The men’s first team have opened this season with a perfect record of three straight wins and Sunday saw them travel to Rowntree Park looking to make that four and extend their lead at the top of Division three. Due to absence Steve Jones came off the subs bench and Ollie Newsome and Tom Pearson stepped up from the third team. The team have continued their title winning form from last season and are very much hoping for consecutive promotions. Park had suffered two defeats from their opening games so Wetherby arrived as big favourites.
Tom Warburton has been a welcome addition to the side this term and his all action and aggressive style has strengthened the squad . He teamed up with the youngster Newsome and they took on home pair Ed Martin and Steve Walker. This proved to be a close and competative rubber with some excellent tennis on show. No quarter was given by the quartet and a 6-6 draw was a fair reflection of proceedings.Nigel Williams partnered Steve Jones at seed two and this experienced duo were to enjoy their morning. Jones had suffered injury which forced him to miss the third team fixture the day before but battled manfully to play through the pain barrier here. Williams was still on a high after helping the Harrogate mixed one team to success on Thursday and looked in confident mood as he took on Paul Adams and Rob, who had omitted to add a surname!!.The class of the Wetherby men was all too evident and they made short work of winning 3-9. Rob Payne and another youngster Tom Pearson were at seed three and they took on Kevin Dawson and Martin O’Connell. The home duo were a tricky pair and adopted error free tennis. They had the better of the action and ran out cosy 8-4 winners.
It had still been a good start for the visitors who led 17-19 but the contest was too close at this early stage. Warburton and Newsome started to blossom together in this next round and both began to go through the gears impressively. Attacking with confidence they sprayed the ball around with pace and power and dominated the net to record a welcome 4-8 success. Williams and Jones had a battle with Dawson and O’Connell but still had enough in the locker to ensure they would win again, this time 4-8. Payne and Pearson too were to benefit from a run out together in the first round to improve significantly during the second where they battled superbly to take a share of the spoils from a 6-6 tie.
The score now stood at 31-41 and Wetherby had turned the tie firmly in their favour. Warburton and Newsome were once again involved in a thrilling match with Dawson and O’Connell and it proved to be honours even following a pulsating 6-6 tie. Williams and Jones took on the Park top pair and dished out a first defeat of the morning for Martin and Walker as Wetherby recorded a hard fought 4-8 success. Payne and Pearson were also involved it yet another drawn rubber as they played exceptionally well to secure a 6-6 draw with the home second seeds.
Wetherby did run out 47-61 victors and a winning score of 3-9 was slightly harsh on the hosts but confirmed Wetherby as very much the team to beat in this section this term. A really good team performance and well done to the two youngsters who made the step up in class and who both contributed to a welcome win. Wetherby have a good pool to call upon this season and this strength in depth will prove crucial as the season unfolds for sure. A welcome week off for Bank holiday next week before a home game with York 2 on June 4th at Castlegarth.
The second team entertained Alne and Tollerton at Scott Lane after opening up their campaign in Division Five with a win and two losses. One of those defeats was against Wilberfoss who already have the look of champions and will certainly take some stopping at the summit. With Luke Green injured, Steve Crossley on holiday and Sam Moore unavailable with exams, Marc Bickers stepped up from the third team but the team selected looked strong and would still start as favourites. The visitors had also lost to Wilberfoss but beaten Bishopthorpe who are bottom.
Mike Park and Ollie Boyes Park have been a most consistent pairing for the second team and this duo at seed one are always difficult to beat. They took on and beat Matt Fletcher and Callum Gration 8-4 to give the hosts a good start. Old friends and best buddies Mike Connolly and Nick Lumb are a hard hitting and aggressive duo and can always be relied to give their best. They faced a tough opener with Ben Drummond and Rob Brown and were happy to come away with a 6-6 draw. Mike Abel teamed up with man of the moment Bickers, who was playing his third match in just four days. A Man of the match performance helped Harrogate one mixed to success Thursday and then he had battled the elements to produce some excellent tennis in victory for the men’s third team the day before. Bickers is a fit young man and his effortless style combined with a do or die attitude from Abel proved a useful combination on the morning. However they met their match in an opener here when Charlie Price and Duncan Scott Rix proved a bit of a handful and ran out narrow 5-7 winners.
It was still a useful round for the hosts who led 19-17. Price and Rix continued their good form at seed three for Alne and Tollerton when making Mike and Ollie pull out all the stops in round two. This proved a fascinating dual and a 6-6 draw meant the pairs couldn’t be split. Connolly and Lumb were also involved in a close one but the extra consistency from the visitor number one pair ensured a narrow 5-7 away win. However Abel and Bickers were on fire against Drummond and Brown and really turned on the style with a mixture of pace, power and finesse which left their opponents struggling. A 9-3 victory proved the turning point in a contest that Wetherby now led 39-33.
A six point lead was still however a slender one but with a whiff of victory in the air captain Mike Park was eager to press home the advantage. Along with son Ollie they saved the best till last and showed why they have arguably been the most successful and consistent men’s partners over the last few seasons. They took Drummond and Brown to the cleaners as they dismantled the bewildered duo 10-2 to put the hosts in sight of the winning line. Connolly and Lumb were also playing their best tennis of the morning and would help wrap up a Wetherby win following their fantastic 9-3 win over the visitors third pair. It was left to Abel and Bickers to complete a memorable closing round as they defeated number one duo Fletcher and Gration 8-4 to put the icing on a very tasty Wetherby cake.
The final score line finished 66-42 with Wetherby winning 9-3 which, after the opening two rounds, had not really looked likely. Well done chaps and a very consistent scoring from all three pairs really ensured this was a complete team performance. A nice hat trick of wins for Bickers and he earns a few days off now to rest his weary bones!.
A week off for the second team who are next in action away at York 3 on June 4th.