On a lovely evening for tennis it was great that Wetherby 2 and Rufforth 2 were able to meet. This was one of the warmer evenings we have witnessed in the Winter League and some players were even in shorts!
Rufforth arrived with a strong quartet and would start firm favourites against their hosts.
Richard Franks and Anne Lillywhite had enjoyed a successful summer season together in the mixed a few years back and they took on Rob Berry and Denise Reilly. The Rufforth pair are certainly first team standard and Rob has caught the eye on several outings this winter. Denise was making a welcome return from injury and it didn’t take her long to get into stride. She was extremely clinical at the net and with Rob covering every inch of the court and hitting some booming serves and tricky spinning returns, the home pair were often left chasing shadows. Credit their effort and the duo fought bravely but Rufforth were deserved 10-2 winners.
On court two youngsters Gabe Mead and Iris Greaney stepped in and it was lovely to see youth been given a chance. Both are full of energy and quick around court but they would have their work cut out to contend with winter league regulars Emma Whiting and Dan Russell. The visitors pair were the leading couple in York mixed division five last term and soon started to show their class. Gabe is a big hitting left hander and was happy to attack from deep whilst Irish can also return with venom but the Wetherby pair lacked the craft and guile of their opponents who were very consistent. Despite plenty of deuce games a 11-1 reverse was harsh on the youngsters but they will learn from the experience.
So Rufforth were well on their way to victory after round one and further increased that advantage in the ladies rubber. Emma and Denise showed no mercy as they quickly put points on the board and whilst Iris and Anne couldn’t be faulted for effort, they couldn’t match the weaponry of a very impressive Rufforth duo who ran out cosy 10-2 winners.
On Court two however Gabe and Richard were looking strong and they quickly developed a nice partnership. Gabe was certainly enjoying the challenge that Rob and Dan presented but was not fazed as he hit some cracking winners. Richard used his experienced well and this was a close affair. Leading 5-3 Rufforth looked set for success but three games on the bounce put Wetherby in the lead 6-5. They couldnt quite secure a famous win but a share of the spoils at 6-6 was a tremendous effort and richly reserved.
Rufforth had already secured the two match points and Denise and Rob were once more unstoppable in the finale as they faced Iris and Gabe. The young Wetherby pair were rewarded many times for their efforts with some eye catching winners but finding the consistency to match their higher rated opponents was difficult. Rufforth never took the foot off the pedal as they strode to a 11-1 victory .
However on court two Wetherby were playing well and Richard and Anne sensed this could be the time to take the incentive. Dan and Emma were in good form but with a few errors creeping in the hosts looked to cash in. This was an enthralling tie and extremely hard fought but leading 6-5 Wetherby were able to close out the rubber to great delight and celebrate a hard fought success. Rufforth took the match therefore 53-19.
A big thanks in the current climate to everyone who took part tonight and thanks to the parents who joined me on the sidelines to offer support, we even took one bench each to keep our social distancing!
Thanks to Gabe Mead, Iris Greaney, Anne Lillywhite and Richard Franks for a big effort tonight against very strong opponents.
Keeping their distance for Rufforth 2 were Dan Russell, Denis Reilly, Rob Berry and Emma Whiting who certainly all impressed on court.