CULTC's Grasshoppers beat their Oxford rivals in a nail-biting thriller.
Cambridge 11 – 10 Oxford
CULTC Grasshoppers secured a nail-biting win over OULTC Penguins in the Seconds Varsity tennis match. Playing in torrid conditions at St. John’s college, Oxford, the Grasshoppers were victorious in match described as “tense” and “massive”.
After a disjointed arrival, the poor weather set in, forcing the first day’s play onto slower hard courts, to CULTC’s disadvantage. Nonetheless, CULTC were 2-1 up after the first round of doubles, despite overly-honest captain Alex “5 shots worthy of Federer, 20 a two year-old would be disappointed with” Moynihan conspiring to aid OULTC by calling out his partner’s shots “to get him to raise his game”.
A lack of OULTC sportsmanship appeared in the final matches of the day, with a number of ‘suspect’ line-calls – “it’s your call, but I’m 100% sure” – resolved by CULTC’s Marian Bocek, suggesting in dulcet tones that they “sort this out” there and then. This did nothing to sway the result in Cambridge’s favour, however, as they lost 4 of the 6 doubles, leaving the score precariously at 5-4 to Oxford after day one.
Day 2 began with the reverse singles, Cambridge edging the exchange 4-2, showing grit, determination, and that ‘digging a trench’ can occasionally work on grass. Despite being plagued by fatigue and injury, Sharp (pulled calf and hamstring), showed true flair as, so appalled with the quality of his opponent and the banter, he decided to win the deciding set to love. 8-7 CULTC.
Then, “Man or mouse moment” came with the final round of singles and CULTC needing 3 of the remaining 6 matches to win. Tensions were running high, particularly in the Bocek vs Abdel-Mannan match, with solid defensive play from both players, more changes of shirt than a Superman film, farcical screams of “C’mon”, even after losing points, and a capacity crowd of 5 witnessing the 3 hour marathon – 3-6 6-0 1-6 to OULTC.
The Floether – Neve-Foster match was similary competitive, with Neve-Foster (OULTC), now receiving substantial abuse from the crowd (now down to 4), continuing with line-calls more dodgy than a British MP’s expenses. A combination of these and uncharacteristic unforced errors from Floether lead to a 4-6, 6-1, 3-6 loss.
Thus, the score reached 10-10, with the top players battling for the Varsity match as a whole – “The biggest moment of their lives” CULTC coach Nick Brown would say. Game on.
Jonas “Let’s do this” Tinius, proved to be man of the hour, and with accuracy and tactical nous, coolly wrapped up proceedings 6-3 6-3, a result belying the undercurrent of tension. The crowd (down to 2) went wild, with a smattering of applause and a murmur of congratulations, as Cambridge deservedly retained the 2nds varsity trophy.
MVP: Jonas Tinius – no-one can argue with a 5-0 record and providing the final win and some classic sledging.
Team (from top left): Fred Floether (Homerton), Michael Sharp (Magdalene), Jaroslav Snajdr (Sidney Sussex), Marian Bocek (Hughes Hall), Tom Flowerdew (Clare), Alex Moynihan (Christ’s, capt.), Jonas Tinius (Churchill).