Once again the players were on weather watch this evening as Wetherby 2 made their first appearance of the season as they welcomed Tadcaster who were making a welcome return to the fold. Thankfully the weather gods were smiling and despite a poor forecast the match was played to a finish. Marcus Kaiser was a late withdrawal for the hosts so Winter League organiser Mike Triffitt stepped in at seed one to partner Fiona Chantrey whilst Ann Jones was at seed two with new member Dave Rowlands who was making his Winter League debut.
Chantrey and Triffitt began on court one as they took on Taddy top pair Will Woodrow and Amanda Hollinghurst. Mike and Will had crossed paths during the summer when Wetherby narrowly defeated Tadcaster in a men’s friendly and tonight would be similar close and competitive. Fiona had enjoyed a fabulous summer helping Wetherby A to title success in Harrogate division 5 and with an unbeaten record was full of confidence. However Will began serving and banged down a treble of aces as Tadcaster took the first game in quick time. However both Mike and Fiona are consistent types and despite not having hard groundstrokes both play a very useful spin game which they used to great effect in moving the scoreboard nicely along to 5-1 in their favour. However Tadcaster responded and with Will hitting hard from deep and dominating the net they fought back to 5-4. Amanda was proving a tough nut to crack with some excellent returns and this was proving a cracking rubber indeed. Wetherby managed to stop the rot and just run our narrow 7-5 winners after an absorbing affair.
Over on court two Jones and Rowlands were enjoying themselves against Craig Derry and Sue McClure. Dave is a relative new member and has played once for the men’s second team and competed in the Wetherby end of season championships where he took some notable scalps getting to the semi finals of the men’s doubles. A cheery and easy going chap he is a strong left hander with good returns and a quick serve. Craig is a very consistent sort and was happy to prolong a rally with great patience whilst Sue covered every inch of the court as she ran down so many seemingly lost causes. There was little therefore between the quartet and fittingly after a tremendous battle the teams were locked at 6-6 leaving Wetherby slightly ahead overall leading 13-11.
The men’s rubber always looked likely to be another close encounter and no surprise it was. Watching coach Steve Plant was shaking his head in disbelief at some of the unorthodox shots from Triffitt, Sorry Steve but I am too old to change now lol!. He and Dave started well however and they were 3-1 ahead before suddenly the contest turned on its head as a rampant Tadcaster duo clicked into form. Will and Craig played some sensational tennis and with great team work forged ahead 6-3 after five games won on the bounce. The beleaguered hosts were creaking but thankfully they didn’t fold and with great resolve took the final three games for a deserved share of the spoils.
On Court two Fiona and Ann found themselves up against it as the greater court speed of Sue and Amanda had Tadcaster leading 5-2. It needed all of Ann’s many years of court experience to fight her way back and with the classy Chantrey pulling out some wonderful winners the Wetherby ladies made an incredible comeback to win 7-5.
This set up a final third round that saw Wetherby slightly ahead 26-22 with all to play for. Fiona and Mike moved over to court two and using a variety of pace they made a strong start against Sue and Craig. They led 5-1 but the news over on court one meant things were going down to the wire. Will and Amanda had caught the eye in round one and like a fine wine were improving again in this last round where they forged ahead 7-0 against a bewildered Ann and Dave. As is often the case the score line was harsh with many games going to deuce but Tadcaster were proving the stronger converting crucial points.
Mike and Fiona knew they had to keep the score line ticking over and showing great consistency and some crafty play they moved further ahead 9-1. A fist pump from Ann signified she and Dave were on the board and this single game proved the turning point giving Mike and Fiona valuable breaking space. Battling onto the end Ann and Dave couldn’t add any further games as the very impressive Will and Sue ran out 11-1 winners.
However Mike and Fiona managed to match that score for the hosts and with the rain starting to lash down play finished just in time.
So after a superb encounter Wetherby were able to celebrate a 38-24 success but all credit and a big thanks to Tadcaster for a big effort which came up agonisingly short at the death. A match played in great spirt and good luck to both teams in the rest of your campaigns.
Well played Dave Rowlands, Ann Jones, Fiona Chantrey and Mike Triffitt
A massive effort on debut from Craig Derry, Amanda Hollinghurst, Sue McClure and captain Will Woodrow.