The York 1 mixed team made their way over to York this evening where they played lowly Bishopthorpe. In contrast to yesterday’s rain, today was sunny and pleasant and conditions were idle for tennis this evening. Wetherby still remain top of Division Two and after seeing title rivals Rufforth slip to defeat at Bubwith last Thursday were looking to extend the gap to three points.
The team were low on numbers but were able to recruit some strong reserves and travelled full of confidence. Captain Angela Crossley, who had been in sparkling form last night when accumulating 31 points to help the Harrogate One team, was back in action and this time she had Tom Warburton for company. Tom is enjoying a successful season with the table topping men’s first team . With Mick Miller missing for the hosts,James Field stepped up to partner Ellie Page at seed one and this opening rubber proved one to savour. Field has been a shining light for Bishopthorpe this term in a season which has seen them battling to avoid the drop all term. He showed why he is highly rated and along with the consistent Page they certainly made the Wetherby pair call on all their reserves of strength. Finally after a titanic struggle the visitors just shaded the rubber 5-7. Josh Bayliss was reunited with his regular Harrogate One partner of last season Rachel Hill and this duo are particular strong when coupled on court together. Both are enjoying successful seasons and took on Emma Cashmore and James Parker here. The Wetherby couple were quickly into stride and were always in control despite a spirited effort from the hosts. Bayliss was using his strong left handed forehand to great effect and with some deft touches used the width of the court to pin the Thorpe duo back. Hill was increasingly menacing at the net and moving like a scalded cat was covering superbly. The visitors ran out cosy 4-8 winners after a good contest. Ollie Newsome has been a more than useful substitute on a number of occasions and his presence proved invaluable when parting Jen Gadsby at seed three. They met Laura Rhodes and Nick Hill. Newsome is a youngster with a very promising future ahead of him and this tall lanky sportsman used his height to great effect as he served and volleyed extremely well. Gadsby was happy to keep the points ticking over with some clever error free tennis and the pair were enjoying their outing together. Despite a strong effort from the hosts Wetherby held all the aces and a 4-8 success was a good reflection of the rubber.
So as round two got underway Wetherby led 13-23 and a 10 point advantage was a nice start indeed. Gadsby and Newsome were playing with confidence and despite a match against Page and Field were showing nerves of steel. Both pairs played some wonderful tennis to enthral the watching crowd and an excellent 6-6 tie meant the visitors were perhaps the happier at the conclusion. Bayliss and Hill were also oozing class and confidence as they set about Rhodes and Hill and had far too much weaponry for the beleaguered home third duo. Going up a level they turned on the style and with a number of superb winners from both players they rattled through the rubber to run out convincing 2-10 winners. Crossley and Warburton were having to dig deep to keep Cashmere and Parker at bay and the pressure the home pair asserted meant the visitors could never relax. However they held firm and the experience of Crossley proved invaluable as Wetherby took the tie 5-7 to open up a 26-46 lead which in all honestly looked way beyond Bishopthorpes reach to reduce now.
Gadsby and Newsome completed a great evenings work as they produced arguably their best tennis of the session when defeating Cashmore and Parker. With the home pair tired from their previous efforts the Wetherby couple pounced and using great fitness they always had the upper hand. They continued to play comfortably together and with confidence growing stepped up the pace to secure a 4-8 win that yielded a tremendous 22 points. Bayliss and Hill were to suffer a rare setback as they found Page and Field a tough nut to crack. The home top dogs looked determined to go down fighting and they came out battling well and forcing the pace. They didn’t allow the Wetherby due to settle and in another good contest took the honours 8-4. However the visiting pair would still record a very useful 22 points themselves . Crossley and Warburton were finally able to relax and produce their best performance in the finale. With Rhodes and Hill struggling to contain the powerful Wetherby duo, the pair let rip with a flurry of venomous baseline assaults which carried far too much firepower and a 2-10 victory rounded off a tough but ultimately excellent nights work as they contributed a fine 24 points into the Wetherby pot.
A good win on the road saw Wetherby prevail 40-68 and indeed increase their lead at the summit to three points with five games left to play. The team travel to bottom side Sherburn next Tuesday knowing a win will have them very much in pole position for promotion. Well done tonight to all concerned and thanks to Bishopthorpe for been sporting hosts.