Wetherby B travelled north to West Tanfield this evening looking to maintain their promotion push and eliminate the hosts from the race. After suffering a 48-60 reverse earlier in the season, Wetherby were looking for revenge and sent a strong outfit. Tanfield were not able to field the team that had won at Wetherby and Tony Cutlers side started strong favourites .
Mike Watson is a crafty veteran for Wests and he was paired with birthday girl Olivia Redhead who has played in Division two this season. They faced Bradley Triffitt and Anne Lillywhite who have enjoyed a tremendous campaign together. This was a good contest with some lovely tennis and excellent rallies on show. Little between the quartet early doors but the Wetherby top seeds found their rhythm and with clinical finishing ran out cosy 2-10 victors. Captain Tony Cutler has enjoyed his debut season at the helm and he was joined by regular partner Katie Barrett. Katie, like Anne, was playing her third match in as many days after two victories for the ladies third team but thankfully the pair looked full of energy. They faced Peter Scott and Sally White on court two and were always in control. They have great understanding and with some killer shots proved too hot for Tanfield recording a 0-12 whitewash. On court three Lindsay Edgar and Judith Crossley resumed their blossoming partnership. The pair were sorely missed at Harlow after top scoring at Almscliffe but found the going tough here. They faced Wests captain Barrie Cole and Lesley Chadwick. Cole is a very experienced campaigner with plenty of lovely shots in his armoury. He was happy to play the long game and frustrate his opponents and helped Wests to a useful 9-3 success.
However going into round two Wetherby led 11-25 and had built a solid foundation. Triffitt and Lillywhite continued their good form although Scott and White improved markedly from the first round with Peter in particularly really finding some success with some punishing returns, often on his opponents second serve. The visitors had to dig deep but were up for the challenge and with Brad dominating the net with some terrific volleys and smashes they ran out 3-9 winners. Tony and Katie had arguably their longest and toughest rubber of the season as they came from 5-4 down to defeat Cole and Chadwick 5-7 in a real war of attrition. The watching Mike Triffitt would have been proud and impressed with the number of well executed lobs on show but this rubber lasted an age and both pairs gave everything. Lindsay and Judith found their form in this round but couldn’t quite match the power of Mike and Olivia who were impressive 8-4 winners in a good event.
So heading into round three the visitors had eased further ahead now leading 27-45 with the finishing post in sight. Bradley and Anne certainly saved the best till last and taking advantage of a tiring Barrie and Lesley they turned on the class and the power. Anne was hitting some real cross court screamers whilst Brad was proving too hot to handle with his forehand from deep producing many winners. They looked determined and taking no prisoners ran out 0-12 winners to accumulate an excellent 31 points on the evening and give Wetherby the points. With the pressure off Tony and Katie enjoyed a fine clash with Mike and Olivia and a 6-6 draw was a good reflection of this tight and well balanced affair. They bagged a very useful 25 on the evening. Lindsay and Judith also saved their best till the end and were delighted to run out 4-8 winners over Peter and Sally which meant they contributed a much appreciated 15 in a final Wetherby winning margin of 37-71.
Wetherby therefore move two points behind leaders and title favorites Harlow whilst moving two points clear of Thirsk. West Tanfield are 4 points back in fourth so this looks a three horse race between the current top three. Wetherby now have important home games with Harrogate Spa and Bedale before a potential promotion winner takes all battle with Thirsk away on Thursday August 1st. A big thanks to our excellent hosts West Tanfield who were a credit to their club and played the game in great spirit and provided a feast of food afterwards.
Very well played Katie Barrett, Bradley Triffitt, Judith Crossley, Tony Cutler, Anne Lillywhite and Lindsay Edgar who helped Wetherby B to victory this evening.
Set in a lovely village surrounding, West Tanfield is a cosy place deep in the heart of North Yorkshire. With three good courts and a lovely new clubhouse surrounded by fields, a river and even a bowling club, it certainly has a real English countryside feel.
In Harrogate Division five, Barry Johnson led his troops into battle as they were looking to make it ten wins on the bounce against visitors Northallerton at Castlegarth tonight. His team didn’t disappoint with top seeds Richard Franks and Fiona Chantrey topping the scoring charts once more with another impressive 26 points. Johnson teamed up with Louise Beasley at seed two and they added another excellent 23 whilst a further 19 from Kevin Duckenfield and Dawn Steel ensured a comfortable 68-40 success.
Wetherby A are now almost mathematically promoted as they sit proudly at the summit with 20 points, 6 clear of nearest challengers Thirsk with Ripon 8 points further back in third. They travel to Mashamshire next Tuesday knowing victory will guarantee promotion and hopefully put them in a very strong position to take the title as well.