- Helen Yan and Zack Schofield
Mixed Varsity 2022 Match Report
Written by Helen Yan and Zack Schofield, CUBaC Mixed Captains 2022-2023
Following the usual intense, time-pressured selection period we were excited to have put a team together with many new additions to the Mixed Varsity squad.
Helen Yan & Krithicck Sivakumaar
Anchal Garg & Finlay Smith
Diana Xue & Zack Schofield
Annie Zhu & James Pinder
Sofie Pultz & Simon St-Amant
Xuefei Wu & Vidun Wedagedera
Spirits were high as the CuBac team left Cam on a sunny Saturday morning in search of an elusive Mixed Varsity victory. And when I say spirits I mean Christmas spirits as Finlay, Vidun, Anchal and Zack got to enjoy the likes of Wham and Mariah Carey during their traversal of Milton Keynes’ many roundabouts. Having survived SO MANY ROUNDABOUTS, Vidun was ready to go and ask some questions of the opposition (questions such as “how do I make a sandwich?” - let it be known that Vidun brought a sandwich without any bread).
The Churchill team arrived to be greeted by Helen, Xuefei, Krithicck and James who were displaying what can only be described as un-CuBaC-like punctuality, arriving a full hour early thanks to a very kind lift from Dan Bates. (Our thoughts were with the rail-travellers Diana, Annie, Sofie and Simon who had kindly taken one for the team.)
All seemed to be going to plan so far, but not for long, in their business organising team selection the captains forgot to organise something far more important - fashion sense. O*ford had no such issues as 10 out of their 13 players showed up in sleeveless tops. Terrifying stuff indeed. Right, enough talking about non-badminton-related stuff, let’s get into the action…
The second team was first out on court. Annie and James combined massive smashes from the back with incredible millimetre-tight net shots at the front to deliver a performance very satisfying to watch. However, Oxford’s defence was solid and their counterattack was sharp, leading to a loss in the first set (16-21). In the second set, Oxford's Rob unfortunately twisted his ankle, cutting the match short.
On the next court, Sofie and Simon were battling Zack’s brother. Unfortunately, perhaps due to still being bamboozled by the sleeveless shirts, Cambridge lost in 2 sets.
Vidun and Xuefei started their first round with a long one, losing the first set in a close 18-21 and bouncing back better and faster to take the second set 21-16. However, their opponents stepped up for the last game and took the win.
Next, it was the first team’s turn to go on. Finlay and Anchal took on the Oxford 1st pair. Despite Finlay’s speedy pickups and Anchal’s amazing blocks at the net, the Oxford no. 1s proved to be stronger. The match was lost 15-21, 15-21
Zack and Diana had a strong start and narrowly lost the first set 18-21. However, the Oxford pair went on a roll in the second set, leading to a 9-21 loss for Cambridge.
Helen and Krithicck went neck and neck against their opponents throughout the first set of their match but a couple of scrappy errors in the last set led to a narrow 19-21 loss. The scrappiness unfortunately also took away the second set.
The second round sadly concluded in a very similar way as the first round. Despite everyone playing well, Oxford just had an answer to every shot we played.
The final round saw Oxford gain further momentum taking every win in two sets in the second team matches. In the first team, Krithicck and Helen were facing similar issues against the Oxford 1st pair. They were simply not able to find the gaps between their opponents, leading to a disappointing 6-21 loss. Not wanting to lose the second set to single digits as well, Cambridge stepped up their defence and increased proactive attack. However, Oxford gained a lead and despite good play at the end of the set, it was too late to turn around, ending 16-21 in favour of Oxford.
On the next court, Finlay and Anchal were doing better as they kept pace with their opponents, only losing the first set 17-21. Determined to not go home quite yet, they pulled out their best badminton, taking the second set in a nailbiting fashion 23-21. However, Oxford also decided to whip out their best play in this game, winning the last set 21-17. Zack and Diana were on a similar mission as they took the 2nd set after losing the 1st. The energy was high with roars accompanying winning shots. Sadly, the high energy wasn’t able to take Cambridge over the finish line as Oxford came back in the third set winning 21-15.
Overall, we were disappointed to lose, but we will use the day as a good learning experience as we get ready for next term and our Main Varsity!
Thanks to everyone in our team for a good effort, Oxford for hosting, and to our coach Daniel for being there on competition day.