Oxford Men’s Blues Finish Top 4 in the Nation (BUCS)
Oxford defeat Imperial for a top 4 position
On Wednesday 27th February Oxford Squash’s Men’s Blues faced Imperial College London in the quarter-final of the BUCS Squash Championship. Having finished fourth in the prior league competition, Oxford were the marginal favourites going into the match, with Imperial having a strong second half of the season and finishing one place behind in fifth place.
On court first was Joe Sibley at number four, who came up against an opponent he had played as a fresher last year. It was his opponent who took the first game, but it was clear that this took a lot of effort, with the Imperial players not being used to the warm Iffley courts. Joe used this to his advantage and took the next three games with fairly close score-lines to set Oxford up 1-0.
Next on court was Mandela Patrick, Oxford’s number one, who came up against an experienced and tough competitor in his Imperial counterpart. Mandela took a while to get going, losing the first game, but soon got into the swing of things, coming back to take the second game. Mandela’s speed and skill has had the better of many opponents this season, but unfortunately his opponent was equal to it, and Mandela lost the next two games, losing the match 3-1 and seeing the score between the two sides back level.
On the next-door court, Tom Trott was playing a composed and controlling game at number five. Tom’s opponent never really managed to trouble Tom, despite coming close in the score-line in certain games Tom maintained the pressure and stepped up his game when necessary. Tom saw out a comfortable 3-0 win and put Oxford ahead once more.
The second-string match saw Tom Paine play his perennial nemesis from Imperial. Always being a close match, this one also looked set to go down to the wire. Tom got off to a good start, winning the first 11-9. But not to be outdone, his opponent took the second 14-12. The next two games proceeded in similar fashion, with both players playing some very competitive squash, not to mention the psychological aspect that always seems to accompany this match-up. The fifth game was full of tension, and it was Tom’s opponent who just managed to edge it, winning 15-13, and setting up the final match as the decider.
Stepping on court to win the match at number three was Pranav Sharma. Despite Pranav’s insistence that he has already retired from squash, he played an outstanding match. Again going all the way to the full five games, the match proved a real nail biter. However, as has so often happened this season, Pranav managed to find some reserves and closed out the match in a cool manner, securing the 3-2 win for Oxford and seeing them enter the semi-finals of the championship.
Oxford suffer loss to event league premier UWE
Following their successful win against Imperial, Oxford played against UWE in the semi-finals of the BUCS premier division championships. Unfortunately Oxford lost all strings against their strong opponents but finished their season capable of boasting a very nice ‘top 4 in the nation’.
Oxford Men’s Blues finish the season at 4th in Men’s Premier Division, 4th Men’s Premier Division South and 4th Men’s Premier Conference Cup.
Well done to the entire BUCS blues team who represented us this season – Alexander Roberts, Mandela Patrick, Tom Paine, Pranav Sharma, Joe Sibley (c), Tom Trott and Tim Delport.