Cambridgeshire ladies travelled up to Sheffield for the 1st stage of the intercounty competition, ready to face Shropshire and North Wales.
Short of their numbers 1 & 2, Cambs played Shropshire first. Sarah's scores didn't reflect how close the match was, going down 3-0. The rest of the team had agonising 3-2 losses. All credit to the girls for fighting hard and getting some key points on the board, despite the final scoreline being 5-0 to Shropshire.
1. Kate Bradshaw v Cheryl Evans 11-6, 8-11, 11-9, 3-11, 4-11
2. Reka Gay v Linda Pritchard 14-16, 11-8, 8-11, 11-9, 5-11
3. Hannah Blythe v Elaine Radcliffe 12-10, 11-3, 6-11, 6-11, 7-11
4. Darcie Mounter v Alice Oatham 11-7, 11-5, 9-11, 11-13, 8-11
5. Sarah Howlett v Rachel Pritchard 3-11, 8-11, 7-11
Cambs - Shropshire
8 - 20
However, reinforcements arrived in the form of no. 1 Ali Loke straight from her PSA event in the States, for our next match against North Wales (to whom we had lost in the previous intercounty weekend). Darcie took a well-deserved rest.
Sarah used her high lobs to cause her opponent too many problems, winning 3-0. Reka was on the other court and won almost as quickly against a skilled and mobile opponent. Ali was pleased with her decisive victory against a current Welsh international. Hannah worked her opponent hard around the court and won 3-1 despite some controversial marking calls*. Finally, Kate put in her usual strong performance, but her opponent, a senior Welsh international, was just a bit too consistent.
*Supposedly, although Sarah and her opponent made the decisions together, so we were not sure who the bias was meant to be for/against!
1. Ali Loke v Elin Harlow 11-7, 11-3, 11-3
2. Kate Bradshaw v Hannah Davies 8-11, 5-11, 3-11
3. Reka Gay v Lauren Evans 11-3, 11-6 11-4
4. Hannah Blythe v Helen Barnard 14-12, 9-11, 11-7, 11-5
5. Sarah Howlett v Carla Lauder 11-7, 11-9, 11-2
Cambs - North Wales
17 - 3
With our matches complete, the team headed home, and we awaited the results from Shropshire v North Wales. If North Wales were to beat Shropshire, we could still top the group. In fact, North Wales did beat Shropshire, meaning everything would come down to points. Since we had given North Wales very few points in our match, they would come bottom. Unfortunately, Shropshire picked up 7 points in their match v North Wales, meaning final standings were:
1st: Shropshire 27
2nd: Cambridgeshire 25
3rd: North Wales 17
It remains to be seen whether as a strong runner-up we will make the promotion weekend. The team performed fantastically over the weekend, with everyone having tight matches and playing some of their best squash. We can be proud of ourselves again as a small county punching above our weight. Thank to all for their commitment.