‘The 2015 Jesters Universities Tournament took place at Eton on Saturday 24th October with a terrific turnout of 29 pairs from 17 different universities – Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Swansea, Cardiff, Durham, Liverpool, Loughborough, Leicester, Bath, QM, King’s, LSE, UCL, Middlesex, Imperial and RVC.’
The ladies tournament was wide open this year, with no previous winners either available or still at university, and both the Oxford and Cambridge clubs – the traditional powerhouses in this tournament – in transition this year. It saw the entry of three Cambridge pairs:
- Hannah Rapley + Sophie Kelly
- Susanna Xu + Rhonda Shiels
- Nicole Lim + Niki Leung
Durham secured top spot in Group A, while second place was hotly contested between the University of Wales and Cambridge 2 (Susanna and Rhonda). Their two game group encounter was winner takes all; Cam 2 won the first game 12-10 and Wales the second 12-11, putting the Cambridge pair into the semi-finals by a single point.
The other group was a threeway battle at the top between Cambridge 1, Oxford 1 and King’s/Loughborough. Hannah and Sophie had a hard-fought match against King’s/Loughborough, who had been a very good pair at school together. Despite the mental setback of losing the first game an excruciatingly close 12-11, Cam 1 went onto show their strength in the second game to win 12-7. The Cambridge pair then went on to clinch their place in the semis with a 2-0 win over Oxford 1, as King’s/Loughborough took the second place spot.
The all-Cambridge semi-final saw Cam 1 overcoming Cam 2 to play Durham in the final. Unfortunately, the Durham pair was the stronger on the day, and Hannah and Sophie took the runners-up position in this highly competitive tournament.
Sophie Kelly hitting a ‘cut’ against an opponent in the group stages
On a neighbouring court, the Cambridge beginners pair of Nicole and Niki showed how much they had improved during the day with a closely contested Plate B final, which was won in the end by Oxford 2.
This was overall a fantastic result for the Cambridge Ladies Team, their strength at university level being shown by two pairs making it to the semi-finals, both ahead of their Oxford counterparts. A very promising start to the season!