The men’s third team when in action at Castlegarth this afternoon as they took on lowly Alwoodley. The team were looking for a fifth consecutive win to take then back up to second place . The Leeds based visitors had yet to win this term but had picked up two draws. They had been beaten 6-2 at Kirkstall on Monday and hoped to break their duck today. With a poor forecast and a major threat of rain, the two teams were keen to start on time and with the sun out and the dark clouds starting to disperse hopes were high they would complete the contest.
Wetherby fielded three of the team that had won at Pool with the only change been Marc Bickers returning in place of Nick Lumb. Alwoodley fielded the same four that had gone down at Kirkstall.
Captain Mike Triffitt paired up with Marc Bickers at seed one and they took on the visiting number two seeds Graham Walker and Rob Garlick. Walker produced some well disguised baseline play whilst the veteran Garlick is a crafty old customer and his backhand had the home team in a spin on many occasions. Bickers was serving extremely well for the hosts and with Triffitt happy to keep the ball in play and force the visitors into errors the Wetherby men forged ahead. Garlick produced the shot of the game with a tremendous drop shot off a Bickers smash to keep his team in the rubber at 3-1 but with Bickers always capable of effortlessly moving through the gears and Triffitt enjoying the extra time and space playing with such a strong partner the duo wrapped up the opening set 6-1. Walker and Garlick were gallant and certainly didn’t throw the towel in but the Wetherby men were oozing confidence and were playing some excellent tennis. Bickers began to assert at the net and produced some wonderful deft touches for great winners and with Triffitt keeping the ball deep, Bickers bided his time on many occasions before lethally pouncing with a number of aggressive smashes. Wetherby finally ran out cosy 6-0 winners to take a 2-0 win.
Over on Court Five Wetherby A mixed captain Barry Johnson paired up with Pete Shipston who was making his third start of the campaign after joining the club recently. They took on the experienced visiting pair of captain Simon Pexton and Dave Robson who is the coordinator of the league and who does a tremendous job off the field. The first set proved fairly straight forward for the Wetherby men making their competitive debuts together. Left hander Shipston produced some well executed angled winners whilst Johnson was not adverse to advancing to the net with great authority. They ran out comfortable 6-0 winners. However Pexton and Robson were a different proposition in the second set and began to work themselves back into the rubber. Pexton was dominating the net whilst Robson proved tough to pass and produced some excellent recovery shots. With errors creeping into the Wetherby pairs game the visitors sensed they could level the tie and with no quarter given the tie was finely poised at 6-6 before the hosts stepped up to narrowly take the tie break for a 7-6 success and another 2-0 win.
So Wetherby turned round at the halfway stage with a 4-0 lead knowing they just required one more set for victory. Luckily the expected rain never materialised and the sun was beating down with only the strong wind proving a little troublesome. Johnson and Shipston then took on Walker and Garlick and both sets turned out to be very competitive events. The Alwoodley duo had a great understanding and playing with a smile and showing no pressure, began to express themselves with some excellent tennis. They surprised the Wetherby men and never let them take control. Finally Johnson began to make some crucial bank hand bullets and with Shipston now taking his chance at the net the pair prevailed 6-4. It was just the same in the second with both pairs having both moments of brilliance and shots they would just rather forget. The battling visitors were certainly not going down without a fight and had chances at 4-3 ahead to cause a shock but the hosts regrouped and with some clever play managed to record a second 6-4 success to take the rubber 2-0.
On Court Five a rejuvenated Pexon and Robson were proving a tough nut to crack for Bickers and Triffitt and led 3-2 in the opener. Bickers upped the tempo and led the Wetherby men into a 4-3 lead but again the visitors fought back to 4-4 on the back of some great backs to the wall defending from Robson and some excellent smashes from the impressive Pexton. However the Wetherby men regained the initiative and held their nerve to take the first set 6-4 after a battle royal. This seemed to knock the stuffing out of the Alwoodley men and with the temperatures soaring Bickers was on fire too as he injected pace and power into the second set and began to dominate proceedings. With Triffitt once again delivering some well placed deep baseline returns, Bickers patiently waited to pounce and took many winners at the net, both with ferocious smashes and some more deft soft handed drop shots. The pair were gelling well and with great understanding they moved confidently around the court producing a wonderful array of various winning shots. Despite the battling performance from the visitors they looked beaten men and Bickers and Triffitt completed an excellent afternoon with a 6-0 win and another 2-0 success to ensure Wetherby took maximum points from a 8-0 victory.
Well done to all on show and thanks to Alwoodley for providing tough and very sporting opponents. Wetherby do indeed move back into second place and join leaders Pudsey on 10 points ahead of another home match with mid table Kirkstall next Saturday.
Todays winning team from left to right was Pete Shipston, Marc ‘the magician’ Bickers, Mike Triffitt and Barry Johnson.
The gallant runners up from left to right were Rob Garlick, Graham Walker, Simon Pexton and Dave Robson.