Oxford University come to town

Sunday evening saw Chesham Bois morph into Cambridge Blues as they welcomed Oxford University squash team for a friendly match to help the dark blues prepare for their varsity match. Each team consisted of 4 ladies and 9 men, so it was a busy old evening with plenty of high quality squash taking place across three courts. It was difficult to predict how well the teams would measure up so it was a pleasant surprise to find that almost every match up was closely contested and that the entire match came down a tie break in the 5th game of the final match on court. CBLTSC just managed to carry the day winning 7 matches to 6, 29 games to 28.

It was impossible for one person to keep up with every match going on so apologies to those who deserve a bigger write-up than I provide here. On the ladies’ side, Kate Ballingall stepped up to number 1 and although she ultimately went down 1-3, she can take great credit from the performance which underlines the strides forward she has made this season. Great credit also to Alice Fedorovsky, Chris Sear and Isobel Piper for their victories, with the youngsters both producing convincing 3-0 results and Chris pulling out all the stops to carry the day 3-2. Super stuff from the ladies and a great start for CBLTSC.

On the men’s side Andy Piper kicked off the evening with a hard fought 3-2 victory but Oxford struck back with a narrow loss 2-3 loss for Will Piper and a slightly less close 0-3 for Marcus Paine. That left the top 6 to play, with the top 3 first on court. Phil Taylor did extremely well to get out of his IPL contract only to come up against an opponent whose powers of retrieval would have put Spiderman to shame. At 0-2 down we wondered if Phil was out of ideas, but under the newly brightened lights of court 4, the Delhi Daredevil fired back to level the match, showing the quality shot-making his 1B team mates know and love. Unfortunately Spidey was not to be denied and just managed to edge out the match. The next two matches saw local interest on both sides as CBLTSC players Owen Riddall and Tom Paine returned to face 1A players Will Gardner and Sam Pothecary respectively. Victory went to the youngsters (sorry Sam) in both cases, 3-2 to Owen and 3-1 to Tom. Both matches were well contested with the Riddall/Gardner contest getting particularly spicy as both players engaged in a back and forth conversation for almost the entirety of the match. The verbals were mostly good natured however, and happily an expert marker never allowed things to bubble over while the boys on court did produce some excellent squash when they could keep their mouths shut.

So going into the last three matches, things looked bleak for CBLTSC, who needed victories in all three to prevent a gown victory. As has been previously reported on these pages, the 1B side has been showing more grit of late, so it was just as well that three of its stalwarts were next on court. Rob Parry rarely disappoints when it comes to team matches, and the 1B captain produced another battling performance to come through a 5 setter on top. That left James Pearson and Steve Sieff (both with Cambridge allegiances) to finish the job. First James and then Steve made hard work of it against well matched opponents. James managed to win yet another tough 5 setter leaving it to Steve to finish the job. By the skin of his remaining teeth Steve managed to do so, coming back from match ball down to edge a 5th set tie break.

Well done all who took part and many thanks to those who came out to support. Well worth repeating I think.

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