Wetherby B are joint top of Division 6 along with Harlow and the team had a chance to take sole ownership of the summit when they hosted bottom side Bedale at Castlegarth on Sunday evening. The hosts knew three victories from their final three games would ensure promotion and certainly on paper tonight gave them their best and arguably easiest opportunity. However the visitors traveled with two strong couples and suddenly this had the look of a tricky fixture indeed.
Wetherby retained the majority of the side that has seen off Harrogate Spa last Sunday with the returning Anne Lillywhite back from from holiday in at seed one with Bradley Triffitt the only change.
Bradley and Anne began proceedings on the show court against the crafty and tricky duo of John and Jan Lever and this would prove a tough opener. Once more dry conditions blessed the players and there was little between the pairs early on. John has played higher in his prime and still has a great touch and the ability to dispatch anything short with vicious power. With Jan consistent the hosts top pair would have to play well to take the spoils. Thankfully they did and with good understanding they wore down their opponents with great enthusiasim to record a welcome 8-4 success. Tony and Katie are a standing dish at seed two and they took on Bedale’s highest rated pair in Colin Finch and Jenny Dilley. Colin is a very impressive player with superb court coverage and this true gentlemen is a great ambassador for the Bedale club. Jenny is ultra consistent and tough to pass and they certainly played well here. Tony and Katie couldn’t quite match the pace and power of the visitors who ran out deserved 4-8 victors. Lindsay Edgar and Ann Jones made a slow start against Bob Sampson and Val Dickenson and left themselves plenty of work to get back into their rubber. Thankfully they both were battling hard and finally secured an honorable 6-6 draw which meant the teams were level at 18-18 after an exciting first round.
Tony and Katie moved over to court one and they too were made to fight all the way against the Levers. Trailing 2-4 things look grim but with both players settling and playing some lovely tennis they began to frustrate their opponents and finally ran out worthy 7-5 winners. Lindsay and Ann are always a pleasure to watch and with both giving everything, knew only that would produce a shock on court two against Colin and Jenny. The Bedale pair impressed again but with Lindsay covering every inch of the court and Ann putting away some clever volleys they kept things close and were unlucky to lose 4-8. Wetherby hopes were once again resting on Brad and Anne and they didn’t disappoint on court three against Bob and Val. With Triffitt turning on the style and moving through the gears he was able to execute some fine forehand winners whilst Lillywhite had her eye in too and produced some wonderful left handed forehand winners of her own. The hosts top pair were just too strong for a gallant Bedale pair, who are one of the loveliest duo’s you will find across the league, and recorded a welcome 10-2 victory.
As Round three began the score line was tight with Wetherby holding a narrow six point advantage at 39-33. Lindsay and Ann saved their best performance for this round and delighted the court one crowd with some eye catching efforts. They managed to secure a 5-3 lead before a late rally from the Levers saw the visitors win 5-7 but in obtaining 15 points on the evening it left Wetherby hopes quickly rising. Brad and Anne knew they would have to be sharp to keep Colin and Jenny at bay and they found themselves 2-3 down. Brad held serve after facing two break points to level at 3-3 but at 4-4 it was far too close for comfort. However the hosts then suddenly found their best form and winning four games on the bounce suddenly began to turn the match their way after a 8-4 win produced a useful 26 point haul overall. The winning line was edging closer and Tony and Katie were playing relaxed, consistent tennis on court three. Aware things were looking good elsewhere they put the icing on the cake with a great 10-2 success which gave them 21 on the evening and left Wetherby to celebrate a crucial 62-46 success which was certainly far closer than a final winning margin of 16 implies.
The great team spirit within the camp has been one of the secrets of their success this season and captain Tony Cutler must be congratulated for installing this within a lovely group who always play with a smile. This victory now means Wetherby have a slender two point lead at the top although both Harlow and Thirsk have games in hand. Wetherby visit Thirsk in arguably their game of the season a week on Thursday with success there almost certainly meaning promotion but victory there and at home to Almscliffe would guarantee Division 5 for the team next season.
Bar 3 has been a welcome watering hole for Wetherby teams this season and tonight was no exception. Well played Bradley Triffitt, Anne Lillywhite, Ann Jones, Tony Cutler, Lindsay Edgar and Katie Barrett who enjoyed the sandwiches amd chips once more!