A TEAM TOP 2ND DIVISION
Oxford A team: Toby Dow, Bertie Anstis, Cooper Whitford*
Oxford B team: Pelin Karabulut*, Ethan Morgan, Edward Davis
Oxford C team: Tom Williams*, Miles Davis, Joseph Fisher
Oxford D team: David Brice*, Jakub Jedrzejowski, Jonathan Brice *captains
Oxford fielded four cadet teams, including five newcomers and five players who had signed on from Banbury. These were very much new line-ups, with only Bertie Anstis left from last season’s A & B teams, and several players attempting to move up a level. The A team were correctly assigned to Division 2, but the other three teams were placed one division higher than I had requested, so were likely to struggle in deep water.
In the event, the A team won all their matches, the Bs lost all theirs in Div 2, but two only by the narrowest margin, the Cs played above themselves to win two in Div 3, and only the Ds had a hard time of it in Div 3, with Jakub Jedrzejowski (10) and Jonathan Brice (11) really only coming in off the reserve list and not yet up to the standard. Their day will come, so long as they did not find it too depressing! With several players unexpectedly dropping out, at least we still put out four teams.
The organiser wisely started the competition by arranging home town derbies, A v B & C v D. For the most part the selector was vindicated with B putting up a good fight but A looking to be on for a 9-0, until Ethan Morgan upset the apple cart by defeating his Banbury rival Toby Dow. The A team then scored another 8-1 victory, over Crusaders D, before scrambling home 5-4 against Cippenham C. Bertie Anstis went through the day unbeaten with 9/9, while Toby and Cooper Whitford, both with 6/9, fully justified their promotion to the A team, which is currently at the top of the table, but still has two of the better teams to play.
Bertie Anstis won all his matches for Oxford A
The B team went on to a pair of 4-5 defeats against Cippenham B & Kingfisher B, but, having gathered 9 points, they will still have a fighting chance of retaining their place in Division 2 next time round. They competed well, Ethan leading the way with 4/9, while our two 12 year-olds, Pelin Karabulut (3/9) and Edward Davis (2/9), were engaged in a succession of five setters. Pelin has some devastating shots and, once she has learnt to stay in the rallies and deploy them at the right moment, could improve dramatically. Edward has had some good results for Bicester in the Oxford Two-a-Side league and, appearing for the first time at this level, gave a battling display throughout the day.
In the Third Division, the C team kicked off against the D team, for whom David Brice played a captain’s role, in beating both his Banbury rival, Joseph Fisher, and Bicester’s Miles Davis. David went on to salvage 5 points for the D team with 5/9, a very fine effort for a newcomer. The C team next met Cippenham C and pulled out all the stops to win 7-2. With two wins behind them hopes were high, but they caught a cold in the last match v Crusaders E, losing 1-8 to a trio of very young, but talented and skilful players. Captain Tom Williams scored a creditable 6/9, but Joseph 5/9 and Miles 4/9 also made a fine debut in Division 3. Miles (12) has improved by leaps and bounds over the last year and Joseph (just 11) impressed us all with his athletic ability – he’s part of Eddie Roofe’s coaching group at BGN and has bags of potential, as shown in the superb way he applied himself to save the team from the whitewash against Crusaders.
Special thanks go to Mike Atkinson, who organised the whole event single-handedly with his customary efficiency, and to Richard Anstis, Cigdem Karabulut and Marcin Jedrzejowski, who each took charge of one of the Oxford teams.