Wetherby A played host to Burton Leonard on a balmy evening at Castlegarth tonight. They still have outside hopes of promotion but faced a team who were also desperate for points in their battle to avoid relegation.
Leading pair Kevin Duckenfield and Fiona Chantrey sat this one out in preparation for the massive clash at table topping and unbeaten Knaresborough a week today.
Neil Ripley and Katie Barrett stepped in at seed one and led from the front. They have built a useful partnership together this term with a fine understanding and continued in that same rich vein of form here too. It was to prove a battle royal however in the first game with Burton Leonards Bob Lockwood and Rosie Nelson who fought every inch of the way. However Ripley and Barrett were to ultimately prevail winning 6-4 and 6-5.
Over on court two regular partners Louise Williams and Mike Triffitt were in action. As is often the case they made a sluggish start and lost the opening set 2-6 against Leonard captain Nick Coates and Caroline Barr. However despite not been at their best they fought back resoundingly to take the second set 6-4 for a share of the spoils.
Wetherby captain Ian Teasdale was in action on court three with his regular partner in crime Dawn Steel. They played John Crompton and Liz Parker. Teasdale was producing his legendary lobs which generally spin and come down with snow on and this had the Leonard couple in a real spin. With Steel her usual energetic self and covering every inch of the court they ran out cosy 2-0 winners 6-2,6-3.
So after round one Wetherby held the advantage by 2.5 to 0.5.
Round Two was still played in glorious sunshine with Ripley and Barrett moving over to court three to face Crompton and Parker and once again they found the going tough. They lost the first set on a tie break to lose 5-6 but took a share of the points when fighting back to claim the second 6-3 for a useful half.
Teasdale and Steel were still running their opponents ragged on court two but lost the opener 4-6 with Coates producing some powerful baseline play. However they were unable to hang on once more as Wetherby claimed a half in a second set 6-3 success.
Williams and Triffitt moved to the show court to face Lockwood and Nelson. This time they were quickly out of the traps and made all to win 6-3. But this inconsistent couple like winning the hard way and found themselves trailing 5-2 in the second. They battled back with some tremendous backs to the wall tennis to force a tie break. They then held their nerve to dominate that and win 7-3 for a welcome 2-0 win.
So as round two finished Wetherby were closing in on victory as they led 4.5 to 1.5 with just a half needed to take the two points.
Ripley and Barrett were in no mood to mess about and were first back in the clubhouse after a commanding performance saw them dispose of Coates and Barr 6-2. They finished the evening on 2.5 points in another impressive performance.
Teasdale and Steel were not far behind and they also secured an impressive 6-2 victory to pick up 2.5 points on the night as well.
Williams and Triffitt were hoping to join the others on 2.5 and after a solid start where they led 3-0 hopes were high. However the nights exertions were beginning to tell and with the light fading so were their hopes and they finally succumbed 4-6 in a tight one to accumulate 1.5 points to the final total.
So Wetherby win 6.5 to 2.5 and move into joint second place with Harlow pending the Harrogate based outfits result with Ripon tonight. Before that result is known Harlow have two games in hand so remain firm favourites for promotion alongside Knaresborough. Leonard remain a point and a place behind Wetherby B with the two clubs still to play each other twice in what will be crucial relegation fixtures.
Highlight of the tea afterwards was a wonderful Victoria Sponge cake provided by Ian Teasdale’s better half. In fact I am just about to enjoy another piece for my midnight snack after finishing this article!!!!
A week to prepare for the hugh game at Knaresborough next Thursday then where the team will have to produce their best tennis of the season to lower the home teams colours.
Tonights winning team from left to right was Mike Triffitt, Neil Ripley, Louise Williams, Katie Barrett and captain Ian Teasdale with Dawn Steel not present.
The First team made the long trip North to Bedale as they continued their battle to retain Division Two status this term.
It is a very close bottom half in this section with arguably six of the competing eight clubs still not safe from the drop.
Wetherby were in fifth place as the evening started, a point and a place behind their opponents Bedale.
They were missing key personnel with Captain Sue Jacklin, Helen Robinson, Lucy Wright, Mike Butterworth and Nigel Williams all absent.
Rachel Hill stepped in as captain for the night and paired up with regular partner Josh Bayliss. They took a half from a close match with Bedale seed one John Hart and Helen Otter after a 5-6 win they lost 6-5 in the second set in two closely contested affairs. After destroying Mark Woodward and Ann Wilson 0-6,3-6 they had high hopes of a final game win but with the light fading quickly it proved very difficult to see and the pair made too many unforced errors to be beaten 6-3. They still contributed 1.5 points.
Jill Abel stepped in from the subs bench to partner Marc Bickers but the duo were unlucky as they didn’t manage to trouble the judges. This was despite a heart breaking 6-5,6-5 loss to Woodward and Wilson who won both the tie breaks.
Yvonne Mannall also stepped in late from the ladies first team and she played with Tom Boyes Park. They gelled instantly with the power of Mannall and her strong net play complimenting the graceful style of Park who hits wisely to maintain a low error count. They picked up a valuable 2.5 points to end the night top scorers including a 1-6 win over Woodward and Wilson.
However ultimately the visitors were to fall just short despite a fine effort as the hosts scraped home 5-4 to put a bit of daylight between themselves and the chasing pack.
Wetherby need to regroup and get important players back on court especially with crucial home fixtures against Academy B and bottom side Northallerton up next.
Thanks to the reserves for stepping in tonight and good luck with the relegation battles that lay ahead.