Another lovely evening with early sun as Wetherby A travelled to Northallerton tonight looking to maintain top spot in Division Five. Missing three key players in Richard Franks, Kevin Duckenfield and Fiona Chantrey the table toppers brought in Bradley Triffitt and Anne Lillywhite from Division Six with so many reserves unavailable.
The hosts picked from their usual squad although Tina Watson was making her first appearance of the campaign.
Located next to the cricket field with a lovely clubhouse which was celebrating its nine year anniversary this week , Northallerton have four courts but no floodlights so this contest would be a 12-12-8 format played over 96 games.
Captain Barry Johnson opened at seed one and was partnered by Anne Lillywhite who has been performing well for the B team in Division Six. They played the hosts top pair Tim Piper and Charlotte Wood. This was a good keen affair with little between the quartet. Johnson was using his impressive backhand to good effect as always and picking off well at the net. Lillywhite was covering everywhere with her all action style and hitting some impressive returns of her own with her renowned left hand. Piper is a good all rounder with a combination of court speed, efficient serving and strong returns and with Charlotte proving tough to pass this rubber was always going down to the wire. Finally Wetherby were narrow 5-7 winners. On court two Louise Beasley and Mike Triffitt teamed up and this pair are a nice consistent and reliable duo. Triffitt was never able to get his serve going but made up with some strong returns and more good court coverage whilst Louise is ever so strong at the net with her athletic style meaning she reaches so high to put away many smashes with great authority. Chris Mighall is a shrewd operator and picked on any loose balls in eye catching style to record many winning shots. Debbie Pearson was standing firm and returning well and this was proving a tough match for the Wetherby second seeds. They did however manage to kick on from 3-5 to take the final four games for a 3-9 success that was in all honesty a little harsh on their opponents.
Bradley Triffitt was excited to partner Christina Plant after the pair had done very well in the Winter League together. This duo certainly brought the average age of the visiting team down with the young and athletic duo itching for action. They took on Northallerton captain Richard Owens and Tina Watson. Richard is a very well organised and crafty veteran and his returns were well thought out and certainly made the Wetherby pair do plenty of running. Tina was playing with a beaming smile and returning well from deep and was certainly enjoying herself. However U16 captain Triffitt is another improver and after some eye catching tennis for Wetherby B in Division Six he was certainly not overawed up in class. Christina confirmed her position as one of the quickest lady servers in the section and Bradley was able to dominate the net on the back of some really big serves from Plant. They began to carefully keep the scoreboard ticking over and in an excellent rubber were delighted to run out 3-9 winners.
A strong start from the leaders saw them ahead by 14 leading 11-25 going into round two. Johnson and Lillywhite then took on Mighall and Pearson and what another intriguing battle this proved. Chris is another player with a strong backhand and was able to catch his opponents off guard on many an occasion. However Barry and Anne were gelling well and proving hard to beat they began to take control. Pearson was unable to stop Wetherby from gaining the advantage at the net and despite a spirited effort it was Wetherby who prevailed 4-8. Mike and Louise looked determined to build on their useful opener and looked confident in their clash with Richard and Tina. With Triffitt happy once more to keep the ball in play it was left to Louise to provide the firepower as she carried far too much weaponry for the home pair . Using power with craft she really kept the hosts guessing and was able to dispatch a number of eye catching and impressive winners. The visitors were keen to keep the scoreboard ticking over and a 1-11 win was hugely appreciated.
Bradley and Christina faced a tough test against Tim and Charlotte but the youngsters were turning up the heat and starting to boss this rubber. Plant continued to serve well and with Brad hitting some amazing forehand winners, both cross court and down the line, the duo were pretty much unplayable. Tim was giving everything and Charlotte battled hard too but they couldnt contain the rampant visitors who recorded a well deserved 2-10 success.
With the leaders almost home they began the reduced final round looking to add more points to improve their points difference on the season. Barry and Anne completed a good nights work as they defeated Richard and Tina 2-6. The hosts were certainly not throwing in the towel however and made the visiting pair fight hard. Barry and Anne were thankful to accumulate a useful 21 points for their hard work. Mike and Louise now faced their toughest test but found themselves 1-3 down and starring defeat in the face. They rallied well to do ahead 3-4 but credit the Northallerton top seeds who deservedly took a share of the spoils at 4-4. This left Mike and Louise with a good 24 however which they were pleased with.
Finally it was left to Bradley and Christina to finish the evening in style as they added another 8 points to record a tremendous 27 on the night. They were just electric as they produced another strong effort to keep a tiring Chris and Debbie at bay. It was harsh on Northallerton who tried to avoid the whitewash but the thoughts of the tea afterwards was a good consolation.
Wetherby therefore did continue their 100% start with a third successive victory which takes them two points clear of Thirsk in the early table. They return to Castlegarth to host Mashamshire next week before another home match with Ripon C the week after.
A big thanks to wonderful hosts Northallerton who were a pleasure to play and provided a feast afterwards which went down extremely well. The chocolate cake which Bradley demolished was testimony to that!!
Well done Bradley and Mike Triffitt, along with captain Barry Johnson and thanks to Christina Plant, Louise Besaley and Anne Lillywhite for some cracking tennis tonight.
Chris Mighall, captain Richard Owens, Charlotte Wood, Debbie Pearson, Tim Piper and Tina Watson were great fun and a credit to Northallerton this evening.