For the first time Cambridgeshire entered a team into the ICC 17-21 competition. The team consisted of 6 men (Matt Price, Josh Males, Campbell Wilson, David Shepherd, Sam Pickup and Samir Sattar) and 5 women (Jessica James, Hannah Sharman, Rachel Farrington, Carolyn Key and Beth Parrish) with many of them not ever having played at county level and certainly not in an inter county environment. It was excellent experience for the players and they played very well together considering they weren't accustomed to playing with each other.
Despite the fact that the whole ethos of the competition is the transition from junior to senior badminton, with the emphasis on progressing young players rather than highly experienced ones, there was an impressive array of U19 and older England players participating at the championships! There were many teams with players that bore the legend ENGLAND on their backs.
However, Cambs held their own very well indeed and were just points off drawing with strong Warwickshire in their group and losing 1-5 after some 3 end-er, hard fought battles. Cambs then drew with Bedfordshire, who put forward England player Darren Adamson and his brother so drawing was quite an achievement. However, because Beds did slightly better against Warwickshire than Cambs did, we came bottom of the group. Unfortunately, we approached Cornwall next with the delusion that they were easy prey. They were very strong in this competition and again, Cambs missed drawing with them by a couple of points and lost 2-4.
Subsequent play-offs against Kent (with very strong players such as James Au) and Wiltshire saw 3-3 draws with Cambridgeshire.
All Cambs players gave their best performances for this competition and can hold their heads high as none of their opponents could have felt they had easy wins. Many ties went to three ends with setting. The team finished in 20th position but possibly a bit more experience in this level of competition could see improvements next year. A great weekend’s badminton!