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North Oxford E

Sat 07 Jan - Away

Lost - 5-3

Morning drizzle, still persistent as we cycled up the Banbury Road, blew through as if to order for our arrival at North Oxford Tennis Club, leaving warm, damp, but playable conditions for our B team match against the NO E squad. Peter and Tim opened against the North Oxford first seeds. An erratic start saw us fall behind by a set and 4-0. A sudden improvement in timing and teamwork underpinned a second set rally, but it was not enough to avert a 6-2, 6-3 loss.

Consistency improved in the second rubber. A higher first serve percentage and some crisp net play saw us move to a 5-0 lead. Having thrown away a set from this position in a previous fixture, mouths were dry as our opponents pulled back the next two games, but a solid service hold at 5-2 was enough to secure the set for Norham. North Oxford fought back in the second set and some long rallies tested the fitness of both teams. The set looked to be heading for a tie-break, until a decisive break of serve at 4-4 gave Peter the opportunity to close out the match with a well-executed service game. Final score 6-2, 6-4.

Jie Ma and Nick tried their luck against the second seeds, but never quite got into their stride and lost the first rubber by a dispiriting 6-2 6-1; better consistency and smart use of angles by the home team proved too much. Ironically, the second rubber against the first pair was much closer; breaks went each way in the first set until the North Oxford pair held onto a decisive break to take the first set 6-3. But the confidence of finally playing some competitive tennis shifted the momentum towards us, and Norham took the second set 6-1; encouraging and frustrating in equal measure, as it showed that a better result was well on the cards. It was not to be, though, with Norham losing the match 5-3 overall.