Perfect ten for Cambridge Table Tennis

Nicholas Leung 7 March 2013

Cambridge thrashed Oxford in the 70th Varsity Table Tennis match at Kelsey Kerridge last Saturday. The men’s team of captain Nicholas Leung, Wing Chan, Takehiro Kojima and Anthony Sun triumphed 10-0 again to secure their tenth consecutive Varsity victory and their fourth consecutive 10-0 clean sweep. This match was the third and the last Varsity for both Wing and Takehiro. The victory was definitely a perfect ending to their table tennis careers in Cambridge. To complete the mauling, the women’s team of captain Vanda Ho, Maitreyi Shivkumar, Gengshi Chen, and Yuting Wu defeated Oxford 9-1 to avenge last year’s 4-6 loss.

In the men’s event, Cambridge benefitted from walkovers in two single matches due to the absence of several Oxford players. With several matches decided in the fifth set, the 10-0 score did not accurately reflect the competitiveness of the match. Nonetheless, Cambridge demonstrated their mental edge to win the close matches and sweep Oxford.

The women’s matches started off with a five set thriller which saw Gengshi Chen edge Oxford’s Yiqi Zhang. Thereafter, it was plain sailing for the Light Blues and they led 8-1 before the last match between the two Blues’ number ones, Shivkumar and Zhang. Shivkumar was the number one for Oxford last year. As Cambridge’s current top women’s player, her transfer from Oxford was definitely one of the key factors contributing to the Light Blues’ victory. It was a spectacular game with numerous breathtaking rallies. The Cambridge paddler was trailing two sets to one and 9-10 in the fourth but saved the set point and completed her comeback in the fifth set.

The match between the second teams ended in a 5-5 draw. As the score suggests, the matches were so close that they took more than four hours to complete. The Cambridge team of Patrick Worasaran, Ryan Peh, Michael Lu and Matt Lubel started off well and led 5-3. However, none of the team had Varsity experience before and the nerves caused them to perform below their best. Eventually, Oxford capitalised on the inexperienced team to win the last two singles matches to tie the match 5-5.

Despite the disappointment from the draw, nothing can dim Cambridge’s remarkable achievement of tenth consecutive Varsity victories for the men. The score is testament to the Light Blues’ total dominance over Oxford, hopefully for many years to come.

Nicholas Leung