2011 – 2012
MEN’S LAWN TENNIS
Officers: Captain Euan Campbell
After a successful season last year, the team was further invigorated this year by the arrival of fresher and women’s tennis blue, Rebecca Bibb. As a result, the first training session of term saw an unprecedentedly large turnout and the most productive practice ever, with many vying for the coveted double’s partnership with Bibb. However, the potential partners were soon brushed aside by the prowess of last year’s captain, Matthew Green. The pre-season training which the pair had put in during Michaelmas and Hilary certainly seemed to improve their connection on court and they formed a strong 2nd pair partnership for Queen’s all season. With the indomitable duo of Euan Lawson and Euan Campbell playing at 1st pair for the second year, the scene was set for a successful season in the top division of the league and also in Cuppers.
Unfortunately, the first match of the season was against Teddy Hall, who would go on to win the league convincingly. Teddy Hall’s strength in depth was admirable and, despite some brilliant tennis from Lawson in particular, the team suffered a 9-3 loss. However, after shaking off the rust, the team bounced back spectacularly, thrashing Christ Church 11-1 and regaining the winning formula. Meanwhile in Cuppers, Queen’s had negotiated a walkover in the first round and were now set to play a decent Wolfson team, against whom Rob Farenden and Thomas Nichols stepped up well to fill the 3rd pair slot. Bristling with confidence, Queen’s consistency was simply too much for their opposition. Lawson and Campbell at 1st pair dropped just five games across three matches, and Bibb and Green also played superbly, winning two close tiebreakers to seal an overall victory of 7-2 for Queen’s.
The team now faced St Catherine’s in the quarter-finals. Regrettably though, Queen’s Cuppers campaign was to end here. Lawson and Campbell battled hard, winning all three matches, but it was too tall an order for the rest of the team to follow, resulting in a 6-3 loss. The defeat tasted bitter. Some might have reacted with frustration, but this did not happen. Instead, the team launched itself into the league with renewed vigour and with a determination to end the season on a high.
Even with this positive mindset though, it was going to be a challenge. New College, ranked second seed in Cuppers, were the next match in the league, with a team made up of two university 2nd team players and two 3rd team players. Due to players’ availability, the tie was played in two legs. On a blazingly hot day by the river, Lawson and Campbell got things going. With the score at 2-2 going into the doubles, there was all to play for. Despite set points in both sets, the pair could not convert them and ended up losing both sets in tight tie breaks. At 4-2 down, Bowden and Bibb had a lot to do the next day, but in a stunning display against some fine opponents, they won the doubles to square proceedings at 4-4. Bowden then split his singles, making it 5-5. Meanwhile, Bibb’s first set of her singles had lasted close to an hour and a half, with her opponent winning 9-7 in the tiebreak. By this point, the day was coming to a close and so the decision was made to play the deciding set in a few days time. With the tie poised at 6-5 to New College, Bibb was playing for the draw and the pressure was on. Apparently feeling none of this, she went on court and won comfortably 6-1. Her opponent came off court saying, “I didn’t stand a chance, she was thumping it from left to right”. This draw with New College was an almighty display of grit and courage and was surely the highlight of the season. In the final match of term, Queen’s went on to thrash a competent University College team 10-2, thus rounding up a highly enjoyable season and securing 2nd place in the league.
The 2nd team also had a solid season, playing against some very good colleges in Division 2. Very few other colleges field two teams, let alone have two teams which play in Division 1 and 2 out of a possible eight. In this respect, the 2nd team’s 4th place finish in Division 2 was highly respectable. Thomas Rushton, Andrew Robertson, Thomas Nicols and Robert Farenden regularly made up the core of the team, with Parav Pandya and David Phillips also filling in on a couple of matches and playing some remarkable tennis. Major highlights for the 2nd team have to include the substantial wins over St Peter’s and Trinity College.
The vast majority of the squad is staying on next year, which bodes extremely well. However, a fond farewell must be said to Robert Farenden, whose boundless enthusiasm for the sport, infectious positivity and huge forehand will be sorely missed. We wish him all the best with his tennis in the future. We now look forward with much anticipation as to what next year will bring, but until then, the tennis team can revel in their great successes this season.
WOMEN’S LAWN TENNIS
Officers: Captain Cathryn Shannon
Women’s tennis has had a quiet season. After an enthusiastic and promising start, the Club was hit hard by the disappointing Trinity Term weather, which prevented the conclusion of several of the fixtures. The combination of weather and examinations resulted in matches across all the colleges being cancelled. Nonetheless the talent of the fresher intake cannot be doubted and Queen’s enjoyed some nail-biting games, particularly against old rivals Teddy Hall, showing flashes of its capabilities. With a few more keen freshers next year, and a bit more luck with the weather, Queen’s may yet play up to its potential.