Corinthian Cup 2012 – By Hamish Oates

The Corinthian Cup 2012 is a doubles tournament for teams of four or more.  Its initial staging was run along the lines of the Boomerang at RMTC.  It was held over the Olympic fortnight at Cambridge University, Hatfield House and Newmarket Club courts and attracted more than a 100 players including teams from across England, and from afar such as Melbourne, Hobart and Washington, as well as the Wanderers.

In the latter half of July this year the team ‘Wanderers’ was formed. The members were Mr. Sav Cremona, Mr James Guest, Mr. Rob Jolly, Mr. Charlie Luckin and Mr. Hamish Oates. The Wanderers all converged on Cambridge to compete in the inaugural Corinthian Cup ready to outwit, outplay and outmanoeuvre their opponents.

Corinthian

After exchanging introductions the Wanderers strolled onto Cambridge ‘Green’ Court ready to face the ‘Cops and Bloggers’. All players were able to shake off any remaining jet lag and time the ball with greater precision, enabling their campaign to start on a positive note with a 3 sets to 1 victory.

Following on from their first outing, team strategist, James Guest went straight to work providing vital tips and intel for their second match against the ‘Hatfield Hedonists’, this match was played within the picturesque grounds of Hatfield House. Jolly and Cremona began the match in similar form from Cambridge scoring a comprehensive victory and placing the Wanderers on the front foot. The second and third pairs comprising of Jolly/Oates and Cremona/Guest maintained the pressure and notched up wins, securing another rubber.

With three days of well-earned rest, Dencorub liberally applied to increasing strains and pains and retail therapy to assist the recovery, the Wanderers once again fronted up to Cambridge to play against the ‘Hardwick Hooligans’. This time with a full contingent of players and a new line up, courtesy of the team tactician. Jolly’s consistently placed slice forehand returns landing 1-2 yards from the Dedans coupled with Luckin’s fast and furious returns, which no doubt relieved his stress from the M11 traffic, proved too strong for the opposition.

Cremona and Guest took to the court next and it was clearly evident that Guest’s tactics combined with the agility and cunning nature of Cremona were too much for their opposing players. Luckin joined Cremona for the third pair and provided the packed gallery with an array of aggressive, tactical and entertaining shots which highlighted the success of the right/left combination. With victory secured Guest and Oates played the fourth and final set and despite the variation of serves offered by Guest the opposition was too strong.

Two days later the Wanderers returned to Hatfield, fully aware of the challenge that lay ahead of them. ‘Hampton Court Royals’ had not yet suffered a defeat and were in no mood to yield. The match was a brutal wakeup call as the Royals exposed the Wanderers frailties and capitalised on every opportunity. Luckin and Oates were able to turn the tide somewhat with a straight 8-0 win, preventing a royal flush.

With defeat still fresh in their minds, all players were aware of what was required to make the quarter finals. Our next opponent was the ‘Ephemerals’. Adding further pressure to the final pool match was the imminent departure of James Guest. So with renewed vigour, Luckin and Jolly opened the account and secured a well-earned victory. Luckin and Oates then took to the court and followed suit with a controlled and tactical form of tennis which frustrated the opposing pair and allowed the Wanderers to take the second set. Cremona and Jolly soon followed and were 4-0 up very quickly, but this was short lived as the scores were soon level and the ascendency seemingly with the ‘Ephemerals’. With pressure mounting and the gallery at capacity, Cremona and Jolly held their nerve and played intelligent and aggressive tennis, resulting in an 8-7 victory.

With the quarter finals upon the team and the stiff opposition of the ‘Hatfield Mousers’ ahead, control and consistency were paramount. Jolly and Oates began proceedings and it soon became apparent that the force and slice of Jolly’s returns were too good for the opposing pair, placing the Wanderers in a promising position.  This position only faltered once as the team dropped one set, but it was enough to qualify for the semi-finals.

With nerves edging to the surface the Wanderers were up against ‘Better than Six’ and were aware of the calibre of the players in the team. The line-up remained the same from the quarters, but despite Jolly’s best efforts to help Oates regain composure and hit the ball over the net, the opening set went to the opposition. Jolly and Cremona steadied proceedings with intelligent and consistent tennis and secured a well fought victory. Luckin soon joined Cremona and again close, intense tennis ensued; however, the Wanderers withstood mounting pressure and claimed victory.  The final pairing of Oates and Luckin managed to establish a convincing lead, but this was short lived, as elementary errors entered their game. Luckin and Oates were able to refocus and scrape home 8-7.

The final soon followed and tournament favourites, ‘Not quite true blue’ were ready to pay testament to their reputation. Despite Jolly and Oates’ best efforts the opposing pair was too strong, returning each shot with venom and controlled precision. Luckin and Cremona played very well, but similar to the first pair were unable to level the match. Staring down the possibility of a clean sweep, Jolly and Cremona took to the court, determined to get the Wanderers on the board. Their hard work was rewarded with the third set. Oates and Luckin played the final set and although winning the tournament was impossible equaling the number of sets was the number one priority.  A tough contest followed, but Oates and Luckin prevailed.

‘Not quite true blue’ won by 8 games and were most deserved winners of the competition.

Finally, to my Wanderers team mates thank you so much for giving up your time and participating in the Corinthian Cup. The camaraderie and memories will always be reflected upon with much happiness.

HAJ Oates.

Team Captain

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