Incredible weather this evening with temperatures like summer as Wetherby 2 hosted Tadcaster in the opening game of this seasons Winter League, kindly sponsored by high quality jewellers Kendall’s, who can be found on the High Street.
Wetherby captain Richard Franks teamed up with regular partner Fiona Chantrey whilst Dave Rowlands was joined by debutant Laura Delafield who has enjoyed a great season playing for York 3 mixed and who continues to impress. She was also runner up in the mixed doubles at the recent annual club tournament.
Tadcaster arrived with captain Will Woodrow pairing with another debutant in Jodie Goodhall whilst regular Clint Cockcroft was joined by Helen Taylor, again making her first appearance in the Winter League.
Players were dressed in summer attire such was the balmy evening as Fiona and Richard took on Jodie and Will. The hosts need no introduction and as one of the clubs most consistent couples continued their fine summer form from the HDTL mixed with some impressive play. Will had led Tadcaster men’s to promotion from Leeds League division 6 after they had finished runners up in their debut season and is a strong competitor with a solid service and excellent court coverage. Jodie proved equally as efficient around court and enjoyed some lung busting rallies but the Tadcaster duo struggled with the consistency of the Wetherby top dogs who ran out 9-3 winners.
Laura and Dave were meeting for the first time but both have bubbly characters and were soon gelling. Dave is very quick and covers every inch of the court. He has enjoyed playing men’s doubles this summer and is improving with every match played. Laura has been one of the finds of the season and the mixed and ladies team will surely benefit next year as she climbs up the ladder. She is strong from the baseline and is a keen competitor. However Clint was the leading player, alongside Will, in the men’s doubles league and has plenty of firepower in his artillery. With Helen proving to be very crafty and hitting hard too this promised to be a fascinating battle. And so it proved with little between the pairs it was the visitors who took the honours 5-7 leaving Wetherby ahead 14-10.
The second round saw an epic contest in the men’s which again looked tough to call before a ball was hit. Tadcaster had the advantage of Will and Clint playing regularly together but Richard Franks has proved one of the stronger men in the Wetherby men’s second team and with Dave showing his undoubted potential, they were certainly going to give the visitors a strong challenge. Tadcaster may have just shaded the duel but had to work hard to edge a thriller 5-7.
On court four the ladies were also involved in some tremendous rallies with all the quartet playing starring roles. Laura was again meeting her partner Fiona for the first time but will have appreciated the clever ground strokes that Chantrey was producing whilst hitting some eye catching returns herself. Laura proved strong at the net and despite Tad giving everything in a back to the walls display it was Wetherby running out 8-4 winners to extend their advantage to six points as they led 27-21 going into the finale.
Jodie and Will knew they must win to give Tadcaster hope but trailing 5-2 against Laura and Dave things looked bleak. However a sterling fightback was rewarded with a narrow but well deserved 5-7 success. However hopes of a surprise overall victory quickly evaporated as Richard and Fiona were in majestic form on court five. With excellent teamwork they were content to grind out points, often after long rallies, and despite the heroic efforts of Clint, who must have covered the most ground of any player tonight, he and Helen couldn’t quite convert on crucial points and fell to a 10-2 loss.
Some splendid tennis and great entertainment with Wetherby 2 celebrating a 42-30 win which not surprisingly takes them to the summit of the Winter League table!. The standings, results and fixtures can be found in the link below.
Congratulations to Dave Rowlands, Fiona Chantrey, Richard Franks and Laura Delafield on their solid performance in victory this evening.
All smiles and a great effort from Helen Taylor, Jodie Goodhall, Clint Cockcroft and Will Woodrow who represented Tadcaster this evening.