovaird and Jonathan Wallach’s two set romp suggested the day was ours. And then it all went wrong. In true Cambridge fashion, Tony Revier and Alan Harris politely lost their 5 all, 40 all in the third match as the host’s last serve of the day hit a flat spot and died. It was probably an omen. Steve Chadwick and Nicholas Heath won their middle set 0/6 but lost the other two 6/5. Dave Pimblett had overtrained so in his stead Jin Lee paired with Christie Marian in their all too quick defeat. Over three sets Andrew Petrie won more games than his opponent but you know the rest.

Hatfield’s Joe Thompson wined and dined us very well all afternoon. That we lost overall should have been no surprise. We want to be invited back, after all! Also many thanks to Hatfield’s Pro (Jon), Team and Captain (Joe) for their warm welcome.

Over the weekend Camice never spoke of her nail biting victory once. Honestly. Not once.

Tony Revier

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Dr Nigel Brown, O.B.E.

Sadly, we report that Nigel died peacefully on January 19th, 2023.

Nigel Brown @The Hyde, 2016

Nigel, together with Fiona, was a crucial and seemingly ever-present member of Cambridge University Real Tennis Club for close to fifty years. A Renaissance man of many talents and enthusiasms, Nigel discovered real tennis as a convert from squash, and became both a very good player and a passionate lover and advocate of the game in all its aspects. Coached initially by Brian Church, Nigel never ceased to analyse the game – and his own game – and to seek to improve his technique and tactical skills, as I was able to witness at first hand as a regular opponent, but also as one of his doubles partners. It was impossible not to enjoy a game with, or against, Nigel, so infectious was his enthusiasm. As in everything he undertook, he wanted everyone to share his passion, and his unwavering support and generous sponsorship helped to ensure the steady development of the club. Without his advocacy and contribution, for example, it’s unlikely that the world champion Rob Fahey would have thrown his lot in with Cambridge, to the inestimable benefit of the club, and to the evident progress of many individual players, particularly the younger generation, who Nigel consistently encouraged.

Nigel clearly believed in the old adage, that if something was worth doing, it was worth doing very well, and he was adept at persuading others to adopt that philosophy. He genuinely wanted the pleasure he derived from real tennis to be shared as widely as possible, and was constantly introducing others to the delights of the game, either as players, sponsors, or spectators. And all this was achieved with modesty and great good humour, and infused with a terrific sense of fun, without any sense of rush – so it was a shock to learn, or remember, that he was a man of so many other commitments, responsibilities and interests, deservedly recognised by, for examples, his O.B.E. (2008), his honorary doctorate from Anglia Ruskin University (2004), his appointment as High Sheriff for Cambridgeshire (2010/2011), or his Honorary Fellowship at Hughes Hall, or his Associateship of the Royal Academy of Music  Then there is his successful business career, as the founder of N.W. Brown Group Ltd., the classical music agency Hazard Chase, the Stradivari Trust, and numerous Chairmanships of public bodies such as the Greater Cambridge Partnership and the Arts Theatre Trust. The list is seemingly endless, and I am only mentioning the areas that I became aware of through conversations over the fifty years or so of our friendship. For more detail, I think you will find the Hughes Hall posting, and the citation for Nigel’s doctorate from Anglia Ruskin, especially illuminating. Also, under the Stradivari Trust, the story of how Nigel came to acquire a Stradivarius for Nigel Kennedy.

Nigel was a wonderful companion, full of warmth and positivity, and a very generous man, especially with his time. He enjoyed fine wine, and introducing it to his guests. I remember one evening when we drank a delicious Chateau Palmer, a wine I’d tasted at the vineyard near Bordeaux earlier in the year, so precious that we had not been allowed to buy even one bottle.  Something special, to be shared with friends. I find it hard to realise that Nigel, with all his dynamism, is no longer a part of the Cambridge and national scene. Fiona’s death coincided with a sudden decline in his own health, and in recent months he had been a shadow of his former unique personality.  But he leaves a rich legacy.  We send our sincere condolences to his son Ben, and to the rest of his family.

Peter Raby, former CURTC President

NWB Canford

Fiona & Nigel @Canford in June 2016

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National School Girls Level Singles and Doubles Championships U19 @Wellington 14/15 January 2023

Congratulations to Bella Harvey who reached the Final of the Singles and went one better by winning the Doubles!

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MCC vs Oxbridge

Arthur, Ollie & Jin

Last Saturday 14th Jan, Cambridge students were invited to play at the MCC courts at Lord’s. (So were Oxf*rd but that is insignificant #GDBO). All matches were played off-level, best out of 3 sets (3-3 in the final set). Despite an average of 6 handicap differences, all three Cambridge players put up an impressive fight.

I was the first one up for Cambridge facing MCC’s recent apprentice, Nat Cherry (36.4), winning the first set 6-4 but losing the next two 3-6 and 3-6. Much to learn yet a step closer to finding the rhythm of the game.

Arthur Adams (43.0) faced ever-so-calm Richard Lawrence (36.0). There were one too many outstanding rallies that left the audience in awe. Although Richard secured the match at 6-4/6-1, Arthur showed so much potential to be in a much lower handicap; it has certainly fired him up for the upcoming Varsity selection tournament.

Ollie Hilton (46.0) battled it out against a fast improver, Mark Clifford (42.5) who showcased an unorthodox yet superbly effective style. From the first set, we know this was going to be a marathon. Mark secured the first set 6-4, and started to dominate the second, reaching 5-1. Oliver was not ready to let this pass, however. He secured the next 5 games, winning the second 6-5. The third set was even more nail-biting, reaching 5-5; Mark’s relentless hitting found the base of the tambour every other shot, and won the third set and the match.

On behalf of the students, I would like to thank Simon Talbot-Williams (MCC match manager), Chris Bray (Head Pro), Nat Cherry (Apprentice) and the MCC players for their warm hospitality and insightful match advice during dinner.

Jin Lee, Men’s Captain 2022-2023

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Giraffe Club Cup: Div 1 Final

[Update, link to Google Photos Album of the individual photos and more HERE]

I think no one would disagree that the Division 1 Final was the ‘match of the day’. Fresh from relatively easy semi final victories, Ed and Patrick took an early lead against Jin and Andy in spite of a substantial handicap disadvantage. However they never led by more than a couple of games and Jin and Andy finally coerced the odd mistake from their opponents and the score reached 7-all. Andy had the serve and three match points but crucially gave up a chase. A couple of Patrick’s volleys took the score to 40-all before Jin played one of the most outrageous lobs I have seen. It went so high, it disappeared from sight for those in the Dedans before creeping into the Dedans at such a steep angle it was all but unreturnable!

GCC2022, Final Division 1

While Andy kept his feet firmly on terra firma, Jin & Patrick had no such compunctions and treated us to some mind boggling volleying if you were quick enough to catch them. The collage doesn’t do them justice but …


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