Following a battling draw at title rivals Rufforth last week, York 1 mixed were back on home turf this evening when they entertained third placed David Lloyd. The visitors brought a useful looking team and this promised to be a fascinating clash. The match did suffer a short rain break half way through the opening round and despite the courts starting to puddle the sun came out and thankfully the match reached a conclusion.
Captain Angela Crossley teamed up with Tom Warburton and they faced Elaine Hilton and Adam Harvey who are one of the leading duos in the competition this term. It was certainly a hard fought affair and the home top pair had to draw on all their reserves to come out narrow 7-5 victors. David Corbyn and Rachel Hill formed another strong pair at seed two and again they would need to play extremely well against the strong visiting Sarah Smeuk and David McKore. No quarter given by any of the quartet and another nail biter before Wetherby ran out narrow 7-5 winners once more. Ollie Boyes Park was drafted in to partner Charlotte Todd and the hosts third pair were also involved in a hard fought and close opening contest. They took on Lucy Crowther and the impressive Mark Bland. In a real dogfight the Wetherby couple made it a hat trick of 7-5 wins from round one to ensure the hosts led 21-15.
Bland had looked very sharp even in defeat during his first game but he and Crowther were very much up in class as they took on Crossley and Warburton. The Wetherby big guns were now starting to find their rhythm and showing real quality began to dismantle the spirited visiting pair during a 12-0 demolition job. Hill and Corbyn were enjoying their clash with Hilton and Harvey and there was some eye catching and very impressive tennis on show. David Lloyd took this epic encounter 5-7 but there was no disgrace in a narrow defeat for the Wetherby pair. Boyes Park and Todd couldn’t match their efforts from round one but battled all the way to the line and a 4-8 defeat against the visitors second seeds was a good effort and still left Wetherby well placed as they extended their advantage to 42-30.
With Wetherby determined to beat the opposition and the weather they quickly took to the courts with youngster Boyes Park and Todd playing extremely well to hold Hilton and Harvey to a 5-7 score. It was real backs to the wall from the Wetherby third pair and they were thoroughly enjoying themselves against such tough opponents. Hill and Corbyn turned on the style to inflict more misery on the beleaguered Crowther and Bland during a cosy 9-3 success whilst Crossley and Warburton were gelling well despite having to dig out some good recovery tennis to force a 6-6 draw with Smeuk and McKore who in fairness played exceptionally well.
A 62-46 success however moves Wetherby five points clear at the summit and another victory from their last two fixtures will confirm the title. In fact with Rufforth the visitors next week to Castlegarth a solitary point there will actually clinch that title and the champagne corks can let fly. Good luck there and well played tonight in difficult conditions.
York 2 had secured their safety when defeating Rowntree Park at Scott Lane 68-40 last week. Tonight they travelled over to Poppleton hoping to continue their winning ways. A win would actually move them up to fourth place so they had good incentive to bring home the bacon.
With Angie Bell away in Benidorm, Dee Nolan was drafted in but she suffered a back injury so Debbie Vines made a welcome return to the team she captained with great success previously. Vines has had another injury plagued season but still helped the Harrogate A Team to promotion and was delighted to be back helping out the second team tonight.
With Kevin Duckenfield and Stewart Robinson also missing, Marc Bickers came in from Harrogate One and Mr reliable teamed up with Jill Abel at seed one. The pair were involved in a tough opener against Sheena Jackson and Phil Sinton. Abel was prowling well at the net however and with Bickers serving well and hitting some thunderous ground strokes from deep the visitors were able to share the spoils from a 6-6 draw. Vines played seed two with Mike Abel and the old magic was there for all to see as this experienced duo took on Jean Geraghty and Barney Baker. The Wetherby pair fought tooth and nail and covered every inch of the court as if their lives depended on it as they secured a well deserved 5-7 success. Sam Moore and Rachel Butterworth completed the line up and they played Margaret Evans and Alex Crick. Moore has developed well as the season has unfolded and with the elegant Butterworth alongside him, this pair were quickly into stride. They both hit hard and well and with some excellent net play the couple ran out impressive 3-9 winners to ensure Wetherby led 14-22.
Moore and Butterworth were full of confidence as they prepared to take on the hosts top pair in round two and once again they played some entertaining tennis. They couldn’t quite produce a shock win but a narrow 7-5 defeat still left them extremely pleased. Bickers and Abel once again had to dig deep and show all their resilience as they endured a tough encounter with the Poppleton second pair. Fortunately both players are extremely determined and supremely confident and they managed to prevail 5-7. Mike and Debbie however were starting to up the tempo themselves and really turned the round in Wetherby’s favour as they dished out an incredible 1-11 defeat on their bewildered and thoroughly beleaguered opponents. With Abel firing on all cylinders and Vines majestically turning back the clock to produce tennis of real eye catching quality, the pair despatched the third seeds and gave Wetherby a very useful looking 27-45 lead.
Round three began and Wetherby were in no mood to surrender. Bickers and Abel for a third time were involved in a close battle with Evans and Crick who battled back manfully to restore pride as they held the Wetherby duo to a 6-6 draw. It still meant a useful 19 points contribution from the Wetherby couple would help them to ultimate victory. Moore and Butterworth were also battling away manfully and in managing to secure 4 more points from a close 8-4 reverse they accumulated another excellent 18 to add to an ever increasing Wetherby total. However Mike and Debbie were to finish the evening as top scorers as they once again gave an impressive showing against the hosts top duo. They couldn’t quite manage victory but a 7-5 loss meant a fantastic 23 point haul which ensured Wetherby ran out 48-60 winners.
A great result played in difficult conditions with plenty of rain and drizzle making the courts hard to handle but well done on another excellent team performance.