The morning of Sunday 15th November saw the Cambridge University Eton Fives Club take on four pairs from Oakham in a friendly match at the University Sports Centre.
CUEFC’s fearsome first pair, Tony Barker and Riki Houlden, took on the Oakham players Jack and Tom in a match with many closely contested rallies. The game saw strong top step play from Jack and extraordinary commitment to shots from Tom pitted against the Cambridge onslaught of set pieces, back step backspin shots from Tony and Riki’s signature volleying. The Cambridge pair’s consistency won through, carrying them through to a 12-0, 12-1, 12-1 victory; the one-sided scoreline definitely not reflective of the quality of play from both teams.
The Cambridge team second pair of Jack Parham and Sudhir Balaji faced an experienced Oakham pair of Marcus and Ralph in another match with many closely fought rallies. Although the Oakham pair started strongly in every game, the consistency of the well-practiced Cambridge second pair eventually proved too difficult to overcome. It was only after having poked some holes in the Cambridge third pair’s game that the Oakham pair conceded defeat, with a final score of 12-5, 12-7, 12-2 to Cambridge.
The third pair game saw the returners to the sport Anthony Kane and Fred Tomlinson facing determined play from a focused Oakham third pair. After a good start, Cambridge allowed the Oakham focus to rattle them, but a return to full concentration gave the Cambridge team the game 12-3. Maintaining their momentum, Cambridge went on to take the next two at 12-5 and 12-1 with Anthony’s command of the step and Fred’s back court effectiveness keeping the Oakham players at bay.
In the fourth pair game, Annie Cave and Susanna Xu faced a similarly experienced Oakham pair. Although the Cambridge team put up a valiant effort, pulling off some solid volleying and well-aimed shots, the tight play of the Oakham pair and their years of experience proved difficult to counter. The final score saw Oakham take the game comfortably, at 12-1, 12-1, 12-1.
Sunday saw Cambridge take the day with a 3-1 overall score, with enjoyable games and quality play from everyone involved.