Just over the road from College, Robinson students are lucky to have Cambridge University Real Tennis Club. The Club is a friendly home to students, academics and non University players (as well as the Robinson badminton players on a Sunday evening).
Last weekend, Robinson College's very own Material Scientist, Jimmy Campbell, captained the University seconds team to an epic win against their Oxford counterparts:
CURTC launched two formidable teams at the enemy, led by fearless captains Jimmy ‘the beard’ Campbell and Amanda ‘stockings’ Murphy.
The Cambridge teams comprised, for the girls: Mia Lewis (4), Amanda Murphy (1) (capt.), Leah Bramwell (3) and Emily Chadwick (2) for the boys: Oli Quarry (3), Matt Shaw (2), Jimmy Campbell (1) (capt.), and Nick Worsnop (4).
The victorious teams with Senior Pro Kees Ludekens
The women's team led the way to victory; first up for the men: Cambridge’s Oliver Quarry taking on Ben Kay, both of whom recently had their handicaps adjusted down. In this battle of the bandits it was the Oxford man who played to a standard far better than his adjustment would suggest, and he came through 6-0, 6-1. There was no time to dwell on this result though, as Quarry teamed up with captain Jimmy Campbell for what could be a decisive doubles match. Each side exchanged games up to 2-2, before Cambridge pulled away, with some sumptuous volleying from Quarry, and Campbell keeping it tight at the back of the court. Game, set and match 8-3 to Cambridge, leaving the scores tied at 1-1 after the first day and all to play for.
The second morning saw Cambridge’s Nick Worsnop take on Dan Escott, an Oxford rackets convert, who would certainly test the more experienced Worsnop. The task was made much tougher as the Cambridge man lost the opening 9 games of the match, leaving him looking down the barrel of a double bagel. After adjusting his length to compensate for the smaller Oxford court, Worsnop took the following 6 games to level the tie at one set all. The Cambridge man (and support) felt like he was now the favourite to take the match, but Escott played some lovely shots to take the final set as he did in the first, 6-0.
Once again, with Cambridge 2-1 down, the doubles would be key. Worsnop joined Matt Shaw, who had been following a strict training plan of going out every night in the lead up to the match, and Captain Campbell had complete confidence. The match was very close in the opening stages, until Cambridge pulled away to a 6-3 lead. A few loose shots later and they found themselves 6-5 up and back at the hazard end. An outstanding game from Worsnop took them to 7-5 and back at the service end, leaving Shaw to serve out the final game to provide an 8-5 win, 2-2 overall.
Showing no signs of tiredness from his week of excess, Shaw stepped back on court to take on the Oxford number 2, Alexander Flint. Shaw looked very sharp in the first set and wrapped it up quickly 6-1. In the second he took a 5-2 lead and it looked as though the game was over. However, the Oxford man rallied and brought the game back to 5-4 and Shaw, having lost a few match points, looked like he wanted to get off court as soon as possible. He took the set 6-4 – Cambridge was on the cusp of victory.
It was left to Jimmy Campbell, a man of five Seconds Varsity matches, to finish the tie against the Oxford fresher George Peel. Again the opening stages were close and somewhat nervy but as the set wore on, Campbell took hold of the match, playing in a very positive manner to win 6-3. Peel continued to play above his handicap station in the second, but the experience of Campbell proved too much for the youngster and he took the set 6-2.