Swan song for Jingyu Sun

Oxford’s top ranked player for several years now, Jingyu Sun, is about to return to China after completing his Doctorate in Materials Science at St Anne’s College. He has piloted Vikings A to two ODTTA titles, but this season he will depart at the half way stage, leaving Vikings with a tough task to hold off the challenge of Holton A. These two sides are very closely matched and brought the first half of the season to a close with another epic battle in chilly conditions at Headington  on Wednesday.

Vikings stormed into the lead with a 3-0 win for Jingyu over Andy Misseldine. Elson Costa hit back for Holton, threatening at first to blow Pawel Jaskolski away with his lightning attacks, but eventually scraping home at 8 in the 5th. Mark Scott (Holton) and Alan Cherry (Vikings) then played out a magnificent marathon match of attack v defence, with Alan picking off a backhand winner down the line to close it out at 12-10 in the 5th. The lead soon became 4-1 for Vikings, as Jingyu beat Mark and Pawel beat Andy. Elson, who was on sparkling form, kept Holton in the running by beating Alan 3-1, but he was powerless to save the match, as first Pawel beat Mark 3-0, and then Alan demolished a strangely out-of-sorts Andy 3-0 (11-3, 11-8, 11-2). Elson then scored his first ever victory over Jingyu at 8 in the 5th, and combined with Andy to win the doubles 3-2, giving a final score of 6-4 for Vikings, who now go into the Xmas break with a two point lead.

The two top sides in the Oxford League for two seasons now, Vikings A on the left and Holton A on the right, with ODTTA Chairman John Birkin in the middle (above)