A warm and pleasant evening as Wetherby A travelled north to Ripon this evening. With the hosts in second place and just three points behind table topping Wetherby this was a crucial match and it proved to be very competitive and an absorbing affair.
Bradley Triffitt was absent revising for his ‘A ‘levels whilst Louise Beasley was away in the Lakes and Laura Delafield was another non-runner. However, Dawn Steel kindly stepped in for her second appearance of the campaign to partner Philip Longstaff.
A tight opening round with Ripon captain Tim Swiers joined by first team star Sylvia Billington, who has played twice in Division 1 this term . They shared the spoils 6-6 against Richard and Fiona after a thrilling contest. Jonathan and Christina proved too strong for James Senior and Charlotte Ash as they claimed a 3-9 success whilst Olivia Redhead, better known for her exploits at West Tanfield, joined husband Jon and they ran out narrow 7-5 victors over Philip and Dawn leaving the league leaders four ahead.
Once again the Redheads proved a tough nut to crack during round two where Jonny and Christina needed great resolve to nick a 5-7 victory. Tim and Sylvia were looking useful and it was easy to see why Sylvia plays higher as she was clinical at the net and her serve was quick. They defeated Phil and Dawn 9-3 but thankfully for the visitors Richard and Fiona were a pillar of consistency as they routed James and Charlotte 1-11 to increase the lead to ten points.
It would need a big effort from Ripon to overturn such a deficit but with Tim and Sylvia again catching the eye , they dished out a 9-3 defeat to Jonny and Christina, suddenly there were a few anxious faces on the side-lines. With Richard and Fiona trailing 5-2 on court one the hosts sensed a sensational comeback but the Wetherby top dogs steadied the ship to record a 5-7 success and with Phil and Dawn saving their best form for the finale, a super 2-10 win against James and Charlotte, Wetherby were left to celebrate a 47-61 overall success.
The score line was closer than perhaps it indicated and this was arguably Wetherby’s hardest win of the season . They stretch their lead at the summit to five points and as they are eight clear of third placed Dace, who entertain Knaresborough in their game in hand on Thursday, it would need a monumental collapse to not be promoted. The champagne is on ice for the title and Wetherby look intent on keeping the foot on the gas .
Thanks to Ripon for their hospitality and as always, a super tea afterwards and good banter was enjoyed. We will be happy to see Ripon promoted too if it means the continuation of more tasty teas lol!!
Our very own coach Steve Plant was presented the award of Highly Commended Official at the Yorkshire tennis awards last night held at The Thorpe Park Hotel in Leeds.
This is richly deserved and a great achievement as Steve is heavily involved at a number of clubs in the area as well as organising junior tournaments and his linesman duties including officiating at Wimbledon.
Last seasons Division 4 champions Wetherby look determined to prove that was no fluke as they aim to repeat the feat and gain promotion this term. The players were greeted with sun and warm temperatures this evening as they welcomed Ripon to Castlegarth.
With captain Richard Franks absent on holiday as was Louise Beasley , there was a debut for promising lady Laura Delafield and the experienced Nick Lumb was drafted in for a rare mixed doubles appearance. The duo teamed up at pair three and were soon enjoying themselves . They began with a narrow defeat against Jon Redhead and Colette Wilson ,who are an improving duo themselves, but once settled took a 6-6 draw with Mark Robson and former Boroughbridge star Chantal Lancaster, who was making a welcome return to Wetherby after been a regular for many years on the Winter League circuit. With confidence building the hosts secured a narrow 7-5 win over Ripon first pair Tim Swiers and Helen Bell which left them with an important 18 points on the board.
Jonathan Tyler passed a late fitness test to team up with regular partner Christina Plant and this duo always ensure Wetherby have a strong look. Jonny was showing no signs of injury as he played is usual fluent game and with strong serving and great battling Christina was looking in good shape. The duo managed two 8-4 victories but were held 6-6 by the Ripon top dogs but a useful 22 left the hosts feeling confident.
With Richard and Louise away, Fiona Chantrey and Bradley Triffitt joined forces and the duo were in sparkling form in their first HDTL appearance together. They had looked promising when teaming up in the Winter league and proved a model of consistency throughout the evening. Playing clever tennis, they opened with an eye catching 10-2 success against Tim and Helen and followed up with two 11-1 victories to close on an excellent 32 which gave Wetherby a solid 72-36 victory.
Special thanks to Nick for stepping in and delivering an amazing selection of sandwiches for the tea afterwards whilst Laura is a great recruit and continues to make huge strides both on and off the court with her super humour and never surrender attitude. Lady Fe proved more than able both on and off the court as she directed the troops in the kitchen and this was a very enjoyable evening . Quick mention for Trish Bell who popped down to watch with her daughter as did new member Janet Devlin who will be a big asset to the ladies’ teams.
Wetherby travel north on Monday to Bedale looking to continue their winning ways but will be wary of the hosts who can often prove stern opposition.
A great debut for Laura Delafield who helped the team to success this evening.
A healthy diet of apples is obviously the key to success although Brad can never resist a good old fashioned chocolate cake!
Sunday May 1st we hosted our start of the month social tournament . Mike and Brad Triffitt were the organisers and a handy twelve players were on show. A series of mixed fun doubles with prizes for the winners and runners up!.
A dry afternoon as the players prepared for battle!
Fiona Chantrey bagged 13 points to take the runners up berth but congratulations to Suzanne Harte for recording an excellent 15 to take top spot. Enjoy your chocolate treats ladies!
It felt more like Winter League weather as Wetherby A travelled north to face Harlow A tonight in the opening match of the HDTL Division 4. Both clubs were battling for the title last summer, which Wetherby finally won with Harlow in third, and there is always a keen rivalry between this pair.
Former Wetherby member Anne Gillies is the new captain at Harlow this season and she was joined by John Berger who is a regular on the circuit whilst Cassius Petrovan , fresh from helping Harlow men’s first team to success against Cawood yesterday , paired with Rosemary Carter. With Andy Poulton nursing an injury in stepped his son Leo, who was in sparkling form in the VOM league thrashing of Westfields last night, and he was paired with usual mixed partner Loopy Parker giving the team a strong look.
Wetherby arrived with captain Richard Franks alongside Fiona Chantrey whilst Brad Triffitt and Louise Beasley resumed together and with Jonny Tyler injured and Philip Longstaff away, Mike Park kindly stepped in to partner Christina Plant.
Andy Poulton joined me on the side-lines as this eagerly awaited clash got underway. Richard and Fiona have a longstanding partnership and the duo, who topped last season’s Division 4 scoring charts, were looking to make a good start against Cassius and Rosemary. Cassius is a crafty customer and hits well from deep whilst using his slice backhand to produce many nice returns. Rosemary is a strong competitor and is happy to keep a rally going so the Wetherby duo knew they were in for a tough battle. Richard was his usual model of consistency and with Fiona showing some delightful touches the pair were playing well. This was close throughout but the visitors finished the stronger to record a useful 4-8 success.
On court two Brad and Louise were looking to contain the power of Leo Poulton, who is the strongest man at Harlow, and with his fast and powerful serve proving difficult to play they knew it would be damage limitation. Loopy continues to impress with her controlled play and with Leo creaming a number of amazing forehand winners past his bewildered opponents, the Wetherby duo spent plenty of time defending. However, Louise is one of the strongest female net players in this section and anything short was duly despatched and with Brad moving smartly around court the pair were competitive. An 8-4 reverse meant more points heading into the Wetherby bag.
On court three Mike and Christina teamed up and were also involved in a hard fought battle with Anne and John. Anne has enjoyed plenty of match time since joining the Harrogate club and she is improving each year. John is a veteran of the league and always gives a whole hearted performance with his never surrender approach so this was difficult to call. However, Mike is a very calm character and with some big serving and strong net play coupled with Christina’s excellent serving, the visitors took the honours 5-7 giving the team a narrow 17-19 advantage.
Leo and Loopy moved over to the show court and with dad Andy watching on, Leo was in sparkling form once more against Richard and Fiona. Leo and Richard played out some tremendous rallies, but the Harlow youngster is so difficult to stop and despite their best efforts Wetherby were on the wrong end of a 9-3 score line.
On court two Brad and Louise were looking to address the scoreboard and started brightly against John and Anne with some enterprising play. Maintaining a good standard throughout, Louise was rewarded with some more excellent net play whilst with Brad content to operate from deep, the duo used their strong teamwork to move their opponents around well. A gritty display from Harlow wasn’t enough as Wetherby took the rubber 3-9.
Mike and Christina were now starting to gel and showing good positional play were always ahead against Cassius and Rosemary. Once more Christina’s serving game caught the eye and Mike picked up many close range smashes off them. Some splendid tennis resulted in an eye catching 3-9 win which extended the Wetherby lead to 32-40.
The title favourites were now poised to open with a win but there was still plenty of work to complete their mission and on court one John and Anne were in the form of their lives as they led Richard and Fiona 3-2 early on. John was covering every inch of the court and with Anne refusing to buckle and returning everything thrown at her, a shock was on the cards. Step forward Fiona now and she took control of the net whilst Richard manned the baseline and digging deep, they recovered to secure a 4-8 success.
On court three Mike and Christina were relishing facing Leo and loopy but a few quick serves from the Harlow top dog and some hard hitting from deep had them soon realising a big effort was needed. They didn’t buckle at the challenge and with Mike attacking the net and Christina producing some crafty play this was an intriguing contest. Eventually the hosts ran out 8-4 victors and with 25 points on the evening this was the highest score recorded.
Wetherby still led by 8 therefore and Brad and Louise had no intention of letting slip a golden opportunity. They made an electric start and giving Cassius and Rosemary no breathing space produced their best tennis of the evening. Louise banged down an ace and her net play was breathtaking as she produced a number of amazing smashes, hit with real venom. Finding some lovely angles she was bossing the show and with Brad a more than useful partner the pair ran out 2-10 winners and their 23 was rich reward for a huge effort .
Wetherby therefore had dodged a potential banana skin and secured a vital 46-62 success that gives them plenty to build upon. Always a warm welcome from Harlow and great to catch up with friends there and big thanks to Andy for his company watching. Special mention to Mike Park for effortlessly stepping in and producing a strong performance and this really was a very professional display from the visitors with three very good pairs on duty.
The final score didn’t reflect how close a contest this was and the clinical performance to the end proved the ultimate difference between two good teams.
After a very warm and sunny day the temperatures and sun had dipped but with no rain in sight it meant good conditions as Wetherby B hosted Starbeck C in the HDTL Division 5 which kick started the summer mixed season.
Lindsay Edgar has taken over the captaincy from Tony Culter and was joined by Anne Lillywhite whilst Tony resumed alongside Marise Richfield and Phil Wilkinson paired with Debbie Vines giving the hosts a strong feel. Starbeck had a number of new faces with Chris Metcalfe stepping down from Division two to partner his twelve year old daughter Caitlan whilst wife Mel teamed up with Mark Girling and another junior Orla McPartland was joined by John Barker.
Phil and Debbie took on Chris and Caitlan on the show court with Debbie looking to continue her fine form after an excellent 22 alongside Marise Richfield on Saturday for the ladies second team. They knew they faced a tough ask against Chris but this proved a close and absorbing rubber. Caitlan is a promising type who has focused on cricket recently but back on the tennis court was relishing the action. She has good court coverage and produces some nice touches . Chris is a big server and likes to attack from deep but Phil is equally effective with some strong forehands from the baseline and Debbie is rarely matched for enthusiasm and the ability to keep rallies going. Little between the pairs before Starbeck ran out narrow 5-7 victors.
Anne Lillywhite has been the backbone of the B team for many years and her partnership with Lindsay looked one to savor as they opened up against Mel and Mark on court two. Mark had played for Starbeck men’s in the morning and was doing well to double up here and he and Mel played with real freedom and big smiles throughout. Lindsay and Anne are certainly a tough nut to crack and showing excellent consistency proved too strong in recording a 10-2 victory.
Tony and Marise are another very consistent duo and with Cutler having an interesting bag of tricks and Richfield always strong when returning, they looked confident against John and Orla. However this soon became apparent there would be no quarter given and a very close rubber ensured. Orla is the daughter of Morven, who is a very established and key member of the Harrogate based club, and she has her mums tenacity on court. John played his part in a super contest before Wetherby celebrated a narrow 7-5 success leaving them ahead 22-14.
Round two saw Lindsay and Anne move to court one and they continued their rich vein of form as they were smartly away against Chris and Caitlan. Moving their opponents around and mixing up the game proved useful tactics as the Starbeck top dogs struggled to contain . Caitlan was finding the big hitting from left-handed Anne a constant strain and this was a very impressive showing to secure a 9-3 win for the hosts.
Tony and Marise were gelling nicely against Mel and Mark who was starting to feel the effects of two matches and despite a brave effort it was Wetherby again in the winners enclosure with a 10-2 win.
Phil and Debbie went one better as their blossoming relationship was showing real signs of promise. They produced plenty of trickery and eye-catching tennis during a 11-1 victory over Orla and John who struggled to contain the on fire hosts.
With Wetherby nearing the finish line the lead had extended to 52-20 as the finale began. Tony and Marise were brought back to earth as a rejuvenated Caitlan and Chris showed why they could well be one of the strongest couples in the section this summer. With Chris turning up the tempo and sending down a number of unplayable serves, his crafty play around court had his opponents bamboozled. Caitlan was finding her length and timing and despite some backs to the walls defending the Wetherby pair couldn’t prevent a 2-10 reverse.
Phil and Debbie concluded a splendid evening by taking a 8-4 win against Mel and Mark who were rewarded for some lung busting recover play whilst Lindsay and Anne confirmed their status as top scorers as they defeated John and Orla 9-3 to take their tally to 28.
A winning margin of 71-37 means Wetherby will look to challenge for promotion and those credentials will be tested at title favourites Harlow next time out. For Starbeck, they must be applauded for introducing youth into the HDTL and Orla and Caitlan will certainly benefit from their outings tonight. Good luck to both teams for the rest of the season.
A nice performance from Tony Cutler, Marise Richfield, Phil Wilkinson, Debbie Vines, Anne Lillywhite and new captain Lindsay Edgar tonight.
Good work from Lindsay and Phil later in the kitchen !