Containing many strong teams, the ICC Division 5 East is proving to be an extremely tight competition this year. Every point is going to count at the end of the season.
When Cambridgeshire's senior IInd team arrived at Suffolk, they could see that a stiff test lay ahead. Although Suffolk had lost their captain to a higher team, they had called upon some strong ladies to bolster their squad.
Going into the singles, Stephen Pickering was seeking to avenge his defeat against this team from earlier in the season. After a tight 24-22 victory in the first, he won the mental advantage and quickly finished the second 21-11. Neil Place also threw himself into his singles with gusto - belying his appearance in the Norfolk Silver less than 24 hours earlier - and again won in straight games.
The ladies faced the altered Suffolk lineup, and found the challenge testing. Kate Marshall fought hard to a 24-22 victory in the first end, but couldn't maintain the advantage and lost in three. Vicky Norris also showed resistance, but was beaten by Kym Gormer in straight games.
In the mens doubles, Neil and captain Daniel Bates maintained their impressive winning streak, finishing both games in two. With Abu Kaher now sunning himself in Bangladesh, the remaining mens slot fell to Graham Barr who combined with Stephen to great effect, and they also won both games without dropping a rubber.
The ladies faced stiff competition again, but came out with real reward. Katie Morton and Vicky Norris put up a spirited fight, but were overcome with close scores against both pairs. However, it was Adele Woodhams and Louise Tarbit who chalked up the points, with a convincing straight-sets win against the first pair, and then again also recording a 21-14, 18-21, 21-18 victory against the second.
That had given Cambs the win, and with our traditional strength in mixed, the very slightest fraction of breathing space in our quest to secure all three points and keep the promotion dream alive. Daniel and Kate teamed up smoothly and rampaged home first with a 21-9, 21-13 win at third slot. Cambs' nerves were then left to be frayed one last time, as Neil and Adele found the first Suffolk opposition too strong, losing 21-15, 21-9.
That left Stephen and Katie on court, with the entire hall watching, and their match having gone to the third end. All four players strained sinew to fight over the last rubber, which was to decide the bonus point. After holding their nerve and with some superb defensive work, it was Stephen and Katie who emerged victorious. Cue much cheering, and curious whooping noises...
With two games left there is still much work to do, but Cambs II continue to seek their promotion.
The team: Stephen Pickering, Neil Place, Daniel Bates (c), Graham Barr, Kate Marshall, Vicky Norris, Katie Morton, Adele Woodhams, Louise Tarbit.
More information about results of the Cambs II team is available on the Team Page.