The ladies singles drew an entry of seven this year with defending champion Helen Robinson receiving a bye into the semi final where she awaits the winner of Ann Jones and Louise Williams. In the bottom half of the draw Janine Smith played Lara Campbell in a real clash of styles. Campbell was making her debut in the event and all credit to this social player for doing so. Smith is a regular in the Ladies second team and plays in the Harrogate mixed three side and ultimately she proved too powerful and street wise running out a cosy winner 6-1,6-1. She now plays the winner of Bev Lyn v Lucy Wright in the semi final.
Williams and Jones finally played their match on Friday 12 August after ironically both facing each other the previous night when representing their respective Wetherby mixed doubles teams. On a pleasant evening for tennis this proved a hard fought encounter with both ladies making rare singles appearances. Plenty of long rallies ensured but ultimately Williams managed to secure victory on the back of her famous powerful forehand that won her plenty of points. She ran out a 6-3,6-4 winner in a match that lasted two hours although I am not sure how much time was spent on social chatter between games! Williams advances to the semi final where she will meet defending champion Helen Robinson.
Lucy Wright, fresh from a morning mixed doubles victory on August 17, was back in action later that afternoon when she took on Bev Lyn in the quarter finals of the ladies singles event. A quick change from white to pink and she soon set about her opponent. In a game where the score line didn’t really reflect the efforts of Lyn, Wright won 6-1,6-0 despite endless long drawn our rallies where perhaps the lower error count of the higher ranked player was ultimately the main difference between the pair. Wright was prepared to wear down Lyn without over committing and the tactics proved spot on. She now plays Janine Smith in the semi-final.
Thursday September 15th was ladies semi final evening with both games taking place simultaneously. Another glorious sunny evening with perfect conditions meant there could be no excuses. The top two seeds were kept apart so Lucy Wright played Janine Smith and current title holder Helen Robinson met Louise Williams. It was always going to be a tough evening for the underdogs and so it proved. Williams opened well and was giving it a real go with some lovely forehands from the baseline. But Robinson plays at a higher league level and was able to deliver a number of crushing forehands herself hit with real venom. Plenty of deuce games and some exciting rallies ensued but ultimately the champion was able to show her class and ease home 6-1,6-2 to reach the final.
Lucy Wright who plays alongside Robinson in the ladies first team was also a strong favourite after a tremendous season on the league circuit where she was arguably the most improved lady player at the club. Janine Smith has been successful during her doubles campaign but found the singles a much tougher ask and the court suddenly looked very big. Once again these two big hitters from deep exchanged several blows but Wright was producing some wicked angles and wore down her beleaguered opponent. A 6-0,6-0 victory was harsh but Smith was unfortunate to meet an inspired Wright who maintained a high level of tennis throughout with a very consistent performance.
It was still all smiles at the end and a glass of prosecco in bar 3 afterwards rounded off a pleasant evening!
Unfortunately due to circumstances Wright is missing for the final so Smith will advance to play Robinson on Sunday September 18th with play commencing at 2pm.
A touch of colour and glamour on show for the Ladies semi finals with from left to right – Lucy Wright, Janine Smith, Helen Robinson and Louise Williams.
In the men’s singles the entry was also low with just seven again. Guy Wood received the bye to the semi final and awaits the winner of Paul Wigglesworth and Greg Vince. In the bottom half Paul Hill played Mike Triffitt. Despite a spirited performance from Triffitt, Hill showed why he is a real loss on the league circuit as his tremendous court coverage and all action style was too much for Triffitt to handle. Despite extremely long rallies Hill was immense and rang out a comfortable winner 6-1,6-1. He now meets Walter Skubiak who beat another debutant, Roger Grigg,6-2,6-1. Grigg served well and was happy with the baseline rallies but Skubiak was much the fitter man and his short game and court coverage was ultimately too good.
Vince and Wigglesworth met in their eagerly awaited quarter final clash between two man looking well matched on paper. Wigglesworth was favourite on the back of a proven track record playing in a higher standard but Vince has been a big improver on the circuit this term playing regularly in the Harrogate league for Barry Johnson’s Wetherby B outfit. The opening set was close with Vince benefiting from far more tennis this season to edge it 6-4. Wigglesworth looked impressive at times but his lack of recent action was to ultimatley be his downfall as Vince was happy to maintain rallies and with a low error count finally ran out a cosy winner in the second set 6-1 for a upset 2-0 win. He advances to the semi final where he plays Guy Wood.
Skubiak and Hill met on Saturday September 10th on a bright sunny day with conditions perfect for tennis. Hill was heavily strapped but this still didn’t stop him covering every inch of the court. Skubiak played well and was competitive but the short game of Hill where he produced some wonderful drop shots was ultimately unplayable. Hill ran out a cosy 6-2 6-2 winner and awaits Greg Vince or Guy Wood in the final.
Greg Vince and Guy Wood played their semi final on Tuesday September 13th with the weather once more pleasant. This was a tough game to call on paper and a long match was anticipated with both men baseliners. There were plenty of double figure rallies and a high number of deuce games as predicated before Vince showed his durability to take the opening set 6-3. Wood was playing some lovely tennis however but was unable to wear down the ever resilient Vince who used his experience to good effect in completing a 2-0 win after a second set 6-3 success. A good competitive match fitting of its semi final status and Vince now progresses to the final where he meets favourite Paul Hill.
The Mixed Doubles has seem a few more matches but with a lack of ladies has needed several losing ladies to re partner. Peter Baldwin and Mary Fidler saw off Roger Grigg and Debbie Vines in a three set thriller before prevailing 6-4,4-6,6-2 and now play Ian Teasdale and Cathryn Keighley who received a bye.
Stuart Robinson and Ann Jones were successful against Bob Kirby and Helen Robinson and will next play Brian Thomas and Lucy Wright for a place in the semi final.Guy Wood and Anne Lillywhite teamed up against Jill Abel and Walter Skubiak and it was the later pair who proved the stronger winning two sets to love 6-3,6-3.
Paul Keighley was then allocated Helen Robinson and they took on Mike Triffitt and Anne Lillywhite with the girls getting a second chance for glory. In an epic match lasting almost two hours Triffitt and Lillywhite finally ran out the narrowest of winners with a 4-6,6-3,6-4 success in a match that could have gone either way. They meet Abel and Skubiak next.
Vines then had a touch of fortune as she now pairs up with in form Paul Hill who played Greg Vince and Bev Lyn. True to form the new favourites for the competition never came off the bridle in a comfortable 6-1,6-1 success.
Next up for the favourites was a tough looking match with Mick Abel and Janine Smith. Played in sunny and hot conditions Hill and Vines stormed into an early 3-0 lead during the opening set before been surprised and finally losing out 6-4. Mindful of needing to up their game to compete with an enthusiastic performance from Abel and Smith they duly did. In a fine close contest Hill and Vines put their experience to good use and turned the game on its head running out winners 4-6,6-3,6-2.They now progress through to the semi final and await the winners of the quarter final game between Stuart Robinson and Ann Jones v Brian Thomas and Lucy Wright.
From left to right – Brian Thomas, Lucy Wright, Ann Jones and Stewart Robinson prepare to do battle!
Wednesday August 17 saw Brian Thomas and Lucy Wright play Ann Jones and Stuart Robinson for a place in the semi finals. On a warm, pleasant but muggy morning this match had the look of a tight contest and so it was to prove. The opening service game looked set to break the deuce records and must have lasted 15 minutes alone and this set the tone for the rest of the morning action. There were numerous long rallies from the baseline as the match ebbed and flowed before Thomas and Wright edged the opening set 6-4. Jones was doing her best to repel many dangers and with Robinson using his crafty short game to good effort the duo did their best to level the match. However Thomas rolled back the years to produce an accomplished performance and with Wright difficult to pass and covering every inch of the court they finally won 7-6 after a second set tie break to progress through to the semi final where they meet title favourites Paul Hill and Debbie Vines.
A great mornings tennis with every point hard fought and played in a sporting spirt left everyone tired but happy . Well done to all and good luck Brian and Lucy in your semi final clash.
Monday August 22 was a lovely balmy evening and Jill Abel and Walter Skubiak played Anne Lillywhite and Mike Triffitt in the quarter finals of the mixed event. In a tight first set which lasted almost an hour, it was the greater consistency of Abel and Skubiak that saw them edge home 6-4. The second set began with Anne Lillywhite producing some superb winners down the centre of the court and with partner Triffitt finally having success at the net the duo raced into a 4-1 lead. However back came Abel with some strong defensive play and with Skubiak proving difficult to pass and producing some lovely wide out winners of his own they forged into a 5-4 lead. Lillywhite held serve to force a tie break at 5-5 before Abel and Skubiak kicked on to comfortably win that 7-1 for a 6-4,6-5 victory. Highlight of the game was after one of many memorable and long rallies, coach Matt Snellin on the adjoining court cried out he would have paid good money to witness that which left the players in fits of laughter!
Well done to all players but congratulations to Abel and Skubiak who advance to the semi final where they play Ian Teasdale and Cathryn Keighley for a place in the final.
It was looking an even worse night for poor Anne when she returned to the car pack to discover she had a flat tyre. Luckily Mike Abel was her knight in shining armour and a quick change and she was off again. The Abels were certainly the star turn both on and off the court this evening!!!
From left to right Walter Skubiak and Jill Abel before they defeated Anne Lillywhite and Mike Triffitt.
Skubiak and Abel then moved on to the semi final where they played Ian Teasdale and Cathryn Keighley. This match was played on Sunday morning August 28.Buoyed by their quarter final success and with their partnership continuing to flourish, they proved too strong for a gallant Teasdale and Keighley running out cosy 6-1,6-0 winners. They advance to the final and await the winner of the other semi final between Paul Hill and Debbie Vines v Brian Thomas and Lucy Wright.
Tuesday evening September 6 saw the mixed semi final between Paul Hill and Debbie Vines v Brian Thomas and Lucy Wright. With the UK experiencing an Indian summer the climate was excellent and conditions perfect. Paul Hill has been revitalised of late and after deciding to rest from League tennis this season to concentrate on his fitness and health is taking the various club tournaments by storm. A couple of cameo performances’ late on for the Wetherby mixed teams has put him spot on and he and Vines were soon showing their class here. Thomas and Wright were competitive and made the favourites fight all the way but Hill was majestic in producing some fine smashes and was a constant threat at the net. Hill and Vines ran out worthy 6-2,6-1 winners and will take their place in the final where they face Jill Abel and Walter Skubiak in a match to savour.
In the men’s doubles Brian Thomas and Mike Triffitt defeated Stewart Robinson and Bob Kirby in another long match 6-3,5-7,6-1 and will play Paul Hill and Guy Wood who were just too strong for Peter Baldwin and Walter Skubiak winning 6-4,6-4. This allows a potential revenge opportunity for Triffitt after his singles defeat to Hill but of course Hill and Wood will be favourite again here.
Barry Johnson and Tom Harrington beat Ian Teasdale and Paul Keighley in a close game running out narrow 6-4,6-4 winners and advance to the semi final where they play Greg Vince and 1st losing man Walter Skubiak.
That game took place on Friday evening September 2 on a dry but overcast night. The first set was close but with the game on a knife edge at 3-3 Vince and Skubiak stepped on the gas to run out 6-3 winners. Despite the bamboozling play of Harrington, who constantly changed hands to good effort and Johnson, who was returning with real power, the second set ran away from the pair. Skubiak and Vince are two of the form men at the club at present and fresh from helping to save the Wetherby B mixed team from relegation on Tuesday they turned on the class to win 6-1 for a 2-0 success.
Saturday September 3rd was the date for the second semi final but with rain forecast the start time was brought forward to 10am. There was some excellent tennis on show despite the overcast conditions with all four men playing well. The score was nicely poised at 3-3 when the rain started to fall. However the chaps battled on and with Thomas serving very well and with real consistency and Triffitt battling for every point the duo forged ahead 5-3. Back came Hill and Wood with Wood producing some superb winners to surprise his opponents and bring the match score level at 5-5. Paul Hill was a constant threat at the net and Triffitt in particular was battling to avoid putting anything back into his path. Thomas served out another impressive game to ease ahead 6-5 but back came Wood to level at 6-6. The rain was now heavy and conditions pretty grim but the players decided to at least play the tie break. Triffitt and Thomas led throughout and were able to produce some consistent strokes well suited to the conditions to prevail 7-4 for a first set 7-6 success.
Unfortunately the match was never able to continue due to lack of suitable dates and with Hill still suffering from injury. Reluctantly Hill and Wood therefore had to forfeit with Triffitt and Thomas advancing to the final where they face Greg Vince and Walter Skubiak.
In the Ladies doubles Helen Robinson and Janine Smith are a set to the good up on Anne Lillywhite and Ann Jones with the game delayed following rain.The winners will play Bev Lyn and Debbie Vines whilst Mary Fidler and Lucy Wright will play Cathryn Keighley and the first losing lady.
Helen Robinson and Janine Smith finally completed their match after a month wait when winning 6-3,6-3 and play Bev Lyn and Debbie Vines in the semi final.
The favourites for the title are seen above and it will take a big effort from the remaining teams to stop them now.
Sunday morning August 14 saw Robinson and Smith take on Bev Lynn and Debbie Vines with the prize a place in the final at stake. It was always going to be a big ask for Lynn and Vines and so it proved as the title favourites started the opening set impressively and ran out cosy 6-0 winners. The second proved much closer with many games going to deuce but despite their best efforts Bev and Debbie were just touched off 6-4 to lose 2-0 leaving Robinson and Smith to advance to the final. They await the winner of the Mary Fidler / Lucy Wright v Cathryn Keighley / Ann Jones semi final clash.
Saturday September 10th saw the semi final played in lovely conditions. There was some excellent rallies on show but Wright was able to show her class and use the experience of playing at a higher level to be the stand out player on show. She and Fidler eased home 6-2 6-2 for a comfortable success.
However with Wright unable to make finals day due to circumstances beyond her control Fidler will be joined by Ann Jones with Cathryn Keighley also absent that day. The pair face Helen Robinson and Janine Smith.