Well what a weekend it was for the EUSPC as they took Southern Universities Championship by storm. Exeter arrived with 3 strong teams and perhaps surprised a few teams with how strong they were.
All Exeter teams won their respective groups, each winning all their games. This was particularly impressive for Exeter 3rds, who stunned Bristol 1sts 6-0, before dispatching Essex 1sts 6-3 and Plymouth 2nds 6-1.
With all three teams into the knockouts, the domination continued. Exeter 1sts came from behind to beat Gloucestershire 2nds 6-3, Exeter 2nds beat Kent 2nds 6-3 and Exeter 3rds continued to make waves, defeating UEA 2nds 6-3 also. To have all three Exeter teams reach the Quarter-finals is an amazing achievement.
On to the Quarter finals, and Exeter 1sts faced off against Kent 1sts where they pulled off a 6-2 victory. Bristol 1sts had their second dose of Exeter of the weekend as they faced the 2nds. Already softened up by the 3rds, Exeter 2nds took victory and made the semis. The Exeter 3rds drew the holders, Oxford 1sts. The lads fell behind, but clawed it back to 5-3 and eventually lost to Oxford 6-3.
Into the semifinals and the pressure began to build. Exeter 1sts, now playing Oxford, who had previously beaten Exeter 3rds, fell behind 5-2 and staged a gutsy comeback to level it at 5-5. Conversely, Exeter 2nds had sailed into a 5-2 lead against Southampton 1sts, but nerves set in as they failed to kill the tie off and also ended 5-5. Playoff time! The 1sts fell behind in the 3 man playoff, but Tom Dummigan showed incredible nerve to cut in a thin black (and avoid the in off) to level 1-1. It fell to Vice Captain James Martin who managed to win his frame, putting Exeter 1sts into the final. Attention now turned onto Exeter 2nds; where victory would make it an all Exeter final. The 2nds went ahead 1-0 through Pavel Mitev and with Billy Roche in complete control of his frame it was looking good. But Exeter didn’t have to suffer a decider as a clearance from team Captain, Fenn Sternberg sealed the tie and a shot at winning the Team Championship
It was just left for Exeter to divide up the spoils. But as we know from South West Pool, Exeter 2nds are no pushovers. Once again they proved their worth and shocked everyone (except their own squad) with a 6-2 victory to take the final. Thereby returning the trophy to its rightful home in Exeter.
Exeter continued this form in the singles. Ed Poultney had a strong event reached the Semi-final of the Individual Championship, eventually beaten by the overall winner, Micky Olding for Southampton. But success was to be found in the Inaugural Individual Shield. Despite only 4 Exeter players competing in this event, Alistair Potter and Matt Damant rose above the rest and both sailed into the final, another all Exeter occasion. The honor was to be Alistair’s in the end as he took victory to claim the Shield title.
It was a fantastic weekend for Exeter and the performances from the weekend meant that all Exeter teams would be seeded in next year’s competition, a fantastic achievement. This puts the club in a good place as they seek to win some trophies at BUCS pool in three weeks’ time.