After a day full of rain, thankfully the evening proved much dryer and with no wind and reasonable temperatures Wetherby 1 played Boroughbridge . Wetherby had opened with a win over Knaresborough whilst Boroughbridge had been beaten by champions Rufforth but the visitors arrived with a strong four and looked eager for action.
Captain Charlie Grasby teamed up with Eleanor Bradshaw who was making her first Winter League start of the season. Bradshaw plays for Boroughbridge in Division One of the Harrogate Mixed and was soon demonstrating why with some excellent tennis combining power and pace with her all action style. She and Grasby were soon gelling and going along nicely. Wetherby had Marc Bickers and Fiona Chantrey making their competitive debuts together and this calm and laid back duo were to prove the perfect match as they thoroughly enjoyed their evening. Bickers is used to this level playing for the mixed first team in Division Two whilst Chantrey was taking a big step up in class having played in Division Five last season. However she played extremely well and showed why she could handle the higher grade tonight. Both couples were turning on the style and with some long rallies and brilliant winners the tennis was easy on the eye. Eventually after a battle royal the teams shared the spoils from a well earned 6-6 draw.
Lucy Wright once again returned for Wetherby and this time she was joined by men’s first team player Tom Warburton. They took on Jamie Jarman, who had helped Borougbridge A to promotion to Harrogate Division one this season, and Nicky Horn who played a number of matches for Boroughbridge first team as they came mid table in Harrogate Division One. Once again the standard on show was impressive with some spectacular recovery shots and winners . This rubber proved just as tight and a 6-6 draw was a good reflection of the contest.
So after round one the teams could not be separated and the score stood at 12-12.
Wright, who was battling illness, and Chantrey knew they faced a tough ask in the ladies rubber and were soon on the back foot as Bradshaw turned up the tempo with some very aggressive hitting. She has a fantastic two handed back hand which was used to great effort throughout. With Horn proving equally as strong the Boroughbridge duo carried too much weaponry. Wright and Chantrey gave everything but couldn’t cope with the extra class on show and eventually fell to a 2-10 defeat.
Bickers and Warburton were playing together for the first time too in competitive tennis and this bearded duo soon got into stride. Both are strong from deep and not afraid to venture to the net either. With superb court awareness and coverage they ensured they had the upper hand against the battling Grasby and Jarman. Big hitting was the order of the day with no quarter given by any of the men on show but Wetherby ran out 8-4 winners so keep themselves in the match.
The final round got underway with the visitors ahead 22-26 so this was going down to the wire. Once again Bickers and Chantrey were excelling together and giving opponents Horn and Jarman plenty to think about. Another nip and tuck affair remained close throughout and another 6-6 draw saw the spoils shared once more.
Boroughbridge still led by four and Bradshaw and Grasby were beginning to go through the gears on Court Four. Bradshaw, like a fine wine ,was maturing as the evening wore on and with Grasby hard to pass Wright and Warburton were finding it hard to break through enemy lines. They battled away forcing many deuce games but the Boroughbridge top seeds were impressive and ran out 3-9 winners to secure victory.
A final score line of 31-41 to Boroughbridge in a great advert for Winter League which once again showed the quality and high level we now witness.
Wetherby remain top of the early table on points difference whilst Boroughbridge go joint top on two points but fourth on points difference. Wetherby are back in action on November 9 when they play old foes Boston Spa whilst Boroughbridge play Starbeck on November 14.
Once again thanks to both teams this evening for providing excellent entertainment and good luck to both in your remaining fixtures.
Gallant runners up from left to right were – Tom Warburton, Marc Bickers, Lucy Wright and Fiona Chantrey.
Tonights winners from left to right – Jamie Jarman, Charlie Grasby, Eleanor Bradshaw and Nicky Horn.