The Seniors v Juniors challenge made a welcome return after a two year absence and what a cracking event it turned out to be!. This year captains Angela Crossley and Mike Triffitt changed the format and five matches were played with pairings closely matched in anticipation of a close encounter and thankfully it certainly played out that way.
On court three Ben Gold and Tom Harrington are regular social men and they are great supporters of many social events. They paired up to face Angus Harte and Tom March who have come through the ranks at U16 level and have regular coaching at the club as well as assisting the coaches at various mini league junior coaching. The juniors started brightly and with Angus Harte hitting some tremendous hard returns they forged ahead. Tom March is a consistent player who has the ability to change the pace well and the juniors were playing some impressive tennis. The seniors fought back and Ben Gold used his all action style to make some excellent net interceptions whilst Tom Harrington often had his opponents bamboozled as he changed hands and wasn’t afraid to adopt lob and drop shots. However the extra pace and power was generated from the juniors and they ran out cosy 6-3, 6-2 winners to record the first victory of the morning.
Court Two was seeing some explosive action and Ollie Parks and Gabe Mead were in sensational form against Jonathan Tyler and Dave Warner. Ollie is a very accomplished player having started his career at an early age and climbing the ladder to men’s first team level. Gabe is a member of the U16 team and has played in the Winter League too this term and this eye catching left hander is certainly a big hope at the club. He and Ollie were soon nicely into stride leaving their bewildered opponents shell shocked. They took the opener 6-0 and at 5-1 in the second seemed poised to record a comfortable success. However Jonathan has also been playing well at Winter League and with Dave a regular at the club , seen at many social and coaching sessions, they suddenly began a fightback. Jonathan was now starting to punish any errors from the juniors and with Dave a huge presence at the net they incredibly won six games on the spin to take the set 7-5. Tensions were high and it was a battle of wills to see who held their nerve with the watching crowds enthralled with some edge of your seats tennis. However credit the youngsters who regained their composure to secure a 10-6 third set tie break to claim the rubber and move 2-0 ahead overall.
The Seniors were desperate for points so step forward Dave Rowlands and Ann Jones on court four who faced Henry Brown and Iris Greaney. Dave has been a great new recruit to the club and a regular on the Winter League scene where he and Ann had previously paired. Henry was one of three Browns in action this morning and he teamed up with the promising Iris Greaney who has also been involved with Winter league this term. This was expected to be another tight rubber but Dave and Ann had other ideas and showing great power and poise they ran away with the opener 6-0. Henry and Iris however looked determined to fight back and ensured the second set was far closer. Some enthralling long rallies and great teamwork from both pairs meant it was always going to be difficult to call the winner. This really was in the melting pot and a tie break was needed at 6-6. However Dave is a PE teacher by trade and very fit and he was using his energy levels to great effect as he and the very experienced Ann managed to close out the match 7-2 for a 2-0 win and reduce the overall arrears to 2-1 to the Juniors.
Court Five produced a real roller coaster affair with Rupert Brown and Tony Cutler taking on George Brown and Jack Metcalf. The U14 lads were the youngest on show but would prove tough opponents with their amazing enthusiasm and court coverage. Tony Cutler has been a regular, captaining Collingham in the Winter League but knew he would need all his box of tricks to secure a win whilst Rupert Brown was making his competative debut after showing up well on Saturday mornings at parent social. It was the Seniors who started stronger and with Tony using his great experience he and Rupert soon gelled and took the opener 6-3. Beginning to relax the youngsters started to hit some nice forehands and using the width of the court created plenty of space to start putting their older opponents under considerable pressure. This was a real thriller which needed a tie break. Despite having a number of match points Tony and Rupert couldn’t close out the tie and George and Jack were delighted to record a 7-5 tie break success to level up the rubber. The third set championship tie breaker was certainly not for the faint hearted and the match ebbed and flowed. Some amazing recovery shots from each player made for super viewing and both pairs had chances to win. The youngsters were unable to convert three match points and it was Tony and Rupert who held firm for an amazing 13-11 success which leveled the overall scores at 2-2.
With parents and players congregating on court one the scene was set for an intoxicating finish to the morning as youngsters Bradley Triffitt and Sophie Hunt took on Richard Franks and Fiona Chantrey. This clash was certainly living up to its show court billing as some exhilarating tennis was on show. A close opener had gone the way of the Seniors 6-4 but showing no sign of nerves Brad and Sophie battled back strongly to take the second set 7-6 after a 7-4 tie break success. Richard and Fiona were the leading pair in Harrogate division five last summer and Brad and Sophie knew they would need to be at their best to lower their colours. Brad has been in scintillating form for Collingham this winter whilst Sophie has often caught the eye with her great enthusiasm and power playing many times in Winter League too. The pair had won two rubbers on Friday in the Winter League and took that form into this morning. Fiona is a classy player and her difficult spinning returns are a useful weapon. Richard will rally all day and the juniors knew they would need to stay calm and patient to win.
The tie break was of course equally exciting in what was now a winner takes all clash and with Sophie playing arguably her best tennis of the season and Brad finding some lovely winners, they sensed the finish line was in sight. The Seniors battled back but a tremendous two handed back hand winner from Sophie produced the winning points as the young pair ran out 10-8 winners in the tie break and secure the point needed to see the Juniors lift the title winning 3-2.
An excellent morning with five great ties and a finish no one could have scripted. Thanks to all the players, organisers and parents for their support in making this event happen today thanks.