Sport

Week 90: A Week of Sport

My calculations continued throughout the week, reaching some rather pleasing conclusions of the calculations I was doing. My focus would now turn to some hopefully illuminating visual plots. After work, Annalise had invited a host of her friends from Gates, department and college to meet up with her for her birthday not-a-birthday dinner. She insisted on cooking up a feast of vegan food which was very well received by everyone there. After picking up our food from her kitchen, we all went out onto Jesus Green to eat and socialise. It was approaching midsummer and so the evening was long and bright. Kevin, Emma, Joanne, Joanna and Danny all came along, among others, and so there was plenty of catching up and socialising to do. Steven, one of Annalise’s college friends, had brought along a golden-retriever shaped cake, which was very well received by Annalise.

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On Tuesday evening, I headed out to the train station to travel up to Wymondham, just to the south of Norwich. I had entered myself into a bike race, something I hadn’t done before, just to try something new. The race was a circuit race, around the test track at the Lotus car facility. When I arrived, I handed in my consent form and went in to pick up my transponder and race number. Before the race, everyone was riding laps of the circuit to warm up, so I joined in. There were junior races before us, so once those started, we had to warm up on an access road to the race circuit.

There were to be two races run concurrently. One for experienced riders, and one for relative novices, seniors and women who didn’t want to ride in the experienced group. The larger circuit was divided into two smaller circuits using two access roads in the middle of the track. Our circuit was the southern one. We lined up on the track, and before I knew it, the race official had shouted “go”. The track itself had a long back straight, with a strong tailwind, and then a zig-zagging return with a strong headwind. Between the two were tight hairpins. The peloton were fast, and it was quite an effort to stay on. Around each of the hairpins, the front of the peloton would accelerate out, which meant I had to accelerate too just to keep up. It was tiring work, and after nine laps, I just got dropped, and then five laps later, got lapped. I got lapped at one of the hairpins though, and was able to get back on for another nine laps, before getting dropped once more and having to cycle in to the finish on my own. I didn’t come last though, most of those who did get dropped did not finish. The race itself was won by an early breakaway who was so much faster than any of the opposition. After the race, one of the other cyclists looked at me, with the query “first race? Don’t worry, that happened on my first race too.”

On Wednesday morning, I headed by the Gates office to check in in order to receive my maintenance funding for the summer term. Then, that afternoon, it was time for another Cavendish Cricket Club match, this time against the Biochemistry department. Like almost all of the Cavendish matches, it was being played at Churchill College, with it’s characteristically wide square boundaries. As a team, we didn’t bat the best, I got out chasing a slow one impatiently. Then when keeping, I didn’t keep the greatest anyway. Biochemistry scored slowly, and it came down to the last over, with victory coming from an unfortunate leg bye.

It was again cricket at Churchill on Thursday evening, this time for Darwin in an MCR League match. We bowled first, taking wickets all down the order. Only one of their batsmen made it past 11, retiring at his fifty. I was keeping again, and kept it tight, not conceding a bye or leg bye the entire innings and helping effect a run-out after a mix-up. We scuttled them for 8/96, chasing them down easily within 17 overs making 1/98. I was scheduled to bat 4, and so once again, was not required.

On Saturday morning, I headed out to the real tennis club. Cambridge were hosting players from the Dedanists, an organisation formed for the promotion of real tennis. They are formed of players from clubs around the UK. I was playing in two doubles matches against players from their team. Despite the second match being cut short at the end of the day, I won both of the matches I played. There was also a rather pleasant lunch put on by members from Cambridge.

After heading home to shower, I changed from my tennis whites into an all black outfit. Jacqueline had asked me to steward her concert that evening in the King’s college chapel. Her orchestra were performing the Brahms Requiem. Stewarding at King’s means wearing a gown with the purple stripes in the King’s college colours. I was tasked with standing outside the chapel directing people inside. The concert was sold out and the performance was solid. I was tasked with presenting the conductor, Naomi, with a bottle of wine at the end of the piece. Gunjan, another of Jacqueline’s friends was in Cambridge and came along with a friend of hers to the concert, and we went out and showed them a bit of Cambridge thereafter.

On Sunday, it was time for another real tennis trip, this time to the south of the country. Owing to a series of engineering works on the railways in the morning, I needed to catch a lift with another one of the Cambridge players who were heading in my direction. I had arranged with David, who I saw the previous day, for him and his wife to offer me a lift. They picked me up and we travelled around London and down into Sussex.

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Our destination was Petworth House, a 17th century stately home on the edge of the South Downs. After some effort navigating the one-way street system in the town of Petworth itself, we found the back entrance of the house that lead to the tennis court. The tennis court building itself was uninspiring, but the court inside played beautifully. I was playing a doubles match with Anthony against two of the players from Petworth. We were against a tough handicap, and it wasn’t until midway through the second set that we finally seemed to get an upper hand. By that time, though, it was too late, and we lost the second set narrowly. While everybody else was playing, I had lunch at the club, and then went out to briefly explore the rather quaint English town. I would have gone and had a look around the historic house as well, but there wasn’t time. I caught a lift with David and his wife down to Brighton, and then caught a train back up through London to Cambridge.

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