The players were well wrapped up tonight for the Winter League clash between table toppers Collingham and the team at the foot Tadcaster but thankfully with no rain it was a dry, albeit chilly evening.
Despite the teams respective league positions this had a look of a tight match on paper and so it proved. The Visitors arrived with regulars Will Woodrow and Sue McClure and there was a debut for Sam Benn whilst Natasha Quigley kindly made up the quartet guesting from Knaresborough. Collingham had their usual men in captain Tony Cutler with Bradley Triffitt whilst regular Katie Barrett was also in the squad. With Louise Beasley absent Christina Plant stepped in to replace her.
Christina and Bradley had enjoyed their debut together in the summer when top scoring for Wetherby A away at Northallerton and they were hopeful of another good showing together this evening. They faced a tough challenge with Taddy captain Will Woodrow improving with each game played and the classy Natasha Quigley always a threat. Collingham were quick out of the blocks on court one winning the first two games but Tadcaster took the following three before the hosts took the next three to leave them ahead 5-3. However both Will and Natasha were hitting well from deep and both confident at the net they begin to take control. A great finish saw them take the rubber 5-7 after a high quality encounter.
Over on court two Tony and Katie are a standing dish these days and with good team work they were ahead for most of the way against Sue and Sam. Sue is a tremendous battler covering every inch of the court whilst Sam was hitting with ferocity and often making some eye catching winners. The visitors improved as the action unfolded and finally ran out deserved 5-7 winners meaning Tad led 14-10 after the opening round.
Collingham knew there was work to do and Tony and Brad started impressively against Will and Sam moving ahead 5-0 and looking comfortable. But credit the Tad duo who stuck to their guns and quietly and effectively made their comeback which amazingly saw them draw level at 5-5. However Cutler and Triffitt regrouped and showing nerves of steel managed to take the final two games to run out narrow 7-5 winners.
On court two a close encounter looked likely but unfortunately for Tad poor Sue McClure was struggling with a back injury and the Collingham ladies sensed this was their opportunity to strike. Christina Plant is a strong server and she was in scintillating form as she sent down ace after ace with some absolute boomers giving the visitors little chance of making a return. With Barrett happy to control the net Collingham played some excellent tennis and despite the best efforts of Tadcaster it was the hosts who secured a 10-2 success which suddenly turned the match on its head.
With temperatures dropping Collingham went into the final round with a 27-21 advantage needing ten more games to run out winners. Will and Natasha were playing very well on the show court and giving Katie and Tony little chance, moved quickly into a 4-0 lead. On court two Plant and Triffitt were leading 3-1 so the tie was still in the balance but still favouring Collingham. Realising they would need to dig deep, Christina and Brad were running for everything but Sue seemed revitalised and Sam playing ever so well this rubber was very competitive. At 5-4 to Collingham it was tight and with Tony and Katie trailing 7-2 the hosts still needed three to win. Playing to their strengths Brad and Christina were showing great mental strength and finding the gaps they ensured the leaders would make it four on the bounce as they took the last three games to run out 8-4 winners after a solid performance. With the pressure off, Tony and Katie could relax but Will and Natasha were too strong and were 9-3 winners so finish the night well.
A narrow 38-34 victory moves Collingham two points clear at the summit and despite still looking for their first points Tadcaster were once again competitive and surely that elusive win will be theirs sooner rather than later .Thanks as always to all on show and good luck for the rest of the season to both teams.
Well played Bradley Triffitt, Christina Plant, Katie Barrett and captain Tony Cutler who secured a fourth straight win for Collingham.
A great effort from captain Will Woodrow, Natasha Quigley, Sue McClure and Sam Benn just came up short for battling Tadcaster.