|March 9, 2016||BUCS Cup||2015/16|
|University of Cambridge Men’s 2nd||4||Loss|
|University of East Anglia Men’s 1st||8||Win|
“Game time!” the call from captain Jonny Ayres as he led the rest of the Grasshoppers onto the 10:01 train from Cambridge towards what the team hoped, would be a dominating victory over the might of Warwick 2nd’s in the much awaited Conference Cup Final. The team of Gunn, Darby, Charlie and Jonny boarded the train in high spirits, oblivious to the very long and arduous day’s work that lay ahead.
Gunn was in confident mood on the train and revealed expertise in niche fields such coconut eating and bagel preparation – peanut butter and banana his personal preference. Charlie seemed at one with the world only interjecting when he felt necessary. Jonny, somewhere in between, attempted (and swiftly failed) to accomplish some work, thus resorting to mutual bashing of the days opposition. No level of chat from the boys could have hidden Darby’s huge sweat patches though, perhaps regretting his questionable choice of very tight T-shirt and jeans for the outward journey.
Warwick tennis centre truly puts Cambridge’s facilities to shame, but the boys from CB2 were in no mood to mess around with compliments or alike. Darby left his “mark” on the centre early on in the day, before joining the team for the warm-up.
Much like the All England Club in late June, Warwick’s courts were ready for some high quality tennis. Several on-court cameramen/women were not going to distract the boys from their mission – not even the audible commentary from the balcony above could deter this cloud of Grasshoppers.
At 1st doubles, Gunn and Darby started off solidly enough against a previously unseen Warwick pair. The opposition were a strange, but effective, combination of a slight 12 year old and a big hitter who’s size suggested he didn’t just enjoy 6-0 bagels. A tight, serve dominated first set ended in a tie-break, with the Warwick pair coming out on top. The James/James combination knuckled down and raised their level to claim the second 6-2, but the Warwick duo of little and large played an almost flawless match tiebreak to claim the match. 7-6 2-6 10-4 (L)
At 2nd pair, Jonny and Charlie took on familiar opposition, who they knew had met and comfortably beaten two previous Grasshopper partnerships earlier in the season. Clearly feeling intimidated by the strong opposition, the pair quickly found themselves a set down having looked nervous in a one sided 6-1 obliteration. Some much needed hustle combined with inspired serving tactics, allowed the boys from Cambridge to turn the match on it’s head. Having served for the second set twice at 5-4 and 6-5, Ayres and Song eventually took it to a third tie-break, 8-6, in front a subdued partisan crowd. Much like Gunn and Darby though, the match tie-break proved their downfall, with some sloppy serving handing another match to Warwick.
6-1 6-7 10-3 (L)
With two very close doubles losses behind them, the Grasshoppers were still feeling good about their chances with four singles rubbers to play, knowing that singles is a different game (see Varsity 2015).
Gunn was matched against the big man from the little and large doubles pair at 1 singles. Despite not quite finding his range early on, Gunn managed to force a first set tiebreak. A very dodgy call off a blistering Gunn forehand at 6-5 in the breaker, was unfairly decisive as a furious Gunn returned to his chair, a set down. Big serving from Warwick and some uncharacteristic unforced errors from the weapon of Gunn proved a tough combination as a disappointing match ended in a Cambridge defeat. 7-6 6-3 (L)
At 3 singles, captain Jonny was up against it from the start. Losing his first service game was enough to see the first set off, as Jonny failed to make any impact on his opponent’s monster of a serve. Despite holding to 3-3 in the second, a few poor points at deuce on his own serve was the end for Jonny’s chances of victory as he failed to create any realistic chances of breaking serve.
That was enough to give Warwick overall victory and ensure the cup didn’t come back to Cambridge, much to the jubilation of the sizeable home crowd. 6-3 6-3 (L)
Not knowing that it was over, Darby was busy crushing his Spanish opponent. Having been brought in as a singles specialist by Warwick, Darby showed no mercy by dominating his man, winning a high quality first set 7-5. Meanwhile, Charlie’s strategy of a quiet train journey became apparent, as he exploded into life with some unplayable tennis to lead 4-0 in the first. His stunned opponent had no answer and resorted to some disgusting behaviour that would surpass even an U12’s Grade 3 match. After several on court arguments and a talk to the “unbiased” official draped in Warwick stash, Charlie closed out the set 6-3. Still behaving horrendously, this feisty match was on serve in the second when the news that both Charlie’s and Darby’s match would have to be abandoned due to the courts being booked for 5:30! With both Darby and Charlie in the middle of a tight second set, they stopped at 5:29 to make way for the upcoming mini-red session.
Following a swift presentation, the Grasshoppers left Warwick claiming both Darby and Charlie’s singles rubbers to end up on the wrong side of an 8-4 score line. Wandering what might have been, the team headed home via several delayed trains and an infuriating hour stop off at Nuneaton station, to eventually return back at 11pm. A quick pizza (quiche for Gunn) and beer at Darby’s was the only appropriate way to finish the day.
Despite a disappointing result, the boys were aware that bigger challenges lay ahead next term. Oxford, we’re ready to come to your place and take back what is rightfully ours: the Colours Cup. GDBO!!!!!