The Leeds Men’s 1st team was apprehensive ahead of their Premier League playoff against Stirling University – the top tennis university in the country.
However, there were some positive aspects to focus on for the Leeds team after they had comfortably won Tier 1- undefeated. In addition, they were only facing Stirling’s 2nd team but it was bound to be a tough encounter as the Premier Stirling 1st team dominated all three categories in BUCS – league, cup and individual.
Starting with doubles rubbers (the six match mini tournaments a full BUCS match is comprised of) played into the hands of the Leeds 2nd pairing as David Smith and Ramzi Cherad were unbeaten in doubles in the league. Both players struggled initially however, falling behind 1-5 after 20 minutes.
Cutting out unforced errors and focusing on simple doubles tactics saw the Leeds pair produce their best performance of the season and come back to take the first set 7-5. The second set was close and went on serve until 4-3.
Exerting pressure that Stirling had probably not encountered all season in the Scottish league, the away players crumbled at 3-4 down in the second set and gifted the Leeds pair a crucial break with a double fault. Ramzi Cherad made no mistake in serving it out, a couple of aces and a routine put away from David Smith at the net gave Leeds the first rubber.
Dmitry Grikevich and Billy Dainty had a close encounter in the other doubles. They lost their match 6-4 6-4, falling victim to the sudden death deuce rule on numerous occasions. After a short break all four singles got underway. The Leeds boys all performed well but the match practice of Stirling University players was evident.
Two rubbers went to a champ tie break final set but Dmitry Grikevich and Billy Dainty were unable to get over the line despite close finishes. Dave Smith and Ramzi Cherad competed well for most periods of their rubbers but fell short on the bigger points. Slight disappointment as all four rubbers were winnable.
The Leeds boys could hold their heads up high and added consolation was the praise and respect from the Stirling University coach, who with 15 years experience in University Tennis had never seen such high performance from a university without an established tennis centre that attracts top players. Fantastic on-and off- court achievements for Leeds University Union Tennis club. 280 members, newly established beginner and improver programmes, and a fully integrated performance training programme with Leeds Metropolitan University.
The 2nd best BUCS performing club at Leeds University despite only their “Talent” Gryphons status, the club feels it is time that the University provides facilities worthy for a club that earns the University over 100 BUCS points.