|November 18, 2015||BUCS Men's Midlands 2B||2015/16|
|University of Cambridge Men’s 2nd||10||Win|
|University of Warwick Men’s 3rd||2||Loss|
Keen not to miss his debut BUCS match, Dylan arrived 40 minutes early to the Cambridge train station. After what seemed like an eternity, the rest of the squad assembled, and the Grasshoppers caught the 10 am train to Peterborough. Throughout the journey, spirits were high and the conversation lively. But soon the team shifted its focus to a more serious topic—the impending Warwick fixture.
The Grasshoppers reached the Huntingdon Tennis Club at 11:45 am, just 15 minutes before the scheduled start. After a brisk warm-up, they sized up the opposition—the Warwick’s Men’s 3rds, clad in black and red uniforms—and steeled themselves for battle.
Playing second seed doubles, James (Parsons) and Vas quickly dispatched their opponents to give the Grasshoppers an early 2-0 lead. Parsons’ punishing forehands combined with Vas’ crisp volleys and powerful serves propelled the duo to a breezy 6-2 6-1 victory. According to Vas, a member of the opposing team was quite “salty” after the loss: his sportsmanship left much to be desired.
Dylan began his debut match at 4 singles with a bang, winning the first set 6-1. Yet his serve and backhand disintegrated in the second set, allowing his opponent to secure a comfortable 4-0 lead. Though he battled back to 5-4, Dylan dumped three returns in the net, to send the match into a deciding 10-point tie-breaker. But the feisty American proved his mettle, cruising to a 10-3 victory and giving the Grasshopper’s a 4-0 lead against Warwick.
Playing 1 singles, James “Top Gunn” faced a very tough opponent with solid groundstrokes. The first set was hard fought, and both players hit some stunning forehand winners. Gunn ended up losing the match 7-5 6-2.
Meanwhile, James “The Tactician” Parsons was dissecting his opponent at 3 singles. He retrieved shot after shot, infuriating the opposition and eroding his morale. A mathematician, Parsons’ logical style of played proved too tough for the brash Warwick side. “The Tactician” sealed the deal with some clinical drive volleys to win 6-2 6-3, and put the Grasshoppers up 6-2 overall.
It turns out that Vas “007” Kusmartsev has a license to kill on the tennis court, as well as off it. His forehand was solid throughout the 2 singles match, and he easily secured the 1st set 6-2. Despite a slow start in the second, Vas served his way out of trouble by hitting 3 “canon” aces that left the opposition shell shocked. Vas won the second set 6-2, officially clinching the win for his side (8-2). Well done, 007.
The final match of the day had Dylan and “Top Gunn” playing together at 1 doubles.
Expert piloting from Gunn, along with some phenomenal wide serving and touch volleys put the pair up 6-2—Maverick and Goose were in cruise control. However Warwick charged back in the second set, and started to play more aggressively. Some poor returning from Dylan and a slew of double faults allowed the opposing team to win the second set 6-1, sending the match into yet another 10-point tiebreaker. The determined Grasshopper side responded by raising its energy level, and hitting some clutch volleys to win a tight 10-7 breaker.
Elated by the 10-2 overall victory, the team immediately messaged the rest of the Grasshoppers squad, who were anxiously waiting on the result.
The Cambridge Men’s 2nds are now at the top of the BUCS Midlands 2B table. If they continue to train hard, stay healthy and work on their doubles play, the future of Grasshopper’s tennis looks bright.