Wetherby men’s third team were in action this afternoon when they hosted table topping Roundhay at Castlegarth. The Leeds based outfit had beaten Wetherby 8-0 in the reverse fixture earlier in the season and were closing in on promotion with victory here almost securing that. Wetherby had seen their own slim promotion hopes evaporate recently after back to back defeats at Kirkstall and Horsforth but were still keen to finish the season on a high and climb the table.
The visitors arrived with a strong side and must have been very confident of achieving the win but Wetherby, who were missing their usual high numbers due to injury and absence, had recruited well and looked arguably able to field their strongest stating line up of the campaign. They were boosted with the inclusion of Ryan Castelow and Josh Bayliss from the successful Under 16 squad which also helped significantly reduce the average age of the team on show for once!
Bayliss, who is having a good season in the Harrogate mixed one side, partnered captain for the day Mike Triffitt who was standing in for Dave Morris who was away in the Lake District. They faced Roundhay number one seeds Sam Dandie and Ron Wright who are the form men of the league with Dandie now up to fourth in overall rankings.
The Wetherby men started well and took the first two games before Dandi and Wright began to turn the screw. Dandi is a big serving and hard hitting forehander whilst Wright is a more than useful net player and they ran out 3-6 winners after a good opening set. The battle between youngsters Dandie and Bayliss was proving worth the admission fee alone as both went hammer and tong with some hugh hitting which was way above the standard normally seen in League Six!
Bayliss was confident both baselining and volleying and alongside the steady Triffitt, who constantly kept the ball in play, they began the second set once more in confident fashion. Left hander Bayliss was starting to significantly up the ante and Triffitt proved the perfect foil with his unorthodox if slower style. The set was in the balance all the way with the Wetherby men coming from 5-6 down to force a tie break. Triffitt, who had lost both tie breaks in a mixed doubles game on Thursday, knew they must level the game here to stand a chance of overall victory and he and Bayliss were never headed as they celebrated a crucial 7-5 tie break success and a 7-6 set win to surprise the Leeds based men. A great advert for tennis the match produced some high quality play with a draw a fair result at the conclusion.
Over on court five Ryan Castelow and Mark Lawson were also playing extremely well with youngster Castelow also producing some cracking shots of real ferocity. Angus Orde who had dominated in the first fixture partnered captain Phil Bevan but both were run ragged by the Wetherby duo who ran out surprising but deserved victors 6-2,6-3.
So at the half way stage a shock was very much on the cards with Wetherby ahead 3-1 and there were signs of real concern from the leaders.
Castelow and Lawson knew the second game would be tough and after such a terrific effort in their opening game they were unable to quite match that in their second. The pair played well but Dandi and Wright were too classy and ran out cosy winners 2-6,3-6 to level up the contest at 3-3.
All eyes were on Triffitt and Bayliss who hoped the tie break exertions would not take their toll in game two. Bevan and Orde were both struggling against the sheer power of Bayliss however and the youngster was clearly enjoying himself in the sun. As the serves began to go up a notch the score board was ticking along nicely for Wetherby, they secured a welcome and unexpected victory 6-3,6-1 with captain Triffitt serving the match out to great delight.
So this result will surely send shock waves reverberating around the league and makes the promotion run in an extremely interesting one now however. Roundhay and Dacre still remain favourites but Wakefield are snapping at their heels. Wetherby will have a significant impact on the promotion race too as they travel to Dacre and Wakefield whilst the Roundhay v Wakefield fixture will also have a significant bearing.
So a great result for the Wetherby chaps who produced their best performance and best result of the campaign. A great team effort but Josh Bayliss takes the man of the match honours on an afternoon to remember.
The winning Wetherby chaps from left to right were – Mark Lawson, Ryan Castelow, Josh Bayliss and proud stand in captain Mike Triffitt