Following promotion last year, Cambs first team began what will inevitably be a hard-fought season with a 5-10 loss to Middlesex. Natalie Taylor was the standout performer, winning her singles, mixed with Simon Woodhouse, and one ladies with recent County addition Sara Mason. Simon also teamed up with Neil to win one of their mens, and Sara joined Neil to win their mixed as well.
Cambs were in contention throughout, and a lot of the games were very close. Middlesex are a strong team in this league, so if the team push ahead with this level of effort and committment, then the goal of survival in the division should be more than achievable.
The first match against Middlesex bought a family rivalry to Cambridgeshire with Simon Woodhouse’s older brother playing for the opposition. Because we had all 4 courts we sent all four singles on at once, Sam Scharf playing 1st singles was up against a class singles player who comfortably beat him in two games, meanwhile Stephen Pickering was in a longer 2 set battle and eventually went down 19 and 19.
The Ladies singles was closer with Olga Bryant wining the first end 24 – 22 unfortunately then lost the next 2 games to lose the rubber, Nat Taylor at second singles however offer a ray of hope winning easily in two games 21-15 and 21-10.
On to the doubles in the men’s Simon and Neil Place went on for the family crunch game against Daniel and Jinesh who had won the Middlesex restricted for the last 2 years and although playing well lost 21-18 and 21-16 meanwhile Sam and Jon Carson had, had an equally close game against the second pair and lost 21-17 and 21-19.
In the reverse double Neil and Simon lost the first end 23-25 and then went onto win the next two games 21-13 and 21-10 giving Cambs men their first winning rubber however Sam and Jon struggled against the Middlesex 1st pair losing 21-16 and 21-8.
In the ladies there was a better start with new-to-the-county Sara Mason and Nat justifying their number one status by beating the Middlesex first pair 21-19, 14-21 and 21-18, however second pair Olga and Hannah Sharman did not fare so well losing 12-21 and 20-22.
In the reverse of the ladies Sara and Nat battled against the second pair and unfortunately lost in three ends, 22-20, 20-22 and 17-21, Olga and Hannah did not fare much better losing 20-22 and 14-21.
This meant we needed all 3 mixed to try and salvage a point from the day, first to win was Neil and Sara playing at 3rd winning 21-16, and 22-20, second off was Simon and Nat playing at 2nd who won 21-18 and 22-20, unfortunately Olga and Stephen playing at 1st mixed failed to win going down 15-21 20-22.
A tough first foray in the division but some highlights, the team decided to nominate Nat Taylor as player of the Day winning 3 out of 4 games, also deserving a mention are Sara Mason, Simon Woodhouse and Neil Place who won 2 out of their 3 games. This was not enough to get us a point but Middlesex are fighting for promotion so will be one of tougher teams in the division.
More information about results of the Cambs I team is available on the Team Page.