The Penicuik trio had remained unchanged throughout the competition and Gary McDougal, Sonny Taylor and Rachel Petrie were once again selected to take on Martin Rumsey, Shital Zaveri and Tommy Hamill. The scene was set for a good match with a big crowd in attendance to support their favourites.
First up was Gary against Martin – a 7 shot start for Martin in a race to 16. The first two ends comfortably went the way of the West Lothian player 16-11, 16-7 but when Gary won the third end 18-16 a comeback was on the cards – that comeback was short lived as Gary lost the fourth end 7-16. 1-0 to WL.
Rachel then took to the table against Shital. Rachel received a 5 point start in a straight race to 11. She was nervy in the first end and lost it 11-8. Some reassurance was then given to her at the change of ends and the next two ends whizzed by in a flash 11-2, 11-3. On the cusp of victory there was maybe a little bit of anxiety as she neared the finish line, but she got over it with a fourth end 12-10 win. 1-1.
Sonny then entered the fray against Tommy, the WL player having a 2 point start in a race to 12 – that was never going to be enough for Tommy. Was it? Only a 12-10 win for Sonny in the first and that was followed by a 15-13 loss in the second. This was much closer than the Penicuik contingent had expected – Sonny then seems to have relaxed and played a little bit more aggressively as he took the next two ends 12-7, 12-6. Penicuik held their first lead of the night, 2-1.
Rachel then played match 4 against Martin with another 5 point advantage. This was the Rachel that her side have loved in the Handicap Cup – hardly any mistakes as she stormed to an 11-3, 11-4, 11-6 victory giving Penicuik a 3-1 advantage.
Match 5 saw Gary take on Tommy with Gary having to recover from a 0-6 deficit in a race to 16. A win in this match and the Cup was almost on its way back to Penicuik - a 16-10 first end win raised Penicuik’s hopes but that was followed by heavy losses in the next two ends, 8-16, 6-16. This proved to be the tightest and longest match of the night – Gary fought back to win the fourth 18-16 before the decider saw nerves from both players – in the end Gary couldn’t quite get on top losing out 16-13 – 3-2 to Penicuik.
Sonny then faced Shital in Match 6 and a 3 point deficit was quickly overturned as Sonny put the Midlothian side on the brink of victory with a straightforward 12-8, 12-8, 12-9 win.
It was fitting that Rachel would get the chance to put Penicuik over the winning line as she played Match 7 against Tommy. Throughout the competition, the Penicuik trio have relied upon Rachel to take advantage of her “favourable handicap”. And match 7 was no exception. Despite a slight blip in the third end with an 11-13 loss, Rachel was never in trouble in the three ends she won 11-6, 11-7, 11-6 and with that victory, the trophy was won for the Ladywood based side. Our record in this Competition in recent times has been terrific. Winners in season 2018-19, semi-finalists in season 2019-20 and with no 2020-21 event winners this season. 2 wins over the last three years is a great return.
Our final player of the Week award? It has to be Rachel doesn’t it?? In fairness Sonny also performed well but his handicap of -1 was extremely generous and definitely won’t be the same next season! Well done to Rachel for making the most of her handicap - the impressive thing for Rachel is that against other positive handicapped players she has maintained a high level and played positively throughout - well done to this year's winning trio and indeed to all our players for getting back into competitive TT after the nightmare that was Covid.
Hope everyone has a great summer.