Saturday of 5th Week was the day of the annual fixture for OUSRC against the Jesters Club; a nomadic organisation that arranges fixtures against institutions around the world. This match is a chance for Oxford alumni to revisit their old university and see old friends and new faces, while also playing a friendly squash match! The newly refurbished Iffley courts paid host to the event this year, and with ten players on the men’s side and five on the women’s, there was a great display of Oxford talent on show.
With so many matches it was difficult to get a look at all the players, but the theme of the fixtures on the men’s side was a series of gruelling five setters, in the more prolonged English scoring format. Highlights included Tom ‘The Housecat’ Paine locking horns with old friend, former housemate, and constant hitting partner Alex Roberts. The two have played so many times that no one can be bothered to count anymore, but Alex’s bottomless reserves of fitness ground out a 3-2 win, with Tom so tired by the end that he did not speak for fifteen minutes after the match finished (Alex meanwhile was in a very cheerful mood). Crowd favourite Colin Tierney made his triumphant return to Oxford against 2nds player Mattie ‘The Meerkat’ Hewlett, and the two played out an epic match in front of a packed crowd. Perhaps surprisingly, it was Colin’s fitness that proved the stronger in the end, after almost an hour of play, scoring an important victory for the Jesters. Mattie’s habit of fist pumping and shouting after every point may have helped to sap his energy faster than usual. The longest match of the day was played out between Blues Captain Tom ‘The Flamingo’ Trott and Jimmy Cetkowski, who were on court for just shy of ninety minutes. With Jimmy proving more clinical with his shot making, and Tom the more mobile of the two, long rallies were present throughout the first three games. Tom finally pulled away in the fifth to secure the win for Oxford, after an exhilarating battle. This performance captured the Man of the Match award for the young captain. Despite this victory it was to be another defeat for the Blues, who went down to a 7-3 defeat, with the score line obscuring how close the match really was, with four 3-2 results representing very narrow losses for the Oxford team.
The women’s match had the opposite theme of quick and dominant victories for both Jesters and Oxford players. Strings two and four went to Oxford, both 3-0, while straight sets victories for the Jesters at the third and fifth strings tied the match at 2 apiece. The deciding tie fell to Women’s Captain Laura Neill against Rina Borromeo, who has represented The Philippines at the international level. The match experienced several dramatic swings in momentum, before Laura mounted a comeback in the fourth to finish the match 3-1, and win the tie for Oxford 3-2.
After a long day of matches, the players were glad to leave the courts for some well-earned rest, before meeting up at Wadham College for the annual Jesters Dinner. The staff had prepared a sumptuous meal for the teams, and a great evening continued as the celebratory atmosphere carried on into the Wadham SCR and the King’s Arms, with Oxford students past and present comparing fond (and not so fond) memories of their time at this university. This writer does not quite remember what happened after the King’s Arms, but is certain that the revelries continued into the night. OUSRC extends its thanks to Jesters’ Captains Oli Jeffries and Katie Abell who helped organise the fixture, to Mike Sauvage for, as always, organising a fantastic dinner with Wadham College and helping the fixture to run smoothly, and to the Wadham staff who looked after all the players so well that evening. Until Next Year!
~ by Blues Captain Tom ‘The Flamingo’ Trott