Long standing Wetherby tennis club member Peter Baldwin sadly passed away last week. Peter was a great supporter of both social and team tennis throughout the years as well as being a regular at many social functions. He will be remembered for his great stories and tales from days gone by as well as a ferocious forehand that was the scourge of many opponents.
His memorial will be on Monday February 10th at Stonefall Crematorium in Harrogate at 1-40pm and afterwards at Wetherby golf club at 3pm. If you would like to attend you will be very welcome.
A cold but dry evening as Wetherby 2 entertained Knaresborough 1 this evening at Castlegarth. The hosts once more gave youth a chance with Elizabeth Hewett and Ed Grogan making another appearance whilst Sophie Hunt was joined by captain Richard Franks. Boro arrived with captain Paul White partnering Maggie Sekunda and Andy Little with Penny Sheard. This looked a well matched contest on paper and so it proved.
Richard and Sophie were pairing together for the first time as they took on Paul and Maggie. The chaps exchanged many baseline rallies and with both accurate and strong hitters, these often were very long. Sophie is improving each week and under the excellent coaching of Harry Full and Steve Plant is starting to produce some impressive displays on court in the Winter League. She is a really bubbly individual and playing with a smile on her face, always seems to be enjoying her tennis. She has a very strong serve and makes some important smashes at the net. With Richard happy to cover the court, the duo were producing some really strong tennis. Paul is a regular in the men’s and mixed first team and is a fully committed individual who gives his all in every game. Maggie is a crafty veteran and plays regularly in the ladies and mixed throughout the summer. She was happy returning and with a lovely touch at the net produced plenty of crucial winners. This always looked difficult to call and fittingly the honours were shared at 6-6 after an absorbing clash.
On court two Ed and Elizabeth always looks ultra chilled and they are starting to develop a great understanding which is seeing improvement in each match they play. Elizabeth is another with a strong serve and she really hits with venom from deep. She is not afraid to advance the net and is a player full of promise. Ed can also serve and hit hard and their rubber against Andy and Penny would be intriguing. Andy had led the Boro men’s second team to promotion in their debut season last term and sporting a new hairstyle and without the beard, had knocked several years off his appearance!. Penny is a lovely player and great club member at Boro and is often seen helping many of the teams out. She is difficult to read and her consistency was helping the visitors. Andy was nursing a back injury which didn’t help his service game but despite having to reduce the power, he was producing some clever spin that was reaping rewards. In another close affair it was Wetherby just prevailing 7-5 to take a narrow 13-11 advantage into round two.
The men’s rubber saw plenty of big hitting and some fantastic rallies with Richard and Ed enjoying their first appearance together. Paul and Andy have partnered on many occasions and it was hard to call the winner. The match ebbed and flowed before once again it was Wetherby narrowly winning 7-5 after a really tough tie.
The ladies were on the show court and providing good entertainment for the watching crowd. Declan Grogan had joined me on the sidelines and was thoroughly enjoying the action unfold. This was a battle of contrasting styles with the Wetherby youngsters trying to outwit the crafty Knaresborough veterens of Penny and Maggie. Early doors Sophie and Elizabeth were superb as their powerful game and great energy and fitness saw them storm ahead 5-0. However the Boro ladies knew if they could find some consistency they could grind their way back and gradually they began to erode the margin. This cat and mouse affair was very enthralling and with Boro catching them quickly ,Wetherby had to dig deep to hold off the late run to come out narrow 7-5 winners.
The final round began with the hosts holding a six point advantage as they led 27-21. Paul and Maggie knew they had to strike early against Ed and Elizabeth and they began brightly putting the youngsters under early pressure. However the Wetherby pair began to settle and with Paul advancing to the net, Elizabeth cracked a couple of exquisite forehand shots down the tramlines which drew applause from the galleries. Trying to keep the scoreboard ticking Boro were giving everything but a backs to the wall defensive show reaped enough as Wetherby were only defeated 4-8 and still held a two point cushion overall.
Richard and Sophie were playing some fine tennis on court one however and looked like they had been playing together for many years such was their excellent team work. Belying her tender years, Sophie was producing her best tennis of the winter and her all round game was superb and full of promise. Richard is a great partner and happy to do all the running he used the width of the court to keep the visitors at arm’s length. There were a number of energy sapping rallies and the quartet produced an excellent contest. However Wetherby were not to be beat and running out 8-4 winners they ensured they could celebrate a 39-33 success at the conclusion.
This proved one of my favourite Winter League matches this season and its satisfying when teams are so well matched and scores remain close right to the end. I cant congratulate the youngsters enough and it’s a real pleasure to see all the coaching and hard work paying off in a match situation for them all.
Well played Richard Franks, Elizabeth Hewett, Sophie Hunt and Ed Grogan who helped Wetherby triumph this evening.
Paul White, Maggie Sekunda, Penny Sheard and Andy Little fought hard and ensured Knaresborough battled all the way to the finish.
The weather gods were smiling Friday evening allowing the rearranged Winter League fixture between Wetherby 2 and Collingham to go ahead. Both teams endeavored to retain their same quartet from the original fixture and with only Debbie Vines absent that was almost possible. Collingham regular Katie Barrett returned in her place to partner Jonathan Tyler whilst Bradley Triffitt and Louise Beasley continued their blossoming partnership. For Wetherby captain Richard Franks teamed up with Anne Lillywhite whilst the exciting Dave Rowlands joined forces with youngster Iris Greaney who is enjoying her Winter League outings.
Brad and Louise are a confident duo and have shown excellent team work supporting Collingham this season. They took on Richard and Anne and this always looked a keen affair. Brad and Richard were trading some tremendous baseline rallies whilst Louise was ready to pounce at the net given the chance. Anne has always been a big hitter and her tremendous left handed returns have won her countless points during a long distinguished career representing Wetherby. Brad was producing some solid serving and with Collingham beginning to dictate matters the visitors moved ahead. However Richard is a fierce competitor and ensured this would stay close throughout. Finally a 4-8 success for Collingham after an entertaining rubber.
On court two Jonathan and Katie were making their debut together as were Dave and Iris. Dave joined Wetherby in the summer and his great personality makes him a popular chap. He is all action on court as he chases every ball down and covers every inch of the surface. Always wearing a smile he is great to have around. Iris has come through the junior ranks but is now stepping up to competitive action and is already reaping the benefits of this. She is a strong hitter from deep and confident with her service. She is looking to improve her short game and become more involved at the net. Jonathan is another new recruit and has already caught the eye at the club with his relaxed attitude on court and very efficient game. He serves well, hits hard and crucially is very effective at the net. He and Katie were soon into stride and gelling well. However things were tight early on before the visitors managed to forge clear to run out cosy 3-9 victors at the conclusion.
So with Collingham leading 7-17 round two began. The men’s rubber looked mouthwatering on paper and so it proved. This really was a great advert for men’s tennis with each player making a significant contribution. Plenty of thrilling points had to be hard won before Collingham just shaded the contest 5-7.
The ladies event however proved the main difference on the evening and it was Louise and Katie who put their experience and league game class to good use. Anne battled hard and Iris was returning with venom but they couldn’t match their opponents for consistency and with Collingham dominating the net they eventually won 0-12, albeit that was very harsh on the hosts.
So with the match almost won and a little drizzle in the air the final round began quickly. This proved to be the closest of the evening and both rubbers were always ever so close. Richard and Ann had enjoyed success together in the mixed two seasons ago and they were having fun back together in partnership. Jonathan and Katie continued their promising start together and in fairness it was the quality finishing that settled many of the games. Eventually a 6-6 draw was a fair result after a good battle.
On court one things were equally as tight and Dave and Iris certainly upped the pace with a really impressive performance. Dave is a left hander and his serves were causing real problems for Collingham. With Iris strong the pair were always ahead and the Collingham top seeds were left chasing the game. Louise couldn’t make her usual impact at the net and despite Brads excellent cross court returns, the amazing reactions from Dave saw him intercept on several occasions. At 5-6 down Brad served strong to level the tie and again no one could argue that 6-6 was a fair reflection of events.
Tonight really summed up the spirit of Winter League with all eight players enjoying their evening and playing the game with smiles and good sportsmanship. This can only be of benifit to Wetherby and with new players now on board and youngsters continuing to improve after been given chances, the future is looking very bright for the club.
Congratulations to Jonathan Tyler, Katie Barrett, Louise Beasley and Bradley Triffitt who braved the cold conditions to help keep Collingham at the top of the Winter League table.
An encouraging performance from Dave Rowlands, Anne Lillywhite, Iris Greaney and Richard Franks who contributed plenty to an excellant evening of tennis in a gallent Wetherby display.
Leeds ladies first team captain Bev Lyn will once again be showcasing her acting skills along with husband Fred, who has been a member at Castlegarth for many years. Anita and Ellie Triffitt are also involved this year along with Megan Mead in the production of Whistle down the Wind performed by the Wetherby Musical Theatre Group held at Wetherby High School. Four evening performances from Tuesday February 18 to Friday February 21 inclusive with ticket details enclosed below.
After a filthy day of wind and rain, there appeared little hope of any action in the Winter League this evening but thankfully the improved forecast proved spot on and with the wind reducing and the evening staying dry Wetherby 1 hosted Rufforth 2 without a drop of rain on view!
Wetherby fielded a strong quartet with Lucy Wright partnering Steve Jones and Helen Robinson with Roger Fawcuss giving them two equally strong couples. Rufforth captain Philippa Page was absent so vice-captain Dan Russell took over the duties and was joined by Christine Place whilst Andy Ivell and Judith Evans formed a very experienced pair.
Lucy and Steve had been successful last season when playing influential roles helping the club to the title and they teamed up for their first match of this campaign. They took on Judith and Andy. This was also a clash of the chairmen with Steve and Andy holding that role at the respective clubs. Lucy has been a regular this term whilst Steve was making his first appearance but the pair were quickly into stride and looking strong as always. You wont find many more competative females than Lucy on the circuit and she was giving everything, especially with some consistent hitting from deep. Steve is a canny player and his famous spin game was been used to great effect. The Wetherby duo were calm and playing some well-constructed tennis just had the upper hand. They needed to be on form however as another wily veteran Andy was showing why he is still a force to be reckoned with. After an opening service game that was won without a ball been retuned in play, he was producing some excellent crafty shots and ably supported by the impressive Judith Evans they ensured this rubber was competative and close throughout. In the end Wetherby were victorious 8-4 but this proved an excellent and absorbing affair.
On Court two Roger Fawcuss was back on court for his first appearance of the season and he looked fresh and ready for action. Helen Robinson is a regular in the Winter League and the ladies first team player is always a crucial player for the club. Roger was booming some highly impressive serves that quite frankly looked impossible to return and with his excellent serve and volley approach was looking in mean form. Helen has a lovely backhand and some of her exquisite volleys were a delight to watch. Dan has been a big improver in the last two years in the Winter League and he hits big from deep and has superb court coverage. Christine Place is a standing dish in the Rufforth ladies first team and it’s easy to see why as her keen eye is used to create some clever angles and her drop shots are a killer tool. With Roger showing his men’s first team form to unleash a heavy artillery of firepower the hosts ran out cosy 9-3 winners in another contest that was closer than the score line would indicate.
A solid start for the reigning winter league champions saw them move ahead 17-7 after the opening round and they were keen to keep the scoreboard ticking over. Roger and Steve are a strong partnership and these old friends offer a range of attacking options and work well together. Roger was once again on fire and was proving difficult to contain such was his power. Steve was providing a number of excellent finishes with his ‘soft hands’ approach reaping dividends. However Andy and Dan were not going down without a fight and maintained a big effort during this quality clash. Dan was able to chase down most returns and with Andy’s strong anticipation skills the visitors were enjoying the challenge. Ultimately Wetherby ran out 9-3 winners after a good tussle.
Helen and Lucy are regulars in the ladies first team and have a good rapport on court. They started strongly against Judith and Christine and were clinical with their finishing. Lucy was content to rally from deep but often produced her best moments at the net where, leaping like a salmon, she was dominating. Helen returns very low and she often caught the visitors unaware with some amazing shots that floated over the net and angled away for plenty of winners. Rufforth battled ever so hard and were unlucky to be on the end of a 10-2 reverse but credit the Wetherby big guns for an efficient display.
So the champs were almost over the line and looking to boost their points difference as the final round began. Roger and Helen were on the show court but had to dig deep to keep Andy and Judith at bay. There was a contrast of styles on show but the Rufforth duo were happy to defend against their big hitting opponents and strike when an opportunity arose. Andy was rolling back the years with some impressive running and court coverage and made many eye catching overhead smashes which are worthy of mention. Judith plays with a smile and is a good competitor. She made some lovely winners at the net and the Rufforth pair were playing well. But of course it was still an uphill task facing Fawcuss who maintained his excellent evening form with another polished performance. Helen was also in good form and the pair finally secured a 8-4 victory.
On court four Steve and Lucy were moving through the gears and they were keeping the score moving along nicely against the spirited Dan and Christine. Using the width of the court Wetherby exploited the gaps and with craft and guile were racking up some lovely winners. This was a good contest and a 10-2 success for the Wetherby top dogs ended a very good evening with the hosts prevailing 54-18. This moves them to within two points of Rufforth 1 who do look the team to beat having won all five of their fixtures. The battle between the big two will be significant with only a win keeping Wetherby in the hunt to retain their crown whilst a victory for Rufforth 1 would see them putting the champagne on ice. The two meet on Tuesday February 4th
Thanks to all on show this evening for providing good entertainment on a chilly evening and we look forward to seeing you all back in action sooner rather than later.
Well played Steve Jones, Lucy Wright, Helen Robinson and Roger Fawcuss who guided Wetherby to an impressive success tonight.
A big thanks as always to our friends from Rufforth who are great supporters of the Winter League. Andy Ivell, Judith Evans, Christine Place and Dan Russell played ever so well in a battling display.
The top two teams in the Winter League were in action this evening with both Rufforth 1 and Collingham having opened their campaigns with four straight wins each. Collingham captain Tony Cutler was without regular playing partner Katie Barrett so Anne Lillywhite stepped in whilst with Louise Beasley and Bradley Triffitt absent, Andy Roberts and Christina Plant took over at seed one.
Rufforth were missing James Edmonds and captain Kate Lewis but still fielded a very strong four with acting captain Sue Yoward partnering Tom Shouksmith and Kathryn Elliott Smith and Ed Ziegler making up the quartet.
Sue and Tom have been the cornerstone of the Rufforth team for many years and they faced Andy and Christina on court one in the opener. This proved a very competative affair with the Collingham duo making a cracking start and leading 5-2 were threatening an upset. With Andy serving quick and hitting well from deep they were forcing Rufforth into early errors and Christina was producing a solid effort with some impressive net play. The power of Tom however loomed large and finally he began to get his eye in as he produced some thunderous returns and unplayable serves. Sue is a good all rounder and showing strong mental strength Rufforth finished the better to record a narrow 7-5 success.
On court two Tony and Anne had enjoyed a great title winning season for Wetherby in Harrogate mixed league division six but facing Kathryn and Ed was a huge rise in class. They looked determined to give everything but the big guns were soon into stride and quickly moved ahead 6-0. The duo were making their competitive debuts together after impressing at social and looked comfortable . Ed has a lovely forehand and quick serve and he moves effortlessly around court. Kathryn is a real battler and with great court coverage she is happy to chase any seemingly lost cause down and often makes the return. She actually covered 5 km this evening she informed me at the conclusion which was certainly a terrific effort. Not looking downhearted Tony and Anne managed to secure their opening game and with some hard hitting from Anne they were certainly causing problems during the second half. Tony’s trickery using his famous spin was seen to good effect and the pair were delighted to close the final margin to 9-3.
Rufforth began round two leading 16-8 and looking every inch the Winter league title favourites. The men’s rubber produced some more hard hitting with Tom and Ed showing the form that had seen them play crucial roles in helping Appleton Roebuck to a mid table finish in the York men’s division three. Tony was enjoying the challenge but left applauding many incredible shots that were whizzing past but he prevailed to produce plenty of memorable moments of his own. With Andy matching Rufforth for pace and power Collingham managed to stay competitive throughout but were on the wrong end of a 9-3 score line.
The ladies rubber on court two promised to be intriguing and so it proved. Anne Lillywhite has a super left handed forehand and when she makes contact the ball certainly flies. Borrowing a racket after breaking a string in the opener, she powered some wonderful winners past the bemused Sue and Kathryn and with Christina remaining strong Collingham led early. Sue is a very calm and clinical competitor and with Kathryn’s amazing energy the Rufforth girls began to take control. An excellent affair resulted in a narrow 7-5 success for the favourites but all four ladies were excellant.
So Rufforth led 32 16 and looking to finish the evening well and regain outright leadership of the table. Sue and Tom were now moving through the gears clinically and with some huge hitting Tom was unplayable. Sue was dominating the net and Tony and Anne were having to give everything to stay in the contest. To their great credit they never stopped trying and were delighted to take a couple of games with Rufforth running out 10-2 winners.
The best rubber of the evening was perhaps reserved for the last match on court one where Andy and Christina looked keen to hand Collingham their only rubber. Andy was playing Harrogate mixed division four at Dacre last season and Leeds men’s division five but he looks better than that and is a player full of promise. He and Christina are already forming a useful partnership in this their second match together and they were always ahead against Ed And Kathryn. Some clever play from Andy had him using the width of the court to place some lovely winners and Rufforth were unable to match the Collingham top seeds. Kathryn continued her amazing all energy display with some backs to the wall defending and I don’t think I have witnessed anyone put in the work this season that she did tonight. With Ed finding gaps the score line remained tight but a 7-5 success was much deserved for the Collingham duo.
At the conclusion Rufforth had run out cosy 47-25 winners and with five straight wins are the team to catch at the summit. Once again a match played in great spirit and thankfully with only light occasional drizzle, conditions were pretty pleasant despite the cold.
Congratulations to Tom Shouksmith, Sue Yoward, Kathryn Elliott Smith and Ed Ziegler who helped Rufforth maintain their 100% record in this seasons Winter League with victory this evening.
A tremendous effort from Tony Cutler, Anne Lillywhite, Christina Plant and Andy Roberts who ensured the match was ever so exciting.