Let’s not beat around the bush, it’s been a tough season so far for the men’s and women’s teams. Both, having been promoted last season, are yet to win a game in their very tough BUCS leagues, and the match reports weren’t getting any easier to write. Therefore, with cup week looming, when news came through that Manchester girls were unable to field a team, everyone was more than happy to hail it as the first victory of the year. We buried the hollowness deep in our hearts and let the smiles light up our faces.
The men were not so fortunate, being forced to go on court (shock horror) against their opponents, The University of Kent. Once their top singles player had finished sliding around on the sport centre’s floor in his socks in remarkably year 6 disco fashion, the matches got underway. The Cambridge team consisted of Ritish Desai, Ben Roberts, Jonny Scott, Tom Wade, Ben Wharton and Rory Xiao, with record-breaking support from the sidelines following the cancellation of the girls’ match.
The first singles matches and Xiao and Wade’s contests went one apiece, both in two straight sets. A quick flick through past results, inducing some acute PTSD, revealed that although seemingly uneventful, this start to the match was actually only the 3rd singles match won by the light blues all season. The first round of doubles matches, featuring Scott & Roberts and Desai & Wharton was even better, with some great play leading to two straightforward victories and taking the score to 3-1 halfway through the fixture.
The second round of singles was simply historic. Wade won his, but the crucial element was Xiao destroying the first set 21-13, and despite unfortunately going on to lose in 3 sets, sealing the first men’s victory of the year. 7 matches. 14 players. Blood, sweat and probably some tears behind closed doors. But finally it was done – the first win. The cup format meant the final doubles matches were purely academic, but we weren’t done yet. Relishing the new-found feeling of victory and despite Roberts’ gammy knee both pairs won their matches, making the final score an amazing 6-2.
It seems the cup is the place for us, next up is Bath 3rd’s away in Lent. In other news sadly the promised celebratory cindies had to be postponed, but both victories will be celebrated fruitfully at Christmas dinner, and most likely for long into the future.