After a four match run of cancellations thankfully the weather improved enough to allow a Winter League double header to take place at the club this evening. Both Boston Spa and Starbeck were looking to take over from Wetherby 1 at the summit. Boston faced a strong looking Boroughbridge however who picked from strength and went into the clash as big favourites. Eleanor Bradshaw is one of the strongest lades on the circuit in the York league and she partnered the classy Charlie Grasby whilst ever reliable captain Jamie Jarmon was paired with the consistent Chantal Lancaster . Spa lined up with Peter Smith taking over the captaincy and partnering Ali Ward whilst regular partner and Winter League regular Lesley Haley was joined by the experienced Marc Mottershead.
There was some tremendous tennis played on courts four and five with some big hitting from all on show. Ultimately the form book held however with Boro indeed proving worthy of their favourites tag as Bradshaw picked up 25 points despite the last round finishing early for rain. The men’s rubber was intriguing with the Spa men making a great fist of it before finally losing 8-4 whilst Mottershead and Ward reserved their best form together when just failing against Lancaster and Jarmon in another 4-8 reverse. Boro move above Spa on points difference with both clubs on six points.
Well done Boroughbridge who lined up with Jamie Jarmon, Chantel Lancaster, Eleanor Bradshaw and Charlie Grasby.
A good effort from Boston with Peter Smith, Ali Ward, Lesley Haley and Marc Mottershead battling away.
On Courts 1 and 2 Starbeck and Collingham met in a rearranged fixture. Starbeck knew victory would see them take over at the summit and of course they started favourites against the bottom club. Captain Di Lang was absent so regular Starbeck man Chris White took over the reins and was joined by Morvern McPartland. Grant Dorward was the third member of the Starbeck B summer team that had preserved their status in Division three and he was joined by Michelle Guise who had enjoyed promotion from Division five as champions with Starbeck C. Captain Tony Cutler was joined by usual partner Maryla Gledhill and Bradley Triffitt teamed up with Kate Lewis for their debut together for Collingham.
The opening rubbers were both very well contested with Cutler and Gledhill showing real teamwork to frustrate their higher ranked opponents. Tony was everywhere as he covered every inch of the court and with Maryla proving a rock alongside side him they took the match down to the wire before losing 7-5.
On Court One it was also extremely tight at 4-4 with Chris and Bradley both serving well and Morvern and Kate playing some lovely tennis. However Triffitt and Lewis were quickly developing a useful looking partnership and with great consistency and persistence managed to produce some eye catching tennis to win the next four games for a famous 8-4 shock success. This left Collingham threatening an upset as they led 13-11.
However Chris and Grant are a formidable partnership and certainly had the measure of Bradley and Tony in the men’s where they showed their undoubted class. Carrying too much weaponry for the Collingham duo they turned on the style to take the rubber 9-3 despite a gallant effort from Tony and Brad. Collingham were looking for success in the ladies to stay in the contest but Morvern and Michelle were playing very well and with excellent teamwork were always ahead. Kate was hitting hard from deep and making some remarkable recovery shots and with Maryla standing firm they had chances but Starbeck were more consistent and recorded a 7-5 victory.
Ahead by 6 it was all to play for in the last but once more Starbeck were finishing the stronger and using their experience to great effect. White was punishing his opponents with a number of aces and the left hander was making some clever winners whilst Morvern was producing her best form of the evening too. Tony and Maryla battled hard but were unable to prevent a 9-3 loss.
Brad and Kate were struggling on court two as Grant also fired down the aces and with Michelle returning well they raced into a 5-1 lead. With little to lose however Collingham began a fightback and with both players returning with pace and covering the court well they started to whittle away the Starbeck lead. Amazingly they reeled off six games on the bounce to emerge 7-5 victors to finish the evening on a high.
Starbeck therefore did go top of the Winter League following a 41-31 success and a big thanks to all sixteen players tonight for certainly entertaining me on the sidelines!.
Wetherby 1 have the chance to return to the number one position when they host Knaresborough 1 next Tuesday and with Wetherby 1 and Starbeck still to play the title race is looking to go right down to the wire.
Congratulations to Starbeck who lined up with Chris White, Michelle Guise, Morvern McPartland and Grant Dorward.
A big effort from a battling Collingham who were represented by Bradley Triffitt, Kate Lewis, Maryla Gledhill and Tony Cutler.