Loughborough 0 -5 Oxford AFTER a slow start to the season, Oxford’s decimated and rejuvenated Blues squash team have acquired a taste for victory against their weaker BUSA opponents. Having racked up convincing wins at Warwick and Nottingham in the preceding weeks, the team was all out to dominate an unsuspecting Loughborough side, and for the most part did not disappoint.
The event kicked off with crushing wins by the Oxford numbers four and five, Nick Douglas and Mark Blundell, both new additions to the team. Mark, who has cruised comfortably through each match since his Blues debut, stayed head-to-head with his opponent for the first few points, before pulling away to win in straight games 9-4, 9-1, 9-2. Despite a lack of quality in the racket department, and being paired against a hefty Loughborough man, Mark’s superior racket skills left his opponent without much hope from the start.
Nick Douglas’ blistering pace and infinite fitness has seen him gain a reputation for ‘Forrest Gumping’ his opposition off court. Though these skills were not necessary on this occasion, Nick had them at hand, dragging the rallies out with a few too many loose cross-courts and lofty drops. When his shots were firing though, his opponent had little to retaliate with, so Nick powered through to win 9-1, 9-2, 9-3.
At number three Matt Hall has gained a comparable reputation to Nick’s, forcing all who come against him to ‘witness the fitness’. Earlier in the season he broke a man from Warwick after fighting back from 2-0 down. This week, though, taken aback by the unexpected quality of his opponent and at times making hard work for himself, Matt put in a captain’s performance nevertheless, winning 9-6, 9-3, 9-6.
At number two, Tom Coode-Bate dropped 14 of the first 17 points, but going back to basics he clawed back to two games all. Things were looking grim at 6-1 down in the deciding game, but a quirk of fate found him finish on top: 3-9, 9-6, 4-9, 9-1, 9-7.
Number one seed, superstar fresher Nelson Fung, has stunned the Oxford squash scene this term, last week beating an ex-Pakistani international. This week was no exception, Nelson hit just one or two unforced errors in the entire match. His score-line, 9-0, 9-2, 9-0, was another promising result. Oxford will be relying on him to meet expectations set by former Tab-bashing Blues in this year’s Varsity.