Over the weekend of the 10th/11th January, Cambridgeshire sent two teams to Loughborough University to compete in the Yehlex Veterans Inter-County Championships.
The over 40s captained by Nick Pratt were competing in division 2a, where there was only 5 teams, this meant an home and away type scenario, with each county playing each other on the Saturday, and the fixtures repeated on the Sunday.
The over 45s captained by John Pickering were competing in a single group of 7 teams, which meant a single fixture against each of the other teams.
Team : John Foo, Kevin Barron, Nick Pratt, Pete Coleman, Jackie Coleman, Olga Bryant, Sandra Ashcroft, Sharon Chandler
The Saturday started with a 10am match against Durham, who in previous years had been a tough opposition. They once again proved a tough with Jackie/Sandra losing in two straight ends. Kevin/Pete quickly levelled the scores after the men’s doubles. The match was then quickly wrapped up with mixed wins for Nick/Olga and John/Sharon.
The next fixture was a 12:10am match against hosts Leicestershire. This proved to be an easier match then expected with the same Cambridgeshire setup winning all four rubbers.
The 3rd fixture of the day was a 2:20pm match against Nottinghamshire II. With a slightly changed setup, with John pairing up with Pete in the men’s doubles, and Kevin pairing up with Sharon in the 2nd mixed pairing, this again proved to be an easy match, with Cambridgeshire winning by 4 rubbers to 0.
The final match of the day was against an unknown Northumberland team. With Cambridgeshire back to the original setup, we quickly took a 2 - 0 lead with both the ladies and men’s doubles winning. Unfortunately, the mixed proved far harder, with shock defeats for both the Cambs mixed pairing, leaving the match as a 2 - 2 draw.
After the Saturdays play the league tables stood at Cambridgeshire 7pts, Leicestershire 5pts, Northumberland 5pts, Durham 3pts, Nottinghamshire 0pts
The Sunday fixtures followed the same order and times, with the 1st match against Durham. This proved to be a little harder then the previous day, with many of the Cambridgeshire team feeling the after effects from the fluid replacement the previous night. Once again, the Durham ladies proved too strong from Cambs, but again the men’s doubles quickly levelled the score. With strong mixed pairing from Cambs, we were quietly confident of quickly wrapping the match up, but the going was a little harder but Cambs came out victors in both matches in the 3rd ends.
The next fixture was against joint 2nd place and hosts Leicestershire. Cambs made life hard for themselves with our ladies losing to a strong Leicestershire pair, and our men losing their only match of the competition in a close 3rd end. The mixed pairings came to the rescue, with victories for both pairs once again in the 3rd end. This match proved to be so close, it took 1hr 45minutes to complete, which delayed the tournament.
At this stage, Cambs were still feeling confident, although Leicestershire could still catch them in the league (Northumberland slipped up to Durham). The next match was against Nottinghamshire. This proved to be a confident booster for the Cambs ladies, with them winning a tight match 21-19 in the 3rd end. The men’s and mixed pairings quickly wrapped up the match giving Cambs a 4 - 0 win.
With the final match of the tournament against Northumberland, the pressure was off as Cambs had already won the league when Leicestershire drew with Northumberland the previous match. Both the ladies and men’s doubles completed the 'double' over the opposition, leaving the mixed pairings to seek revenge from the previous day. With no pressure on, both mixed pairing turned the tables on the opposition with Nick/Olga winning in the 3rd end, and John/Sharon easily winning in 2 ends.
Final Position : Champions
Click here for score sheets
Team : Geoff McCall, John Harvey, John Pickering, Martyn Clark, Angela Sharman, Carol Salmon, Chris Key, Di Baker
This was always going to be a tough league for the over 45s, and it proved so in the first match on Saturday against Derbyshire. The ladies doubles pairing of Chris/Angela found their opposition just too strong losing in two straight ends. The men’s doubles pairing of John H/John P managed to level the match in a close two ender. Unfortunately, the mixed doubles went in the way of Derbyshire with pairings of Di/Geoff losing in 3 ends and Carol/Martyn in two ends.
The 2nd match of the day was a slightly easier game against Shropshire. The level doubles went in the way of the opposition with the ladies losing in two straight ends, and a different men’s doubles pairing of Geoff/Martyn losing in three ends. The new mixed doubles pairings of John P/Carol and John H/Di saved the day, with both pairings winning their rubbers leaving the result as a 2 - 2 draw.
The 3rd and final match of the day was against the very strong Essex team. The team went back to the first match of the day with regards the pairings, but this proved to be futile, with all pairings losing their matches in two ends.
The 1st fixture Sunday morning was against a very strong Cumbria side. With Cambs having another restructure (probably caused by the same fluid replacement regime as the over 40s), the ladies doubles pairing of Angela/Di losing heavily in two ends, and men’s doubles pairing of John P/Geoff losing a very close match in three ends. Both mixed doubles went in the way of Cumbria with Martyn/Carol losing in two ends, and John H/Chris losing in three ends.
The 2nd fixture of the morning against Nottinghamshire proved to be just as difficult, with yet another re-organisation within the team, saw Angela/Christine pair up again, but lost in a close two ends. Martyn/Geoff paired up again but found the Nott’s pair too strong, going down in two ends. Once again, the mixed went in the way of the opposition, with John P/Carol and John H/Di both losing in two ends.
The final fixture of the day was against Lincolnshire, with a draw or better being required to avoid the bottom position in the table. Ladies pairing of Carol/Christine lost in three ends, but men’s doubles pairing of Geoff/John H levelled the match. The 1st mixed pairing of John/Angela went to Lincolnshire 21-19 in the 3rd end, but Martyn/Di quickly levelled the match.
Final Position : 6th
Click here for score sheets
Photographs will be uploaded later