On the afternoon of Tuesday 10th November, Harrow School brought three school pairs to the Cambridge University Sports Centre for a friendly fixture. With many of the first team players busy at lectures or practicals, this was a perfect opportunity for a second team pair (Nic and Kai) and two beginners to the sport (Peter and Julian) to get some match practice. The Cambridge line-up was:
- Tony Barker + Riki Houlden
- Nic Walker + Kai Bilimoria
- Peter Adefioye + Julian Sutcliffe
At first pair, Tony and Riki found themselves up against a stronger opposition than expected. At the beginning of each game, the Harrow top pair would find some inspiration to take themselves a few points ahead to 5-1 or 6-2. This forced Cambridge to take things up a gear and win a long run of points, taking them to 9-5 or 9-6 before wrapping things up. The final score was a solid 12-6, 12-7, 12-6.
Nic and Kai put up a good fight against the Harrow second pair, with some close points and ridiculous shots. However, their opposition were too well-drilled and they were beaten 12-3, 12-4, 12-5. They came off court each game with bright smiles on their faces though, having played what I hear were “absolute jokes rallies”.
Similarly, Peter and Julian found themselves up against a stronger pair, and used the opportunity to improve their gameplay and understand the game more on a tactical level. After losing 12-1, 12-0, they switched in with the Harrow pair to produce a more even match and get some more experience. They also both came off having had a great time, really enjoying the new sport that they had taken up only a few weeks before.
So, the final score was Cambridge 1-2 Harrow, but everyone had a lot of fun and learnt things for the future too – all a captain can ask for!