Cambs Senior IInd team travelled to Wellingborough to face Northants IInds on 18th March, knowing that only full points would keep them within touching distance of the chance of following the IIIrd team through into the Division 5 playoffs.
Northants have caused the IInd team problems in the past, so it was pleasing to be able to put out a full regular team for this match. In warmup, Northants looked like a stern challenge with some impressive men especially, but Cambs got the game off to a great start in the singles. Tom Li (J) lost in two ends, although the 19-21 score in the second reflected that he was beginning to hit his stride. However, debutante Min Dabasinskas, Molly Carter (J) and Katie Morton all secured wins in straight games.
With four courts available, every game of the doubles could go on at once, and the usual high level of support from Cambs players was diminished. It was up to each individual pair to maintain the momentum from the singles, which they duly did. The girls were finished first, with commanding scores: Molly and Liz Salmon winning 21-8, 21-13, and Katie and Jess Sharman (J) 21- 12, 21-14. The men faced a stronger test. While James Wilson and Daniel Bates combined excellently to win 21-12, 21-19, Tom and Paul Martell took a little longer to impose themselves in a close tie, and held their nerve to win the deciding end 21-17.
That left the score 7-1 to Cambs, but a couple of disappointing seasons meant the team resolved to maintain their effort to ensure a positive outcome. In the return doubles, the girls again lead the way in straight games, with Jess and Katie winning to 13 and 14, and Molly and Liz to 12 and 12. The men also hit their stride, with James and Daniel and Tom and Paul winning their games to 16 and 10 and 13 and 17 respectively.
Going into the mixed with the score 11-1, Cambs had already secured full points, but were pushing to also match league leaders Lincolnshire's tally of games won. It was in the mixed discipline where the Northants ladies seemed to really come into their own, and all three games went to three ends. James and Katie turned around an early loss to win comfortably 21-17, 21-11, 21-14. New mixed pairing Tom and Molly also took time to find their feet, but really pulled together to win in the third end 21-16, 18-21, 13-21. The tightest game came in the middle draw, with Jess and Daniel meeting a determined Northants pair in a game that grew faster and harder as it drew on. After losing the first end 19-21, they pulled back to 21-15 in the second, but were then pipped to 19-21 in the last game as the pressure mounted.
That left the score at 13-2, and leaves the IInd team not only level with Lincs I on 13 points, but also with 56 games won to 19 lost. The last game on the fixture list being the home draw against the same Lincs team at CRC next Sunday - 25th March. Quite simply on that day, the winner takes all...
Daniel Bates (c), Paul Martell, Katie Morton: Hurst Badminton Club
Thomas Li: Pearl Badminton Club
Molly Carter, Liz Salmon, Mindaugas Dabasinskas: St Ives Badminton Club
James Wilson: Ely Victoria Badminton Club
Jessica Sharman: Court Badminton Club
More information about results of the Cambs II team is available on the Team Page.