After a day of rain, thankfully Friday evening was clear and fine for the friendly fixture between Wetherby U14 and Starbeck U14. The contest consisted of teams of six with six singles and three doubles in a best of three short sets and sudden death deuce.
Henry Brown has been very consistent for the hosts this season and opened up against Yorkshire player Leo Putman on the show court. A good crowd was treated to some excellent tennis with both players hitting well and this proved one of the ties of the evening. Putman ground out a first set 2-4 win but Brown was far more relaxed and turned on the style to level with a cosy 4-0 victory. However Putman regained his composure and finding some good angled returns was able to take the championship third set tie breaker 5-10 to give the visitors an early lead.
Plenty of parents enjoying the action this evening.
Bradley Triffitt was promoted to seed Two and he entertained Nathan Little who is a school colleague and friend from King James. The opening set was tight and it was no surprise it went to a tie break which Little prevailed to win 4-5. Triffitt got into his rhythm during the second for a 4-0 win and the final set tie break was finely poised at 5-6 before an injury cut down the Wetherby man in his prime. Hobbling on he went down 5-10 in another great contest.
Finding themselves trailing 0-2 Wetherby needed a lift and Tom March proved the man to inspire his team mates. Along with playing partner Sam Pratt they took on Simone Carrick and Ben Toulman in the doubles on Court Three. Carrick has enjoyed a good season and been a regular in the adult Harrogate league but she found the Wetherby boys tough opponents. Both pairs produced some wonderful play but the greater consistency of March and Pratt enabled them to run out 4-2,4-2 winners and reduce the match score to 1-2.
George Brown,younger brother of Henry, was a late call up off the bench due to injury and the ten year old didn’t disappoint as he and Max Svenson gave it all during their doubles with Jack Onslow and Lewis Kettlewell on court four. The visitors took the opener 1-4 before the hosts battled back well in the second for a 5-3 win. This set up a nervy and tense third set tie break which Starbeck just edged 8-10 in a thriller.
So after round one Starbeck led 1-3 but with the match still too close to call.
Tom March was in no mood to surrender and was back out playing Ben Toulman in the singles. He looked determined to get Wetherby back in the contest and played exceptionally well to record an impressive 4-1 4-1 victory.
George Brown was also in good form and he kept his head to produce some excellent tennis and run out a cosy 4-1,4-2 winner over Jack Onslow. This had Wetherby back at 3-3 and left the watching galleries eagerly awaiting the final three games.
Max Svenson and Lewis Kettlewell were slugging it out on court three and the tie was finely poised at one set all after Lewis took the opener 2-4 but Max levelled at 4-2. The tie break couldn’t have been closer and with both not giving an inch it was nip and tuck throughout. Finally Svenson triumphed 10-8 to put Wetherby ahead for the first time on the night at 4-3.
Court One was once again witnessing some tremendous action as Henry Brown and Bradley Triffitt were trying to withstand the onslaught from impressive Starbeck duo Leo Putman and Nathan Little. Putman was the calmest player on the court and with some ferocious hitting was proving tough to handle. With partner Little showing good court coverage the Wetherby chaps were struggling to contain them but with Brown matching Putman for power and Triffitt having success at the net it made for compelling viewing. However Starbeck were ultimately too canny and took the rubber 3-5,1-4 to ensure the match went down to the wire.
Sam Pratt and Simone Carrick were battling out on court five blissfully unaware initially that their match would decide the outcome. Carrick hitting hard took the opener 1-4 but Pratt surprised his older opponent with a 4-1 success in the second to set up another third set tie break. With the crowd holding their breath the experienced Carrick proved too good and ran out the closet of winners at 8-10 in another fantastic advert for junior tennis.
A 4-5 Starbeck victory in a great battle with tennis the real winner on the evening. Thanks to all the players for contributing to an absorbing evening and to many parents for supporting from the sidelines.
Some of the players on show tonight. From left to right – Simone Carrack, Lewis Kettlewell and Leo Putman from Starbeck along with Sam Pratt representing Wetherby, Starbecks Nathan Little and Wetherbys Bradley Triffitt.