The men’s first team made the short trip to Knaresborough this morning looking to maintain their lead at the top of the table. With Boro struggling at the foot hopes were high and the team were confident of success.
Captain Roger Fawcus once again teamed up with Tom Warburton at seed one but they faced a tough opener with the useful Boro pair of Andy Cousins and Dave Hewson. With little separating the pairs the Wetherby duo had to dig deep to secure a useful 6-6 draw. Nigel Williams and Mike Butterworth were once again involved playing at seed two and they took on Matt and Andrew Walton . The Wetherby veterans had far too much guile and craft for their younger opponents and used a wealth of experience to secure an excellent 3-9 victory with some clever tactical tennis. Josh Bayliss and Rob Payne completed the line up playing seed three and they took on Paul White and Tony Graham. Another close rubber just went the way of the visitors with the deft touches of Bayliss and the aggressive attacking of Payne seeing the Wetherby duo run out narrow 5-7 winners.
So Wetherby led 14-22 going into round two. Bayliss and Payne found the Knaresborough top seeds a little too good however and despite a battling effort came up short losing 8-4. Williams and Butterworth however were always in command against White and Graham and moving their opponents nicely around court secured a 4-8 success. Fawcus and Warburton tend to be slow starters but like a good wine, mature nicely as the morning evolves. They moved up a gear here to put the Walton lads to the sword 2-10 after blowing the Boro youngsters off court with some powerful play.
Now leading 27-44 the leaders were closing in on another victory and with Fawcus and Warburton proving difficult to stop the Wetherby top guns secured another impressive 3-9 victory over the hosts third pair to round off a nice mornings work with an excellent 25 points. Williams and Butterworth put up a good showing to make Cousins and Hewson pull out all the stops before the hosts prevailed 7-5. A super 22 points was also much appreciated from their team mates. Bayliss and Payne were unable to add another win when they just lost out to the Walton’s 7-5 in a close encounter. However this third pair added a crucial 16 points which ultimately meant Wetherby ran out 45-63 winners for a 3.5 v 8.5 success.
So The Wetherby bandwagon shows no sign of stopping as they extend their lead at the summit and look well placed to secure back to back titles and promotions. Well done chaps and good luck at home to Starbeck next Sunday.
The second team are also making a good fist of a promotion challenge and presently sit in second place. Today they hosted rivals Heworth who are just 6.5 points behind and with a game in hand. This therefore was a crucial game. With temperatures high and the sun shining both teams would have to face tough conditions but played out a very enjoyable and exciting contest.
Captain Mike Park teamed up with regular partner Ollie Boyes Park but Heworth top seeds Andy Cuttill and Stephen Jones are a match for most at this level and played some excellent tennis to prevail 4-8. Mike Connolly and Nick Lumb are a powerful pair and this aggressive no nonsense duo enjoyed their battle with Baptiste Briu and Wes Casey. No quarter given and a 6-6 draw proved a fair reflection of a well fought and close encounter. Mike Abel and Sam Moore completed the line up and in another close rubber just failed 5-7 against Scott Marmian and Alistair Greenhough.
Round two began with the score line showing 15-21 in the visitors favour. However Mike and Ollie soon ensured that gap was quickly cut as they upped the tempo in impressive style to put the Heworth third pair to the sword 9-3. Connolly and Lumb played out of their skins to secure a vital 6-6 draw with the York sides number one duo whilst Abel and Moore found their second pair too hot to handle and despite a valiant effort succumbed 3-9.
So as the last round began the visitors still lead 33-39 but a six point deficit was still retrievable. Mike Abel and Sam Moore saved their best tennis of the morning to the final round and with both players attacking from deep and enjoying success at the net they gave the Heworth number one pair a real fright. They picked up a useful 5 from a 5-7 loss but that would prove very important as other rubbers unfolded. On Court Two Mike and Ollie were now in first gear and starting to motor. Sensing they could really reduce the score they tore into a bewildered Briu and Casey and showing great understanding produced a wonderful array of shots to secure a fantastic 10-2 victory. As the excitement mounted off court Connolly and Lumb were blissfully unaware of the position but carried on demonstrating some high quality tennis. The big hitters were playing well but as the onlookers knew they required 6 to tie and 7 to win everyone held their breath as the contest closed. To much relief and great celebration the Wetherby second seeds had ran out 8-4 winners to ensure they had helped guide the hosts to a brilliant 56-52 victory and a 7-5 success.
Well done to all the players this morning for contributing to a memorable match . Wetherby put a little more daylight between themselves and the pack but cannot afford to take the foot off the gas just yet. They go to runaway leaders Wilberfoss next Sunday before hosting third placed York 3. These two tough matches will certainly have major implications at the top. Good luck with both.
The third team were also in action but travelled for their top of the table clash at Pudsey severely weakened. With only captain Mike Triffitt available from his eight man squad, Sam Moore kindly doubled up on the day after helping the second team whilst Liam Lindley came off the subs bench for his third appearance of the season and there was a late call up for another youngster Chris Flannagan who made his debut.
Pudsey are title favourites and picked from strength. Captain Chris Hobbs is also captain of the clubs first team in the Bradford league and showed why with some very impressive tennis. With clever tactics throughout he enjoyed great success on the afternoon and helped guide his troops to a comfortable 8-0 success. There was brief resistance with Moore and Flannagan going down to a fighting 6-3 second set defeat against Fredrik Bleymann and Dave Nussey whilst Mike Triffitt and Liam Lindley led 4-5 against the same opponents but fell 7-5. A big thanks to Moore for playing twice in the day and to Flanagan for stepping in so late and despite the score line the quartet all enjoyed the afternoon. The team slip to second and face a crucial home fixture with third placed Wakefield next week in the race to finish runners up to champions elect Pudsey.