Wednesday 25th October: Now well into term, rustiness from the summer holidays is disappearing and the players are getting into the swing of things. So, was this to be the first win of the season for Cambridge? The team consisted of Ritish Desai (Homerton), Marcus Liang (Hughes Hall), Ben Roberts (Fitzwilliam), Neel Doshi (Churchill), Tom Wade (St. Catherine’s) and Andrew Sheat (Emmanuel).
With four courts available everyone was on and playing straight away. Desai and Liang were on playing singles whilst complaining about body parts which had fallen asleep on the long car journey. Desai lost in straight sets but Liang took his opponent to three. It ended in a close loss for Laing. The doubles were close and hard-fought games on both sides, but Birmingham found that extra gear and won them both. 4-0 and half-way through, things had looked better for Cambridge.
The second game for Desai started off promisingly but ended with a frustrating 22-20 loss, followed by a quick defeat in the second end as his opponent found his rhythm. With Liang losing his second, the Cambridge players were thinking back to the dreaded 8-0 loss against Loughborough. Sheat and Roberts exploited their opponents’ weaknesses well and secured the first end of their second game. Things slipped away from them though, leading to another three-set defeat which could have been won. Needing some consolation, Sheat blamed his equipment for the loss while Roberts complained about his “rather starchy snack” pre-match. Could some pride be regained in the last game?
Wade and Doshi were up against the Birmingham number one pair and they gave it everything, bringing it to a three-set game. Even with the home advantage, Birmingham couldn’t match the cheers and support being given for the Cambridge boys. Everyone was fully engrossed in the match, except possibly Liang, whose thoughts had turned to the appetising blueberry muffin in the café. It was a bad start for Cambridge in the third, quickly going 11-3 down. But Wade and Doshi weren’t going to let our hopes be dashed by crumbling under the mounting pressure. They pulled it back and secured a 21-19 win for Cambridge, making the final score 7-1, which didn’t reflect the close games and evenly-matched opponents.
After the match the long car journey home was broken by chants of “Maccy D’s”. This led to a disconsolate mood in the car when Doshi accidentally sailed past a service station with a much-waited for McDonald’s sign. Fortunately, all was not lost as another opportunity arose and we had the post-match team McDonald’s.
Shot of the Match: Liang in the last shot of the last point in his last game played a diving net shot which tumbled over and his opponent, who was standing on top of it, could only lift it out. It sadly did not win the point.
Due to transport-related issues, the women’s team have had to reschedule this week’s away match at Nottingham. Next week the men’s team is off to Derby for what promises to be a tough fixture and the women’s team is travelling to arch-enemy’s O*ford for the first battle royale of the year.