A poor spell of weather was threatening to derail another Winter League evening but thankfully the rain cleared and with a strong wind drying out the courts two Winter League games were played at Castlegarth. Leaders Boston Spa arrived having won their opening three fixtures but were missing some key players whilst opponents Wetherby 2 had the classy Steve Jones making a welcome return from injury and looking for competitive game time on his return. Jones teamed up with Dawn Steel while captain Richard Franks partnered Christina Plant. Regulars Peter Smith and Lesley Haley still gave Spa a strong look and they were joined by Gordon Milne and debutant Sue Watson.
Jones and Steel started on the show court and took on Haley and Milne. This promised to be a close match and so it proved. Steve was serving well with his famous out wide angles causing problems for the Spa duo and his lovely backhand short play was a joy to watch. Dawn was confident at the baseline and returning well with some punishing angles. However Gordon was battling away and intercepting nicely at the net and with Haley showing her class with some tremendous all round play there proved little between the quartet. Finally a 6-6 scoreline with honours shared.
Over on court two Richard Franks was teaming up with Christina Plant for their debut together and they didn’t take long to gel. However they did find themselves trailing 4-1 before hitting top gear. Franks is happy to play out endless stroke rallies with amazing patience and with Plant serving quick and putting some lovely volleys away they began to close the gap. Smith was his usual all action self and with Watson happy to patrol the net this was another rubber going down to the wire. Finally Wetherby finished the stronger to take a useful 7-5 lead leaving them two ahead after round one leading 13-11
The chaps played their men’s rubber on court two and Steve and Richard had the makings of a useful partnership with both very calm and level headed. Peter and Gordon for Boston are certainly no strangers on court and the pairs battled away producing some lovely tennis for the watching crowd.(Mike Triffitt and Steve Plant!) Jones continued his back hand dominance and with Richard happy to keep those long rallies in play they began to wear down their opponents. Steve was excellent at the net and Wetherby ran out deserved 8-4 winners.
The ladies were serving up a treat on court one with Dawn and Christina also developing a lovely partnership. They too adopted patient tactics and were more than happy to keep the ball in play. Lesley was proving a strong opponent and she and Sue ensured another tight affair. However the Wetherby girls emulated the men in securing a 8-4 success and suddenly the leaders were in trouble starring down the barrel of a first loss of the campaign.
Needing eight to win heading into the final round Plant and Franks found themselves in another titanic battle with some fantastic rallies in their match with Haley and Milne. Each player was in great form and fittingly in such a tight affair a 6-6 draw was a good reflection and a fair outcome.
Steve Jones and Dawn Steel were now turning on the turbo on court one and really putting on a show as they began to click into top form. Poor Peter Smith and Sue Watson had little answer to a majestic performance as Wetherby sealed a second win of the season with a 10-2 success in an overall winning margin of 45-27.
Derby clashes with our friends from Boston are always hard fought but played in a great spirit and tonight was no exception and a big thanks to all on show.
Well played to Wetherby 2 quartet Steve Jones, Dawn Steel, Christina Plant and captain Richard Franks for their fabulous victory this evening.
A great effort from Gordon Milne, Lesley Haley, Sue Watson and Peter Smith who ensured another good contest.
Over on courts 4 and 5 there was a great match developing between Boroughbridge and Knaresborough 2. Knaresborough were looking for their first points of the season and had a nice four out led by captain Tony Graham. Boroughbridge captain Jamie Jarmon selected from strength and they were favourites going into the match and when they led 15-9 after the opener and 26-22 heading into the last looked sure to win. However Graham partnered by the classy Natasha Quigley are a strong pairing and helped Knaresborough record that elusive point with a great performance to ensure the scores were level at 36-36. This was a second successive draw for Boroughbridge in only four outings!
Congratulations to captain Tony Graham, Natasha Quigley, Jeanette Bowden and Andy Little for a battling performance to help earn their side a first point of the campaign.
Thanks to captain Jamie Jarman, Helen Bell, Chantal Lancashire and Alastair Southworth for their part in an excellent draw.