On a wet evening at Castlegarth the Wetherby A mixed team hosted Thirsk in Division 5 of the Harrogate and District League. Wetherby were looking to keep the pressure on the leaders with a win here to complete the double after winning at Thirsk 8-4 on the opening day of the season.
Since then the two clubs fortunes have gone in oppositive directions with Wetherby handily placed in third but Thirsk unable to manage a win and propping up the rest of the section.
With rain forecast Wetherby were determined to make a quick start and Kevin Duckenfield and Fiona Chantrey resumed their partnership playing as seed one. Duckenfield is one of the leading men in the competition and alongside the cool Chantrey they defeated Thirsk number one duo John Hallett and Pippa Bailey 6-4,6-1. Despite a rain interruption the pair then made extremely short work of the other two Thirsk couples beating both 6-0 to be first back into the clubhouse.
Mike Triffitt and Louise Williams resumed their fledgling partnership after holiday and injury absence and were soon quickly back in the groove. They opened up with a 6-3 first set win over Robin Mitchell and Sara Knox before a roller coaster second set was finally settled on a tiebreak with Triffitt and Williams saving set point to finally prevail 8-6 in a close one. Williams, playing arguably her best tennis of the season, was strong at the baseline and impressive at the net and with Triffitt gobbling up most of his chances at the net the couple completed a good evenings work in beating Hallett and Bailey 6-4 and Mark Robson and Dorothy Price by the same scoreline.
Neil Ripley and Katie Barrett completed the team and they too were in fine form. They defeated Robson and Price 6-2,6-4 and ran out comfortable 6-2 winners in both their remaining fixtures. Barrett played some lovely controlled tennis throughout to keep the scoreboard ticking along whilst Ripley provided some big serving and powerful baseline play to ensure the pair completed a hat trick of wins.
So an evening that looked odds on to be beaten by the weather turned out to be the most efficient team performance of the campaign to date with the final score a 9-0 success. This takes them into joint second with Harlow who have a crucial game in hand. With leaders Knaresborough looking title bound after winning all their games the race for the second promotion spot is well and truly on.
This will take a significant turn next Monday when the two rivals meet in Harrogate with Wetherby looking to avenge an earlier 3.5 v 5.5 defeat on home soil. This really is a vital fixture and the most significant of the season as defeat would put a hugh dent in the clubs promotion aspirations whilst a win means it’s very much game on again.
Well done tonight and a special mention to Thirsk for a game played in a good spirit and despite their current plight they were a credit to their club both on and off the court.
Tonight’s winning team were – Watching captain Ian Teasdale, Kevin Duckenfield, Neil Ripley, Louise Williams, Mike Triffitt, Fiona Chantrey and alongside Katie Barrett her son who was the mascot for the evening.