The York One mixed team have made a tremendous start to their campaign in Division Two this term and sit proudly top of the section following four wins and a draw from those opening five matches. They made the trip north to York tonight to face David Lloyd on Hull Road. With Jeremy Reddish and David Corbyn absent, men’s first team captain Roger Fawcus was a useful recruit and for the ladies ,captain Angela Crossley was missing along with Becky Jones so Rachel Hill stepped across from Harrogate One.
A warm and pleasant evening greeted the players on arrival with hosts David Lloyd sitting mid table with three wins and two losses so this had the makings of a tight contest.
Fawcus opened up at seed one with Hill and they faced Adam Harvey and Frances Mutter. Regular partner Elaine Hilton was missing so Mutter stepped in with her usual partner Andy Holmes also absent. The home top seeds were above average and quickly settled but the Wetherby pair are no strangers together and soon gelled too. This proved to be an exciting and competative rubber with both pairs playing some fantastic tennis. Eventually the power and pace of Fawcus coupled with the guile of Hill proved an irresistible combination and they ran out worthy 4-8 winners. Josh Bayliss and Yvonne Mannall paired up at seed two and they took on Andy Richardson and Lucy Crowther. The Wetherby pair are a useful combination with the lovely baseline play from left hander Bayliss and the aggressive and intimidating approach play of Mannall proving a complementary force. They were made to work hard by the hosts who ultimately had no answer to the Wetherby pairs greater consistency as they ran out 4-8 winners. Steve Jones continued his recovery from injury at seed three and he joined up with his Mexican evening partner in crime Charlotte Todd. This duo are very relaxed on court and play a very calm and steady game with a touch of unorthodox from Jones complementing an error free performance from Todd. They were involved in a very close contest with Deite Wilson and Liejla Asian. All the quartet produced moments of quality and a final score line of 6-6 reflected the closeness.
A useful 14-22 opening round gave Wetherby a handy eight point cushion and they were eager to add to their total as round two began.
Jones and Todd took on the top home seeds and knew they would have to play extremely play to hold them. They battled manfully and produced some good tennis in the face of some breath taking shots from their opponents. However an 8-4 defeat was certainly no disgrace and was viewed as a good pickup for the visitors. Fawcus and Hill took on the home second seeds and began as impressively as they has played during their opener. They really did turn on the style and their bewildered opponents had no answer to the excellent tennis the Wetherby couple produced. Dominating throughout they recorded a very impressive 2-10 win which left Wetherby well in control of the contest. The round was to get even better as Bayliss and Mannall proved just as efficient as they comfortably dealt with the David Lloyd third pair. Both were thoroughly enjoying themselves and with Bayliss covering every inch and the strong hands of Mannall gobbling every chance at the net, they too recorded a fantastic 2-10 victory to all but seal the victory.
The hosts looked shell shocked as the final round got under way and with Wetherby leading 26-46 the damage had been done and David Lloyd well beaten.
It was only realistically pride to play for the York side and to their credit they soon started to reduce the margin. Jones and Todd enjoyed another excitingly close rubber before finally losing 7-5 but yet again it was more than enough to keep the scoreboard ticking over. Bayliss and Mannall may have peaked in the second round but in fairness Harvey and Mutter showed why they are a more than useful combination with some superb play of their own. Running out 9-3 winners they did indeed help restore the balance if somewhat too little too late. Fawcus and Hill were left to put the icing on the cake with another strong performance. Certainly not at their best, they still were able to grind out a narrow 5-7 success to finish their evening with an excellent 25 points to take the man of the match honours.
However once again this really was a team effort to secure a 47-61 success which from start to finish Wetherby controlled. It keeps them at the summit and opens up a three point lead over nearest rivals Rufforth who were also in action tonight with their result at York 3 still unknown.
The team are next in action a week on Thursday when they are on their travels again with a trip to struggling Bubwith. We look forward to bringing you news of hopefully another win as the promotion push continues.
The York 2 mixed side were also enjoying the warmer climes at Castlegarth as they hosted Poppleton in Division Four. It’s been a tough opener for captain Jill Abel and her team but after four straight defeats they ran out comfortable winners at Dunnington last week and victory tonight would see them leapfrog their opponents and move clear of the drop zone.
Abel paired up with Kevin Duckenfield and this experianced duo would prove a tough nut to crack. They took on Sue Pauer and Phil Sinton and used their craft and guile well to control and frustrate their opponents. Duckenfield was serving well and with his excellent smashing at the net seen to full effect, he was enjoying himself. Abel gave her usual big effort and was proving hard to pass with some backs to the wall defending and the couple were delighted to run out 8-4 winners. Rachel Butterworth and Stuart Robinson also brought a wealth of experience to the table and they faced Margaret Evans and Ben Crick. Butterworth has a very elegant and forceful forehand which she graciously used to provide some lovely winners whilst Robinson used his fearsome backhand to bury a number of chances with a real killer instinct. However the Poppleton pair were strong and matched the hosts before eventually running our narrow winners 5-7. Angie Bell has been a breath of fresh air on her return to the team following a season out with injury. As well as possessing one of the hardest and most accurate baseline games in the league, her bubbly character and positive attitude both on and off the court has really been most appreciated and very much welcomed. Teaming up with the energetic and often dynamic Mike Abel the pair played some tremendous tennis to entertain another good home support. With Bell producing some real forceful returns,Abel was leaping like a salmon to gobble a number of net chances and this useful combination resulted in a well earned 8-4 success to see Wetherby lead 21-15 .
The positive vibes continued in round two as Bell and Abel continued to pile on the points. They really were on fire giving opponents Evans and Crick little chance to settle with the Wetherby pair carrying far too much weaponry. Time after time they produced some wonderful tennis to control the rubber and a 10-2 win really put Wetherby in the driving seat. Poppleton were not finished however and Pauer and Sinton started to show the form they are known for next. They too produced a game plan built on consistency and with their shots carrying more firepower they produced a big win running out eventual 2-10 winners over a shell shocked Butterworth and Robinson. Jill Abel and Kevin Duckenfield were hoping to stem the tide and luckily were involved in a close battle with Sheena Jackson and Pete Moss. The Poppleton pair recovered well from their opening loss to bravely secure a 5-7 win which left the tie nicely poised with the scores level at 36-36.
Abel and Duckenfield are a useful couple to have around when the going gets tough and drawing on all their experience they remained calm. Despite Duckenfield struggling with a troublesome arm injury the pair battled extremely well to overcome Evans and Crick 7-5 to give the hosts the edge. Bell and Mike Abel would be severely tested against the visitors top pair but they didn’t disappoint and met the challenge head on. The ferocity of this duo somewhat startled the poppleton number one pair and during another superb advert for tennis it was Wetherby who took the honours 7-5. Rachel Butterworth and Stuart Robinson were no doubt feeling the pressing as they took on Jackson and Moss but they need not have worried as saving the best till last they bloomed with some wonderful tennis. Robinson took charge early doors and with his backhand in full swing he produced an array of winners that glided millimetres above the net causing real problems for the visitors. Butterworth was more than an able assistant as she too found time and space to deliver some very accurate forehands which Poppleton were struggling to cope with. To great delight they ran out cosy winners 9-3 to help seal a fantastic team performance and ensure a brilliant 61-47 winning margin.
This win could well prove the game changer in the season as a successive victory gives them a little more breathing space at the foot with three teams now below them. They are back in action a week tonight when they will look to avenge an opening day loss at Copmanthorpe and will be preying a certain Johnny Kay is not in the visitors line up!.
Well done tonight to both teams for producing a hard fought contest.
Tonights winning team from left to right was – Angie Bell, Mike Abel, Captain Jill Abel, Kevin Duckenfield, Stuart Robinson and Rachel Butterworth
Duckenfield shows off his war wound after a tough evening on court!