Over 70 players descended on Cambridge (and Newmarket) for the 2017 Inter-Universities Tournament at the Home of Real Tennis.
Across four mammoth days there are two competitions that players contest for in the form of the Handicap Singles Competition and the Inter University Cup. This year the Handicap singles began with many closely fought groups with players from different universities but of a similar handicap competing for the top qualification spot. The top players are then drawn at random into a Last 16 knockout which this year saw a number of Cambridge players. There were several close score lines between players with large handicap difference showing the strength of the handicap system, however, two players stood out in the draw and in the end progressed to the final. Connor Holmes of Middlesex known to his team mates as the “sesh gremlin”, who displayed some great railroad serving ability and moments of absolute brilliance for his handicap and Olivia Chesser of Cambridge who battled and volleyed her way through opponents and who improved with every game. In the final, the crowd got behind both players creating a fantastic atmosphere for a close final. In the end Connor came out on top to claim the Handicap Singles title for Middlesex.
The Inter University Cup comprises of two singles matches against your opposite number followed by a doubles match. Cambridge 1 were the first seeds and progressed to the semi-final against Exeter after having to face off against Cambridge 3 and Cambridge 2. In the other half of the draw Durham 1 progressed to their respective semi-final against Bristol 1. On Saturday night, prior to the semi-finals and final is what can be considered as the third event of the Inter University Tournament which is the dinner (one particularly legendary student came all the way solely for this event). After a Pol Roger reception at the clubhouse students wined and dined at Wilberforce road this year and then proceeded to be led to The Regal by the ‘bearded wonder’ Jimmy Campbell.
Back to the tennis and Cambridge 1 of Matt Shaw and Jimmy Campbell took a unanimous win against Exeter 1 of Ed Rowell and Murray Lane. Durham 1 of Guy Maxwell and Olly Taylor also proved too strong for their opponents setting up the final to be between Cambridge and Durham. Jimmy Campbell’s final swansong was a mighty one as he played above and beyond his handicap and hangover to win against Olly Taylor comfortably. Matt Shaw also triumphed over Guy Maxwell to bring the Inter University Cup back to the home of real tennis!
Many thanks to sponsors Pol Roger, Dedanists and the T&RA along with Kees & Peter for their marking and organisation. Huge special thanks go to Vix Harvey for taking on Scott’s role this year and organising the tournament with the help of Kees. She also ran the ‘Real Tennis in 15 secs’ video competition on CURTC twitter which was a great success!