Rackets

Varsity Rackets at The Queen's Club

04 Mar 2015

Cambridge win the 2015 Varsity match


Results

Cambridge repeated their win from 2014, again defeating Oxford without losing a match.

This is the second year of a new format for the Varsity Rackets Match, comprising 4 singles and 2 doubles, as opposed to the previous system of 2 singles and 1 doubles in the main Varsity Match, with another 2 singles and a doubles in the so-called Dinner Match, for the 3rd and 4th strings, as a result of which, in years gone by, the 4 players from the University whose 3rd and 4th string players lost in the Dinner Match historically were required to pay for Supper for the 4 players from the University that won the Dinner Match, irrespective of which side had won the ‘Main’ Match!

The order of play for the 4 singles matches was 4th string, 2nd string, 3rd string, and finally 1st string.

  • 4th String: Henry Hall (C) (Eton & St. Catherine’s) bt Jonathan Whittaker (O) (Clifton & St. Hilda’s) 15/2 17/15 17/14
  • 2nd String: Matt Shaw (C) (St. Paul’s & Homerton) bt Ben Graves (O) (Winchester & Worcester) 17/14 13/16 15/6 15/12
  • 3rd String: Ed Kay (C) (St. Paul’s & Emmanuel) bt Archie Burgess (O) (Eton & Pembroke) 15/11 15/4 15/0
  • 1st String: Jamie Giddins (C) (Eton & Fitzwilliam) bt Max Seely (O) (Eton & Christchurch) 15/6 15/3 8/15 15/6

In the 4th string match, Henry (C) did well to win both the games that went to set. Had these critical games gone to Oxford, the day’s play might have been much more favourable for the Dark Blues.  The 2nd string match between Matt (C) and Ben (O) was the closest of the day, the first 2 games being shared in the set and Matt getting home 3 games to 1 in a well fought 4th game.

Ed Kay (C), in the 3rd string match, took some time to find his length on service, but having taken the first game 15/11, he was increasingly able to dominate with serves, and in the last game, despite Archie (O) getting in hand 6 times, Ed was so reliable in the rallies he put Cambridge into a 3 rubbers to 0 lead with just his Captain’s singles to come.

Jamie (C) was well in control in the first two games of the 1st string match, 15/6, 15/3, but Max (O) raised his game in the third, Jamie maybe didn’t quite maintain his opening momentum, and Max won the game 15/8.  But Jamie was well ahead throughout the fourth game, and Cambridge notched up a winning 4 matches to 0 lead at the conclusion of the singles matches.

Although Cambridge could not be caught if they lost the two doubles matches, the gallery expected these might be close contests. The first on court, the 2nd pairs doubles, was a most entertaining spectacle, full of excellent rallies, with Cambridge winning both the second and third games by 15/12.  So going into the last match, the 1st pairs doubles, Oxford needed a win to prevent Cambridge repeating their turn-around 6-0 win in 2014, after 11 years of Oxford domination from 2003-13.  Jamie (C) was the outstanding player in the first game, which went to Cambridge 15/3.  Matt (C) made a service winner to take that first game, and then, amazingly, proceeded to go through the second game in one hand, and to 14-0 in the third game, a run of 30 points, before Oxford could get him out of the service box, with his partner playing with exemplary steadiness to keep Matt in hand!  Oxford failed to score in their two hands and Jamie won Cambridge’s second match point to clinch the 6-0 whitewash.  But Oxford gave by no means a poor performance. Their side would have been good enough to beat all the Cambridge sides in Oxford’s 11 year run of victories from 2003, and another entertaining contest should transpire in 2016 when most of the current teams are still available.

  • 2nd Doubles: Ed Kay & Henry Hall (C) bt Archie Burgess & Jonathan Whittaker (O) 15/3 15/12 15/12
  • 1st Doubles: Jamie Giddins & Matt Shaw (C) bt Max Seely & Ben Graves (O) 15/3 15/0 15/0

At the Pol Roger Champagne Reception in the Museum that followed, the trophy was presented to the Cambridge Captain, Jamie Giddins, by James Simpson from Sponsors Pol Roger, together with a much appreciated bottle for each player in the winning team!


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