Wetherby Under 14 travelled to Grove Hill tennis club to play the side sitting joint top of the Leeds Junior Summer League. McCauley Lee was a very late withdrawal,in fact ten minutes after the official start time, so Angus Harte hot footed it over to Otley for which everyone was extremely grateful.
With the game taking place on two courts it allowed such a late substitution with Harte not needed whilst the opening games took place.
Wetherby were missing star men Dan Wright and Charlie Dixon so fielded an inexperienced and fairly young side.Bradley Triffitt moved up to seed two and played Will Hallidie Smith who sits eighth in the overall player standing in the whole of the League. Hill are still competing for the title and it showed as despite a valiant effort from Triffitt, Smith showed his experience and class to run out a 4-0,4-0 winner for a 2-0 success. There was plenty of good rallying on show from both players but the older home player used his extra power to good effect to put Hill on top after the opening game
Ed Grogan who has improved significantly this term was partnered by the young Nathan Spencer who was making a rare start in his fledgling tennis career. They faced Harry Strachan and Seb Nicholson but didn’t give an inch in the first set which they finally narrowly lost 5-3. This tight first rubber seemed to make the Hill pair focus and in the second set they stepped up a gear to run out 4-1 winners and another 2-0 success.Grogan and Spencer combined well together and both showed moments of real class but the consistency of the stronger home duo was to ultimately prove the difference.
Whilst Harte was still making his way to the club, Grogan and Spencer quickly returned to action to play their respective singles games. Spencer like Triffitt fought manfully and seemed comfortable in many of the rallies. However the score line was cruel and did him no favours as despite a couple of deuce games he also lost 4-0,4-0 and a 2-0 defeat.
Ed Grogan was confident however of stopping the rot as he began his singles test against Harry Strachan. Grogan is a natural baseliner and with a strong serve and good wrists was able to more than hold his own. He won 2-4,1-4 playing his best tennis of the season to ensure Wetherby were on the score sheet and trailed 3-1 as Harte walked through the gate.
Harte was eager for action and slipped in at seed one to partner Triffitt in the doubles. With Grove number one Reuben Cochrane rated the best player in the competition on overall rankings this looked an ominous test for the Wetherby pair. However the left hander Harte was in no mood to be walked over and he and Triffitt surprised their hosts with an attacking game from the outset that put the Grove pair on the back foot. Time after time rallies were exceedingly long but the watching crowd thoroughly enjoyed the competitive event on show. Harte is one of the best lefties in the league and with Triffitt showing a number of deft touches along with some terrific smashes they ensured this was a game to savour. Finally Hill managed to wear our boys down and ran out 4-2,4-2 winners for another 2-0 success but the players left to a generous ovation from appreciative supporters.
With the league points assured Harte then took on Cochrane for his biggest challenge of the campaign as he hoped to lower the best player in the leagues colours. This was to prove the most exciting rubber of the evening with some tremendous tennis from both players on show. In an end to end roller coaster first set Harte came through for an excellent 3-5 win to put his opponent under immediate pressure. Cochrane fought back well in the second for a 4-1 win to set up a final set tie break decider and the first of the day.
However showing no signs of nerves and roared on by a vocal away following Harte took the initiative from the off and was always in the lead before sealing victory 5-10 for a famous 1-2 success. Both players were rightly clapped off in a match that was a joy to watch.
So Grove Hill prevailed 4-2 to maintain their title assault but Wetherby can be rightly proud of their efforts on a glorious evening for tennis. Well done to all concerned and particularly to Harte for his heroics both on and off the field.
Tonights team were from left to right – Angus Harte, Ed Grogan, Bradley Triffitt and Nathan Spencer