The Leeds League men’s First team were in action this afternoon looking to follow up an opening day win at St Chads. There was one change to the quartet on show that evening with Barry Johnson replacing Steve Plant. The visitors had been beaten 7-1 at home against title favourites Wakefield and they too made the one change with captain Jeremy Harrison missing so Jonathan Vos replaced him.
With an unsettled forecast it was nice to see sun and dry weather which thankfully continued throughout with cloud helping the playing conditions. Richard Franks and Barry Johnson are having great seasons for the A mixed team this term and teamed up at seed one as they faced the Spaniard Eduardo Fernandez and Ian Wilkinson. Eduardo has a lovely left handed forehand and was playing well whilst Ian was powering some ferocious serves down and causing mayhem. Richard continues to be one of the clubs current best improvers and a real asset to the league teams. He is also one of the fittest players at the club and used this strength alongside his great consistency to punish the visitors. Johnson has a tremendous backhand and loves dominating the net. He was able to make a number of eye catching volleys on the back of Franks hard hitting from deep. There was plenty of long rallies and exciting winners before the hosts took the opening set 6-3. The visitors, who had battled so well in the opener, struggled to recapture that form in the second and with Richard and Barry upping the tempo Wetherby were keeping the scorecard ticking over nicely. Looking confident they were convincing 6-0 winners and recorded a 2-0 success.
Over on court five, father and son, Mike and Bradley Triffitt were making their men’s debut together. Both are having good success in their respective mixed teams and the duo looked happy. However Jonathan Voss and Nigel Kirkbright would soon have the Wetherby pair on the backfoot after Bradley was broken in the opener and then Voss quickly aced Mike twice in a very impressive show of serving. 0-2 down the Triffitts began their fightback after initially looking a little overawed and giving their opponents too much respect. U16 captain Brad was beginning to find his rhythm and hitting well from deep. He was able to hit down the line and cross court with equal accuracy and with dad Mike offering great support with plenty of returns in another consistent performance they started to put points on the board. Showing great understanding they reeled off six games on the bounce and finally able to master the Voss serve, were delighted to celebrate a great opening set success 6-2. Nigel is a crafty veteran and was able to mix things nicely with plenty of variation to keep the hosts on their toes. However the Triffitts also showed great diversity and content to keep their error count low, started well in the second set. Growing in confidence Bradley was really hitting some beautiful winners and the finishing line was starting to edge closer. Voss wasn’t able to produce his opening fast serves as regularly and finally a 6-1 win for Wetherby and a 2-0 victory meant the hosts incredibly led 4-0 at the break.
Franks and Johnson popped over to court four to take on the Ilkley top pair and what an exciting and hard fought affair this turned out to be. There was little between the pairs and with so many different styles on show it certainly was intriguing to watch. The teams traded blows punch for punch with many superb winners executed the set went to an inevitable tie break. It was the visitors who held firm with Voss in exceptional form helping his side to a narrow 6-7 win. Richard and Barry were certainly in no mood to surrender however and showing great mental strength prepared for yet another tough examination.
Over on court five Brad and Mike had moved over looking for the one set required for victory. They knew a repeat performance from the first round would in all likelihood prove enough but Eduardo and Ian looked lively as the set began. With good court coverage the Triffitts knew they needed to keep the tempo intense and thankfully for Wetherby they were not left wanting. Bradley had struggled with his serving but was much more efficient here and with more clinical returns was starting to boss things. He used clever return speed opting to hit hard, then softer and often even finished the point off with some delicate lobs that dad Mike would have been very proud of. This set was played in great spirit with both pairs showing some lovely touches there really was plenty of good tennis on show. However the hosts had that extra touch of class to run out cosy 6-0 winners to seal the match.
Back over to court four and the tension was rising in the big second set between the two top seeds. Once again nothing between the pairs but with great fitness it was no surprise that Richard Franks was now able to guide Wetherby to a 6-4 success to level the match with a 1-1 draw a very fair reflection of events. Bradley and Mike found themselves 1-2 down in their second set but were able to refocus and take the next five games to record a 6-2 success and Wetherby were thoroughly delighted to run out 7-1 winners on the afternoon.
This was far closer than the score line would suggest and it was lucky for Wetherby that all their players produced their best form to repel a strong effort from Ilkley. Thanks to all on show and good luck to both teams for the rest of their campaigns. Wetherby go top after successive wins in Division five but face a tough match at Wakefield next Sunday which will certainly test their promotion credentials and see where they lie in the pecking order.
Well played captain Mike Triffitt, Richard Franks, Barry Johnson and Bradley Triffitt this afternoon.
From left to right Ian Wilkinson, Eduardo Fernandez, Jonathan Voss and Nigel Kirkbright proved tough opponents today.