This weekend saw Cambridge travel to Nottinghamshire III for the latest game in the ICC division 2B. The home fixture earlier in the season had seen a 10-5 Cambridge victory and a repeat performance taking maximum points was essential for Cambridge to move back to the top of the division for the first time since November.
Cambridge's mens singles players have enjoyed little success this season, and this trend continued as Richard Fryer was defeated in straight sets at first singles. However Rob Pace then levelled the scores with a comfortable victory at second singles, an encouraging result in a rather unfruitful season for the men. Cambridge's ladies however had few problems, with both Olga Bryant and Natalie Taylor recording straight sets victories over their opponents, putting Cambridge 3-1 ahead and ensuring that they both maintain their 100% singles records for the season.
The mens doubles has been another weak link for Cambridge this year, and once again had given the selectors the most difficulty in preparing for this match. However once again the men failed to realise their full potential as the normally reliable Sam Scharf/Jon Carson lost out a in a very close fought three end match against Nottingham's strong first pair, but then disappointingly lost in straight sets to Nottingham's second pair. Cambridge second pairing of James Wilson/Sunni Loi staked their claim to a regular first team place with a hard fought three end win over Notts second pair, before they too were defeated by the Notts top pair.
As so often this season Cambridge's ladies rescued the match and demonstrated their total dominance over this division with both pairings of Faye Gregory/Natalie Taylor and Kat Young/Olga Bryant winning all their games in straight sets. Of all the matches played so far this year the ladies have taken full points from every match bar one, showing they really ought to be playing a division higher.
This left Cambridge 8-4 ahead and guaranteed the match was won but Cambs required two out of the three remaining mixed to take the bonus point and move to the top of the table. Due to the similar standards of the Cambridge mixed pairings the first games were always going to be tough, and this showed as Bryant/Fryer lost in three ends at first pair. The university pairing of Young/Pace were undefeated going into this match but unfortunately they too were unable to overcome their opponents, but Taylor/Scharf were more successful with a comfortable straight sets win at third pair.
This left Cambridge 9-6 winners but bitterly disappointed to have missed taking maximum points and the chance to move to the top of the division. Chances were wasted- of the four games decided in three sets only one went to Cambridge, suggesting a lack of nerve when under pressure. This is the fourth consecutive match Cambridge has won but failed to take maximum points and this may well cost them dearly in their quest for back to back promotions.