Despite rain for the majority of the day the weather forecast offered hope this evening and with both teams keen to play they were rewarded with a dry night, at least until afterwards in Bar 3!. The courts looked in good condition as Wetherby A hosted Harrogate Racquets C with both clubs having won their opening games last week. Wetherby made one change with captain Barry Johnson replacing Mike Triffitt who was keenly watching from the sidelines, adding more notes ahead of this match report.
Richard Franks and Fiona Chantrey had been in sparkling form last week and they looked confident as they began on court one against Graham Wild and Verity Fox. Wild is used to playing higher, both in the mixed and the men’s, and his quality was there for all to see. Verity is a very determined player and was hitting some lovely returns and covering the court well. This was an excellent match to watch with some lovely rallies and many exquisite finishes from both pairs. Franks had played an important part for the men’s Leeds first team on Tuesday and is in excellent form at present. He has developed a great understanding with Chantrey and the pair calmly went about picking off their opponents. They really are one of the best combinations in the section and eventually ran out impressive 9-3 winners.
On court two Kevin Duckenfield and Christina Plant continued their blossoming partnership against another strong couple in Paul Stephenson and captain Jane Walker. This duo had bagged 23 from 3 victories last week against Ripon and have a good understanding on court. Paul is a big server and with Jane nimble round the court this would be a tough match for the hosts. Plant is one of the leading lady servers in Division 5 and was having plenty of success with her best weapon. Kevin is a veteran of many years and very wily and he showed a lovely slight of hand to craftily dispatch many winners. The hosts ran out 8-4 winners after a good contest.
Captain Johnson paired up with the elegant Louise Beasley at seed three and the pair opened up against debutant Aaron Cowlock and Ann Tunstall. Beasley was sporting an eye catching pair of camouflaged leggings and she often appeared from nowhere to deliver many an unstoppable winning shot. With Barry using his very strong backhand to good effect they had the visitors on the backfoot early and were able to press home their authority to record a 9-3 success.
With Wetherby forging ahead 26-10 they had already laid a strong platform as round two began. Franks and Chantrey moved down to court three and there was little respite for the Racquets third pair as the Wetherby top dogs showed no mercy in recording a 12-0 victory. Duckenfield and Plant were enjoying a titanic battle with Wild and Fox and there was some breathtaking tennis on show to excite the watching crowd.(Me and Steve Plant!). Little between the pairs and at 6-6 the honors were shared which kept both couples happy. Beasley and Johnson were also involved in a tight rubber against Stephenson and Walker with once more little between the sides. Johnson was using the space well to hit some devilishly hard returns whilst Louise was dominant at the net and finding some superb angles. The visitors gave everything but were narrowly beaten 7-5.
The final round commenced with the hosts ahead 51-21 and almost over the finishing line. Kevin and Christina wasted little time on court three as they had far too much power and pace for the beleaguered Aaron and Ann. It was rough on the Harrogate third pair who deserved more for their considerable effort but the Wetherby duo were in no mood to show any mercy with an emphatic 11-1 success.
Barry and Louise saved their best tennis of the evening for the finale where they enjoyed the show court action against Graham and Verity. The visitors were beginning to tire and despite been well in the contest at 3-3 they faded to a 9-3 loss after an impressive finish from the Wetherby couple who joined Kevin and Christina in accumulating 25 points on the evening.
Richard and Fiona concluded the evening and once again all credit to Paul and Jane who really gave the hosts first pair a tough match. This went down to the wire before Wetherby took a narrow 7-5 victory which gave Richard and Fiona a lovely 28 for their evenings work.
So Wetherby maintained their 100% start to the campaign with a resounding 78-30 success and will hope to continue with a tough looking fixture at Northallerton next week. Thanks to Racquets who provided lovely opposition and played with a smile all evening, a real credit to their club. We look forward to the return fixture later in the season.
Well played Christina, Barry, Fiona, Kevin, Richard and Louise who helped Wetherby to victory tonight.
A gallant effort from Anne, Aaron, Verity, Paul, Jane and Graham who were sporting these lovely smiles all evening despite coming runners up.