After a long break, including a snow postponement, the Cambs senior IInd team returned to action in the first of a double-header against Northants Ist team at CRC on 24th February. Spirits were high, as Skipper Daniel Bates was celebrating a 'significant Birthday', and sporting Birthday Boy badge, he insisted that the team deliver him the present of a win.
Northants had been doing well in the division so far, so it was pleasing that Cambs started well. Despite some extremely spirited resistance, and losing the first end in a thunderous 23-25 clash, Paul Heads took his singles by dominating the second set 21-9 and then edged out opponent Matt Asbrey 21-18 in the third.
In the other men's singles, debutante Abu Kaher fought well in a discipline in which he does not particularly specialise, but was beaten in two tight sets - 20-22, 18-21.
The girls singles also saw Cambridgeshire success. Molly Carter showed true grit to ground out a three-end result against an athletic Marain Formenko 18-21, 21-18, 21-18, while another debutante, antipodean Alison Greenhill, raced to a 21-11, 21-10 victory.
In the mens doubles, the regular partnership of Paul and James Wilson worked well together, and secured both of their games in straight sets with confident play. The new pairing of Daniel Bates and Abu hit the ground running with a 21-6, 21-4 win, but then ran out of steam in the closing points of their second game, losing by the finest margin 21-14, 13-21, 21-23.
In the ladies doubles Northants staged something of a comeback. The new pairing of Molly and Alison beat their first opponents in a tight three-ender, but then unexpectedly struggled against the second pair and were hunted down in the third end 22-20, 19-21, 15-21. The regular pairing of Katie Morton and Jessica Sharman also struggled to impose themselves on their games, and lost both in straight sets -always getting high scores, but unable to convert pressure into wins.
That left the match still in the balance going into the mixed, with Cambs 7-5 up. Things got even closer when Paul and Katie lost to a strong pair, despite winning the first end 21-17, followed by 12-21, 16-21. On the third court though, the new pairing of James and Alison had romped home quickly, and triumphed 21-6, 21-12. In the middle match, Jess initially carried over her disappointment from the ladies games, and she and Daniel were beaten 13-21 with Matt dictating the everything. However, the Cambs pair asserted themselves on the game, and eventually held their nerve and completed the final two ends by winning 21-17, 21-19.
That left Cambs 9-6 winners - satisfied, but having missed out on the bonus point by a single game. The end of the match saw the distribution on a stupendous *quadruple* chocolate Birthday cake in celebration. We must only hope that the team will have worked off the calorific overload before travelling back to Northants to repeat the match next week!
Congratulations also go to Alison, who was voted Player of the Match by the team, with 67% of the vote - pipping Daniel and Abu to the award.
The team: Daniel Bates (c), Abu Kaher, Katie Morton: Hurst Badminton Club / Paul Heads, James Wilson: Ely Victoria Badminton Club / Jessica Sharman: Court Badminton Club / Alison Greenhill: Ramblers Badminton Club / Molly Carter: St Ives Badminton Club.
More information about results of the Cambs II team is available on the Team Page.