Temperatures were once again unbelievably high for November as Wetherby 2 hosted Harlow in tonight’s Kendall’s Winter League. Debbie Vines and Philip Longstaff had helped Wetherby A to title success in Division Four of the HDTL last summer and paired up together here whilst Dawn Steel and Dave Rowlands completed the line-up.
Harlow arrived with an international feel about their quartet with Andy and Simone Carrick at seed one. They had dominated HDTL Division Five last summer helping Harlow to the divisional crown whilst Spaniard Carlos Gabaldon had impressed in the men’s teams and was joined by Latvian debutant Silva Sarkovska.
Debbie and Philip took on the Carrick’s in the opening rubber played on court four. This promised to be a tight affair and it didnt disappoint. Philip proved a very useful recruit for the hosts during the summer and he added to his mixed winners medal by assisting the Leeds men’s first team to runners up in Division four and promotion. Debbie needs no introduction and has been playing league tennis at Castlegarth for a number of years. Her consistency never wavers and with good court coverage and excellent anticipation skills is always welcome on court. Philip was hitting hard from deep and covering plenty of ground but Wetherby faced a battle against the ultra-consistent Harlow top dogs. Simone is one of the hardest hitting ladies on the circuit and with dad Andy a real predator at the net they are a very strong duo. End to end stuff in an absorbing encounter before Wetherby took the honours with a narrow 7-5 success.
On court five Dave Rowlands and Dawn Steel took on Carlos and Silva. The Wetherby couple are notorious slow starters and Harlow were soon ahead 4-1. However Dave is very quick around court and the left hander started to turn on the style. Dawn is another long serving player at the club and her game is built around consistency and clever positional play. Carlos is also a strong player and hits with real venom whilst Silva was not overawed on debut and her enthusiasm and never say die attitude was a great help for the visitors. Wetherby were starting to reap the rewards with some strong teamwork and in a great comeback took the rubber 7-5 leaving the match well poised at 14-10 heading into round two.
The men’s match looked too close to call and it was Harlow who began well and never let go of the initiative. Andy and Carlos proved a winning formula and kept the Wetherby chaps on the back front throughout. Some tremendous rallies and great entertainment but a worthy 4-8 victory for the Harrogate club levelled matters up overall.
Debbie and Dawn looked confident in the ladies contest and used an abundance of poise and craft to ensure they would not be found wanting. Despite the big hitting from Simone, the hosts remained calm and methodically moving though the gears were in sparkling form. A brave effort from Silva who will undoubtedly come on for the experience but Harlow couldn’t repel the hosts who recorded an 11-1 success.
With a 29-19 advantage Wetherby were very much in the driving seat but the Carrick’s were determined to make things tight. They were involved in another excellent contest against Dawn and Dave who were now starting to gel and have the makings of a more than useful partnership. Little between the teams here and fittingly a 6-6 draw was a good reflection of the finale.
Carlos and Silva were playing ever so well against Debbie and Phil and this was a cracking match up with no quarter given. Plenty of lung busting rallies and backs to the wall defending but Wetherby just edged a thriller 7-5 to celebrate a 42-30 win overall.
Always great to welcome our friends from Harlow and no doubt there will be plenty more battles this summer. Thanks to all for competing this evening and good luck with your remaining fixtures.
A cracking effort from Carlos Gabaldon, Andy Carrick, Simone Carrick and Silva Sarkovska ensured a great match and thanks for coming over to play this evening.