Another warm evening , especially for November, and despite early drizzle making the courts difficult, Wetherby 1 and Boston Spa served up a cracking match in tonight’s Kendall’s Winter League clash down at Castlegarth. The hosts had opened with a cosy win against Tadcaster and for this derby fixture a new quartet were on show. Lucy Wright and Adam Turner were both late withdrawels due to injury so a big thanks to Rachel Hill and Marc Bickers for stepping in to cover. Yvonne Mannall and Jeremy Reddish both made rare Winter League starts to give the hosts a strong look. Boston were missing captain Kate Gilman, who watched from the side-lines,so Pauline Belt partnered star man Richard Whaley whilst the reliable Pete Smith and Dominique Morrissey teamed up at pair two.
Yvonne and Jeremy enjoyed success at the end of season in house tournaments where the duo collected three trophies between them and this excellent pairing entertained Richard and Pauline on the show court. The rain meant a few early mistakes and in a tense opening there was little between the teams with Wetherby just ahead 4-3. However Jeremy was serving exceptionally quick and with the power of Yvonne causing the visitors problems they began to move into top gear. Richard produced his usual bag of tricks to keep Wetherby on their toes and with Pauline strong at the net this was certainly a great advert for the Winer League. Finally Wetherby took the honours 8-4.
On court two Rachel and Marc took on Pete and Dominique . The Wetherby pair had played key roles in securing the HDTL Division two crown in the summer and both played well here. Marc caught the eye with some superb serving and with his backhand once again improving each week he was on fire. Rachel has spent many years bossing the net with her great anticipation skills and tonight was no different meaning Boston would have to play out of their skins to take anything from this rubber. Pete is always crafty and keeping his opponents guessing managed to produce plenty of winners whilst Dominique used her good court coverage to great effect. Once more a quality rubber but another 8-4 win for the hosts left them 16-8 ahead after the opening round.
Yvonne and Rachel have been great ambassadors, flying the flag for Wetherby ladies for many years, and this top pairing looked confident in the ladies clash with Pauline and Domingue. However the Boston ladies are very useful and this was a tight affair with Wetherby leading 4-3. However the Mannall forehand was getting into full swing as she exploited the gaps with clinical precision and with Rachel bossing the net it was another 8-4 success for the hosts.
The men’s clash was equally competitive with hard hitting and some incredible rallies on court one. Jeremy and Marc just had the greater firepower and consistency which helped them secure yet another 8-4 success meaning at 32-16 Wetherby 1 were now in the driving seat.
Marc had been using his ‘soft hands ‘to make some lovely sleight of hand winners and growing in confidence he played well throughout the evening. He and Rachel had good teamwork and it was needed to repel the threat of Richard and Pauline. This contest had everything and was played in a great spirit with each player showing touches of class. It always promised to be ever to close and at 7-5 Wetherby had just done enough to take the bragging rights.
Yvonne and Jeremy were now in first gear on court two and in the mood for blood as they turned up the tempo to devastating effect. A series of hard hitting winners were reigning down on Boston as the Wetherby top dogs showcased all their array of weaponry. Boston refused to buckle but wave after wave of attacks were impossible to stop and despite a brave rear-guard action it was a convincing 11-1 victory for Wetherby who ran out 50-22 winners on a splendid night of tennis action.
Thanks once again to all on show and your effort and commitment was much appreciated and enjoyed by the viewing gallery. Wetherby 1 return to action a week on Thursday against Knaresborough and will be looking to maintain their good early season form.
Never easy to get Rachel Hill on camera and despite her Obi One Kenobi gown, she is seen celebrating for Wetherby 1 here alongside playing partner Marc Bickers and Yvonne Mannall and Jeremy Reddish. Congrats to all on a superb performance.