Another big crowd at Castlegarth soaking up the sun, enjoying wine and strawberries whilst watching the excellent tennis on show.
Also enjoying the warm clines of Castlegarth this afternoon were the men’s third team who hosted table topping Pudsey. The visitors had opened with two 7-1 wins and arrived in Wetherby looking to maintain their lead at the summit. However the hosts were also boosting two wins and a 100% record so something had to give this afternoon. Captain Chris Hobbs was a crucial absente for the visitors which gave the hosts renewed hope. Once again Wetherby were missing six of their original eight man squad so were pleased that Roger Fawcus came in from the York league team and Pete Shipston made his debut following a promising social run out.
Captain Mike Triffitt had returned early from holiday to ensure he was in the line up and he partnered up with Marc Bickers at seed two today. They opened up on Court Five and faced Pudsey top seeds Daniel Burrell and Henry Greenwood. The young visiting duo had won three of their four sets at home to Pool last week and were looking to continue that form this afternoon. Burnell,who was stand in captain, is a powerful player and a very hard hitter. He punished anything loose and Bickers and Triffitt knew they faced an uphill task to contain him. Partner Greenwood produced some clever play and served well to provide a useful aid. However Bickers was arguably the strongest server on show and began unleashing a number of unreturnable missiles to keep the Wetherby men in the game. Significantly he held his serve during a tense sixth game that featured a number of deuce and, crucially advantage Pudsey moments, before finally keeping his side in the contest at 3-4 rather than been 2-5 down. This proved the game breaker as the confidence seemed to evaporate from the visitors and with Bickers hitting well from the baseline and Triffitt producing a raft of deft drop shots and clever cross court angles Wetherby ran out narrow 6-4 winners. The second set proved equally as close but on reflection the Wetherby chaps made too many unforced errors and finally succumbed 4-6 to leave honours even at one set all after a hard fought rubber.
On Court Four Roger Fawcus was partnered by the debutant left hander Pete Shipston and although the pair took a while to hit top form when they did they played some superb tennis. Opponents Dave Nussey and Peter Housencroft are a crafty wily pair and their unorthodox play threatened to derail the Wetherby men during the early exchanges. Fawcus was serving big but took a while to reach first gear although the worth was certainly worthwhile later when he produced some thunderous bullets. Shipston was enjoying his first appearance and produced some excellent well placed returns and some accurate net play to complement the hard hitting Fawcus. The hosts number one seeds ran out cosy 6-2 winners in the first and with Nussey and Housencroft been powerless to prevent the onslaught surrounded 6-1 in the second to give Wetherby a useful 3-1 lead at the break.
Following refreshments and a water break it was back to action and Fawcus and Shipston moved over to Court Four. Burrell seemed to really enjoy the challenge of playing Fawcus and matched his powerful style with an aggressive and powerful performance of his own. It really was an excellent contest which Wetherby narrowly took 6-4 in the opener. The visitors were in no mood to surrender and were also enjoying themselves in the sun. Greenwood grew in confidence and he produced some excellent defensive play to allow Burrell to finish off on many an occasion. However in another tight affair it was the experience of man of the match Fawcus that ultimately carried Wetherby home in a narrow 7-5 victory for a match winning 2-0 win.
Bickers and Triffitt, who were making their competitive debuts together after some social encounters, were also finding that their partnership was proving rather useful. The big hitting of Bickers and the soft hands and guile of Triffitt meant they offered a nice combination of styles and played with confidence. They led from start to finish against the Pudsey seed two paring. Nussey was an awkward opponent to read and on many occasions found the Wetherby men out and with partner Housencroft having a very useful disguised volley it meant Triffitt and Bickers would have to maintain the high levels they had set in their opening game. They did indeed remain ultra consistent and with the scoreboard ticking over nicely ran out cosy 6-1 winners in the opener. Both men were covering the court well and when the opportunity arose Bickers unleashed on a number of occasions with real power from the baseline. Triffitt was happy to keep the ball in play with a steadier approach but produced some lovely cross court drop shots to leave the Pudsey men floundering, Another 6-1 win confirmed Wetherby’s supremacy as they wrapped up an impressive 7-1 overall success and replace Pudsey at the summit on six points.
Well done to today’s pairs and a big thanks to Roger Fawcus and Pete Shipston for stepping in and providing excellent performances. Wetherby may be hard pressed to field a stronger quartet this term but in Bickers and Triffitt still have two men capable of competing with the best at this level. Thanks to Pudsey for providing good opposition in a game played in an excellent spirit with no controversy as all on duty were happy to enjoy both the tennis and the warm weather!.
Wetherby travel to Pool on Tuesday hoping to maintain their early good season form before a home fixture with Alwoodley later in the month.
Todays winning team from left to right were – Pete Shipston, Roger Fawcus, Marc Bickers and captain Mike Triffitt.
Gallant runners up from Pudsey from left to right were – Captain Daniel Burrell, Peter Housencroft, Dave Nussey and Henry Greenwood.