The Wetherby U14 team had finished top of a very tight red group in qualifying and took on blue group runners up Grove Hill A for a place in the final this afternoon. After a day of sunshine the weather was still excellent for this tea time start. Zak Watson continued at seed one for the hosts and this impressive younger has really given the team some quality this term. He faced a tough match with Reuben Cochrane who is an impressive player himself. This match certainly lived up to its star billing on court one as both players produced some excellent tennis to thrill the watching galleries. There was some superb base line hard hitting from the pair and some excellent angled returns combined with some useful serving left the rubber well poised at one set all after Watson took the opener 4-2 before Cochrane battled back in the second 1-4. A third set championship tie break was needed and showing nerves of steel the Wetherby youngster managed to secure a crucial 11-9 victory for a 2-1 win.
Henry Brown has also been a rock of consistency for the team this term and he strode out confidently to court two as the hosts second seed. Always a cool and determined customer he coupled good service play with aggressive baseline attacking shots to stun Grove Hill opponent Harry Strachan in the opener 4-1. He showed no mercy in the second either as despite the visiting youngster proving a bigger threat took the second 4-2 to give the hosts an excellent 2-0 lead.
Bradley Triffitt, fresh from victory in the start of the month social event earlier, was back in action alongside Sam Spencer and they took on Will Halliday Smith and Seb Nicholson. This proved a tough contest for the Wetherby men who couldn’t quite live with the extra consistency of the visitors. Many long rallies ensued but a 2-4,2-4 victory kept Grove Hill in the match and trailing 2-1 after the opening round.
With round two commencing Wetherby knew they needed two more points and Triffitt hoped to gain one of those in his singles match with Smith. However the tall Grove Hill player was producing some excellent tennis and hardly putting a foot wrong. Showing why he currently sits in second place in the Otley based sides player stats league table, he ran out an impressive 1-4 winner of the opener. Triffitt was determined he didn’t have things all his own way and battled back well in the second to hold a 3-1 advantage. However Smith redoubled his efforts and despite some end to end rallies and backs to the wall rear-guard action from the Wetherby man, Smith showed his extra class to win 3-5 and take a 0-2 win to leave the match all square at 2-2.
Watson and Brown were entertaining the crowds on the show court against Cochrane and Strachan and there was some really quality on show from all the quartet. There was sure to be nerves as any player would experience during a semi final but none of the four were showing any as they remained ice cool throughout a titanic clash. Wetherby seemed in control as they took the opener 4-1 and led 3-0 in the second but Hill battled back well to reel off three games on the bounce and leave the tie finely poised at 4-3. However the Wetherby men regained their composure and with Watson serving ran out 5-3 winners for a 2-0 win to put Wetherby one point from victory at 3-2.
Sam Spencer and Seb Nicholson were also involved in a tremendous war of attrition on court three but with the doubles finished came onto court one with the whole match on a knife edge. With parent captain Mike Triffitt fearing the calculator may be needed if the tie reached 3-3, Spencer hoped to avoid that option. Both players were giving everything but Spencer had taken the opener 4-2 and now with the scores at 4-4 in the second a tie break was needed. With the crowd on the edge of their seats Spencer showed all his reserves to finally run out a 7-5 winner for a 5-4 second set victory which, in giving him a 2-0 win, meant Wetherby could celebrate a famous 4-2 semi final victory. As young Sam came off the court to a hero’s welcome the victory party started and the players were extremely happy to have reached the final. A big thanks to our excellent opponents today Grove Hill who proved very tough and came oh so close to a dramatic victory themselves.
The team await their final opponents with that match due to be played next weekend. Well done chaps and enjoy your moment of glory today ahead of a tough final.
A delighted Henry Brown, Zak Watson, Sam Spencer and Bradley Triffitt celebrate a brilliant semi final success today.