A new-format Cuppers win for Homerton
CURFC held the 2016 cuppers competition on Saturday 30th April. The old, – i.e. teams of three, term-long – format had been ditched in favour of a single-day mixed doubles festival. Defying exams, the hot weather and the upcoming Caesarean Sunday festivities ten pairs made their way to the courts.
Initially they were split into three seeded leagues but under the complex handicapping system upsets were a possibility. Indeed the second seeds Queens’ (with Ladies’ number one, Cassi Henderson, and Men’s number four, Jacob Brubert) went out in a nailbiter to Homerton. Meanwhile, the third favourites, Selwyn, went out to Robinson, all of which showed the advantage of a strong lady against an ostensibly much stronger man.
Inspired by his sailing background, tournament organiser James Pinder then cut to three further leagues.
In the bronze league Corpus were victorious in games, though Churchill ran them close. It was notable and perhaps encouraging that these games featured more “singles” and less intra-pair cooperation.
In the silver league, Queens’ were comfortable victors and perhaps deserved another crack at the gold league. There were some good games including one between the four different categories of handicapped pair, with the only double beginner pair holding their own against some high-powered opposition.
The gold league was extremely close. The Robinson pair lost 16-15 to Homerton and 16-14 to Emmanuel, setting up a winner-takes-all final. Favourites Emmanuel had a powerful pair with Georgina Shepherd well able to trade blows toe-to-toe with Matt Shaw. This may have been to their detriment as Homerton’s beginner Carrie Heath-Taylor focussed on retrieval (with extreme tennis-style readiness) and allowed Matt to hit plenty of nicks. In the end, Homerton ran out deserved winners 15-8.
It was a successful tournament and, with mild handicapping tweaks, a promising future format.
3rd Robinson 2
4th Trinity Hall
1st Homerton – 31 points
2nd Robinson -29 points
3rd Emmanuel – 24 points
Homerton (Shaw & Heath-Taylor) bt Robinson (Pinder & Simpson) 16-15 ; Emmanuel (Kay & Shepherd) bt Robinson 16-14 ; Homerton bt Emmanuel 15-8
3rd Robinson 2
1st Corpus Christi
3rd Trinity Hall
(click to enlarge