The Men’s Blues had the pleasure of competing in a friendly match at the weekend away from home against a very strong Queen’s club team, with the Cambridge pairings of Jerry Ganendra and James Shemilt, Tim Prossor and Michał Kaminski, and Alex Cole and Jack Long-Martinez enjoying the opportunity to play some high quality tennis at what is one of the sport’s most prestigious venues.
The fixture comprised two rounds of three doubles fixtures, the first of which was exceptionally evenly-contested. Cole and Long-Martinez started very slowly but did ultimately push their formidable opponents in a 6-0 7-5 defeat, while Ganendra and Shemilt managed to slip from 7-1 up to a 10-7 defeat in the deciding set tiebreak of their match – more the result, admittedly, of sustained brilliance from their opposition than of any poor play from the Cambridge outfit. Prossor and Kaminski were, however, rather more successful in their opening round exploits; the pairing were in dominant form and were able to secure a hugely impressive 7-5 6-2 win, with the effect that the teams moved into the second round of fixtures with Queens holding a 2-1 lead in rubbers. This latter round proceeded in rather similar fashion to the former for two of the three pairings. Prossor and Kaminski again triumphed over their opposition (winning 6-7 6-3 10-5 on this occasion), while Ganendra and Shemilt were frustrated to be edged out in another championship tiebreak in a competitive and high-quality match against their Queen’s rivals. For Cole and Long-Martinez, however, this round of doubles proved to be rather memorable than the first. The pairing, much to their disbelief, were pitted against none other than 1987 Wimbledon Champion and tennis legend Pat Cash, who was substituted in to play the second round and who featured here alongside a recent holder of the world number one ranking for over-40s mixed doubles; although the Cambridge pair performed valiantly, their illustrious rivals were ultimately too strong, with Queen’s taking this final fixture 6-2 6-1 and securing a 4-2 victory on the day.
Ultimately, the fixture was a consistent display of high level doubles competition and, moreover, has served to grant the Blues some invaluable matchplay experience heading into the summer term. Certainly, the players should be proud of their capacity to compete with what was an extremely potent opposition line-up; special mention must go to Prossor and Kaminski, who performed fantastically to win both of their matches. Finally, huge thanks must go to the Queen’s Club and players (in particular captain Jonathan Tassell, who organised the day excellently) for being such great hosts. The day was a fantastic experience for the Blues team, and CULTC certainly hopes that this fixture will continue to be contested for many years to come!