On a warm and sunny summers evening Kirkstall and Wetherby met in Division 6 of the Leeds Summer League. This was billed the battle of the Bookmakers with Skybets Tim Clement representing Kirkstall whilst Mike Triffitt of Wetherby works for rivals BetVictor!
After a promising start to the season when they harboured strong promotion aspirations,Kirkstall have fallen away of late and following a 8-0 thrashing at Roundhay on Sunday find themselves a point and a place behind Wetherby in fifth. If either team were to make a late run for promotion defeat was out of the question tonight.
Wetherby travelled in confidence following a 6-2 win over Horsforth on Saturday but were missing Barry Johnson and Pete Russell from that win who are key men for the Castlegarth outfit.
Kirkstall rang the changes and captain Clement was able to pick from strength so they started the game as favourites on home soil.
Clement selected himself alongside the useful James Maskill and they played Mike Triffitt and debutant Sam Moore who was stepping up from the Under 16 team. There was some good tennis on show but the home pair proved far more consistent and won the opening set 6-1. Not downhearted Triffitt and Moore began to find their feet and raced into a 3-0 second set lead. Moore was serving well and producing some strong baseline shots whilst Triffitt was steady throughout and defended well. However Clement has a terrific backhand which is one of the strongest at this level and with Maskell proving almost impossible to lob with his athletic leaps producing a string of fantastic smashes, the Kirkstall men wore down their opponents to run out narrow 7-5 winners in the second set to complete a 2-0 win.
Other on court one Wetherby captain David Morris was playing with Tom Harrington and they faced home duo Matt Scott and Andrew Furber. Again the home pair were in good form with both players adopting a safe but sure policy and a very low unforced error count. This quiet couple went about their work in an efficient manner which saw them run out cosy 2-0 winners 6-0,6-3.
So at the halfway stage Kirkstall were 4-0 up and looking overwhelming heavy odds on favourites to clinch the match.
Clement and Maskill wasted little time in wrapping up the victory as their powerful play proved too much for Morris and Harrington. They ran out 2-0 winners 6-0,6-2 to confirm their supremacy. The Wetherby men tried valiantly and were competitive in many of the rallies but the Kirkstall men showed why they are both in the Top 10 best players list in this section with an impressive partnership.
So with the victory assured Scott and Furber were looking to hammer home the advantage and complete the whitewash. This looked very much on the cards after the opening set which Kirkstall won 6-1. But the threat of an 8-0 defeat was the incentive the Wetherby duo needed. They found themselves trailing 4-2 but managed to close the gap at 5-4 and 6-5 to finally drew level at 6-6 to force a tie break. They started well to go 3-0 up before been clawed back at 3-3. With the evening drawing in it needed something special to take the initiative and Moore upped his game at the death to ensure the Wetherby men won 7-4 for a share of the spoils and a final winning margin of 7-1 for Kirkstall.
This defeat realistically extinguishes any hope Wetherby have of catching the leading clubs although with the top 3 still to play, mathematically it is still possible. Kirkstall have outside hopes but with only three games remaining need to win those and hope for favours elsewhere.
Well done to both teams for producing an entertaining evenings tennis and good luck for the rest of the campaign.
Tonights teams were Sam Moore, Captain David Morris and Tom Harrington of Wetherby with Kirkstall chaps Matt Scott, Andrew Furber, Captain Tim Clement and James Maskill with Mike Triffitt of Wetherby behind the camera.
But he got on the pictures by taking a selfie!!!!