Defending champions Wetherby 1 took on unbeaten Collingham this evening and with the afternoon rain relenting a tremendous battle ensued.
Bradley Triffitt was missing for Collingham so Louise Beasley partnered captain Tony Cutler whilst with numbers low, Richard Franks and Fiona Chantrey kindly made up the quartet. Jill and Mike Abel were joined by Helen Robinson and Jeremy Reddish for the hosts.
Jeremy and Jill took on Richard and Fiona on the show court and this proved a very entertaining affair. Last season’s Harrogate mixed division 5 top duo Richard and Fiona were keen to test themselves against men’s first team star Jeremy Reddish and York mixed 2 captain Jill Abel and they enjoyed the challenge. They are certainly used to partnering and with great composure and consistency they built up a useful early lead. Jeremy was serving well and has a lovely backhand whilst Jill was always a threat with her poaching skills at the net. But Richard is certainly one of the big improves at the club and with great tenacity he and Fiona eventually secured an impressive 3-9 success.
On court two ladies first team star Helen Robinson was joined by men’s second team regular Mike Abel and they entertained Tony Cutler and Louise Beasley who had both been in winning title teams in Harrogate during the summer. This however represented a step up in class but the Collingham duo looked keen and would provide tough opposition. This was a real close affair with no quarter given. Louise was strong at the net with Tony using his spin game to good effect whilst Helen has a lovely backhand and Mike covers every inch of the court. Finally a Wetherby win but only just at 7-5.
So Collingham led by four as the men’s rubber began and with Jeremy continuing to dominate with serve and Mike steady at the net they started stronger. Richard and Tony were content to defend and try to prolong the rally which gave them success. This was tight but Wetherby had the greater firepower to record a 8-4 victory.
Court one spectators were once again treated to some high class tennis where Fiona Chantrey and Louise Beasley ultimately formed a lethal partnership together. They are both strong players in the ladies second team but were in the form of their lives against Helen and Jill. Collingham pushed their opponents deep and playing error free tennis were quickly away. Helen produced some eye catching left hand winners whilst Jill was returning many lost causes to keep the hosts hopes alive. A late comeback from Wetherby wasn’t enough as Collingham won 2-10 to take a 20-28 advantage into the decider.
Rain was starting to fall but only lightly so play continued. Helen and Mike produced their best form of the evening on court one and leading Richard and Fiona 5-0 the match was in the balance. But showing nerves of steel the Collingham duo fought back and managed to cut the deficit to 7-5 at the finish. All eyes moved to court two with Wetherby needing a decent win but Louise and Tony were not wilting and remained very competitive. Jeremy and Jill gave everything but couldn’t quite muster enough points and despite an 8-4 victory fell just short as the visitors prevailed 35-37 in a real thriller.
Congratulations to Collingham captain Tony Cutler who was joined by Fiona Chantrey, Louise Beasley and Richard Franks tonight.
Well played Mike Abel, Helen Robinson, Jill Abel and Jeremy Reddish who just came up short this evening.
Over on court 4 and 5 Wetherby 2 took on Knaresborough 2. The visitors arrived with a strong squad with captain Paul White and Matt Hindle both very useful players. Experienced ladies Penny Sheard and Jackie Bedford were also in attendance. Ann Jones and Dave Rowlands resumed for the hosts whilst a debut for U16 player Henry Brown who was joined by the canny Anne Lillywhite.
It always looked Boro may just be too powerful and in all honesty that was how things panned out. Lillywhite and Brown enjoyed their first match together and showing promise they managed to record a 3-9 loss in a rubber that saw some impressive serving and big hitting from Matt.
Jones and Rowlands always play with big smiles and although not forcing a win a 4-8 defeat at the hands of White and Sheard was a decent effort.
Henry and Dave enjoyed the big hitting in the men’s rubber but this was a step up in class for both and understandably they succumbed 3-9. The two Ann’s have enjoyed strong seasons with two title crowns to add to their CV’s and they were involved in the closest match of the night against Penny and Jackie. Nothing between the pairs but Boro kept the momentum up with a narrow 5-7 success.
With just pride to play for in the last the visitors confirmed their supremacy with further wins with Penny and Matt defeating Ann and Dave 4-8 and Jackie and Paul 3-9 winners over Anne and Henry.
A good night for Knaresborough therefore who ran out cosy 22-50 winners.
A big thanks to all sixteen players this evening for providing some great tennis and top action in the spirit the competition was designed for. Good luck to all during the rest of your campaigns.
An impressive performance from Paul White, Jackie Bedford, Penny Sheard and Matt Hindle took the points for Knaresborough.
Thanks to Henry Brown, Anne Lillywhite, Ann Jones and Dave Rowlands for a brave effort in defeat.