Tennis

Varsity Tennis 2016

16 Mar 2016

Sponsored by Pol Roger


Cambridge were successful in both the men's and ladies' Varsity match played at MCC over the period 26 and 27 February. Oxford played well against strong opposition, typified by Jonny Whitaker's fine effort agianst an in-form Ed Kay at first string; Ed had narrowly missed out on his first appearance in the Amateur Singles Final only two days before. The match, as ever, was played in the best Corinthian spirit and players and spectators gathered for a grand finale in the Long Room, sponsored by Pol Roger.

Ladies' Match - Cambridge win 5-1

Singles (Cambridge names first)

  1. Sophie Morrill bt Audrey Davies 6/4 6/1
  2. Venetia D'Arcy bt Lottie Fullerton 1/6 6/3 6/2
  3. Vix Harvey lost to Natalie Barber 4/6 4/6
  4. Alice Toynton bt Amy Saunders 6/0 6/2

Doubles

  1. Sophie Morrill & Vix Harvey bt Amy Saunders & Audrey Davies 6/3 6/2
  2. Alice Toynton & Venetia D'Arcy bt Lottie Fullerton & Natalie Barber 6/2 6/5

Men's Match - Cambridge win 6-0

Singles (Cambridge names first)

  1. Ed Kay bt Jonny Whitaker 6/2 6/3
  2. Jamie Giddins bt Ben Graves 6/1 6/1
  3. Alex Evans bt Charlie Defries 6/0 6/0
  4. Freddie Kalfayan bt Mark Fischel 6/2 6/0

Doubles

  1. Ed Kay & Alex Evans bt Jonny Whitaker & Ben Graves 6/2 6/2 6/0
  2. Jamie Giddins & Freddie Kalfayan bt Charlie Defies & Mark Fischel 6/1 6/1 6/1

Oxford v Cambridge Varsity Report 2016

On 27th and 28th of February the real tennis varsity match took place once again at Lords. Over two days four men and women from Oxford and Cambridge went head to head for the 2016 varsity titles.

Men

The Cambridge men’s first team this year consisted of Ed Kay, Jamie Giddins, Alex Evans (capt.) and Freddie Kalfayan with Jimmy Campbell in reserve. Cambridge entered the contest favourites with an average handicap advantage above 10 points over their opponents Jonny Whitaker, Ben Graves (capt.), Charlie Defries and Mark Fischel. However, the history of the varsity match has shown unexpected results to be common and, as such, the Cambridge players were keen to play to the best of their abilities.

The tie began on Friday with the men’s doubles. Cambridge 2nd string pair Giddins and Kalfayan faced Charlie Defries and Mark Fischel. Oxford took the first game of the match but Cambridge’s consistent hitting proved to strong and they won the match in straight sets 6/1 6/1 6/1. Next up Kay and Evans took on Oxford 1st and 2nd seeds Jonny Whitaker and Ben Graves. Despite a slow start by Evans, his partner’s talent (Ed had only narrowly missed out on his first appearance in the Amateur Singles Final two days before)was in evidence leading to another straight sets win 6/2 6/2 6/0.

The singles began with final year Freddie Kalfayan vs newcomer Mark Fischel. Mark tenaciously hung on throughout the match but Freddie proved too strong, winning 6/2 6/0. With one more match win required for an insurmountable Cambridge lead, captain Alex Evans took to the court to play another Oxford newcomer to varsity, Charlie Defries. Charlie showed some impressive retrieval skills but Alex was able to use his experience to dominate the service end for much of the tie, resulting in a 6/0 6/0 win.

With varsity won, the remaining matches may have lacked some tension but were sure to be displays of the best tennis from the fixture. In the 2nd string singles, Jamie Giddins faced Oxford captain Ben Graves. Jamie’s characteristic consistency prevailing 6/1 6/1. Finally, in front of the now packed dedans, Ed Kay looked to seal a 6-0 win for Cambridge against Jonny Whitaker. Jonny is known for his forcing game which was, as usual, impressive. More surprising to those familiar with Ed Kay’s abilities was Jonny’s ability to hold his own in the floor game. The closest match of the tie, this match showcased some excellent tennis to the delight of the assembled crowd. Despite Jonny’s heroics, Ed eventually triumphed 6/2 6/3 to complete the convincing Cambridge victory.

It should be noted that the MCC was oddly well prepared for Cambridge’s victory. Those watching witnessed the dismay of the Oxford 2nd pair, who were losing 2 sets to love in a best of 5 set match, when Assistant Professional Mark declared ‘third and final set’. Head Professional Adam even donned his Cambridge United top in support of the light blues.

Women

The women's varsity looked set to be a tight contest. The Cambridge women's team, consisting of Sophie Morrill (capt.), Venetia D'Arcy, Vix Harvey and Alice Toynton were opposed by Audrey Davies, Lottie Fullerton, Natalie Barber and Amy Saunders for Oxford.

Due to Lacrosse varsity commitments for both 1st seed players, a change of schedule meant the tie got under way with the 1st string singles. Impressive tennis from both sides of the net ended after two sets with Sophie's stunning backhands proving the difference, the Cambridge captain winning 6/4 6/1. Former Canford player Alice Toynton, playing in her first varsity, claimed the 4th string singles next with great assurance, taking the victory 6/0 6/2 over Amy.

Oxford struck back in the 3rd string singles with Natalie Barber beating Vix Harvey, two players relatively new to the game. Despite Vix holding 4-2 leads in both sets, Oxford completed a 6/4 6/4 victory to give them a chance to level the tie in the following 1st string doubles. This doubles also gave Vix a chance to nullify her defeat as she paired up with Cambridge number one Sophie who once again faced Audrey Davies with her partner Amy Saunders. Cambridge proved to strong with Sophie dominating the back of the court to prevail 6/3 6/2, taking a 3-1 lead into the second day.

With Oxford needing to win both remaining matches to force a deciding doubles, a tense match ensued between Venetia and Lottie in the 2nd string singles. The Oxford player made a fast start with her superior footwork leading to a first set lead. However, with much encouragement from her supporters, Venetia upped her game. Fighting back to win 1/6 6/3 6/2 she secured the varsity title for Cambridge. The final match between Venetia/Alice and Lottie/Natalie also went in Cambridge's favour despite cramp beginning to hamper Venetia, the final score 6/2 6/5.

Both Cambridge student teams would like to thank the Cambridge professionals Kees, Peter and Scott for their coaching and the CURTC membership as a whole for their support of student tennis. Pol Roger deserve generous praise for their continued sponsorship of this fantastic annual event which was, as ever, ably organised and run by Brian Sharp, Hannah Ray and the MCC professionals.

Cambridge men and women also prevailed in the 2nd team varsity matches which were hosted by Oxford this year on the 4th and 5th of March. Full match report: http://www.curtc.net/wp/varsity-report-2nds-real-tennis-2016-oxford/


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