With the sun still shinning following a warm day Wetherby B hosted Academy in Division Five of the Harrogate Mixed League. Academy had beaten Wetherby A recently to all but ensure their place in the section next term but for the hosts they still harboured outside hopes of promotion.
Anne Lillywhite made a welcome return following holiday absence and resumed her impressive partnership with Walter Skubiak. They entertained Kjeld Rasmussen and Gerry Chan. The Dane is a useful server and aggressive player and would provide a tough opponent whilst Chan remained content to marshal the net. Skubiak was using the width of the court to exploit many gaps whilst Lillywhite was hitting hard from deep with good success. Eventually the hosts ran out narrow 7-5 winners. The veterans Doug Harrison and Ann Jones have enjoyed a tremendous season together and produced some memorable moments creating great memories along the way. They took on David Edgar and Andrea Bethell. Like Harrison, Edgar is a retired divorce lawyer and the pair had crossed paths off the court many a time. This proved a tough rubber but crafty ‘soft hands’ Harrison always held the upper hand in the battle of the males whilst despite volleying well , Bethall had to play second fiddle to a lively Jones. The Wetherby couple ran out cosy 8-4 winners. Captain Ian Teasdale continued his productive partnership with Katie Barrett and the duo took on experienced John Benedict and Roseanne Eckart. In a titanic battle the famous Teasdale lobs were all too evident and he used these to good effect to make big inroads into enemy territory. With Barrett always a threat at the net with her height the Wetherby couple took the honours 7-5.
The hosts had established a useful 22-14 lead after the opening round and began to surge clear during the second. Skubiak and Lillywhite had far too much power for Benedict and Eckart and ran out impressive 9-3 winners whilst Harrison and Jones had to call on all their powers of concentration to defeat Rasmussen and Chan 8-4. With Teasdale and Barrett also in the winners enclosure following a 8-4 victory over Edgar and Bethell things were looking exceedingly rosy for the confident hosts.
Skubiak and Lillywhite completed a man of the match partnership when they really turned on the style to dismantle a beleaguered Edgar and Bethell 11-1. They oozed class as they had the visitors on the ropes throughout and finished the evening with yet another big score after compiling 27 points. Harrison and Jones also made it a hat trick of wins with a cosy 7-5 victory over the Academy third pair which gave them an excellent return of 23 on the night whilst despite a narrow 5-7 reverse against the Academy top seeds, Teasdale and Barrett were more than happy to claim a useful 20 points.
This all helped Wetherby to record a very impressive 70-38 victory which lifts the team into third alongside Burton Leonard with both clubs on 12 points . They are both just 2 points behind Wetherby A who face Leonard on Thursday in one of the most crucial games of the campaign. A win for Burton would make the last quarter of the season extremely interesting indeed.
The B team are next in action a week on Thursday when they travel to bottom side Harrogate Racquets but well done on a very good performance all round tonight.
A happy winning team from left to right was – Katie Barrett, Captain Ian Teasdale, Anne Lillywhite, Ann Jones, Walter Skubiak and a crouching Doug Harrison with the team enjoying one of Doug’s many white wines it would appear!!!