Catherine Felce (2016) front row, far right, and Laura Neill (2018), holding the trophy as captain, at the Blues Varsity at the RAC in London. The women’s team beat Cambridge 4-1, as did the men.  Photo: Anna Willis

Sports: Report - Women's Squash 2019/20

Merton squash has had an impressive season with multiple teams entered across the league and Cuppers. Unfortunately, we had missed out last season, due to an error about the deadline to enter, so we were unseeded in all events. Despite this, we still performed incredibly well with plenty of players getting involved. Our first match in Cuppers against Keble was closely matched, with Merton managing to secure the win 3-2. This allowed us to progress to the next round, where we faced Jesus. We lost the first two matches, but luckily managed to win the last three. With another 3-2 win under our belt, we moved on to the quarter-final against St Hugh’s. We knew they would be tough competition, with two Blues from both the men’s and the women’s side. The first three matches were played, which resulted in us being 2-1 down. Luck was on our side, as the two remaining Hugh’s players chose to withdraw. Hence, we were awarded walkovers and so the final result was 3-2 to Merton.

Next up, we had Balliol in the semi-final. We put out a strong team, including Alex Roberts (2014, a former Men’s Blues first seed), Laura Neill (2017, the Women’s Blues first seed), and three players on the Men’s Seconds team: Trajan Halvorsen (2020), Benedict Yorston (2019) and Tim Bennett (2019). We won the first four matches 3-0 and were given a walkover for the final one. Our apparent affinity for 3-2 wins ended as we earned a 5-0 win. Our opponents in the final were Somerville, last year’s winners. However, the final was scheduled to take place in Trinity, so it was yet another major sporting event that was cancelled as a result of coronavirus. Regardless of how we would have done in the final, just getting there from an unseeded position is no small feat and the team should be very proud of this achievement.

Beyond Men’s Cuppers, we also entered a team into the Men’s League and Women’s Cuppers. Unfortunately, the latter did not end up taking place. However, the Men’s League was played throughout Michaelmas and Hilary. For this team, Merton mostly played non-University squad players, increasing participation and including those of all standards. Once again, due to our lack of play last year, we were put into the bottom division. In the first term, we were undefeated, securing our promotion for the following round, which did not get fully completed.

Overall, it has been a great year for squash at Merton. Hopefully, our strong performance this year will allow us better seedings in the events for next season, facilitating us to build on this year’s success even further. We have had an impressive number of Mertonians representing the University, in BUCS matches, private fixtures and Varsities. I hope this continues into next season and wish a new addition to the team, Ed Spiers (2018), the best of luck as he takes over the college captaincy.

Laura Neill (2018)
Squash Captain 2019-20