The Leeds men’s first team had entered the season after promotion hoping to be competitive and retain their Division 4 status but after an excellent campaign they found themselves in second position and knowing a win over third placed St Chads would see them secure consecutive promotions.
Captain Mike Triffitt once more paired with son Bradley whilst due to absence the ever reliable Paul Godden was joined by exciting youngster Zak Watson for his debut. It was only last week that Zak had made his debut in Division 6 for the second team but such was his impressive performance in bagging all four sets that captain Mike Triffitt had no hesitation selecting him today for such a huge clash.
Paul and Zak began on court four and faced Chads captain Justin Carveley and newcomer Tom Wignall. Paul has played a significant role in the team this year after spending many years playing in the York league and would a useful partner for 15 year old Zak. The youngster is a big hitter from deep and with an improving service and net game is certainly a star of the future. The Wetherby duo did initially struggle and Tom caught the eye for the visitors with some big serving and ferocious hitting whilst the steady influence of Justin saw the Leeds based team secure the opener 3-6. However the Wetherby men began to settle and finding their rhythm moved up the gears and began to dominate. With good team work they reversed the opening set score to secure a well-earned point following a 6-3 win.
Over on court five there was little between the teams with father and son duo Mike and Brad having to dig deep against the experienced Richard Brown and exciting youngster Ollie Manners. This pair are a standing dish for Chads and work very effectively with a good understanding. However the Triffitt’s remained composed to take the opener 6-3 but found themselves playing catch up in the second. Trailing 5-3 then 6-5 they managed to force a tiebreak which proved to be a real rollercoaster affair. With tensions high both pairs looked nervous but thankfully for Wetherby the Triffitt’s held firm to take the tie break 9-7 after saving set point and with it a crucial looking 3-1 first round advantage.
Despite the long drawn out match both Richard and Ollie came out firing against Paul and Zak and looked determined to take the match down to the wire. Once more they had to suffer a tie beak but this time proved a little too match savvy as they took that and despite another classic second set, the Wetherby men couldn’t match the consistency of their opponents. Plenty of deuce games and long rallies but the craft and guise of the Leeds pair proved crucial and they celebrated a 4-6 victory to level up the overall scores at 3-3.
It was now down to the Triffs to see whether they could force a win to guarantee promotion and they looked determined to complete the task. With great consistency they made sure their error count was low and with Brad hitting more lobbed winners than Mike the duo began to take control. Mixing big hitting with delicate short play they took the opener 6-0 and refused to take the foot off the gas in the second. Tom was serving exceptionally however and the Triffitt’s couldn’t break him so the second set was very tight. However Brad ensured any loose balls were dispatched for winners whilst Mike controlled the net and they ground out a 6-2 success to ensure Wetherby would indeed be gracing the giddy heights of Division 3 next term.
A big thanks to all the ten players who have represented the team this season. Brad hasn’t missed a game whilst Mike has only missed one and its great to see Brad and Zak playing at this level. I have seen them play at junior level and driven them all across West Yorkshire in the junior leagues so feel very proud they can now make such an impact in adult men’s tennis.
Two matches to play but it would take a mathematical surprise to prevent Horsforth from been crowned champions although they have and will be worthy winners in all honesty.
Thanks to chads for a cracking couple of matches this season and captain Justin Carveley remains one of the nicest in the league and has a good set of chaps to work with. We wish them well to go one better next term.