With the season beginning to draw to a close, the battle for leadership in the ICC Division 5 East has been a close one. In their penultimate match of the season, the senior IInd team faced league-leaders Warwickshire IIIrds.
There were three possible outcomes: win outright and grasp promotion out of the Division; take a narrow win and go into the last match with a chance; or suffer defeat and see the chance slip away.
Unfortunately, at the end of the day, it was not to be.
Stephen Pickering played a strong game of singles, but unfortunately couldn't overcome opponent Will Kitching. Both ladies also lost their singles against tricky opponents, so it was only Neil Place continuing his excellent singles record this season who won by beating Warwickshire's James Taylor.
Even though it was 1-3 after the singles, this was still one game better than when Cambs had lost the 8-7 reverse match at the start of the season, so there was still hope. However, the scale of the challenge became evident when three of the four level doubles also went to Warwickshire. Katie Morton and Vicky Norris enjoyed a comfortable victory, while Adele Woodhams and Louise Tarbit couldn't overcome their opponents. In the mens, both matches were high-octane crash bang affairs, running to close three ends but with Cambs unable to find the consistency and calmness to secure either.
After a regrouping, the reverse fixtures were a little better. Neil and Daniel came out fighting to win their game in two ends, as did Adele and Louise. Warks however continued to build on their lead and with the final mens doubles matching reaching a pitched conclusion, and with everyone looking on, the eighth game - and with it the league title - was secured.
With heads held high, Cambs went on to complete the mixed and show their traditional strength in the discipline. While Neil and Adele failed to secure the win, both Stephen and Lou, and Daniel and Katie, took the scant consolation of winning mixed games that had still been battled right to the last point.
In the end, the team had left everything of themselves on the court. Sadly, it was not enough. Having been promoted to this Division only two years ago though, it is a very respectful result to be challenging so closely for a further improvement in position.
The team goes into the last match against Leicestershire to play for their pride, to match Warwickshire on points (some scant moral victory), and knowing that the match potentially has impact on others in the Division.
The team: Stephen Pickering, Neil Place, Daniel Bates (c), Graham Barr, Vicky Norris, Katie Morton, Adele Woodhams, Louise Tarbit.
More information about results of the Cambs II team is available on the Team Page.