Thursday was blessed with more lovely weather as the Harrogate mixed second team squad enjoyed another in house match this evening. Some new faces on show with captain Barry Johnson organising from the side-lines and Mike Triffitt rested after taking too long to finish his matches last week!
Christina Plant had been in sensational form last week and she was given the captains armband as Plants Predators took on the Fiona Chantrey led Chantreys chancers . With Claire Carvis a late withdrawal, Helen Robinson hotfooted it down to the club as replacement and teamed up with Richard Franks as top seed for the hosts. They took on the Chancers number one pair Lindsay Edgar and Fiona Chantry who were teaming up for their debut together. Lindsay played an influential role in helping the mixed third team to title success last season and is a regular for the Tadcaster men’s team too. He and Fiona enjoyed this rubber especially as they would face a tough challenge. Richard and Fiona are usually on the same side of the net so it was strange to see them in opposition and they both enjoyed trying to outwit one another. This proved tight throughout before the Predators took the honours with a narrow 7-5 success.
Boston Spa chairman Peter Seed is a great friend of the club and helped us especially in our hour of need during recent flooding’s and now moved to Wetherby is looking to join us at CastleGarth. He teamed up with captain Christina at seed two and they entertained Kevin Duckenfield and another newcomer in Judy Quinn who recently joined after many years at Beverley. Plenty of good attacking tennis and with players looking for quick winners, long rallies were in short supply. Christina served well once more and she and Peter soon gelled as they ran out 8-4 winners.
The Steels are improving match on match but faced a tricky tie against newcomer Philip Longstaff, brother of ladies first star Yvonne Mannall, and he was joined by Rachel Butterworth. Phil and Rachel proved a super combination with both hitting well from deep and the great court coverage of Philip allowing the visitors to establish an early lead. The Steels couldn’t find their line and length and were left frustrated as they were beaten 3-9 which left the match nicely poised at 18-18.
Round Two saw Peter and Christina pop down to the show court for their intriguing clash with Lindsay and Fiona and another exciting close tussle developed. Lindsay is also a great mover on the court and was chasing many seemingly lost causes down whilst Fiona used her consistency to keep many rallies alive. Peter and Christina were looking to force the pace and with some quick play moved ahead as they just managed to run out narrow 7-5 victors.
Ollie and Dawn looked determined to improve on their opening round effort and were quickly away against Kevin and Judy. Judy is a good hitter from deep and was happy to rally away allowing Kev to look after the net but with young Ollie happy to play the long game and keep his opponents on the run, it was the Steels who were getting the upper hand and ran out tremendous 10-2 winners. Richard and Helen moved up a notch in this round too as they looked impressive against Philip and Rachel who couldn’t match their first round performance. Helen had her backhand finely tuned and with Richard a constant runner, the hosts took the honours with an eye catching 9-3 success leaving Plants Predators ahead 44-28.
Work to be done in the finale if the Chancers were to mount a comeback and Philip and Rachel were looking to reduce the arrears as they took on Peter and Christina. They certainly enjoyed themselves with some entertaining quality tennis as they exploited the gaps with clever play. Both were wearing big smiles and showing good teamwork they had the scoreboard moving in their direction. Peter and Christina were finding it harder to fashion winners but kept going to the wire before succumbing 4-8.
However that was as close as the Chancers would come as Richard and Helen wasted little time on court two against Kevin and Judy. They were playing extremely well and showcasing plenty of weapons as they confidently went about their business. Kevin and Judy gave everything but the hosts had a touch of class to wrap up a 9-3 win.
It was left to the Steels to conclude the evening as they took on Fiona and Lindsay and this once more was a tight tussle. Fiona and Lindsay were very consistent in each of their matches and it made good viewing for the spectators enjoying the action on court one this evening. Ollie and Dawn were gaining in confidence and showing great patience quietly went about executing their excellent game plan to take the rubber 8-4 and help guide the Predators to a 65-43 victory.
Great to see new members getting opportunities and showing the club has great strength in depth at this level. Thanks to Barry for organising and we look forward to more partnerships developing next week thanks .