Marlborough College, Wiltshire
Saturday/Sunday 19-20 November 2022
Bob Dolby reports: With Andrew Boyd unable to defend his Singles title and Theo Parker no longer eligible we expected new champions to emerge from this year’s British Universities Championships. Injury prevented organiser Ben Jourdan (Edinburgh University) from competing in the Singles and illness robbed us of some of the Cambridge squad. We were delighted to have a strong group from Durham and a commendably large contingent of 14 from Oxford, several of them relatively new to the game. Three Marlburians returned to enjoy their home courts.
The Singles went according to seeding and produced the eagerly awaited clash of Durham Captain Isaac Weaver and top 20 player Joe Sumner in the final. The contest was spoiled for both by the cramp that afflicted Joe, but Isaac emerged a deserving winner in two straight games after surviving Joe’s comeback from 6-14 to 12-15 in the first game. In the Singles Plate the organiser had to sort out a tricky arithmetical issue which eliminated Durham’s Archie Leask, leaving four Oxford players to fight it out once the round robins had been completed. Michael Hawkey eventually won the final 16-15!
13 pairs contested the Doubles (7 of them from Oxford – bravo!) and in due course 6 pairs the Plate. Matches were rattled through at a pleasing rate, with no 3-gamers though several close encounters. The Durham 1st pair of Stuart Scott and Isaac Weaver looked to be likely winners but defending champion Cameron Low and his new partner from Bristol, Julius Davies, were always going to push hard and so it was, with long rallies and ever changing hands. Scott & Weaver did indeed win, to make it a double for Durham. The big crowds were drawn to the Plate matches, where Oxford’s Lena Barton & Aaditya Deshmukh reached the final against the scratch pair of Ben Jourdan (with a very sore back) and Katie Oswald, a top-flight Eton Fives player at Bristol University. Lena and Aaditya exited the court at the end of the match in a state of rapturous disbelief having pegged their opponents back from 0-8 down to win 12-10.
Huge thanks to all competitiors for coming, in many cases, considerable distances to compete, especially to organiser Ben Jourdan who ran the event, founded in 1960 by David Gardner, with a delightfully light touch and a permanent smile.
1st round: Andrew Shaw (Edin) bt Alex Kessell-Holland (Dur) 15-12, 15-9; Michael Hawkey (Oxf) bt Matias Morgan (Oxf) 15-11, 15-6; Stuart Scott (Dur) bt Abbie Evans (Oxf) 15-2, 15-4; Alikhan Murat (Oxf) bt Antonia Murphy (Oxf) 15-0, 15-1; Archie Leask (Dur) bt Pablo Ortuño (Edin) 15-0, 15-0; Aaditya Deshmuth (Oxf) bt Lena Barton (Oxf) w/o; Adam Hutchinson (Oxf) bt Enkhtamir Erdenebulgan (Oxf) 15-0, 15-0; Vivek Thakrar (Oxf) bt Juliana Murphy (Cam) 15-0, 15-1; Tyler Crowley (Oxf) bt Robert-Antonio Menhart (Cam) w/o; Harry Turner (Oxf) bt James Stevenson (Dur) 15-0, 15-2.
2nd round: Joe Sumner (KCL) bt Shaw 15-0, 15-3; Scott bt Hawkey 15-2, 15-3; Murat bt Marcus Cloke Browne (Cam) w/o; Freddie Kottler (Cam) bt Leask 15-1, 15-3; Isaac Weaver (Dur) bt Deshmukh 15-1, 15-0; Thakrar bt Hutchinson 15-3, 15-7; Aiden Whitham (Oxf) bt Crowley 15-0, 15-0; Teddy Monro-Davies (Oxf) bt Turner 15-4, 15-3.
Quarter-finals: Sumner bt Scott 15-5, 15-8; Kottler bt Murat 15-0, 15-1; Weaver bt Thakrar 15-5, 15-0; Whitham bt Monro-Davies 15-3, 15-1.
Semi-finals: Sumner bt Kottler 15-3, 15-2; Weaver bt Whitham 15-2, 15-5.
Final: Weaver (Dur) bt Sumner (KCL) 15-12, 15-6.
Plate semi-finals: Hawkey bt Deshmukh 15-3; Turner bt Hutchinson 16-15.
Plate Final: Hawkey (Oxf) bt Turner (Oxf) 16-15.
1st round: A Hutchinson & A Whitham (Oxf) bt A Evans & E Erdenebulgan 15-0, 15-0; A Murat & V Thakrar (Oxf) bt A Kessell-Holland & M Morgan (Dur) 15-4, 15-2; M Hawkey & H Turner (Oxf) bt Ortuño & A Shaw (Edin) 15-7, 15-3; J Dare & T Monro-Davies (Oxf) bt B Jourdan (Edin) & K Oswald (Bri) 15-13, 16-15; A Leask & J Stevenson (Dur) bt T Crowley & A Murphy (Oxf) 15-0, 15-0.
Quarter-finals: J Davies & C Low (Bri) bt L Barton & A Deshmukh (Oxf) 15-3, 15-1; Hutchinson & Whitham bt Thakrar & Murat 15-10, 15-7; S Scott & I Weaver (Dur) bt Hawkey & Turner 15-1, 15-3; Dare & Monro-Davies bt Leask & Stevenson 15-7, 15-3
Semi-finals: Davies & Low bt Hutchinson & Whitham 15-2, 16-14; Scott & Weaver bt Dare & Monro-Davies 15-5, 15-1.
Final: Scott & Weaver (Dur) bt Davies & Low (Bri) 15-8, 15-9.
Plate semi-finals: Barton & Deshmukh bt Shaw & Ortuño 12-10; Jourdan & Oswald bt Kessell-Holland & Morgan 11-7.
Plate final: Barton & Deshmukh (Oxf) bt Jourdan (Edin) & Oswald (Bri) 12-10.
Isaac and Joe contest the Singles final
Proud Durham take both titles
Oxford do the Plate double
Bristol versus Durham in the Doubles final
Doubles Plate finalists
The trophy-winning Durham squad
The Oxford medallists