Wetherby 1 had sealed the title with victory over Collingham last week and in their final match of the season were looking to complete an unbeaten one. After rain had threatened the match all day , Winter League organizer Mike Triffitt was rewarded for his bravery by deeming the conditions playable and his prediction of no evening rain during the contest proved spot on!
Wetherby fielded a very strong line up with Steve Plant and Lucy Wright at seed one and Adam Turner and Helen Robinson at two. Turner is a new member and has been thwarted by the weather on a couple of occasions this term so thankfully made his debut this evening.
Rufforth captain Phillipa Page has been a pleasure to deal with this year in her debut season at the helm and she was once again in attendance bringing along Dan Russell, Christine Place and David Laws with her.
Wetherby started strongly and Wright and Plant were in unrelenting form as they continued their excellent blossoming partnership together. Phillipa and Dan were the second highest rated couple in York mixed division seven last summer but faced nothing of the caliber of Lucy and Steve and try as they might they were unable to prevent a 12-0 whitewash.
Helen Robinson and Adan Turner were making their competitive debuts together and they faced Christine and David who had enjoyed a good summer season for Rufforth 2 in York mixed 5 last year. This proved a good battle with the crafty Christine certainly making the higher rated Wetherby duo work hard for the points. David was also battling away well but left hander Turner is a big hitter and strong server and with Robinson showing some classy touches at the net the pair opened with a nice 8-4 success.
In truth it was already looking like damage limitation for Rufforth but on what turned out ideal conditions in the end all the players were enjoying the action. Steve and Adam are certainly men’s first team quality and were eager to impress together in the men’s rubber. The pair were quite majestic as they coupled hard hitting with delightful short play to bamboozle their beleaguered opponents. All credit to Dan and David for never throwing in the towel but despite their best efforts they couldn’t prevent a 12-0 reverse.
Lucy and Helen are regular first team ladies and this excellent partnership was going to be very hard to contain. Phillipa and Christine enjoyed the challenge however but the Wetherby girls used the width of the court to create some lovely well executed winners and a 10-2 success was their reward.
Helen and Adam were beginning to shine now together in their second mixed and with a better understanding were able to record an impressive 10-2 victory over Phillipa and Dan whilst another battling display from Christine and David held Lucy and Steve to a 8-4 win.
Wetherby therefore did put the icing on a great season with seven wins and a draw from their eight matches making them worthy champions this season. A big thanks to all who have represented the club this season. Rufforth are back in action next Tuesday when they play Boroughbridge.
Well played Steve Plant, Lucy Wright, Helen Robinson and Adam Turner who produced some exciting tennis for Wetherby 1 tonight.
A great effort from Christine Place, Dan Russell, Dave Laws and Phillipa Page who fought to the bitter end for Rufforth this evening.
Over on court five Boro were playing Collingham in another Winter League double header. Bridge captain Jamie Jarman is a regular and led his troops into battle once more. He was joined by Mandy Holmes for her first appearance of the winter whilst regular lady Chantal Lancaster paired with the highly rated Alastair Southworth. Collingham captain Tony Cutler is away so Bradley Triffitt, who is a regular for the team, took over captain duties and was joined by Christina Plant. Mike Triffitt and Louise Beasley completed the quartet.
With Boroughbridge still harboring hopes of runners up this was an important match for them and Lancaster and Southworth looked in determined mood against Triffitt junior and Plant. Southworth and Triffitt were hitting big from deep whilst Chantal and Christina were also keeping many rallies alive with some quality tennis. This was an absorbing contest although with Alastair serving well and beginning to dominate the net it was Boro who were moving clear. Christina is one of the quickest lady servers on the Winter league circuit and she was having success and the Collingham pair were not going down without a fight. Finally the favourites prevailed 8-4.
Over on court five Mike and Louise were enjoying themselves against Jamie and Mandy. This quartet were regulars in Harrogate mixed four last season so a tight affair looked on the cards. Louise was delighted to have been called up for Collingham after been a member of the club for many years in the past and she certainly was playing some eye catching tennis. Triffitt was adopting a safe and steady approach and gaining success with his favored forehand slice and the Collingham duo suddenly raced into a 9-0 lead. Jamie was struggling to get his impressive forehand going but when it did fire it proved a lethal weapon whilst Mandy has not played much since the summer season finished and was finding the going tough. Boro suddenly managed back to back games as they looked to close the gap but with Collingham taking the last they had given themselves a chance of an upset leading 14-10 going into round two.
The ladies game looked an even contest and with Chantal showing her class Boroughbridge took up the early running. Mandy was now playing with more confidence and the Collingham ladies were having to dig deep to remain in the rubber. Plant was hitting well and dispatching some lovely winners at the net whilst Beasley is a cool customer and remaining calm, recovered many a lost cause. At 6-3 down Louise and Christina however found their best form and in reeling off the last three games were delighted with a share of the spoils at 6-6.
It was certainly appreciated by Mike and Brad who were finding the pace and power of Alastair and Jamie hard to handle on court five. Southworth’s court coverage had to be seen to be believed as slipping and sliding around the court he covered every inch. Mike was testing him with some punishing lobs but he recovered to return many leaving the Triffitts exasperated!. Left hander Jarman was now finding his line and length although youngster Brad was his equal and hitting some screamers of his own. Both Collingham men were finding it hard to keep the ball away from Alastair at the net though and despite a spirited effort from an intriguing match it was the Boro men who ran out cosy 9-3 winners.
This left the tie still in the melting pot with Boro just two ahead. Mike and Louise knew they faced an uphill task against the Bridge top pair and once more the task was trying to find a way to overcome Southworth. Mike and Louise were unable to neutralize the impressive youngster however and with the evergreen Lancaster proving a more than useful partner the pair went 8-1 ahead. Thankfully the Collingham duo managed to restore pride with two further games after a mini fightback but a 9-3 win put Boro very much in the driving seat.
Needing 11 to win and 10 for a tie it was always looking mission impossible for Brad and Christina but they gave it one hell of a go in trying for an unlikely victory. Plant and Triffitt certainly were playing some very well executed tennis and playing with a freedom and a smile on their faces were really having great fun and enjoying themselves. Jamie and Mandy improved from the opener and were playing far stronger and this was a really exciting clash. Ultimately Collingham came up just short in winning 9-3 it meant Boro just hung on for a narrow 37-35 success. If they win their final two games it should ensure runners up.
For Collingham thanks to tonight’s quartet who certainly gave their higher rated opponents a fright and it was a nice run out ahead of the summer season.
Congratulations to Boroughbridge who lined up left to right with Jamie Jarman, Mandy Holmes, Chantal Lancaster and Alastair Southworth.
Thanks to Bradley Triffitt, Louise Beasley, Christina Plant and Mike Triffitt for ensuring such a close and exciting affair tonight despite a narrow loss.