OXFORD A WIN DIVISION TWO AGAIN!
For a whole galaxy of photos of NCL players in action, taken by Graham Trimming of Cippenham TTC, see here.
Oxford teams, in ranking order, and final standings:
A: Bertie Anstis, Toby Dow, Cooper Whitford WINNERS of Division 2
B: Ethan Morgan, Pelin Karabulut, Edward Davis, Adam Jenner 3rd in Division 2
C: Tom Williams, Joseph Fisher, David Brice 6th in Division 3
D: Zain Ali, Hugh Mortimer, Hari Selvaraj, Morris Wong 2nd in Division 4
Behind these bare statistics there were many highlights and striking performances, as the season reached its climax and finale. The A team, undaunted by relegation from the top division, took on the challenge right from the start with a battling display to overcome our improving B team 4-2. Ethan and Pelin did their best to upset the apple cart by beating Toby and Cooper respectively. Two easier victories followed. Then, taking on St Albans, Bertie Anstis played superbly against Daniel Broner, going down in the 5th after almost winning in the 4th. This match was drawn, leaving us with the chance of winning the division by defeating the youthful talents of Crusaders E. This got to 2-2, but at the very end of the day, playing on two tables simultaneously, we brought it home 4-2, a very fine effort by all three players, as the statistics reveal: 1 Bertie 7/10, 2 Toby 7/10, 3 Cooper 6/10.
Bertie Anstis made Daniel Broner (St Albans) fight all the way.
Cooper Whitford under instruction from Richard Anstis, Bertie looking on
The B team finished 3rd, only two points adrift of Crusaders E, with a strong showing from all four team members. Ethan (5/8) bore the pressure of playing number one very well, with several notable victories. Pelin (3/8), as an Under 13 Girl (at least for National Schools events), is very impressive, and both Edward (4/8) and Adam (5/6), who play locally in the Oxford Two-a-Side League, have stepped up to the plate admirably. Adam was in fact promoted from NCL Division 4 and must be a contender for the most improved player award.
Pelin Karabulut has excelled for the B team
The C team drew with Chiltern A with one win from each player and then suffered three heavy defeats, before achieving a splendid draw with Hillingdon A in the last match. Division 3 was always a stern challenge for these boys, but they battled manfully against the odds. Lead player Tom showed cheerful resignation after losing two matches at deuce in the 5th, before finally winning one late in the day 14-12. David was pleased to get three wins, a tribute to his fitness and determination. Our 11 year-old from Adderbury, Joseph, showed a welcome return to his top form with an exhilarating display against Ashford B; at best he plays a fluent, all-action game attacking on both wings. He is definitely one to watch.
Captain Tom Williams went to deuce in the 5th in three matches.
Joseph Fisher has enjoyed the stiff challenge of Division 3
Two new recruits entered the arena for the D team, Hari and Morris (11). All four Magdalen College School boys (including Edmund Fry, absent on this occasion) have learnt to play in their own style with very basic hobby bats. Zain and Hari look destined to remain as defenders, a rare breed, particularly amongst young players, but they certainly have the talent to succeed at a higher level. Hari scored 7/8 on his debut, showing remarkable application. These boys made up a great team of newcomers, twice finishing as runners-up, this time by a mere two points. It was a pleasure to instruct them and see them improve so much in such a short space of time. I was particularly gratified to see Morris, fished out of the Beginners’ Group at Kidlington Forum, transforming himself into a serious player full of enthusiasm and effort.
Hari Selvaraj made a brilliant debut
It was a swan-song for Cooper, Ethan, Adam, Tom and David, who move up to juniors next season, but with overall 10/16 players from the four squads staying on as cadets, we should still be able to field several teams.
Zain Ali (12) has bags of potential
Hugh Mortimer can hit a fearsome forehand