At the third time of asking Wetherby 1 and Wetherby 2 finally managed to get on court to play their Winter League fixture this evening. A cold and crisp evening welcomed the players for the penultimate match of the season and although thermals were the order of the day the courts played well despite a slight drizzle half way through the contest.
Marc Bickers was injured for Wetherby 1 so Mike Butterworth kindly stepped in whilst with Dawn Steel absent for Wetherby 2, U14 captain Bradley Triffitt replaced her. Katie Barrett partnered Butterworth whilst Nigel and Louise resumed again after a gallant effort the previous match against champions Rufforth. Wetherby 2 captain Janine Smith was accompanied by the improving Richard Franks and Dexter Waud paired up with Triffitt.
The opening match on Court Four saw the Williams quickly out of the blocks against Smith and Franks with Nigel in particularly showing his first team men’s class to good effect to dominate. He and Louise have enjoyed their recent games on court and were in excellent form here against the plucky underdogs. Louise used her lovely forehand to good effect with some punishing deep shots whilst Nigel served well and was very clinical at the net. Smith was sharp at the net herself and with Franks covering a lot of ground the pair made a fist of things and the final scoreline of 11-1 was a little harsh on them in all honesty.
Next door on Court Five Triffitt and Waud were enjoying themselves and this pair are regulars at social and happy in one another’s company. They knew they would need to play very well as Mike Butterworth was serving well and hitting with aggression. Barrett was comfortable and playing some lovely returns and this rubber was proving intriguing. Triffitt was relishing his Winter League debut and the battle with adults and was delivering some lovely forehand winners and seemed confident at the net. Waud is developing his doubles game after a career of singles play and is improving. Triffitt and Waud opened up a 7-2 lead but Butterworth and Barrett finished the stronger and closed the gap to 7-5 which still left Wetherby 2 delighted.
So after round one Wetherby 1 held a 16-8 advantage. Waud and Franks knew they would need to produce their lifetime best to lower the colours of experienced first team duo Butterworth and Williams but were relishing the challenge. They gave it everything with both players producing moments to savour but the consistency, pace and power of the favourites proved too much to handle and they ran out cosy 9-3 victors. The Ladies rubber promised a tight affair and so it proved in this enthralling clash. There was never much between the quartet and some exciting tennis ensued. Triffitt was loving the freedom of the court and hitting well from deep whilst Smith marshalled the net ready to pounce. With Williams and Barrett both producing some clever play the couples went toe to toe. Finally they couldn’t be separated and a 6-6 draw was just reward for all on show.
Wetherby 1 led 31-17 so a big ask for Wetherby 2 to stage a comeback but the final round proved the closest of the evening. Nigel and Louise were still playing well and looking confident as they entertained Triffitt junior and Waud. The Wetherby 2 pair were certainly hitting with power and testing their higher ranked opponents. Another rubber that was nip and tuck was going to take some winning and neither pair was able to put any daylight on the scoreboard. Eventually the couples couldn’t be split and a 6-6 tie was a fair reflection of each players efforts. Smith and Franks were looking to finish their evening with positives and looked eager to impress against Butterworth and Barrett. Another tight duel was developing with neither pair able to dominate. Butterworth provided the class and Barrett some crafty touches but Smith was again hard to pass and beat close in whilst Franks was covering every inch of the court. Finally Wetherby 1 just edged home 7-5 after a titanic battle to leave the top seeds victors 44-28.
Once again a big thanks to all on show for providing some good tennis on a cold evening. Wetherby 1 move into third place although if Boston beat Boroughbridge tomorrow in the final game of the season they will return to fourth. Wetherby 2 were unable to manage that elusive win but were involved in some thrilling and close games during their campaign and a number of debutants were introduced which bodes well for the future of tennis at Wetherby.
Winning Wetherby 1 lined up from left to right with Mike Butterworth, Katie Barrett, Louise Williams and Nigel Williams.
Runners up Wetherby 2 from left to right were Dexter Waud, Bradley Triffitt, Janine Smith and Richard Franks.