Cambridge won the 2013 Pool Varsity match by the impressive score of 52-38 over the weekend, to secure their first win since 2008 and equal their biggest ever margin of victory. The match took place on the home territory of the Cambridge Snooker Centre, where the team of 12 assembled against their opposite numbers.
Saturday began with each player playing three frames of singles against an Oxford counterpart. Scoring was tight at the beginning, having been tied at 5-5, before Cambridge began to pull away and generated a 24-12 lead. Five out of the 12 players – captain Drew Miley, Pete Atkinson, Hugh Lund, Niall Murphy and James Palmer – won their matches by 3 frames to 0.
Next up were the doubles ties: six pairs facing off against each other for a total of 18 frames. This was a far cagier affair with neither side gaining much of an advantage at any point, the session finishing 9-9. Niall Murphy and Jack Hurst were the only pair to record a 3-0 victory. This left us with an overnight lead of 33 frames to Oxford’s 21, a minimum of 46 being required for victory.
Regrouping on the Sunday, with 36 more frames of singles to go, the team concentrated on winning the remaining matches quickly and efficiently. Cambridge started strongly, winning a number of frames early on to maintain their healthy lead. Oxford mounted a small recovery to claw back some of the deficit before a miraculous double from Richard O’Connor brought the total to 45, with only one more frame required for victory. Veteran Paul Thomas supplied the winning frame and his enjoyment was plain for all to see! Pete Atkinson, Hugh Lund and James Palmer repeated their Saturday success to win one hundred percent of their singles frames. They were joined by Paul Thomas, who not only won the all-important 46th frame but then went on to defeat his opponent without reply.
Following this, the remaining frames were played with much enthusiasm, the team strengthening their lead to punish the dark blues even further and emerge as comfortable victors.
In a team with many star performers, Niall Murphy top scored for the Cambridge team, in his Varsity debut, winning eight out of nine frames, including six out of six on the Saturday.