The ladies second team made the long trek to Pocklington for a morning start today ready for what would be a hugh relegation battle. With numbers light due to injury and holiday commitments, Janine Smith and Emma Fraser came off the subs bench.
Fiona Chantrey was still missing so Rachel Butterworth took over the captains armband and she was joined by debutant Fraser who has been showing promise in the ladies coaching sessions. It would be a baptism of fire for her but she was thankful that the calming influence of Butterworth meant she paired up with one of the nicest ladies at the club. Pocklington are hot on the heels of Wetherby at the foot and knew victory today would close the gap to just a solitary point.
Angie Bell and Janine Smith formed a strong looking top pair and they opened against Fiona Lambert and Josephine Nutman who would prove a tough nut to crack. With Bell content to hit big from deep and Smith dominant at the net this proved a useful combination. However the hosts top duo were proving good opposition and this proved a very close rubber.Ultimately they couldn’t be spilt and a 6-6 draw was a fair reflection. Fraser and Butterworth began at seed two and they faced the rather useful Louise Durkin and Andrea Bland. It took a while for the Wetherby girls to gel and by then the hosts had kicked on and building on a strong start were able to run out impressive 10-2 winners. Ginny Hinds and Jill Abel completed the team and formed a more than useful strong third pairing. Hinds overcame her recent injury problems to play some excellent hard hitting tennis and her ability to pin opponents deep was having great benefit. The experienced Abel is just the type of character needed for such a battle and her organisational skills on court were reaping rewards. The Wetherby girls were quickly out of the traps against Sheila Williams and Debbie Gleig and proved far too match savvy. They completed an excellent 2-10 success which left the scores level at 18-18 after round one.
Hinds and Abel moved down to play Lambert and Nutman and buoyed by their opening success were confident of further glory. They found the Pock top dogs much tougher but in a close contest just prevailed 5-7 for a tremendous victory. Bell and Smith took on Durkin and Bland and quickly realised their opening round victory was no flash in the pan. Arguably the hosts strongest pair were going along nicely and the Wetherby girls were having to dig deep to keep the score close. Finally they succumbed 8-4 which proved a decent effort. Fraser and Butterworth were far more comfortable against Williams and Gleig and with Emma now finding her feet on debut the pair started to reel off some lovely winners. Fraser produced some great angled forehands and was confident at the net with some excellent smashing. Butterworth was hitting well from deep and with great consistency the pair were delighted to record a welcome 3-9 success.
So with the final round underway it was all to play for with Wetherby ahead 34-38. Emma and Rachel managed to add a further 3 from a 9-3 reverse against Lambert and Nutman but thankfully Bell and Smith were putting Williams and Gleig to the sword where their power proved too hot to handle and they eased to a comfortable 2-10 win. This meant the key rubber was taking place between Durkin and Bland against Ginny and Jill and once more it was the Wetherby girls digging in deep to prevent the hosts running away with matters. Playing some backs to the wall tennis, Jill and Ginny maintained their excellent form and were narrowly defeated 7-5 which proved more than enough to see the team run out narrow but worthy 52-56 winners.
This could prove one of the biggest wins of the season as the team are now safe with the hosts five points behind and only two games left meaning they can’t overtake our ladies and Poppleton are also too far adrift at the foot. A great effort from all on show in an excellent team performance and congratulations on survival. A big thanks to Emma Fraser for stepping in on debut in such a crucial clash and a special word for Angie Bell who was making it a hat trick of wins this week for the teams she has represented. All three matches had big relegation implications for the teams involved and she has shown nerves of steel to complete a very impressive treble.