Varsity report: Table Tennis

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In the Varsity ‘warm-up’ of Table Tennis Town vs. Gown, the Men’s firsts, Women’s firsts and Men’s seconds all had teams competing. The Men’s first won Town vs. Gown with an impressive 7-3 scoreline for the first time in six years, meaning that OUTTC now has a beautiful wooden trophy to put in its metaphorical cabinet. The Men’s seconds also put in a sterling performance with a 5-5 draw against an experienced Town team. Unfortunately the Town women proved too much for the Women’s firsts with a convincing win of 9-1.

Despite coming from the relative successes of the Town vs. Gown, Varsity posed a daunting challenge. Cambridge has convincingly held the Men’s firsts title since 2004 with an impressive win of 10-0 for the last four years, so this year’s team was determined to set the record straight with win on home turf. Varsity tradition suggests that the Women’s team is more evenly matched, with Oxford winning three consecutive titles since 2010, however we were beaten in last year’s competition after one of our strongest players changed sides!

In the Varsity match, Cambridge showed they still have tremendous strength at the top, beating the Men’s firsts 10-0. However, the Oxford players fought well and managed to win many sets against them, forcing them to play harder than they have had to in the last four years. It is unfortunate that this isn’t reflected in the score line, but progress is being made. On a positive note though, word on the street is that a lot of their key players are leaving this year, so next year’s match is set to be a more competitive fixture.

The real stars of the show were the Men’s second team, with Michael Peterer, Haijie Tan, Ben Nilsson and Maciej Jarocki winning 6-4 against their Cantabrian opponents. Especially noteworthy was Ben’s incredible performance; after a poor start, the score was two sets to nil, but Nilsson battled through and secured his win in the final set, coming back from 9-5 to assure Oxford’s victory. Huge congratulations to the Men’s 2nd team who are going from strength to strength!

The Women’s 1st team fought extremely well to secure two matches against their more experienced Cambridge opponents, eventually losing 8-2.

All in all, it’s been a great term for OUTTC and things are looking upwards with most of our players staying on next year. Hopefully we’ll keep up our fantastic strength and build on the successes of this term. The return fixture next year is set to be a more competitive one, with table tennis growing rapidly throughout Oxford. Come along to the Iffley Sports Centre on Thursdays from 4.30pm – 6.30pm, or on Sunday from 5pm – 7pm if you would like to play. The hugely popular College Cuppers is happening in Trinity so make sure that you get your entries emailed to luke.austen@pmb.ox.ac.uk.

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