From left to right – Greg Vince, Dawn Steel, Mike Triffitt, Barry Johnson, Ginny Hinds and Fiona Chantrey celebrate in Bar 3 after a tremendous win this evening.
Wetherby A were in action tonight in the Harrogate and District League Division 5 when they hosted Academy C at Castlegarth. What had promised to be a warm and pleasant evening turned into a rather chilly one but the weather stayed dry and conditions, apart from a slight wind, were generally favourable.
Wetherby had finished third last term and were looking to mount another promotion assault this year. They had opened the season with a win over Wetherby B and captain Barry Johnson has assembled a useful looking squad for this level. Louise Williams and Debbie Vines were absent this evening so Ginny Hinds stepped in after some excellent performances in the ladies second team. She paired up with Greg Vince who was making his seasonal debut.
This pair have looked to develop a promising partnership with some eye catching performances during practise and they were quickly into stride this evening. Vince is a good baseliner and covers every inch of the court whilst Hinds is very competitive and has a strong short game with some fantastic drop shots and clinical net awareness. Playing at seed three they opened up against Gerri Chan and Chris Nixon in a game that was close and competitive. Nixon has a lovely disguised forehand which he used to good effect with a nice mixture of power and poise. Chan dug plenty out from the baseline and was a big presence at the net which made for an exciting match up. However the Wetherby duo were extremely determined and finally wore down their opponents to record an 8-4 victory.
Over on court One Barry Johnson resumed his blossoming partnership with the classy ladies second team captain Fiona Chantrey. This duo are a match for anyone in this section and complement each other well with very different styles. However they needed to be on their best form to keep Academy’s Mark Bowman and Chantal Wilkinson at bay as the victors number one couple were both very strong players. Bowman served well and dominated the net as well as hitting a very hard forehand whilst Wilkinson was hard to beat and deployed her lovely forehand to good use on countless occasions.After a slow start Johnson and Chantrey finished the stronger to edge an excellent contest 7-5.
Dawn Steel was making a welcome return from injury to make her first appearance of the season and she paired up with Mike Triffitt for their competitive debut together. The pair had played social tennis before and were confident of a good showing. They couldn’t have dreamt of a better start however against Academy captain Dave Edgar and Karan Carpenter. Aggressive from the outset the Wetherby couple used the full width of the court to run the visitors ragged with Steel producing some fantastic baseline rallies and Triffitt combing some deft drop shots along with a number of smashes to build a good lead. As the confidence drained from their opponents, Steel and Triffitt turned the screw to good effect with some dazzling tennis to finally complete a 12-0 whitewash.
So after round one was complete Wetherby had established an 18 point lead which left them in a very strong position.
Round two began with Johnson and Chantrey taking on Chan and Nixon and once again the away teams number three pair proved very hard to beat. In fact the home number ones actually found themselves trailing 1-5 before finally finding their feet to dig themselves out of a hole. Both upped the tempo impressively to turn the game on its head as they ran out narrow 7-5 winners. Vince and Hinds knew that Edgar and Carpenter would be hurting and fair play to the visiting pair who certainly bounced back to make this rubber intriguing. Carpenter has a lovely touch and her clever play inspired Edgar who started to win many points at the net. Vince and Lady Bickerton battled manfully and in a real battle of wits came out successful by a scoreline of 8-4.
Triffitt and Steel moved to court One to take on Bowman and Wilkinson and were soon trailing 3-0 after finding the pace and power difficult to handle. Behind 4-2, 5-3 and 6-5 they kept in the contest with some backs to the wall tennis before Steel served out to ensure a share of the spoils at 6-6.
This gave Wetherby an additional 6 points to extend their lead to 24 ahead of the final round.
Vince and Hinds had struggled with the slower pace of contest two and were relishing taking on Bowman and Wilkinson in their final rubber. This was another close game with excellent performances all round from the four players on show. Ultimately the visitors perhaps made less errors and ran out narrow 5-7 winners in a game that roller coasted throughout. They finished the evening with a useful overall tally of 21 points
Johnson and Chantrey also found themselves in a battle on court Two against a resurgent Edgar and Carpenter who had quickly put aside their first round loss to play some impressive tennis of their own. Unfortunately for them Johnson and Chantrey carried too many big guns and unleashed their weaponry to good effect to record a satisfying 8-4 win. They added 22 points to the hosts total.
It was left to Steel and Triffitt to close the night out on court Three in another tough and long battle with Chan and Nixon. At 2-2 the tie was finely balanced but the Wetherby couple refocused to mix things up with some unorthodox and error free tennis .Nixon was battering Steel but she didn’t give an inch and gave as good as she got with some amazing returns and Triffitt was able to step in effectively at the net to finish off her good rallies. The duo were determined to keep the scoreboard ticking over and finally ran out cosy 9-3 winners for 27 points on the night.
Wetherby recorded a promising 70-38 victory which takes them joint top alongside heavy divisional favourites Spa of Harrogate who have also managed two big wins this term. The big guns meet next Wednesday in Harrogate and Wetherby will have to raise their game once more to compete with a very impressive Spa line up this season.
An excellent evening rounded off in Bar Three with good food and company and a big thanks to Academy for a spirited performance played in a good atmosphere tonight.
Fresh from an excellent victory playing for Wetherby B at Burton Leonard on Tuesday evening, Ian Teasdale and David Rhodes were in attendance this evening where their support was greatly appreciated.