The Men’s Tennis club gave a heavy 12-0 thrashing overall in their key clash against Bournemouth, attaining a clean sweep in their four singles matches and two doubles contests.
To begin with, the top pairing of Jack Large and Pat Daykin took to the court at the same time as the second pair of Jonathan Nathar and Jason Burge. The first duo took a comfortable early lead when a big-serving hold from Large was followed up by a break of the Bournemouth serve in a very tight game, and it would only go uphill from there. In a service game made memorable by a deft touch at the net from Daykin, they consolidated the break and went further by winning a game held at deuce for several minutes, before serving out the fifth game and then sealing the 6-0 routing for the first set.
Bournemouth started to get frustrated after the first two games of the second set were taken by Exeter as well, with one player slamming his racquet on the court. Large continued to impress with his serving to make it 3-0, but Bournemouth did fight back to drag it back to 3-2. Large and Daykin eventually took the set 6-3 and the match 6-0 6-3.
Nathar and Burge, meanwhile, enjoyed a similar big server/tactician partnership. After an early break for the Exeter pairing, they fought their way to a 4-2 lead, with the non-action highlights including yells of ‘Make him f***ing volley!’ and ‘So shit!’ from the peeved Bournemouth pair. Although there were a couple of tense rallies, Exeter took the set 6-2 and after a close second set which was decided by a single defiant break in the middle of it, they claimed an ultimate 6-2 6-3 victory. The two doubles wins set the tone for a dominant series of singles matches.
Although he was ranked fourth of the four players, Burge got the most impressive victory of the lot when he sent his opponent crying all the way back to Bournemouth with a hilarious 6-0 6-0 bagel. Burge has an impressive double-handed backhand which he leans heavily into, and that along with a lot of fight kept pushing him ahead of the errant Bournemouth player.
The toughest contest came for the crafty Daykin, whose topspin and precision made him a daunting prospect for the opposition. He turned his opponent aside 6-2 in the first set, but the other man claimed the second 3-6. It required a tense tie-break to separate the players, but Daykin fortunately saw it through 6-3 3-6 7-6(7-3).
Jonathan Nathar faced a capable player who could generate winners out of nothing. Suitably, the first set went to a tie-break, won 7-5 by Nathar, and a long final service game in the second went his way again to end it 7-6 6-2. Deserving special mention is one incredible point where the pair exchanged lobs only for the Bournemouth player to bring out a ‘hot-dog’ lob (through his legs) and landing it plumb on the baseline.
To round it off, Large managed a comfortable 6-3 6-4 win and Exeter strolled off with the easiest of wins. This victory keeps them clear of Bournemouth in their division, who are bottom.