Traditionally, the matches against neighbours Northants has always thrown up tight and hard-fought matches for the Cambs senior IInd team. This Sunday was certainly no exception. With the Inter-Counties Championships Division 5 East league finely balanced, both teams could go top of the table with a win.
It was certainly good weather for badminton, with gale-force winds and torrential rain battering the hall and lending an extra sense of foreboding to the events of the day.
The game started well, with both mens singles representatives Stephen Pickering and Neil Place clinching straight-sets wins. It was harder going for the ladies though, and Adele Woodhams and Kate Marshall found the Northants girls strong and confident, and once the singles were over, the match was level at 2-2.
The men again went into the singles with a ferocity matching the weather, against Northants men who were also very quick and powerful. After a brief slip in the middle end of their first game, Stephen and Abu Kaher won their games, and Masters partnership Neil and skipper Daniel Bates also secured full points in straight sets.
It was with the ladies again however, where Cambs found the resistance tougher. Adele and Katie Morton won their first game comfortably, but then despite the closest of scores (23-21, 21-23, 20-22!!) couldn't quite close out the game against the second Northants pair. Kate and Louise Tarbit struggled to establish a winning run, and lost both games.
So although the team entered the mixed 7-5 leaders, the result of the match, and even the destination of the bonus point, were still very much in the air.
Thankfully, Kate and Abu finished their mixed first, having triumphed in two ends, although Abu couldn't resist plucking taught nerves even further with a 21-19 finish in the second. With the win secure, Neil and Adele came in next with a convincing win in the third end, notwithstanding a tense 28-26 win in the first, and loss in the second.
That left Stephen and Lou on court to fight for the bonus point to put clear space between Cambs and Northants at the top of the table, with the full vocal support of the team behind them. However, despite fighting to overcome a first game loss, and winning a commanding 21-11 in the second, they could never establish a lead and were taken 21-19 in the last.
A result of 9-6 was a terrific outcome for the team - many of whom were coming into the match off the back of competing in the Cambs Silver the day before. It leaves Cambs II in a commanding league position, with their success in their own hands. Next match is the home return of Northants, so at least the same performance is required!
The team: Stephen Pickering, Neil Place, Abu Kaher, Daniel Bates (c), Katie Morton, Adele Woodhams, Kate Marshall, Louise Tarbit.
More information about results of the Cambs II team is available on the Team Page.