Squash girls well Shielded

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The Ladies Blues Squash team finished off their season in
style on Thursday night in the Finals of the Oxfordshire County
Championships. After impressive displays from Hannah Tye and Rhian Hopkins,
who both secured convincing straight games victories at no. 2 and
no. 3, and unlucky losses from Lucinda Orr and Camilla Day –
who both showed that they were more than the equal of their
opponents in terms of talent by winning game 9-0 – the match
was poised on a knife edge. It was perhaps fitting in this siuation that Kerri Shields, in
her last outing for the University, before she tries her hand as
a professional squash player this summer, was due to play the
final, and deciding rubber of the match for the championship. Shields’s impressive stroke play and volleys made it look
easy, and the result was never in doubt from very early on. The
Dark Blue star shut out her opponent in such an effective manner
that she allowed her only two points in the entire match. To end the season being crowned as County Champions will be
some consolation to the Dark Blues after some heartbreaking
losses. The failure in the semi-final of the BUSA Championships
at Easter – to the eventual champions, the University of
Wales, Cardiff – compounded the narrow defeat at the hands
of the Tabs in this year’s Varsity Match in February. Oxford
will believe that having lost to their Light Blue rivals by the
agonising margin of three games to two for each of the last five
years, they are more than due a victory. However, despite the two defeats, albeit in notably
prestigious games, should not take the shine off an impressive
season in which 25 wins were obtained from a daunting fixture
list of no fewer than 34 matches. The loss of fourth year stalwarts and Captains Shields and Orr
should be counteracted by the strong players remaining and the
anticipated strengthening of the squad via the arrival of Brown
University’s Squash Captain, Avery Broadbent, next year. If
Shields makes it in the professional game she will be following
in the footsteps of Ben Garner, who left Oxford two years ago and
is still climbing up the world rankings. He currently stands at
number 45 in the world. The last piece of business for the Women’s Squash Club
this year is the Cuppers Finals on 10 May in which Teddy Hall
will try to stop Keble making it a hat-trick of victories in the
last three years.ARCHIVE: 1st week TT 2004

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