Knaresborough, like Wetherby, have entered two teams in this seasons Winter League and their first team hosted Collingham last night at Castlegarth. A dry but blustery evening greeted the players . Boro had three members of the same family in action with captain Dan Wilson bringing daughters Izzy and Ellie whilst Jonny Saddler completed the quartet. Collingham captain and Wetherby member Tony Cutler called up youngster Bradley Triffitt for his Winter League debut and they were joined by regular ladies Liz Douthwaite and Sally Johnson. Those ladies are often seen in the Collingham Summer women’s team which narrowly failed to gain promotion from Leeds Division three this term.
Dan Wilson partnered Ellie in the opening mixed although he had played the Summer with Izzy where the pair were top scorers and instrumental helping Knaresborough B to promotion from Division six finishing as runners up. Ellie had helped Knaresborough A to the Division four title where Dan had also found time to contribute. They faced Tony and Liz. Tony had a busy summer representing Wetherby B in Division five although he couldn’t prevent a relegation but has been showing up well with Ann Jones in the veterans league where they are regular winners. As expected the Wilsons were quickly into stride and with good teamwork and court awareness they began confidently. Dan is a good all-rounder and difficult to pass but Tony, with his unorthodox and very tricky style, was proving a handful and a good battle was ensuing. Liz is consistent and eager to keep the ball in play and this was proving a competitive rubber. However Knaresborough had a little too much class and took the honours 8-4.
Over on court four Sally and Brad were quickly acquainted and straight into battle. They took on Izzy who was partnered by Jonny Stadler. Jonny is a promising youngster himself and was in fact the top scoring man in the title winning Boro A team that took Division four. He is a regular for Knaresborough in the men’s leagues too and coaches Bradley at King James school. He is also a strong server and this weapon was to help him during the evening. Collingham started well and with Triffitt hitting hard from deep and putting away a number of volleys at the net they went 3-2 ahead. Sally was also in good form, especially at the net but Jonny and Izzy still looked very relaxed and began to turn on the style. They reeled off the next seven games with some eye catching tennis to run out cosy 9-3 winners and give Boro a useful 17-6 first round lead.
Tony and Brad teamed up together competitively for the first time although the pair can often be seen together at social. They took on Dan and Jonny who had forged a strong partnership together helping Knaresborough in the York men’s league Division four. Once more the early skirmishes were tight and Collingham were playing well and delighted to be in the tie at 3-3. However the Boro due started to unleash their extra weaponry and with Saddler reigning down many aces and Wilson proving ultra consistent they eventually ran out 8-4 winners despite a brave fight from Collingham.
Over on court four an intriguing ladies clash was playing out and this turned out to be the closest contest of the evening. Sally and Liz were in sparkling form as they really enjoyed this ladies rubber. Ellie and Izzy were making some nice winners but this tie was a real roller coaster affair with very little between the pairs. Finally a 6-6 tie meant a share of the spoils after a good scrap.
So as the final round began Knaresborough were in sight of the finishing line as they held a 31-17 advantage. The favourites wasted little time putting the match to bed in both rubbers as they played error free and consistent tennis. Tony and Liz were never able to exert enough pressure and with Jonny moving nicely through the gears he and Izzy were certainly looking impressive. They wrapped up an excellent 10-2 success. Bradley and Sally had made a poor start and found themselves trailing 6-1 against Dan and Ellie but determined to finish with a flourish they upped the tempo and began to fight back. Triffitt was giving it everything as he unleashed some tremendous cross court forehand winners and with Sally standing firm at the net Collingham improved to take another three games before a final 8-4 defeat.
A good night of tennis with Boro worthy winners 49-23 to take over from Wetherby 2 at the summit. A match played in great spirit with Dan especially keeping everyone entertained on court with his wit and humour!
The next match is this Thursday when Starbeck face champions Rufforth in what is sure to be an exciting clash.
Tonights winning team featured from left to right – Jonny Saddler, Izzy Wilson, Ellie Wilson and captain Dan Wilson.
Brave runners up Collingham lined up with Bradley Triffitt, Sally Johnson, Liz Douthwaite and captain Tony ‘the silver fox’ Cutler.