Oxford’s men and women battled through changing weather conditions over the weekend to record an emphatic double victory in second’s Varsity tennis. The Penguins and the Robins, having to play on two different courts in two days, eased to an impressive win.
The Oxford Penguins, the University second’s men’s tennis team, continued their perennial dominance over the Cambridge Grasshoppers with a 14-4 rout.
The Penguins took control of the two day match on Saturday, sweeping the first six singles matches on the hard court – the re-arranged playing surface due to the sweeping rain.
The manner in which the players adjusted themselves to the new surface was commendable; the transition, seamless. Daniel Tristao, playing at the No. 4 singles spot, came back from a one set to love deficit to defeat the Cambridge No. 3, contributing the last point of the singles shut out.
Teamwork then took centre stage as the first round of doubles commenced. A controlling Penguins performance furthered their advantage by winning two out of the three doubles, increasing the lead to 8-1.
Because of improved weather conditions, play was moved to grass courts on Sunday. This proved little problem to the side, as the team continued to assert its dominance, taking two out of the three doubles rubbers. Most notably, the Penguins second pair of Thomas Dance and Tristao resoundingly defeated the Cambridge first pair of two Light Blues players 6-2, 6-2.
Cambridge Grasshoppers were now merely playing for pride. No matter what sport, and at what level, a deficit as big as Oxford commanded – ten games to two – threatened to embarass the squad. Spurred on by the determination not to be humiliated, Cambridge began the second round of singles with a purpose, proving to be more resolute than the previous day’s showing, Cambridge bravely pushed their counterparts to a deciding set in five of the six singles matches played.
However, the Penguins proved to be too skillful for the Grasshopers, winning four out of the six matches. Howell Williams at No. 6 won the deciding rubber with a decisive 6-1, 6-3 triumph.
Oxford’s co-captains, Alex Zackheim and Jake Gorelov, were successful in their singles encounters, both dispatching of Light Blues players in decisive third sets, leaving Cambridge demoralised. Aroop Mukharji also won in three sets, disposing the Cambridge No. 3.
Jarlath Brine, the Penguins coach, stated: ‘I was immensely proud that all Oxford players conducted themselves with great maturity, dignity and sportsmanship throughout.’
The Penguins’ female counterparts, the Robins, also enjoyed a successful weekend; only one victory was needed as Sunday approached. The first day was not without incident however, as a raucous Cambridge following attempted to engage in unsporting behaviour with negative chants towards the Oxford side.
This proved too much for the Robins’ coach, who valiantly defended Oxford’s pride. With the furore of Saturday placed to one side, focus turned back on the court.
The Robins’ first pair of Sarah Savage and Jo Thompson easily dispensed of the Cambridge Ladybirds to seal a truly deserved 9-6 win and hand Oxford ladies their third successive Varsity win over their Cambridge adversaries.