It was an early start for the Grasshoppers’ first match of the season. The team – Jonny, Andrei, James and Joe – made the long trek west to face potentially our toughest match of the season against Birmingham 2nds, who were relegated from the division above last year. The Cambridge team arrived at 11:30am, observing what appeared to be disused park courts. With leafs covering most of the courts, they were greeted by the opposition who confirmed that indeed these were the courts we were going to use – not an ideal start. New Grasshopper captain Jonny – keen to prove himself to the team – was playing at 1 singles against a player with a very strong BUCS record (last year beating Blues player, Vasya Kusmartsev in three sets) Very solid ground strokes and aggressive serving proved too much for his opponent to handle, and Jonny came out with an impressive straight sets victory: 6-3 6-4 (W). At 2 singles, Andrei started well against an agile first year, taking the first set 6-3. The fresher upped his game dramatically, playing much more aggressively to quickly force the match to a third set tie-break. Although he served well in the breaker, Andrei couldn’t quite find a way past this pesky fresher and he lost the crucial third set tie-break: 3-6 6-1 10-8 (L) Meanwhile at 2 doubles, James and Joe were playing together for the first time as a doubles pair, experiencing a brief partnership as they went down in a rather one sided match, against a far more experienced pair: 6-1 6-1 (L) 2-1 to Birmingham at the halfway point. At 3 singles, James swept aside a tall lefty (with serious anger issues!) in a ruthless, rapid performance on his Grasshopper debut. No fear and big forehands from James, sealed the win with a second set bagel: 6-3 6-0 (W) Joe, playing at 4 singles, started slowly but soon found his feet in a close match with many long, exciting rallies. A good performance from Joe, but the scoreline didn’t do his efforts justice: 6-2 6-4 (L) Andrei and Jonny had a shocking start to their doubles as 1st pairing and found themselves trailing 5-1 way too quickly. With some inspired hustle and the occasional wonder shot from Andrei, the pair came back strongly to snatch the first set 7-5. A more tense second set saw both pairs struggle to break serve all the way until 5-5. Having been two points away from sealing the match at 5-4, Jonny and Andrei lost their intensity and dropped the set 7-5. The third set tie break was not one of the Cambridge pair’s best, and they fell to the superior volleying of the opposition: 5-7 7-5 10-5 (L) Overall a disappointing result, but the deflated Grasshoppers had several positives to take with them on the train back home to Cambridge.