Cambridgeshire IIIrd team hosted Lincolnshire IInds at the weekend, in their last Badminton England Inter County Championship Division 5C match. A repeat of their 10-5 away win before Christmas would pip long time leaders Bedfordshire II by a point and clinch the division title.
Graham Barr and Josh Males (J) opened proceedings in the first and second mens singles and got the match off to a perfect start, both winning comfortably in straight sets. Kate Marshall at first singles matched the men with a good straight sets win, but Laurel Bennett was unlucky to lose in two very closely fought sets. 3-1 to Cambs, 7 more games needed.
Graham and Josh teamed up as first pair in the first round of mens doubles and continued their strong form with a convincing win over their opposite numbers. Will Hodgkinson and Damien Dugmore at second pair came back strongly after dropping the first set against the Lincs second pair to win the second end to 9, but a few crucial errors in the third saw victory slip frustratingly away. Kate combined with Sharon Chandler at first ladies pair and battled well in a long three-ender against the Lincs first pair, but eventually lost a very close third end. Laurel and Lisa Lim were not troubled at second pair, winning in straight sets. This left the score at 5-3 to Cambs with 5 more games needed from the remaining 7. It was going to be close.
The men kept hopes high as both Graham and Josh, and Will and Damien came through long three set games to record wins, with Will and Damien improving all the time and eventually dispatching the Lincs first pair to 9 in the third. The ladies continued the momentum although Kate and Sharon had to work hard to overcome a strong display by the Lincs second pair. Laurel and Lisa again showed strong form, winning in straight sets. With the score now at 9-3 to Cambs the match was won, but the team still needed one from the three remaining mixed games to gain maximum points and clinch the division.
Playing out of order, Damien and Lisa at third pair started first and after very close first set edged it 21-19. The second set continued in a similar vein with both pairs producing some fine badminton but neither able to pull out a lead. At 20-20 the pairs were still locked together, but eventually Damien and Lisa broke the deadlock and pulled out the crucial two point gap to win the game 26-24 and secure the division win! With the pressure off, Graham and Kate at first pair struggled against the Lincs first pair and lost in two, but Sharon and Josh at second were able to finish off the match in style winning in three.
This fine win means that Cambs IIIrds are now in the divisional playoffs to fight for promotion into ICC division 4. These games will be played on the 21st and 28th of April, the opponents TBD.
More information about results of the Cambs III team is available on the Team Page.