Varsity match by year:
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in play at Hurlingham
In play at Hurlingham

Oxford beat Cambridge 7-2

On 8th June the 2010 Varsity Match was once again hosted by the Hurlingham Club. The event was a few days earlier in June than last year, which had a significant impact on the Oxford team in particular, as some of their best players were unavailable because they were still sitting exams. (Whatever happened to priorities?) This did not appear to discourage Oxford, however, as they turned up with a team of nine players to meet the usual team of six from Cambridge.

The match used the traditional format of three doubles games in the morning and six singles games in the afternoon, all played to Level Advanced rules. Three of the Oxford team, Andrew Donner, Jonathan Lindsell and Ben Mason would only play in the morning doubles, while three others, James Ramsay, Luke Valori and Will Alderton, had to wait for the afternoon singles before getting their chance.

The doubles started a little late at around 10:40, and the games were set to a 3-hour time limit. It was just as well that they did set a limit, because progress in all three games was slow and missing the Hurlingham lunch was definitely not an option. In the first team, the Oxford pair of Tom Whiteley and Alex Evans proved too strong for their Cambridge opponents Joel Taylor and David Garner, and they succeeded in keeping the Cambridge pair at bay throughout the game until eventually pegging out for a +26 win. The second Cambridge pair of Edward Turnham and James Folliard put up a stiffer resistance against Yuri Gulla and Andrew Donner, however, and had managed to build a 17-10 lead when time was called. The third game went Oxford's way, with Jonathan Lindsell and Ben Mason securing a comfortable 21-5 win on time. Score at lunch: 2-1 to Oxford.

Suitably fortified by the Hurlingham lunchtime hospitality, the players embarked on the six afternoon singles matches, but this time with no time limits, and one other significant factor - the weather. It had threatened to rain at times all morning between occasional spells of sunshine, but when the afternoon arrived the threats turned into reality with some bouts of serious drenching. The Hurlingham courts, already quite heavy with rain from the previous night, quickly became became waterlogged. On one court it reached the point where some mopping up by referee Richard Hilditch was needed in order keep the ball rolling (so to speak).

So when James Ramsay of Oxford had disposed of his opponent David Garner with a quick +25 win on one of the less soggy courts, one of the other games was relocated to that court.

Undeterred by the soaking, and in several cases without the benefit of wet-weather gear, the players soldiered on. As the afternoon progressed it became evident that Oxford once again had the upper hand in all but one of the games. In particular in the top contest between captains Tom Whiteley and Joel Taylor, Tom tried to emulate his Oxford predecessor's 2009 victory with a triple peel, but had to settle for completing it in two stages, finishing with a double peel and a convincing +25 margin. In the remaining four games play carried on into the early evening, and in the end Robert Thorman was the only one to secure a singles win for Cambridge. Final match result: 7-2 to Oxford.

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The trophy was presented to Oxford by the Croquet Association President, Quiller Barrett, along with a large bottle of champagne which had been generously donated by sponsors Pol Roger.

Photo gallery
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Scores (Oxford names first, with handicaps where known)

Tom Whiteley (3½) & Alex Evans (12) vs. Joel Taylor & David Garner
Yuri Gulla (12) & Andrew Donner (16) vs. James Folliard & Edward Turnham
Jonathan Lindsell & Ben Mason vs. Robert Thorman & Tony Williams


Tom Whiteley (3½) vs. Joel Taylor
Yuri Gulla (12) vs. James Folliard
Alex Evans (12) vs. Tony Williams
Will Alderton vs. Edward Turnham
Luke Valori vs. Robert Thorman
James Ramsay vs. David Garner



See also:

Oxford University Croquet Club
Cambridge University Association Croquet Club

Report and photos by Simon Hathrell