The men’s second team are going along nicely this season and aside from a big opening day loss at Wilberfoss, who now look more than likely to run away with the title, they have been very competitive and in fact are now challenging for promotion themselves. A convincing win over Boston Spa last week pushed them up to second and they visited bottom side Bishopthorpe looking to maintain momentum. Mick Abel,Luke Green and Steve Crossley were absent so Marc Bickers stepped up from the third team .
The powerful duo of Mike Connolly and Nick Lumb paired up at seed one and they took on the useful home duo of James Field and Alan Williamson. The Wetherby men were happy to adopt their usual aggressive attacking style mindful of the fact that the guile and poise of the Thorpe men would still be tough to break. Some fantastic big hitting kept Wetherby well in the rubber but eventually the greater consistency of the Thorpe pair allowed them to run out narrow 7-5 victors. Bickers, who is proving the undoubted ‘go to man’ at the club this year for many of our teams needing reinforcements, paired up at seed two with the youngster Ollie Boyes Park and they gave the team a nice balance of speed and court awareness. They too faced useful opponents with James Parker and Mick Miller a tidy twosome. Miller along with Field play in Division Two of the York mixed league and have are enjoying solid seasons at this high level. Boyes Park and Bickers therefore knew they needed to demonstrate a high level of consistency and concentration but the pair were more than ready to meet that challenge. With Bickers hitting some lovely deep returns and Park leaping like a salmon with some well executed smashes the duo certainly had the opponents on the ropes and continuing to keep the pressure on this was proving a terrific rubber. Finally Wetherby ran out 5-7 winners in a fantastic effort. Mike Park dropped down to seed three to once again partner another youngster in Sam Moore. Moore is a real promising individual with a lovely temperament and the experienced Park is a fantastic partner to have as he used all his guile and craftiness to nurture the younger man along. They were in great form and with Moore getting his excellent baseline game going nicely and Park strong at the net, they were always in command against Tim Brown and Sam Watson. A 3-9 victory was just rewards for some superb tennis and left the visitors leading 15-21.
Park and Moore stepped up considerably in class however to take on Field and Williamson and the extra pace and power that the Thorpe top pair displayed was proving hard to contain and counter. Battling away manfully the visitors took a useful three but a 9-3 defeat meant the hosts would be now looking to close the gap. Boyes Park and Bickers are clam characters and knew they could rack up the points against the Bishopthorpe third pair. Trying to cut down on errors and making the hosts play that extra shot proved a very good tactic and the Wetherby pair oozed class and confidence throughout this rubber. They looked very impressive in securing a 2-10 success. Connolly and Lumb kept up their good form shown in the opener as they faced the Thorpe number two pair but once again it was certainly a battle royal on court. This proved a great advert for tennis at this level and a 6-6 draw was a more than fair outcome of events.
As the final round commenced Wetherby still held a useful 32-40 lead and looked strong favourites to take the spoils. Boyes Park and Bickers were ready to take on Field and Williamson and knew this would be their stiffest match to date. No quarter was given in another fantastic rubber and a 6-6 draw certainly showed the closeness and competative nature. Mike Park and Moore struggled against Parker and Miller with the Thorpe duo showing a touch of class to dominate proceedings. The Wetherby pair however once again took a vital three points which meant the hosts were never really likely to bridge the overall gap now. Connolly and Lumb were left to ice the victory as they faced Brown and Watson and knew they would always carry far too much weaponry for this duo. Pace , power and guile were in aplenty as the Wetherby men went efficiently about their business and a 3-9 success wrapped up a 50-58 victory and more importantly a 4-8 success . This leaves Wetherby nicely placed in second spot, albeit it just ahead of a number of clubs in the chasing pack. Realistically Five clubs including Wetherby will be harbouring genuine hopes of the runners up spot which makes this section fascinating and ensures all the games have an edge with plenty at stake.
Next Week the team travel to play Alne and Tollerton looking for their first double of the season. Good luck there and we will bring you updates of this eagerly awaited contest.