The Winter League made a welcome return on Thursday Evening as Wetherby 2 hosted Boroughbridge. A warm and mild evening greeted the players and with the wind only a factor late in the last rubbers conditions were near perfect. Wetherby 2 had failed to record a single victory last season whilst Boroughbridge had finished joint second and were looking to make a title bid this time around. They arrived with new captain Jamie Jarman who was joined by last season’s captain Charlie Grasby whilst winter league regulars Chantal Lancaster and Nicola Scott completed the quartet.
Wetherby were without captain Richard Franks so Mike Triffitt took over leadership and was joined by regular partner Louise Beasley whilst there were debuts for Steve and Christina Plant who have recently joined the club after moving up from Worcester.
The Plants have been showing up well at social and took on Lancaster and Grasby. This would be a good test against a couple who have been playing Division One tennis for Boroughbridge A in the Summer leagues this season. Steve is a big server and hits hard from deep. Not afraid to approach the net he is a useful player for sure. Christina is also an excellent server and likes to dominate the net and this opening rubber on court four was certainly witnessing some high class tennis. Grasby has excellent court coverage and also serves well and hits hard and with Chantel producing some lovely angled volleys there was little between the pairs. Finally Wetherby ran out narrow 7-5 winners.
Over on court five Mike and Louise were back in action after just failing to help Wetherby B to the final of the Autumn cup when narrowly losing at Ripon on Tuesday evening. Their blossoming partnership however is starting to look promising and the pair were in good form this evening. They took on Jamie Jarman and Nicola Scott who they met during the Summer in Division five. Once more a close rubber with left hander Jarmon the strongest player on view and partner Scott very crafty at the net. Louise was her equal however and Triffitt used some well thought out lobs to push the visitors deep to their own baseline. Eventually honours were even at 6-6 after a hard fought tussle.
This left Wetherby 2 with a slight two point advantage at 13-11 after round one. The ladies did battle on court four whilst the men played on court five during round two. Christina and Louise quickly gelled and the pair were playing well together. Covering the court and dominating the net they looked comfortable . Nicola and Chantel were also playing well and this was going to be a hard match to call. The hosts led 5-3 then 6-4 but crucially they took the final two games to record a very satisfying 8-4 success.
Plant and Triffitt found themselves down 3-0 despite a close start but they bounced back to take the next four games and this meant the rubber would remain close. Triffitt was disrupting the rhythm of the higher rated Boro due with plenty of lobs and spinning cross court returns and with Plant serving some impressive aces the pair were forming a useful partnership. Grasby and Jarman had the power though but finally after a titanic battle honours were even at 6-6 which left Wetherby ahead 27-21 and with a cosy six point lead to protect.
The Plants knew they would need to keep the scoreboard ticking over but quickly fell 3-0 behind and the match result was certainly in the melting pot. However once they found their form they started to move through the gears and soon found themselves back in front. Jarman and Scott were determined to keep fighting and with little between the quartet this turned into another close affair before Wetherby prevailed 7-5 which extended their lead to eight overall.
This certainly gave Triffitt and Beasley some breathing space but remarkably the duo were in terrific form and surging ahead. Adopting a consistent game plan they were hardly making an error and frustrating their higher rated opponents were incredibly 5-0 ahead. Charlie looked tired after the men’s doubles and was never able to unleash his massive forehand and with an aerial bombardment from Triffitt relentlessly pushing him deeper he had no answer . Beasley was superb at the net as she gobbled up chance after chance with a real killer instinct and the pair were never in danger as they ran out very impressive 9-3 winners.
So a real upset on the opening round with Wetherby 2 finally recording an elusive win as they ran out victors 43-29 to head the early table. Well done to all on show and thanks to Steve and Christina for a wonderful debut performance. As always Boroughbridge were gracious in defeat and the match was played in a great spirit. Good luck to both for the rest of their campaigns.
Well done to Wetherby 2 who lined up from left to right with Steve Plant, Christina Plant, Louise Beasley and Mike Triffitt
Boroughbridge from left to right featured Charlie Grasby, Chantal Lancaster, Nicola Scott and Jamie Jarman.