Team 1 knew that with two matches scheduled wins in both of those were essential for their Premier Division survival. When they lost against their nearest rivals ESC by a 6-4 scoreline Greig McDonell, David Melrose and Abby Wighton knew their fate was all but sealed. Mathematically though a big win against Murrayfield 2 could still keep them in with a chance of catching North Merchiston 2. Despite Greig being undefeated on the night, Team 1 fell to a 7-3 defeat and with it their stay in the Premier Division came to an end.
In Division 1, Team 2 faced a home match against Murrayfield 4 with a full team for the first time in a number of weeks. The Edinburgh outfit were too strong, however, as only Charlie Brindley picked up a win in the resultant 9-1 defeat.
Meanwhile Team 3 of Krzysztof Laszkiewicz, Gary McDougal and Chris Markey faced a virtual relegation decider against Murrayfield 5 at Roseburn. In a bit of a surprise, Graham Muir from Division 2 played up and turned out to be the difference on the night as he was undefeated including two 11-9 in the fifth wins. The resultant 8-2 win perhaps flattered the Murrayfield side but the victory has all but secured their Division 1 status for next year. The defeat for Team 3 means the only team they can realistically overtake in the table is our own Team 2. What an intra-club fixture that promises to be. With a much better game difference, a big win would be needed from Team 3 to give them a chance of survival.
In Division 3 Team 4 could only muster two players as they fell to a 6-4 defeat at the hands of University. John Bald was undefeated in singles but unfortunately, Louis McLeod could only contribute one singles victory as Team 4 fell to their 10th loss in their last 13 matches.
Team 5’s Division 3 status was on the line as they faced two matches last week. First a home match against Edinburgh University. Stuart Bennett, Craig Johnson and Sean Lennon kept the fat lady away from the microphone with an excellent 7-3 win, Craig winning 3 and Sean and Stuart both winning two. They then pushed her back off stage as they defeated West Lothian 7 by a 6-4 scoreline, Sean and Craig both won 2, Stuart added 1 and the doubles win secured overall victory for Team 5. Just when they thought the miracle escape was on, however, Friday night brought news that Edinburgh International could only field a two-man squad as they fell to a 6-4 defeat to ESC, Team 5’s targets in third bottom place! Yeah thanks to our friends at EI for that. The fat lady is back on stage and just about to pick up the microphone again – all dependant on a match which is currently underway (yes on a Sunday night) between ESC and our own Team 4. No pressure there then!
Team 6 of Julian Taylor, Rachel Petrie and Sonny Taylor also faced two matches last week. They first took care of Edinburgh Uni with a 7-3 home win (Julian and Sonny 3, Rachel 1) before a trip to take on Division 4 winners KLOS 2. Julian picked up two great wins whilst Sonny added 1 in the resultant 7-3 defeat.
And we finish with Team 7. With Kristian Skotzen STILL on holiday Phil Daly and George Wilson travelled to North Merchiston 7 a player short. With Phil only winning one singles on the night against the Merchiston youngsters, the writing was on the wall for Team 7 – but wait, George continued his excellent recent form by winning all 3 of his singles and combining with Phil for a win in the doubles to secure a 5-5 draw.
And so, to our Player of the Week Award for Week 24. Julian and Craig produced 5 wins out of 6 for their respective teams last week. Credit also to John for his undefeated singles night and to George and Sonny for excellent performances. For the importance of the five wins to the team’s survival hopes this week’s award goes to Mr Treasurer, Craig – well done.
And finally, to our Controversy of the Week Section.
Last week Krzysztof had pointed out in an email to the Match Secretary his view on Edinburgh University’s refusal to offer more than one night to play a rearranged match. University asked us to look into this issue as it appeared that initially Team 3 had indicated to University that they could make one of two nights, one of those nights being the 16th of March when the match was ultimately played. And indeed Team 3’s email did suggest that – immediately upon receipt of Uni’s response, however, Krzysztof emailed back to indicate he had made a mistake and they could not field a team on the 16th and asked if they could do any other days. The University response, as indicated by Team 3 last week was:
“….unless you are able to put out a team for 16th March, I am afraid that your team would have to forfeit the match.”
Let’s hope that clarifies that issue.
Team 3 seem to be attracting lots of controversy! We alluded to a “surprise selection” by Murrayfield 5 last week, surprising because regular third player Bob Sterling was in attendance for the game. That makes the selection of Graham a tactical one it seems? Dropping a player who lost his 3 against Team 3 in the first half and playing a player up who had also played up in the first half and won 2 out of 3? There was a suggestion made that this was not within the spirit of the rules – players play up when a regular is unavailable? In the Writer’s view Murrayfield have done absolutely nothing wrong – indeed it was a great tactical masterstroke (if indeed it was tactical) to bring in a player in a crucial fixture who seemed to have the edge over the opposing team – if we were in the same position would we have done the same? More fool us if we hadn’t. Congratulations to Graham for stepping up a Division and winning two huge 11-9 fifth end deciders – tactical genius only exists when it pays off and it was only as a result of his composure and play that it did pay off. Indeed, El Presidente had suggested this week that for Team 4’s match against ESC (crucial to Team 5’s survival) the whole of Team 4 should have been dropped and Team 5 play up en masse - in the two matches played this season Team 5 hold a 16-4 advantage over ESC!! That proposal was rejected! There seems to have been more controversy from this match which we will no doubt return to in a future report!
And so Week 24 is over – this coming week should be the last week of the regular season but there are still a ton of matches to play. Whilst the relegation places are sorted in the Premier Division, everything is still to play for in terms of the title with the big match tomorrow evening at Roseburn between Murrayfield 1 and University 1. In Division 1 the title and promotion picture is still unclear but coming up on the rails to perhaps steal a place in the Premier next season (and maybe even the title) is Haddington 1. Their match against West Lothian 2 will surely be key. In Division 3 it may already be over for Team 5 whilst Division 4 has seen KLOS secure the title much to George’s delight – the tenner bet with El Presidente is all his so long as he can get it back from Club Sec Brian!
Intra-club fixtures abound this week (if they’re all played) – Team 2 v 3; Team 4 v 5; and Team 6 v 7. Nothing controversial to report next week then!!!