The men’s third team travelled to Horsforth where they put their 100% winning record on the line this evening. With the forecast poor and rain causing both the York 1 and 2 mixed teams to cancel their games ,the team left Wetherby in rain and poor conditions but the further they drove West the brighter it became. Horsforth had seen rain in the afternoon and the courts were wet but playable and both teams were eager to play. Once again injuries and absentees meant a late call up for Ollie Boyes Park who kindly stepped in and was to prove the man of the match.
Captain Mike Triffitt returned after missing Saturdays thrilling 5-3 win over Kirkstall, which had taken the team top but with Pudsey beating Wakefield by the same score line 24 hours later it was the Leeds based side who regained the leadership albeit only on games won. Tonight’s game however was Wetherby’s game in hand and victory would see them go two points clear at the summit.
Boyes Park teamed up at seed one with Liam Lindley who had made a very promising debut at the Weekend when winning all his four sets. This giant mountain of a man is a big server and his powerful shots from deep coupled with some deft touches at the net makes him a difficult opponent.The pair who only met in the car park soon gelled however as they took on the Horsforth home second seeds Abhishek Soni and Kieran Igwe. Ollie was also serving well but his drop shots and short game was proving phenomenal as he constantly had the home pair on the ropes. Using the slippy courts cleverly he glided around them with consummate ease as he thoroughly enjoyed himself. Soni is an enthusiastic player and ran down many lost causes whilst Igwe is also a well groomed and physically impressive individual who obviously spends many hours working out at the gym! The Horsforth pair certainly made life tough and Igwe in particularly served with great aggression and accuracy. However with Lindley covering the court well for a big man and Boyes Park looking extremely cool and calm the pair took the opener 3-6. Lindley was perhaps producing too many doubles faults but as he was also sending down a number of aces it kept the scoreboard ticking over nicely. Ollie was also oozing class as he produced an impressive game plan with a number of well disguised winners. The Wetherby couple took the second set 2-6 for a cosy 0-2 win to give the visitors an ideal start.
On Court one Triffitt and Bickers took on home captain Robert Naylor and the evergreen Richard Kidd. Naylor has an all action style and produces a great backhand return ,often with spin and with Kidd showing some lovely touches at the net the Wetherby men knew they would have to play well tonight. Thankfully the magician Bickers brought along his box of magic tricks and used many to great effect. Serving fast and with great direction he took many cheap points with his power and a constant barrage of attacking shots from the baseline which had the home pair under serious pressure. With Triffitt content to maintain a low error court but returning well with a number of useful deep lobs, the visitors were comfortable 2-6 winners in the opener. However Naylor and Kidd were playing well and started the second set with a far greater conviction. They reduced their own error count and with Kidd unplayable at the net edged ahead 5-4 threatening an upset. However Bickers remained calm and with an excellent temperament ensured Wetherby remained in the match by holding serve and then forging ahead themselves. Leading 5-6 Triffitt was able to serve out the game with a surprising increase in pace and the pair were delighted to take a narrow 5-7 win for a 0-2 return.
So as Round One concluded Wetherby lead 0-4 and needed one more set to secure victory. Light drizzle had threatened to derail their bid but with the dark cloud cover beginning to lift, blue sky and even a touch of sun were suddenly present. Triffitt and Bickers now took on Soni and Igwe but looked determined to quickly take the first set as they started piling on the points. All the quartet held serve and so the match was still tight at 2-2. However once Bickers had edged his team ahead they began to play with a greater confidence and playing error free tennis ,often with great quality, they reeled off four quick games to take the set 2-6 and reach the magic five set figure. Now fully relaxed the pair continued to pile on the pressure and with the hosts starting to look a little dispirited Bickers really tuned on the style to showcase a number of impressive winners with a fine attacking display coupled with some exquisite net play. Another 2-6 victory completed a fine nights work for the pair who made it a 0-4 return for the evening.
Ollie and Liam were also still playing with confidence and aware their colleagues had secured the match began to show some real zest and quality tennis of their own. Naylor and Kidd were certainly not going down without a fight and made sure both sets were extremely tight and competitive. Wetherby took the opener narrowly 5-7 and had to dig deep in the second as well. However with both Wetherby players serving with great authority the pressure was relentless and they eventually had too much class in wrapping up a 4-6 win to also make it four sets in the bank without replay.
An 8-0 victory certainly helped boost the Wetherby games percent and each player contributed with some super tennis on show. Special thanks to Ollie for stepping in late and he really shone in the gloom . Marc Bickers was his usual consistent self and he will be sorely missed at the weekend when the team travel to title rivals Pudsey. Hopefully Liam Lindley will be available as his strong serve and aggression will certainly be needed to combat what is sure to be a strong home outfit.
Well done tonight chaps and thanks to Horsforth for proving great hosts and tough opponents and good luck at Pudsey on Sunday.
Tonights winning team from left to right were – Captain Mike Triffitt, Ollie Boyes Park, Liam Lindley and Marc Bickers.
Gallant runners up for Horsforth from left to right were – Abhishek Soni, Richard Kidd, Kieren Igwe and captain Robert Naylor.