THE GLASGOW UNIVERSITY Tennis team have battled against a previous history of defeats to finally get ahead and into the semi finals of the BUCS Men’s competition.
The club’s past track record has been disappointing, with the team being knocked out in the first round for the last two years of the competition. This track record, coupled with the team losing two of their strongest players earlier this season, meant that it was with some trepidation that Glasgow University Men’s first team travelled to Leeds University for the 2011 Championship first round. Despite their fears, the team benefited close knit squad that has emerged over the course of the season, with club captain Timothy Campbell describing as “the right balance of experience, youth and talent.”
The Men’s team has profited from this blend of experience and youth, with the team made up of players; captain Timothy Campbell, who is an old hand, having been playing for the first team for the past three years, Shaakir Salam, who has started to bring in some impressive singles results along with new faces Michal Platos from Warsaw, Poland, and Michael Aubry from Le Mans in France and Scotland’s Walter Hamilton.
A rare recent success, where the first team finished third in the top tennis league in Scotland this season, meant that the team was quietly confident. going into the match. Glasgow put their confidence to good use away from home. They recorded a conclusive 10-2 victory over the University of Leeds, a fantastic result considering the team’s track record in this competition.
The victory in Leeds saw Glasgow then drawn to play against Dundee, in the second round tie, to be played in Glasgow. Having played the University of Dundee twice already this season and splitting the honours with a home victory and an away loss, this was by no means a forgone conclusion for the Glasgow team. However the momentum and confidence from the away day victory over Leeds was carried over into this all-Scottish tie.
The home advantage was put to good use as Glasgow recorded a landslide win over Dundee, with the team dropping only 1 set in a 12-0 victory and in turn progressing to the quarterfinals. The quarterfinal was another away match for Glasgow, this time in Sheffield. This was a tough draw, with the University of Sheffield boasting a commonwealth games player amongst a very strong team. From the warm-up it was clear this was going to be a tight game. At 6-4 down, and with one singles still playing Walter Hamilton knew he had to win his singles game, to tie the match at 6-6 and force a tiebreak shoot out.
The pressure took hold, and Hamilton went a break down in the 3rd and final set. However he dug deep, coming back from 5-3 down to win the deciding set 7-5. A tiebreak ensued. Captain Timothy Campbell told Guardian “You could have cut the tension with a knife in the singles match.” The doubles team of Platos and Hamilton, proved a formidable partnership, and their victory secured a place in the semi-finals for Glasgow. The team were ecstatic with the result and have made great progress over the past year.
Timothy explained, “the 5 hour drive back to Glasgow was more of a party than a chore, as they sealed what can only be described as one of Glasgow tennis teams greatest ever victories!”
Glasgow now faces a tough away test against Loughborough, next Wednesday. This will be a huge challenge for the players, but with the momentum this team has, you wouldn’t want to bet against them.