Wetherby B were hoping to emulate Wetherby C ,who had shocked David Lloyd C on Tuesday, and win their opening round in the Autumn Cup when they travelled to Harrogate Racquets D this evening. Captain Mike Triffitt was joined by Kevin Duckenfield, Dawn Steel and Marise Richfield who had all been part of the Wetherby team that had just been unable to avoid relegation from Division Four during the summer. Racquets fielded players from a division below so Wetherby began as favourites.
Lovely conditions greeted the players and with the carpet courts in fine fettle and the floodlights at Racquets one of the best in the Harrogate League there would be no excuses.
Duckenfield and Triffitt opened on court one and faced Racquets captain Neil Bostock and Brian Quinn. Bostock is a tall player and hits with power and creates some lovely angles whilst Quinn is a tricky opponent with a consistent serve and great court coverage. However the Wetherby men were content to adopt a consistent game plan themselves and ease into the contest. At 2-2 there was nothing to split the pairs but then Duckenfield began to turn up the heat and started to boom some quick serves down to put the hosts on the back foot. Triffitt made some nice smashes and volley’s at the net and with Kevin firing some nice winners from deep the visitors stated to gain control. Despite a battling performance from Racquets Wetherby took the opener 2-6 and didn’t give the hosts much of a look in during the second as they completed a 0-6 success for a 0-2 victory.
Over on court two Dawn Steel and Marise Richfield were teaming up in the ladies rubber and they took on Ann Tunstall and Bex Barclay. The Wetherby girls are more than happy to play the long game and with a number of nice returns were enjoying the extended rallies. Tunstall is a great fighter and was all over the court whilst the rangy Barclay certainly looked the part and with some powerful hitting was finding plenty of success thanks to her lovely deep forehands. Steel was also covering every inch of the court and ensuring Wetherby would not be found wanting and with the classic easy flowing style of Richfield the duo formed a nice partnership. In a lovely rubber the visitors finally proved a little more match savvy to run out 2-6,2-6 winners and give Wetherby a 0-2 advantage going into the final round.
Kevin and Dawn then took on Neil and Ann on court one. The Wetherby duo have been regulars during the summer and in truth were Wetherby’s top performers. They have a great on court relationship and used this to good effect tonight. Once more Duckenfield was serving with real venom and with Steel happy to do the running they were going to be a tough nut to crack. Bostock was doing his best with some more astute angled returns and Tunstall was giving everything to the cause but in fairness the higher rated couple proved too strong and they ran out cosy 0-6,1-6 winners.
Triffitt and Richfield had played twice in the summer and with Marise a natural backhand she was able to complement the forehand of Mike. They took on Quinn and Barclay. The opener started very competitively and at 2-2 both teams were feeling they had a chance of victory. The crucial game came on Brian’s serve when, after what seemed at least ten deuce games, the visitor’s managed to break and kicked for home. They reeled off a further three games to win 2-6. The hosts were certainly not throwing in the towel however and with Brain chasing everything and Bex cleverly avoiding Triffitt at the net with some terrific angles, the second set was once more hard fought. Eventually the greater consistency from Wetherby was the main difference and they managed another 2-6 success which completed a 0-2 victory.
Another great contest and not a dispute in sight in a match played in a great spirit. Although a final 0-4 victory for Wetherby may have looked comfortable they were certainly made to work extremely hard and great credit to the hosts for not rolling over.
Wetherby now travel to face Thirsk A which I suspect will be a tough ask as Thirsk narrowly missed out on promotion from Division three in the summer leagues. For now Wetherby will enjoy victory and think about Thirsk later of course!
Thanks to Racquets captain Neil Bostock for organising and been a great host.
From left to right Captain Mike Triffitt, Dawn Steel, Marise Richfield and Kevin Duckenfield celebrate victory.
Gallant runners up representing Harrogate Racquets from left to right were captain Neil Bostock, Ann Tunstall, Brian Quinn and Bex Barclay.