Oxford Fixtures End HT 2018
The end of Hilary came so quickly! Our teams saw a number of challenges in both the usual fixture format as well as tournament/plates. The end of Hilary unfortunately also sees the end our typical squash season, so thanks to our captains, our final season reports are found below:
The Women’s Blues have no further match reports.
The Oxford Women’s Blues finish their BUCS season at 2nd position in the Midland 1A Division and last 16 in the Midlands Conference Cup.
Men’s Squirrels vs. Nottingham 3rds (Home), Wk9: Loss (4-1) – League Match
The ultimate showdown of the year for the Squirrels (apart from Varsity) had to be this week’s home and final fixture of the season against 1st place Nottingham 3rds. The Squirrels had been trailing closely behind Nottingham in points throughout the season. While it initially seemed like they would progress too far ahead to catch-up, a recent slip-up against Birmingham costed them their large safety margin – we were only 3 points behind, meaning a close win would still seal the deal and promote us to a higher division! Unfortunately this week’s fixture was out of term time for us (and not for them), meaning most of our players had gone home for the Easter holidays. Despite not being able to field our strongest team, we managed to put together a line-up of players of similar strength; it was very difficult to distinguish between the top and bottom seeds! First on court were 5th and 4th seeds Felix and Zach. Felix battled a very similar styled opponent in the longest match of the day. Both players took turns to dominate each set alternatively, but by the 5th set, mistakes starting creeping into Felix’s gameplay costing him the 2-3 loss. Zach started his 2nd and last BUCS match of the season without getting enough warm-up time; he struggled to retrieve his opponent’s shots, including those that weren’t particularly tight. After conceding the 1st set, Zach took the time between sets to practice his shots and to move his muscles a bit more. This did just the trick for Zach – his next 3 sets were very clearly one-sided in his favour, leading to his 3-1 victory. With the score in matches at 1-1, our chances of winning the league were still very high. Next on court was 1st seed Ed C. Ed played a tall opponent who had impeccable racket skill and excellent footwork allowing him to reach all corners of the court with ease. In the first set, the Nottingham player dominated the first few rallies by intercepting Ed’s shots with tight attacking drops. Soon Ed realised that he had to work harder if he was to win the game. He then took the initiative to move back to the Tee more frequently, leading to his comeback. Set 2 and 3 were equally draining for Ed, and despite the hard work, Ed couldn’t keep up with his opponent’s accuracy that forced him to move from one end of the court to the other. Ed gave it all he could in the 4th set and managed to bring the score to 10-10, but unfortunately could not last an extra 2 points, eventually losing his match 1-4. Last on court were 2nd and 3rd seeds Colin and Faraaz. Both players faced very consistent opponents who barely took risks. Nonetheless, it seemed as if the consistency was enough to force Colin and Faraaz to make mistakes. Both matches ended quickly with a 3-0 score, bringing the final match score to a 1-4 loss. It was a close fight, and had our strongest team played, the result may have been very different. Nonetheless, a good effort from everyone! The Squirrels end the season in 2nd place!
The Oxford Squirrels (Mens’ 2nds) finish their BUCS season at 2nd position in the Midland 2B Division and last 16 in the Midlands Conference Cup.
Women’s Ferrets vs. Northampton 1sts (Home), Wk9: Win (2-1)
In a blink of an eye, the season comes to a close with the Ferrets final BUCS league game of the term. Currently sitting at 3rd in the tables, the Ferrets face the Northampton 1st team to retain their spot, with full intention of finishing the season on a high. Charly, Jess and Ashleigh rally at Oxford train station, armed with satsumas, packed lunches and a lot of waterproof stash, for the trek up North to face their three opponents. After a very chilly walk and a minor curfuffle over some double booked courts, the games are underway and Ashleigh steps on court to makes her BUCS debut. With a powerful deep back serve and a total control of the T, Ashleigh dominates the game from the first hit. Playing long drives and a varied cross-court, Ashleigh quickly drives home her opponent in a straight three set victory for the Ferrets. Next up is Jess, against a Northampton second seed who proves to have mastery over straight drives and a powerful deep-court serve. Having struggled with serve-receive and losing the first set 11-4, Jess rallies in the second set, countering the deep game with some sneaky scrappy drops, and then pummeling with a ferocious overhead serves. She wins the next two games, but looses the fourth set as her oponent rallies and begins to get behind the serve. In an unbelievably finger bitingly close fifth set, Jess pips her arguably technically stronger opponent with a good old fashioned mind game and some tight drop shots, securing win number two for the Ferrets. Finally the final game of the season, Charly steps up against the Northampton first seed. Some unbelievably classy squash is played. Charly has absolute mastery over the deep back court drive, but this is countered by a ridiculously tight boast game from the Northampton first. With a very powerful overhead serve, the Northampton first seed begins to creep away, which Charly counters with an unbelievable show of athleticism and strength. Despite an incredibly technical game from Charly and some stunning cross court runs, Northampton take the three sets, but not without Charly making her work for it tooth and nail. As the Ferrets emerge sweaty from the squash court, they take with them a day’s victory and a success story for the season. Back in Oxford, all is left is one incredibly proud Captain with nothing to say but a massive well done to all her players for an absolutely fantastic year of squash. Ferrets over and out.
The Oxford Ferrets (Womens’ 2nds) finish their BUCS season at 3rd position in the Midland 2B Division and last 16 in the Midlands Conference Cup.