Our annual Club Championships will take place at Ladywood on Saturday 9th April 2016. The Tournament is open to all Club Members and there will be a Handicap Singles Event together with a Ballot Doubles Event. Closing Date for Entries is Thursday 7th April. Please download, complete and return your Entry Form as soon as possible.
The last week of the regular season was a busy one for the Club.
In the Premier Division, Team 1 of Greig McDonell, Colin Green and Stuart Gow faced two matches to bring their season to an end. First up was North Merchiston 2 with old team-mate David Melrose in the opposing ranks. Greig and Colin both won 2 and combined for a win in the doubles but Stuart had a bad night resulting in a 5-5 draw. In the end Team 1 were probably happy with a draw as David took Colin to deuce in the fifth of the final match of the night. The next night saw the visit of Edinburgh University 1 and yet another old team-mate in Ian Johnston. No Stuart for the last match of the season - in stepped Abby and although winless on the night, she had two five enders and a four ender and acquitted herself terrifically well. Colin was undefeated and Greig won 2 which left the doubles to be the important match on the night and when it went the way of the home duo, with it was an excellent 6-4 win. 7 points out of the last 8 for Team 1 means a 5th place finish for the season.
In Division 1, Team 3 had a somewhat meaningless match against West Lothian 2 with neither team really having anything to play for - a 7-3 defeat for Team 3 resulted but worthy of note from the match was that Iain Johnstone had 3 excellent 5 end tussles, losing out to Dave Fletcher but defeating both Amjad and Stan (the man at the top of the Division 1 individual averages). Also Ian Woodyer played his second match of the season - two expensive matches given that he’ll need to pay us his full membership fee now!! Clive, Iain and Brian finish a comfortable 6th in the Division.
A little bit of gloss was taken off Team 4’s season as they looked nervy against West Lothian 5 in Division 2. With a point needed to secure 2nd spot, the late withdrawal of Gavin Hunter led to Millie Bennett from Division 4 stepping in to join Tony Brentnall and Krzysztof Laszkiewicz. Mr Scrabble man summed up the night in typical style by commenting that he played like a donkey as they fell to a 6-4 loss (only their 2nd defeat of the season). Tony won 2, Krys 1 and they combined for a win in the doubles. But hold on, never mind the loss, the 4 games they secured still meant that at the end of the night they had mathematically ensured a 2nd place finish with one match left to play. Well done Team 4.
In Division 3, Phil Daly and Gregory Leplatre called on Craig Johnson from Division 4 to step in for the absent John Bald in their last match of the season - a 9-1 defeat followed but the story of the night was not that our Player of Week 25 (Phil) won the only match for the visitors but that the award for performance of the night went to Craig - I’m sure Phil didn’t mind not getting the player of the match - he had his glory last week!!. A mid table finish for Team 5.
In Division 4, a 2 Player Team 6 took on a 2 player Team 8 as Luke and Louis gave away about a hundred years to Rachel and Martyn. Youth triumphed over experience with both boys undefeated on the night, however, Martyn came closest to upsetting the form guide as he just lost out in five ends to Louis - others in the hall (and indeed outside the hall throughout the midlothian area) didn’t have to watch the match to know it wasn’t plain sailing for Louis - his screams of despair gave that away!! A win in their final match against Team 7 and a 3rd place finish is on the cards for Team 6.
Performance of the week though is left to last as Team 7 had great win against 3rd placed Fife 4 in Division 4. 2 wins from Stuart, 2 from Millie and an important win from Craig gave the visitors at least a draw. The doubles, as so often the case, is a huge match when the scores are tight and the father and daughter duo secured the win with a 4 end victory against their Fife opponents - who knows on that form maybe they can cause Team 6 some problems in their last match of the season.
And so to our Player of the Week - it has to go to someone from Team 7 - a 9-1 loss in the first half turned into a 6-4 victory this time around - For her two wins and seemingly nurturing old dad over the line in the doubles the award goes to Millie - well done.
Controversies of the week - wow there's not enough space to fit it all in so we'll just give a brief version - anyone who wants a more detailed look at the issue can request a copy of the Club's email on the subject. Edinburgh International tried to call an SGM with support from other clubs to be told not enough time to fit it in before play-offs. It transpires that Edinburgh Uni have not paid a penny in fees to the League this year and despite the Committee ignoring the rules and giving them until 8th March as deadline date for payment, they still haven't paid - well the League won't stand for that will they??? Eh yes they will it appears - We feel a cash flow problem coming on for Penicuik TTC next season - can we pay our fees up at £5 per month please - how can they say no!
On the table there was more umpiring controversy in team 1's match - added to perhaps by the simmering underlying tension of playing an old team-mate. And finally it's always controversial when an intra club fixture takes place - add in to the mix some family rivalry and fireworks normally follow!! Oh how we'll miss it when the season ends!!
Week 25 of the League was another disappointing one for the Club in terms of results as only one of our six teams in action secured a victory.
That win came in the Premier Division as the 1st Team of Greig McDonell, Colin Green and Stuart Gow continued their recent good form by comfortably defeating Edinburgh International 2 by 9 games to 1 (for purposes of making that look like a fantastic win, we'll ignore the fact that our opponents only had two players and one of them was playing up from Division 1). The best part of the night was after Colin's last match when Greig told him that he could have an early night - no need to hang around for the last two singles and the doubles - he said his goodbyes and off he went, only to return what seemed like half an hour later to point out that Greig had actually driven him to the match - We're still wondering how long he'd looked for his car before realising he didn't have it!!! Two matches to go for Team 1.
In Division 1, we pointed out last week that the fat lady was warming up her vocal chords and unfortunately for Team 2 she started belting out her song on Wednesday night as Fife put James Wighton, Gary McDougal and Abby Wighton out of their misery. Gary was replaced on the night by Mr Scrabble Man, but even had Gary played it's doubtful the result would have been any different, as Team 2 fell to their second consecutive 10-0 whitewash defeat. In a season which had promised much, last year's Division 2 Champions have found the going just too tough and we all know that when the confidence goes and loss follows loss it's difficult to get things back on track. It's sadly back down to Division 2 for next season.
Team 3 have had no such worries this season after their promotion to Division 1. The difference has been Iain Johnstone - the three individual averages for Team 2 added together don't better Iain's 82%. He, Clive Liddaird and Brian Bailey, however, were outplayed last week at home by Division 1 leaders West Lothian 3. Only Iain got his name on the scoresheet as the home side fell to a 9-1 defeat. Despite that Team 3 sit comfortably in equal 5th in the Division with one match remaining.
In Division 3, Team 5 hosted Murrayfield 7 - in the reverse fixture in November, the home side had fallen to their heaviest defeat of the season, going down to a 9-1 loss. Gregory Leplatre, John Bald and Phil Daly were in better form and after 8 matches on the night the scores were level at 4-4. The last two matches saw Phil lose out to his opposite number before John just failed to secure a draw as he lost out in the final match. Although bitterly disappointed with their 6-4 loss, the result was a vast improvement on their first half performance.
Team 6 have had an excellent season in Division 4 but their challenge has faded in the last couple of weeks and with regular third player, Louis McLeod still out through injury, their match against top of the table Edinburgh University 4 always looked like being extremely difficult. Luke Hennessey performed well as he won two out of his 3 singles matches but with both Louis Myatt and Rachel Petrie winless on the night, the University side ran out comfortable 8-2 winners. A third place finish in the Division remains a possibility for our youngest team if they can win their two remaining fixtures. Oh what might have been.......
Finally in Week 25, Team 7 were much changed for their match against Edinburgh University 5 as they called on the services of two Team 8 players, Martyn Levy and Kathryn McKenzie to join Millie Bennett. In a tight match, Millie won 2 whilst both Martyn and Kathryn won 1 as the team fell to a narrow 6-4 defeat.
And so to player of the Week - jings not many to choose from this week!! Only two players were undefeated - Colin and Stuart - well we know Colin's not going to win it for the second time this season - has Gow ever won the award?? No remains the answer (he's to blame for me still feeling knackered after his stag do!). So this week's winner is Phil - OK it's a bit of a left field choice having won only one game in his Team's 6-4 defeat, but surely he's due something for all the dedication and training he's put in this season to improve his game - so what if it's not worked out as he'd hoped - and if that's not enough he's also the most avid reader of this piece of Pulitzer winning journalism and our Facebook Page posts - Well done Mr Phil Daly.
Only one week left of the regular season - can we possibly find any more controversial topics to discuss?? Just a quick one this week on playing conditions - although Team 1 were victorious and without wanting to offend any of our Edinburgh International friends, the portaloo, sorry we mean Portakabin, that they use doesn't quite fit in with the spectacularly impressive and modern High School that surrounds it!! This was Team 1's first experience of the premises (we've played in coal mines with higher ceilings) and whilst we appreciate that it's a temporary measure for our opponents, lets just say we hope temporary doesn't extend to another season!!
Week 24 of the League saw 6 of the Club’s 8 Teams in action.
Lets start with the good news - Team 4 have had a great season in Division 2 and Week 24 saw them face two matches. In the first of those Gavin Hunter, Tony Brentnall and Krzysztof Laszkiewicz ran out comfortable 9-1 winners against Edinburgh International 5.
Their second match of the week was the eagerly anticipated contest against Fife 2 who started the night in third place, two points behind the Penicuik trio. The home side knew that a win would virtually ensure a play-off spot. Chris Markey replaced Gavin Hunter for the match. After Chris and Krzysztof suffered losses in the first 5 encounters of the night, the home side led 3-2. Match 6 was to prove crucial as Tony looked in trouble losing ends 3 and 4 11-8, 11-4 but he performed well in the deciding end to give Team 4 a 4-2 lead going into the doubles. That doubles was won by Chris and Tony giving the home side an unassailable 5-2 lead. It was still nervy after Chris lost match 8 and Tony once more looked in trouble in Match 9 but he again won a close 5th end to ensure victory. Mr Scrabble Man had always been on hand though and pointed out that he was always going to win Match 10 even had Tony faltered!! Tony was undefeated in singles play and combined with Chris for the doubles victory whilst Krzysztof won two and Chris added one in a terrific 7-3 win. With two weeks left, Team 4 find themselves two points behind league leaders Murrayfield (who look uncatchable) but importantly now four points clear of third place and with a much better game difference than Fife only a completely catastrophic final two weeks of the season will deny them at least a play-off.
And now to the bad news - it looked for a long time that if Team 4 could secure a play-off they may face Team 2 who have struggled to come to terms with Division 1 this year. After some surprising wins for Edinburgh University (not to mention a good slice of controversy with registration of players etc. as per last Week's Report), Team 2 suddenly found themselves rooted to the foot of the table, a point behind University and 3 points behind Corstorphine, 3rd from bottom. And so there was no doubt about it - a win for James Wighton, Gary Mcdougal and Abby Wighton was essential as they faced University at Ladywood. The home trio have really struggled for confidence over recent weeks and every close match on the night was won by the visitors. Whilst the fat lady hasn't quite sung yet, she's warming up her vocal chords after a disastrous 10-0 whitewash defeat - although mathematically they can still avoid relegation Team 2 need to win both their remaining matches and hope that neither University nor Corstorphine pick up any points in their last two matches. Odds on that??? About the same as Colin winning another player of the week award!
Elsewhere for the Club, Team 1 of Greig McDonell, Colin Green and Stuart Gow faced a home tie against bottom of the table, Murrayfield 4 in the Premier Division. The home side were never in trouble as they ran out comfortable 9-1 winners with Greig and Colin both undefeated on the night.
In Division 3, John Bald and Phil Daly were delighted to welcome back to the fold Gregory Leplatre (after his very lengthy paternity absence!!) and the team confidently disposed of Edinburgh International 6 by a 9-1 scoreline. Gregory and John both won 3 whilst Phil added 2. Gregory and John also combined for a win in the doubles fixture. Team 5’s season has been somewhat up and down but they sit comfortably in a mid-table position with two weeks of the season to go.
In Division 4, Team 7 faced a home match against West Lothian 9. Young Millie Bennett showed her older teammates how it should be done as she won two singles matches but with neither dad, Stuart nor Craig Johnson able to contribute, the Bathgate side ran out 8-2 winners.
Also in Division 4, Team 8 took on top of the table North Merchiston 6 with just two players, Martyn Levy and Sean Lennon. Sean lost two close 5 end matches and his other singles in 4 ends. Martyn was the only winner for the Ladywood side on the night with one singles victory as the visitors went down to a 9-1 defeat.
And so to player of the week for Week 24. There's really only one person in the running - for his excellent undefeated night in probably his Team's most important match of the season, Tony Brentnall wins the award - Well done Tony.
Finally to our controversy of the week - really it's a follow-up to last week's controversy given that our 2nd Team played against University who have fallen foul of the rules - given the result this moan is going to sound like sour grapes but doesn't it just sum up Team 2's season when they discover that since the "out of time" registration of the University player, that individual has played in 4 matches and those matches have resulted in 5 out of a possible 8 points which has dragged University out of bottom spot in the Division and virtually ensured Team 2's relegation. Putting aside the fact that Team 2 probably deserve to be relegated given they have had only 1 win all season, it does reinforce the point that rules are either there to be adhered to or they're not - the moment you start bending/relaxing rules someone is going to be adversely affected. What about this rule:-
"All intra-club postponements must be played within 4 playing weeks whereas inter-club postponements can exceed 4 playing weeks provided a revised and fixed match date is agreed between the clubs and entered on ELTTL scoring site 7 days either side of original date."
We'd be interested to know how many times Clubs have entered the new date within the time period allowed - we would guess that failures to comply with this far outweigh those that have adhered to it - and what in fact is the sanction if an agreed date is not entered within 7 days or if an intra club fixture isn't played within 4 weeks - we had this ourselves when our Team 7 v 8 match was not played within the required period - the ELTTL Scoring site shows that in Division 1 West Lothian have an outstanding intra club fixture still to play from October. Maybe we should just tear the rule book up and start afresh - now there's a good task to keep someone busy over the summer.....
The Club will be hoping to move on quickly from Week 23 after only two of our seven teams in action tasted victory.
The bad week started on Monday night in the Premier Division where Team 1 of Greig McDonell, Colin Green and Stuart Gow faced an away tie against second placed Edinburgh Sports Club. The trio were in confident mood following an excellent win against fourth placed West Lothian in Week 22 and on the journey to the match there was talk of winning three or 4 of the first 6 matches to mount the pressure on the home side. The best laid plans.......... six matches in and 6 nil down!! Colin and Greig won the doubles and Colin then defeated Graeme Sutherland in an extremely disappointing 8-2 defeat. We're not even going to mention the player for ESC who did all the damage - that will forever remain just between Team 1.
Team 2 also faced Edinburgh Sports Club opposition in Division 1. The teams couldn’t be any further apart in the division with our trio of James Wighton, Gary Mcdougal and Abby Wighton rooted to the bottom of the League some 11 places and 24 points behind ESC at the start of the night. By the end of the night the difference was 26 points as in a fairly one sided contest only Gary produced a win for Team 2 in their 9-1 loss - that win coming against the excellent Faye Leggett - must be all about styles. It looks very gloomy for Team 2 at the foot of the Division, 3 points adrift of University who they play this coming week - anything but a victory there and the Team are surely destined for a quick return to Division 2.
Meanwhile in Division 1, Team 3 of Clive Liddiard, Iain Johnstone and Brian Bailey faced a home match against Edinburgh International 3 who were disadvantaged from the outset by only being able to field a two man team. Without wanting to sound like a broken record it seems that all the luck in Division 1 has been used up by Team 3 with Team 2 having none of it! Iain and Clive were both undefeated in their 7-3 victory, a result which leaves the Team in 5th place in the Division, their highest position of the season.
Team 4 continue to push for promotion via the playoffs and they maintained their second place in Division 2 following an excellent 8-2 victory against Corstorphine 3. After a somewhat indifferent couple of weeks, Chris Markey returned to form as he was undefeated in singles play and combined with Tony Brentnall for a win in the doubles. Krzysztof Laszkiewicz and Tony both added two singles wins in a solid team performance. The Team face a crucial match next week against their closest rivals for 2nd spot in the Division, Fife 2 - not quite as do or die as Team 2's match as they start the week two points ahead and with a better game difference - even a loss will probably keep Team 4 in second place but a win would surely secure a play-off spot.
In Division 3, in the continued absence of their number 1, Gregory Leplatre (seriously this new dad business is getting in the way of important stuff Gregory!) Team 5 called on the services of Craig Johnson from Division 4 to join regulars John Bald and Phil Daly in their away match against North Merchiston 4. Only John troubled the scorers as the visitors went down to a 9-1 defeat.
In Division 4, Team 6’s great run of form stalled against North Merchiston 5. Still missing Louis McLeod through injury, our two youngsters, Luke Hennessy and Louis Myatt have been in excellent form in recent weeks but their luck ran out in Week 23 as Louis suffered a dip only winning one singles match. Luke was undefeated on the night but the duo fell short of at least point as they lost the crucial doubles resulting in an unfortunate 6-4 defeat.
Finally in a busy week for the Club Team 8 took on West Lothian 9 at Ladywood. Martyn Levy, Sean Lennon and Kathryn McKenzie were never in the match and their 10-0 defeat, coupled with three wins in a row for bottom placed Haddington results in Team 8 suddenly finding themselves at the foot of the table with three matches remaining.
And so to player of the Week for Week 23. Given that results are now available to all on the ELTTL Scoring site we probably need to come clean about how inadequate Team 1 felt last week. Earlier in the season Iain Johnstone lost to 12 year old Faye Leggett and he came in for a little bit of stick at the Club - she's had a birthday since then and turned out for ESC in the Premier - Greig was 2-0 up and coasting, young Faye in tears at how she could be losing to such a lump who was basically just standing at the other end of the table and then somehow it was deuce in the fifth - and with her trademark backhand she won the match - never mind, Colin (who had given that ridiculous Aussie laugh of disgust as Greig had lost) would put her in her place - 3-0 to Faye! She wouldn't be able to return Stuart's amazing serves - 3-0 to Faye!! For only the second time this season the award goes outwith the Club to young Faye for her terrific night - Iain we take it all back!! Best line of the night came form the Aussie however, who still managed to blame someone else for his loss - had El Presidente not blown it against her she wouldn't have got the confidence to go on and beat him and Stuart!!!!
And finally this week's controversy is entitled - "What's the point in having Rules??".
The Handicap Cup was the subject of much email communication this week after our Cup Secretary sent out an email to the four teams remaining effectively telling them the date and venues for the semis and final of the Competition - the rules say these should be played at a neutral venue - but hey it's only a rule and if the League don't like that then we'll just ignore it - semis to be played at North Merchiston and final at Murrayfield - both of those teams face each other in the first semi final. The other semi is between our good friends from West Lothian and our Team 3 - no suggestion that either of us would want to have a say in the matter - no suggestion that if Murrayfield make it to the final perhaps another venue should be looked at - in fact no suggestion that the rules should have any bearing on the decision! (In fairness, it does appear that the HC Secretary had in fact sent out his email without taking on board the view expressed by the Committee meeting the night before - that, however, only came to light after the damage was done!)
Then we read from the ELTTL Committee meeting Minutes that Edinburgh University had been playing players in their Division 1 team without them actually being properly registered - and in relation to one of those players she had been "added" after the deadline date for registration of players. Never mind though - there had been "no malicious aforethought intended" - interesting expression and one which I think Penicuik shall be using when it comes to the League fining us for the late submission of cards to the online system - I'm pretty sure none of those who have failed to register the scores within 96 hours did so with malicious intent!!
Oh well another week over - what will we have to moan about come April!!
Midlothian's only ELTTL representatives.