Rufforth and Wetherby 2 met tonight on a mild and dry November evening. Rufforth arrived in town top of the table and unbeaten after winning their opening four games. Wetherby were still looking to open their account but were strengthened by the addition of Josh Bayliss and Debbie Vines who had helped Wetherby 1 to a comfortable victory over Tadcaster last time out.
However Rufforth mean serious business this year and once again were able to send out another very strong quartet.
James Edmond teamed up with Sue Yoward for Rufforth who were down as hosts this evening.Yoward had been seen to good effect when part of the team that defeated Wetherby 1 previously and this well built and athletic lady is a dominant figure on court. This pair who both played at the highest level of mixed tennis in York Division One last term were going to prove a handful for Wetherby duo Jill Abel and Josh Bayliss and so it proved. Abel was a regular for Wetherby in Division Four of the York league but would not have had to face any pair as strong as this deadly two.The rubber proved entertaining and competative however and although the hosts prevailed 8-4 Wetherby certainly put up an excellent fight.
Mike Abel along with wife Jill and Debbie Vines were all part of the Division Four squad and he teamed up with Vines tonight. They had the misfortune to play another hot couple with Denise Riley and Andy Ivel part of the Rufforth second team that were crowned champions of Division Six last season. The duo also finished runners up in the top 25 couples listing and won an impressive 28 of their 33 rubbers during their successful title winning campaign. They were in no mood to show any mercy and despite a performance that was certainly not lacking in effort from the visitors the leaders ran out winners 11-1.
So an upset suddenly looked increasing unlikely following the opening round with the table toppers poised to go further clear at the summit.
Yoward and Riley were in devastating form in the ladies rubber and put Abel and Vines to the sword 10-2 whilst Edmond and Ivel were similar too hot to handle in the men’s running out 9-3 winners
So with victory assured the final round began. Yoward and Edmond really are a very accomplished pairing and these big hitting but crafty players are a well above average couple. They proved unplayable at times on their way to another impressive winning score line of 11-1 against the spirited Abel and Vines.
So it was left to Jill Abel and Josh Bayliss to finally put Wetherby in the winners enclosure. This rubber proved the best of the evening with Bayliss upping the pace and starting to dominate proceedings. With Abel a steady partner the Wetherby couple surprised their opponents with some aggressive tennis to finally claim a narrow 5-7 success which was just reward for a tough shift.
The final score line was perhaps harsh on Wetherby as they lost 53-19 but for Rufforth they are looking very much the champions elect as one more win will secure them the Winter League title.
Tonight’s gallant runners up from left to right were Mike Abel, Jill Abel, Josh Bayliss and Debbie Vines.