Tennis troubles in the dark

Sledmere tennis players were in full force in Pocklington this week, fielding teams to play Pocklington’s mixed B and E, and the ladies B, with mixed results.

Pocklington’s mixed B team achieved a clean sweep against the Sledmere A team, with Rachel Bloom/Jim Holding, Jean Hunter/Andy Stockhall, and Lisa Eade/Mick Douglas winning three sets apiece.

The mixed E team played Sledmere’s C team, with a much closer outcome, including two tie-breaks (a win and a loss for Helen Fairey and Stuart Burnet). Rosanne Dane and Mark Smith won their three sets 8-6, 8-6 and 8-5, but Louise Durkin and Owen Wroot lost by close margins, ultimately resulting in a 5-4 win to Sledmere.

Pocklington’s mixed C team this week travelled away to Hutton Cranswick. Pocklington arrived at the venue to find they were playing on only two tarmac courts. The evening turned into a very long and cold night as one pairing at a time had to sit out. At 4–2 up, Pocklington were plain sailing after Billy Bartram and Val French had won two sets 8–4 and 8–7 and lost to Cranswick’s first pair 3–8. Chris French and Sally Simpson had lost to the first pairing narrowly 6–8 before brushing aside their third couple 8–2. Darren Smith and Christel Wake had won 8–6 before losing to Cranswick’s unbeaten first pair 6–8 and, due to the cold and late time, thought they would not have to play their final set as French and Simpson were leading in their final set.

However, as the night went on, French and Simpson fell at the last hurdle going down 6–8, which forced Smith and Wake on to the court to play in the gloom, albeit under floodlights. The couple certainly showed their mettle, whilst their team mates huddled together to keep warm, grinding out an excellent 8–6 win which ended at 10.15pm, giving Pocklington a precious two points for their 5–4 victory.

A cold, damp and dark evening did not make ideal conditions for tennis but the mixed D team battled hard to win their first home match against a tenacious Malton team. In the first round, Patrick and Louise Wilkinson narrowly lost out on a tie break to Malton’s first couple 7-8, Paddy Dare and Tash Bloom, and Gav Smith and Di Flint won their sets 8-6 and 8-5, respectively.

With some tight matches in the second round, Pocklington were ahead 4-2 going into the final round but, with the gathering gloom it was a battle with the light, as well as the opposition, to secure the win. Di and Gav finished first but lost out 4-8 to Malton’s first couple and, thankfully, Patrick and Louise finished next and secured the elusive set to give Pocklington the victory. Tash and Paddy were finely poised at 7-7 but rather than play a tie-break in the pitch black, a spin of the racquet gave Malton the set. A good team effort and a well-deserved 5-4 win on Paddy’s birthday!

Men’s tennis got underway too, with the men’s A team scoring a first win in their match against Beverley B with a convincing 8-1 result. Huw Atwood made his debut for the first team playing with the experience and mentoring of Chris Gunby, and they led the way as top scorers. Captain Ed Barkey-Wyatt was extremely pleased with his team’s start to the season.

The men’s C team travelled to Middleton, winning 9-0; this included a notable performance from 12 year-old Adam Smith, playing with Dave Gamble, losing only seven games in the evening. Dad Mark Smith, playing with Darren Smith (no relation), also won three sets, as did Gavin Smith and captain Robert Sampson.

Pocklington ladies B played Sledmere A on a grey, windy evening, but at least the match went ahead. Andrea Bland/Louise Wilkinson won all three of their sets convincingly. Looby Kettlewell and Jean Hunter took two and lost the third in the gloom of a long tie-break, eventually ending in the dark after 9pm. Rachel Bloom and Angela Bush won their final set, ending in a good 6-3 win to Pock.

In the Fulford league, the ladies second team notched up a convincing 83-25 win against Tollerton, battling against arctic winds, local alarms, and a steam train stonking past. Di Flint and Louise Wilkinson were top couple, winning 30 games, just pipping Jean Hunter and Loobie Kettlewell’s 29 games, and Rosanne Dane and Fiona Lambert taking the other 24, despite a twisted ankle for Fiona.