Starbeck entertained Wetherby 1 this evening in the Winter League with both teams doing well to defy the rainy conditions and produce some exciting tennis. Both sides were neck and neck in the table on four points with Wetherby having played a game more prior to the start of play. Wetherby fielded a strong looking team despite the absence of Lucy Wright who is currently side lined through injury. Rachel Butterworth kindly stepped in and was an excellent deputy. Fellow ladies second teamer and Harrogate second team mixed doubles competitor Louise Williams joined forces with Josh Bayliss with Butterworth partnering Steve Jones.
Starbeck arrived without their leading ladies due to social commitments elsewhere but were able to select players with experience from the Harrogate League. Chris Noddings in particular is a more than useful player and had played an inspirational role when helping his troops defeat Wetherby 2 earlier in the campaign.
A couple of hours rain had left the playing surface a little difficult but with dry conditions returning the match was generally played in reasonable conditions despite occasional rain.
Williams and Butterworth had enjoyed good seasons helping the ladies second team to promotion last term and were in confident form as they took on Louise Goddard and Liz Rigby. Rigby had top scored for Starbeck C in division six of the Harrogate mixed doubles event last season and is a confident player with a good all round game. However the Wetherby ladies are a useful duo and their calm approach play coupled with a killer instinct proved the difference as they ran out 8-4 winners.
Steve Jones and Josh Bayliss are arguably as good a partnership as Wetherby can field in the men’s section and this handy duo knew they would have to play well against Noddings and Colin Leftley who had finished second in the top scoring charts behind Rigby for Starbeck C. This rubber was certainly a steep raise in class however for him and despite a battling performance from Starbeck the Wetherby men ran out narrow 7-5 winners.
Starbeck were always playing catch up on the night in fairness although all the games were competitive and very close which made for an enthralling evening of winter tennis. The closest rubber of the evening saw Butterworth and Jones share the spoils 6-6 with Rigby and Noddings in a game that produced some real quality in the difficult conditions.
Williams and Bayliss had played together previously for the Harrogate mixed second team and soon re-established a good on court partnership which saw these big hitters run out 8-4 winners over Goddard and Leftley. However they were unable to contain Rigby and Noddings who raised their game sufficiently to record a narrow 7-5 success.
Butterworth and Jones rounded off a good evening with a 8-4 victory over Goddard and Leftley to see Wetherby home by a final score line of 42-30 .This win gives Wetherby a two point advantage over their Harrogate based rivals although they still have a game in hand. Wetherby 1 play their final game of the campaign against Wetherby 2 next Tuesday looking to finish the season on a high.
Thanks to all the players this evening for ensuring the Winter League once again was able to showcase its considerable talent.