The University of Nottingham battled out a hard fought 5-0 win over Nottingham Trent in the Varsity Squash. After a success ridden season by UoN’s squash teams, with the women’s first team being crowned national champions and the men’s team coming runners up, the tie always looked like it was theirs to lose. NTU even added in the recent Commonwealth games Jamaican international Lewis Walters to try and even out the tie, yet he was defeated by Owain Taylor in a fantastic performance by the Welsh international. Whilst on paper the score looks similar to the 4-0 thrashing in 2017, the games themselves were heavily contested and provided a thrilling encounter. However, despite NTU’s best efforts, UoN came out on top and yet again emphasised their superiority over their city rivals.
The first match between UoN’s Ben Windle and NTU’s Will Rowe set the 2018 Varsity contest off to a fantastic start with a five game thriller. Rowe took the first game 11-7, with Windle struggling with consistency, but his determination, carrying on during the after-game break, demonstrated his desperation to put this right. It surely paid off with him convincingly beating Rowe 11-2 in the next game. Rowe took the third game 11-8 before Windle won the fourth 11-6, setting up a nervy final game. However, these nerves did not seem to bother Windle, who produced an athletic and dominant performance to win the last game 11-2 and put the overall scoreboard at 1-0 to UoN.
“She showed exactly why UoN’s women are national champions with an emphatic performance”
The second contest was brought to an abrupt and sad end due to NTU’s Mari Taylor pulling out with an injury. UoN’s Jannis Lam had won the first game 11-7 but sadly Taylor could not carry on in the second due to a muscle injury, and gave UoN the second match to make the score 2-0.
With UoN only one win away from being victorious overall in this year’s Varsity contest, it was down to Tom Bailey to win the 2018 trophy against Adam Turner. Both players fought out another five game match, but UoN ultimately pulled through to retain the Varsity trophy. Bailey, similarly to Windle, seemed to struggle with his consistency, despite displaying some excellent winning shots. He lost the first game 9-11, seeming frustrated with his performance, yet turned this around to win the next two 11-5 and 11-7. However, Turner admirably took the match to five games, with a prolific fourth winning 11-2. Whilst the final game was heavily contested, Bailey produced more of his early winning shots to win 11-7 meaning UoN took the Varsity trophy for another year.
“The University of Nottingham showed a drive and determination that Nottingham Trent simply could not cope with”
However, despite UoN having already won the overall contest, they were far from complacent in their final two matches. UoN’s president Libby Corke convincingly beat NTU’s Hattie Hill, 11-3, 11-5 and 11-2. She showed exactly why UoN’s women are national champions with an emphatic performance, leaving the overall score 4-0, with Lewis Walters, fresh from his trip to the Gold Coast, hoping to claim back a consolation for NTU.
However it wasn’t to be, and the green and gold’s took a 5-0 2018 Varsity victory, fully deserving the trophy. Despite the last match going to five games, Owain Taylor pulled through for a 3-2 win in a tough contest. The University of Nottingham showed a drive and determination that Nottingham Trent simply could not cope with, ultimately winning the Varsity Squash trophy yet again and typifying their fantastic success in the sport this year. The Varsity series is now 5-2 to the University of Nottingham.
Featured image courtesy of University of Nottingham Sport, via Twitter.