The picturesque setting for today’s match in Otley with the new clubhouse enjoying good views of the courts.
The Wetherby U14 team travelled over to Otley this afternoon where they faced Grove Hill. They were looking for a victory which would give them an excellent chance of finishing in the top two in the red group and progressing on to the semi final. They were unbeaten ahead of this crucial fixture having won twice with two draws.
Zak Watson made a welcome return and this exciting prospect opened at seed one against Ben Smith in the singles. Zak is an elegant player with a lovely ground stroke game which he effortlessly uses to full effort mainly from the baseline. He has a super temperament and oozes quality and class. Smith is a well built individual but was soon struggling to contain the Wetherby top seed who often pinned back the Grove Hill player with a barrage of deep powerful shots. Watson led throughout and even managed to control the net as he started to advance forward. After some wonderful tennis he prevailed 1-4,2-4 for a cosy 0-2 success.
The imposing figure of Henry Brown was a seed two for the visitors and he took on Aidan Bryant. Brown is a useful server and excellent net minder and he too controlled the contest. Bryant played above his small stature to battle well in many rallies but lacked the power to cope and compete with his bigger opponent who ran out a comfortable 1-4,2-4 winner to record another 0-2 success.
Bradley Triffitt was at seed three and he took on Sam Hancock. Triffitt adopted his usual accurate steady game which ensured he put the emphasis on his opponent to produce winners or thankfully in this case a number of unforced errors. Triffitt was comfortable during the opener to win 1-4 and as his confidence increased began to hit the ball with real venom and approach the net. He upped the tempo in impressive style to take the second set 0-4 for another 0-2 Wetherby win.
Sam Pratt replaced George Brown from last weeks 5-1 win over Horsforth and he was eager to impress. Another good baseliner with a deceptively strong and accurate forehand he took on Amy Dixon. The Grove Hill girl played some attacking tennis but lacked the power to trouble Pratt who took the first set 2-4. He built on this success to punish Dixon in the second and in running out a 0-4 winner for yet another 0-2 success ensuring Wetherby had wrapped up the league points during the opening singles round.
With the match secured the doubles meant the visitors were looking to improve their points tally which may be crucial in the final standings. Watson and Brown did not intend to let up and they once again formed a very impressive pairing. With Watson content to attack from deep and Brown marshalling the net they proved irresistible and recorded a 0-4,1-4 win for a fifth 0-2 success.
Triffitt and Pratt knew they would need to maintain their good singles play but their tie with Hancock and Dixon turned into the closest of the afternoon. The Grove Hill duo looked calm and played some excellent tennis to disrupt the Wetherby chaps rhythm. The set was finely balanced with Hill coming from 1-3 down to 3-3 before Triffitt and Pratt re-established order and reeled off the final two games to win 3-5. However the hosts were far from dispirited and took charge in the second to fully deserve their fine 4-2 win. This meant the visitors had to endure a nervous third set championship tie break. They made a good start and cut out the errors that had dogged them during the second set. With Pratt returning well from deep and Triffitt bossing the net they forged ahead 1-6 and looked ready to win easily. Back came Hill to close to within two points at 5-7 before Wetherby showed their class to finish with a three point flourish and a 5-10 win meant they did indeed take the contest 0-6 which was their goal throughout.
Hill provided good opposition played in lovely surrounds and Wetherby were made to feel most welcome with tea and biscuits on offer throughout. The Otley club have a lovely new clubhouse and can be proud of their surroundings and the excellent efforts of a determined quartet today on court. However Wetherby ran out impressive winners to confirm their status as one of the leading teams in this section and hopefully can look forward to a semi final appearance. They will need to improve again against better rivals as too many unforced errors will be punished in a higher standard. Well done today and also for an enthusiastic away support that enjoyed themselves viewing in the sun and helped inspire their team to victory.
Todays winning team from left to right were – Henry Brown, Sam Pratt, Zak Watson and Bradley Triffitt.
A happy away support enjoying their afternoon.