Pipped At The Post

The Ladies second team were playing their final home match of the season this afternoon when they hosted Copmanthorpe at Castlegarth. With leaders Wistow having already won at Fulford during the morning to guarantee themselves promotion all eyes were on this clash with the second promotion spot at stake. Wetherby sat second and knew victory over the third placed visitors would assure them of promotion with one game to play. However Copmanthorpe could also secure promotion with wins from their final two games so this game really was the match of the season in Division Three.

Weather conditions were slightly difficult with a mixture of cloud, sun and wind at various times causing problems throughout the afternoon. Both teams were picking from strength with the only change for Wetherby being Rachel Butterworth replacing an injured Trish Bell.

Jill Abel and Fiona Chantrey played seed one and opened against Maggie Chang and Liz Swallow. In a game of real quality the home pair were always just ahead and eventually took the rubber 8-4.

Captain Butterworth partnered Marise Richfield against Laura Simpson and Rhion Scott and once again the tennis on show was worthy of this top of the table clash. Wetherby just nicked this game 7-5.

Debbie Vines and Louise Williams continued their regular partnership playing seed three and they competed against Jane Harding and Amanda Robson. In a repetition of the other games played this too was both entertaining and close with a 7-5 final score line in favour of the home side leaving them 8 ahead after the completion of the opening round.

A decent crowd had gathered for this showdown and they were been richly entertained as round two began with more free flowing and breath taking tennis.

Abel and Chantrey were revelling in the conditions and with their controlled stroke play were able to wear down opponants Harding and Robson for an impressive 9-3 success.

Butterworth and Richfield were not letting the occasion get the better of them and held firm with some good interplay to share the spoils with Chang and Swallow.

However Simpson and Scott were starting to throw down the gauntlet to Wetherby and really turned up the power to overcome a battling Vines and Williams 1-11. The Copmanthorpe number two seeds were mightily impressive and were able to dominate at the net which was the main difference between the couples.

Suddenly the match was back in the melting pot and Wetherby had seen their lead reduced to four with the final and crucial round to follow.The watching crowd grew more silent as the tension mounted with everyone at the game appreciating what the potential prize on offer would be.

Abel and Chantrey would also feel the full force of Simpson and Scott who really rose to the occasion to produce tennis way above the normal levels on display in Division Three. They ran out 3-9 winners as the match suddenly took a big turn in the visitors direction.

Williams and Vines knew they needed a good score in the last on the show court. They covered every inch of that court in chasing everything down but Chang in particular is a very cool customer and again crucially was a dominant net player. Copmanthorpe took the rubber 4-8 and moved 6 games clear with just Butterworth and Richfield left playing. They faced the unenviable position of needing 10 to win and 9 to tie but despite another great effort fell agonising short winning 7-5.

Therefore with the scores on the doors it was Copmanathorpe who ran out worthy if very close winners 52-56 to leave themselves firmly in the driving seat to follow Wistow into Division Two next term.

This match was a credit to the section with all the ladies on show giving their all in real batting style. Man of the match honours or should I say the women of the match award must go to Simpson and Scott who recovered from that first game defeat to collect an amazing 25 points in such a tight encounter to turn the match on its head.

Disappointment for Wetherby but this should not distract from a fantastic season when they have been involved in the promotion race every inch of the way. Perhaps I may even be writing them off prematurely as the final round will see Wetherby travel to Appleton Roebuck and Copmanthorpe visit Knaresborough. If Boro can produce a shock and Wetherby win then our girls go up but if Copmanthorpe field todays staring six it would take a brave man or woman to bet against them finishing off the job in all honesty.

Thanks to both teams for putting on a wonderful afternoon of tennis and to the supporters who turned up in numbers.

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