There was a hugh game at Castlegarth this evening with Wetherby A facing Dacre in a match with massive implications at both ends of the table. Wetherby had been thrashed 81-27 on their visit North earlier in the campaign and were delighted that star man Adam Swecker had returned to the States after he demolished Wetherby with an eye catching 32 points that evening. The visitors still travelled with a strong team and were looking to keep their promotion push on track as they sit handily in second position in Division 4. Wetherby had been beaten narrowly by Boroughbridge last week when failing to hold onto a lead going into the last round and those two along with Thirsk look likely to be the teams battling it out to avoid the dreaded drop.
On another wonderful balmy summers evening conditions were glorious as the teams began play. With all four regular squad ladies missing for the hosts Louise Beasley, Jo Coverdale and Angie Bell kindly stepped in tonight.
Beasley who has played twice with a 100% record teamed up at seed one along with wily veteran Walter Skubiak and they faced another seasoned campaigner in the very impressive Dacre captain Sue Welch who was assisted by the powerful Tim Harper. This proved a good rubber with some excellent tennis on show. Walter is always a terror on court and with good court coverage and some big hitting was producing some useful winners. Beasley is a classy player and with a good reach she was proving hard to pass at the net and returning well with her lovely forehand. However the visitors are a match for most at this level and with Welch finding some incredible angles and Harper serving well they ran out 4-8 winners. Mike Triffitt and Jo Coverdale teamed up at Seed two for their competitive debut and enjoyed the contest on court two against Andy Roberts and Linda Savage. Triffitt and Roberts have locked horns in both the mixed and men’s this year and Roberts is a powerful hitter and big server who covers every inch of the court impressively. With Savage returning well this would be a real test for the Wetherby duo. After a slow start they found themselves trailing 0-2 but they battled back to lead 3-2 and with Coverdale providing a touch of class with some excellent cross court returns the duo were enjoying themselves. In truth there was little between the pairs but in the end the greater consistency of the hosts saw them prevail 7-5. Captain Barry Johnson was delighted to have the hard hitting and very powerful Angie Bell alongside him this evening and the duo raced out of the traps as they stormed into a 6-1 lead against Andrew Balsdon and Di Burton. However the Dacre duo battled back well and with Burton dominating the net and Balsdon covering the baseline they started to make inroads into the Wetherby advantage. Finally the hosts ran out narrow 7-5 winners which left the score all square at 18-18.
Round Two began with Triffitt and Coverdale moving down to the showcourt and leading 3-2 they seemed happy. However in what turned out to be the longest match of the evening they were left frustrated as with every game going to endless deuces they were unable to add to their score and finally succumbed 3-9. Thankfully results elsewhere had been positive with Skubiak and Beasley running out 7-5 winners over Baldson and Burton whilst Johnson and Bell had played particularly well to beat Roberts and Savage 8-4 which meant the scores still remained deadlocked at 36-36.
A great crowd were certainly doing their best to cheers the hosts on to success and with the wine flowing and even the ice lollies proving much appreciated, the scene was set for a final round classic.
Walter and Louise knew they faced a big ask against the Dacre second seeds and they gave their all in battle. With plenty of defending they attacked when appropriate and although losing 4-8 this was certainly a useful contribution. Johnson and Bell moved down to court one and were happy to slug it out with the Dacre top dogs in an enthralling contest. With big hitting and great net play from both pairs this rubber had the crowd on the edge of their seats and eventually honours were even after a fantastic 6-6 tie. This left Wetherby trailing by 4 and all eyes moved to court three where Triffitt and Coverdale were going along nicely against Baldson and Burton. A key feature for Wetherby here was that Triffitt and Coverdale only had two double faults between them all evening and the pair quickly realised a consistent approach would reap dividends here. Coverdale continued to produce some lovely forehand winners mixing cross court with down the line which left the visitors bamboozled whilst Triffitt was happy to keep pegging his opponents back with some excellent lobbing which often had the visitors glued to the spot. Wetherby kept the scoreboard ticking over nicely and despite some more great net play from Burton the hosts put behind the disappointment of their second round to run out cosy 11-1 winners which left the team celebrating an excellent 57-51 success.
A match played in great spirit and hard fought throughout but it was Wetherby who gave themselves a real boost in their bid to avoid the drop. With three games left a further win may prove enough with two wins guaranteeing survival. Dacre will hope three wins from their last games may see them promoted and with the club facing Thirsk and Boroughbridge in that run Wetherby will certainly be cheering them on.
A big thanks to Louise, Jo and Angie for stepping in tonight and keeping the men in check and it made a welcome change to actually be in bar three afterwards toasting a rare win!
The team are back in action on Monday night away at another promotion chaser in Bedale where another big effort will be needed to bring home the points.
Well done to Louise Beasley, Jo Coverdale , Walter Skubiak, Mike Triffitt and Barry Johnson pictured above with Angie Bell absent after dashing off home ready for an early start tomorrow.