Men’s first team captain Richard Whaley and second team captain Mike Park were able to organise an inhouse friendly this morning and it was great for the chaps to be back on court in this competitive atmosphere. With teams mixed to produce an even looking affair on paper, this was an eagerly awaited clash. Unfortunately Rob Payne was a late withdrawal but thankfully mixed third team captain Tony Cutler stepped up and his late heroics were appreciated by all.
Whaley paired up with regular partner Adam Turner at seed one and they took on Mike and his son Ollie on court one. Plenty of big hitting and long rallies as the quartet all looked strong. Some breath-taking rallies and excellent finishes meant this was a high class rubber which Whaley and Turner just had the better of as they ran out 8-4 winners.
On court two Steve Jones and Jeremy Reddish teamed up for Whaley’s Warriors at seed two and they faced Parks Predators second pair of Andy Roberts and Tony Cutler. This was a baptism of fire for Tony but he held his own and with some fine serving and excellent spin , ensured Jones and Reddish would have to work hard for the points. With Roberts covering every inch of the court and hitting with pace and power, this was another hard fought battle which saw another 8-4 success.
Court three had Mike and Bradley Triffitt at seed three to help even up the squads and they faced giant Paul Godden and the improving Jonathan Tyler. Paul and Jonathan look a promising duo and with good team work and command of the court they provided fierce opposition. The Triffitt’s were relying on craft and guile although Brad was enjoying his hard hitting rallies whilst Mike was happy to dictate the pace and make his opponents guess every shot. At 6-3 down the match was threatening to get away from the Triffs but they fought back and with plenty of deuce games managed to close to eventually go down to a narrow 7-5 reverse which kept the overall score nice and close.
Round two began with the Parks facing Jones and Reddish and once again they were involved in a high quality contest. Steve was producing some exquisite efforts from out wide whilst Jeremy was enjoying his lovely looping back hand returns. Mike was a pillar of consistency whilst young Ollie produced the power and was extremely impressive at the net. This always looked a tight one and so it proved with little between the pairs. Finally it was Parks Predators who took the honours following a fine 5-7 victory.
Richard Whaley and Adam Turner had moved down to court three and would need to be in good form to contend with Godden and Tyler. Paul was booming the serves down and with Jonathan showing a lovely touch at the net the duo were playing very well indeed. However the top dogs are a tough nut to crack and with Adam also boosting an eye catching serve and Richard a handful around the court, they managed to run out 8-4 winners again.
On Court two Roberts and Cuter against The Triffitts promised to be very difficult to predict and it was no surprise this rubber was to last the longest of the round. It was neck and neck throughout with most games going to deuce and points having to be hard won. The Triffs spent many rallies defending against the aggression of Roberts but with Tony producing plenty of soft hands stuff close in it was hard work to gain any momentum. A draw would have been about right but with Brad finding his range with some lovely double handed backhand return cross court winners, it helped them to a narrow 7-5 success.
So the Warriors held a 10 point advantage going in to the finale but Roberts and Cutler produced an incredible effort against Whaley and Turner which threatened a huge upset. They played some scintillating tennis to put the frighteners on the top pair and Richard and Adam had to dig very deep before finally just getting over the line 7-5. Steve and Jeremy continued their good morning as they produced their best against Paul and Jonathan. With great fitness and composure they played intelligent tennis to outwit their opponents who couldn’t quite breach the gulf despite a strong effort as the Warriors ran out 9-3 victors.
It was left to the Parks against the Triffitts on the show court to conclude proceedings and the Triffs made a good start to open up a 2-0 lead. This galvanised the Parkes who moved ahead 3-2 but there was never much between this quartet. Brad exchanged rallies against Mike and Ollie whilst Mike T produced some good net play and some softer returns to slow the pace. Mike T managed to hold serve at 5-6 to ensure honours were even after a long but enthralling rubber ended 6-6.
A nice morning in pleasant conditions saw the Warriors finally prevail 63-45 against the battling Predators but all agreed it had been a useful work out and a nice opportunity to play competitive tennis.
Some of those in action this morning stand for a social distance picture.