In the Premier Division, Team 1 of Greig McDonell, Colin Green and Stuart Gow sat in 6th place going into their home tie against 4th placed West Lothian 1. The first round of singles matches saw wins for Greig and Stuart as the home side took an early 2-1 lead. That pattern continued with wins for Stuart and Colin in the next three matches leaving Team 1 with a 4-2 advantage going into the doubles fixture. Greig and Colin who have an excellent doubles record have struggled in the past against Darius and Brian - they knew the importance of this game in the context of the overall scoreline and played some controlled TT to win in 4 ends to give Penicuik an unassailable 5-2 lead. Colin finished the night strongly in the last round of matches ensuring an excellent 6-4 win for the Ladywood side.
Team 2 have suddenly found themselves in a relegation dogfight at the foot of Division 1. James Wighton, Gary Mcdougal and Abby Wighton knew that they needed to take something from their home tie against Edinburgh International 4, a team two points ahead of them in the Division. The night started well as James won a tense opening match 11-9 in the fifth and deciding end, but any hopes of victory for the home side were short lived as the visitors won the next 6 matches. An utterly deflated looking team gave some respectability to the score by winning two of the last three matches but the resultant 7-3 defeat leaves last year's Division 2 Champions in deep trouble at the foot of the Division, a point behind Edinburgh University who they meet in a fortnight’s time. With only 4 matches remaining, time may be running out for James, Gary and Abby to find their form.
The Club's 3rd Team of Clive Liddiard, Iain Johnstone and Brian Bailey were also in action in Division 1 as they visited Fife 1. Were it not for the excellent form of Iain Johnstone throughout the season, Team 3 would be embroiled with their Clubmates in a relegation fight. Iain’s form, however, has seen them reach a comfortable mid-table position and he was again the key man winning all three of his singles matches and combining with Clive for a win in the doubles. With Brian winless on the night, Clive added an important singles win as the visitors recorded a 5-5 draw.
Team 4 know that they can afford no slip ups in their Division 2 run-in with Fife 2 only two points behind them in the race for the play-off spot. Tony Brentnall, Chris Markey and Krzysztof Laszkiewicz at stages looked uncomfortable in their away tie against Edinburgh Sports Club 3. There were a number of close matches on the night, none more so than Tony's first match against Gary Woodhouse. After a crucial “deuce in the fifth win” for Tony he seemed to relax and was the star player on the night winning his three singles and combining with Chris for a victory in the doubles. Chris added two singles wins whilst Krzysztof won 1 resulting in a solid 7-3 win to keep Team 4 in second place in the Division.
In Division 3 Team 5, called on the services of Louis Myatt from Division 4 to join regulars John Bald and Phil Daly in their home match against Corstorphine 5. In a topsy turvy match the home side were never ahead and went into the final two matches of the night 5-3 behind. Both John and Phil won their final matches in 4 ends to salvage a draw for the Ladywood side. They both won 2 matches on the night whilst Louis won 1. With 4 matches of the season left, the Team sit comfortably in a mid-table position.
All three of the Club's Division 4 teams were in action in Week 22. Team 6 called on the services of Sean Lennon from Team 8 to join Luke Hennessy and Louis Myatt as they hosted Murrayfield 8. The youngsters will be ruing their slow start to the season where they lost 3 of their first 4 matches. Since then and despite losing their regular third player through injury, the Club’s youngest team have surged up the Division 4 table and started the night in fourth place. With John La from Murrayfield defeating both Luke and Louis in the first 4 matches and levelling the score at 2-2, it looked like being a bit of a battle for Team 6. Sean, however, proved to be an excellent choice to replace Louis McLeod as he showed the youngsters how it was done by winning all three of his singles matches. Luke and Louis both won 2 and combined for an excellent doubles victory as the home trio motored on from 2-2 to record an 8-2 win. The win sees Team 6 jump to equal third in the Division, only 4 points behind League Leaders, North Merchiston.
Team 7 meanwhile have struggled to find consistency and they were not able to do their Clubmates any favours as they fell to a heavy 10-0 defeat at the hands of league leaders North Merchiston 6. The scoreline is perhaps somewhat unfair on Stuart Bennett, Craig Johnson and Millie Bennett as 3 of the 10 matches on the night went the distance to a deciding fifth end.
Finally in a busy week for the Club Team 8 took on Haddington 2 at Ladywood. Oh how they could have done with Sean in the form he was showing on the other table for Team 6 - Martyn Levy, Rachel Petrie and Kathryn McKenzie looked like they may turn the match around as they came back from a 4-1 deficit to 4-3 going into the last round of singles matches, but it wasn’t to be. Only Martyn won his final match, as the East Lothian side triumphed by 6 games to 4. All three of our players won a singles match and Rachel and Kathryn combined for a win in the doubles.
Player of the week this week is a tough one - 3 players had perfect weeks, Iain in Division 1, Tony in Division 2 and Sean in Division 4. There was probably nothing too surprising about both Iain's and Tony's wins - they're both sitting with more than 80% in their respective Divisions and defeated players beneath them in the individual averages. Sean, on the other hand, in his first year and at 22% for the season was playing with team mates on 82% and 58% and did terrifically well to outshine them both by remaining undefeated - Well done Sean.
And finally to the Controversies of Week 22! Whilst in fairness very rarely do players complain about umpiring decisions when they are winning, for the second time this season Abby found herself involved in a dodgy call which, all apart from the umpire, seemed to think was clearly wrong. In her match against George Oliver, 1 end each and tight in the third end the umpire awarded the point to George as a result of Abby supposedly striking the ball (which was sailing off) over the table. George went on to win the end 12-10 and then take the fourth to pull the overall match score back to 1-1. We all make mistakes and whilst no one is blaming the umpire (well actually Abby and James are) it's little things like that which can have such a big impact on matches, especially when the team involved is crying out for a bit of good fortune and is running at an all time low on confidence - would Abby have gone on to win the match? Would it have made any difference to the overall score? In the minds of Team 2 it may well have done! The umpire in question - none other than our former League President, Mr Ken Ben!! And who was really going to argue with him - he looks even more scary than normal in that horrendously bright yellow Edinburgh International shirt!
Second Controversy of the week - clearly not enough important people in the Edinburgh League are reading this section! Way back in Week 13 we pointed out that the Handicap Cup past winners list on the ELTTL Website has every winning Club listed from 1980 onwards save for one season - 2013/14. Surely someone would have updated it by now? Surely everyone knows it was Penicuik for the first time in the Club's history? Surely we're not being deliberately left out because we're out in the sticks?!! Surely someone important reads this drivel week on week??!! Maybe if we win it this year they'll update it then!