In the Premier League, Team 1 (Greig McDonell, Colin Green and Stuart Gow) travelled to Bathgate to take on West Lothian 1. Five of the ten matches on the night went the distance - the first two saw Colin come back from 8-4 down in the fifth to defeat Brian whilst Greig lost in 5 to Dariusz. A win for Stuart against Lewis was cancelled out by Dariusz defeating Colin. The final two matches before the doubles saw Brian defeat Stuart and Greig somehow squeeze home in 5 against Lewis. Another five ender in the doubles as Dariusz and Brian came back from 2-0 down to give the home side a 4-3 advantage going into the final 3 fixtures of the night. A win for Colin but a defeat for Stuart meant the last match of the night would decide the outcome. Another 5 end marathon saw Greig recover from 8-6 down in the fourth against Brian to win the last two ends and salvage a draw for Team 1 - probably a fair result on the night, Greig and Colin both winning two and Stuart adding one.
Into Division 1 where Team 2 had to call on the services of Abby Wighton (deputising for Clive Liddiard) to join forces with Iain Johnstone and Brian Bailey as they faced a home tie against Corstorphine 2. The first "Penicuik controversy" of the new season has to surround Clive's questionable commitment to the cause! On a dreary, cold, windy and miserable night at Ladywood where was Clive to be found?? Answer: Not even thinking about his teammates as he sat relaxing in some beachfront Spanish restaurant enjoying temperatures of 30 degrees with his paella and a bottle of red - surely he should have arranged his holiday for before the start of the TT season!! In any event Team 2 struggled without him as only Iain troubled the scorers winning all three of his singles in the team's 7-3 defeat.
Division 2 should be interesting this year with Teams 3 and 4 locking horns and hopefully we will see both battling it out at the top end of the table. Team 3 of James and Abby Wighton and Gary McDougal started their campaign away to Corstorphine 3. The scores were tied at 3-3 going into the doubles fixture which saw Abby and Gary take on Tom Wallace and Alan Easton - a 3-0 defeat put them under pressure going into the final round of singles fixtures. Wins for Gary against Tom and Abby against Alan, however, set up a chance for James to win the match as he faced JP Smith in the final match of the night. It looked plain sailing when James won the first two ends 11-8 and 11-6 but the Corstorphine player's never give up attitude saw him win the remaining 3 ends 13-11, 12-10 and 11-9 to earn the home side a point. A point dropped for Team 3?? Probably. But given their poor run of results last year a point is at least a step in the right direction.
Meanwhile, Team 4 of Chris Markey, Tony Brentnall and Krzysztof Laszkiewicz faced a home tie against Fife 2. The pattern of this match mirrored Team 3's game as the scores were tied after six matches going into the important doubles. The Fife pairing of Steve Dow and Steve McKay won in 3 straight ends against Chris and Tony to give the visitors a 4-3 advantage. Just like Team 3 though back came Penicuik as first Chris then Tony won their singles to give Krzysztof the chance to win the match for Penicuik. When he lost the first two ends 9-11, 12-14 a draw looked on the cards but Mr Scrabble Man had other ideas as he won the final three ends 11-5, 11-7, 11-7 to give the home side a terrific 6-4 comeback win. Chris won 3, Tony 2 and Krzysztof a vital 1.
With Gregory Leplatre from Team 5 taking a season out this year, Louis Myatt at 12 years of age has taken his place in an effort to bring down the average age of the side - with John Bald and Phil Daly only beaten in terms of age by 107 year old Brian Bailey, that's not an easy task for young Louis. On the table, Louis found his first taste of Division 3 quite tough but we're sure that as the season progresses he will close the gap on his two senior teammates. John won all 3 of his singles and Phil added 1 as Team 5 fell just short in their 6-4 away defeat at the hands of Fife 3.
Finally in Week 1 Teams 6 and 7 made positive starts to their Division 4 campaigns. Kathryn McKenzie stepped up from Team 7 to combine with Craig Johnson and Sean Lennon as they faced Haddington 4 at Ladywood. Sean was the player of the night, undefeated in singles play and combining with Craig for a win in the doubles, and he was ably supported with two wins each from Craig and Kathryn as Team 6 recorded the club's biggest win of the week 8-2.
Team 7 travelled to East Lothian to take on Haddington 3 with a team of Rachel Petrie, Louis McLeod and Marcin Mroz who was making his league debut. On a good night for the Penicuik trio they all won 2 singles and Louis and Marcin combined for a doubles victory as they triumphed by a 7-3 scoreline.
And so to our first player of the week award for the new season. 4 players were undefeated in singles play this week - Iain Johnstone, Chris Markey, John Bald and Sean Lennon. Iain will no doubt be in the running regularly so he's not getting the award - El Presidente still has nightmares about losing to John in our Club Championships so he's out of the running! That leaves a straight fight between Chris and Sean - Sean also contributed a doubles win in his match but for the importance of his three wins (without them a team win would not have been achieved) and for having saved a match point along the way, the award goes to Chris Markey - well done Chris.
And finally a Sunday night report wouldn't be the same without some controversial topic being discussed. To start us off this season the "player of the match award" comes under scrutiny. Our question - What's the point of it? Obviously it's not pointless per se - there is an award available at the end of the season to the player with the most "player of the night awards". Does it really have any value though? Is it akin to a "fair play" type of award? Is it about who contributes most to the team? Is it just a popularity contest? We appreciate that it's not necessarily given by opposing teams to the player who has won the most games but we are often left to wonder the basis on which teams make this decision. Let's look at three examples this week. Our player of the week award winner Chris was instrumental in Team 4's victory against Fife but Krzysztof came back from the dead in the final match of the night and although that was his only win of the match we can understand why he won the nomination. In Team 3s match, James won 1 match compared to his teammates 2 victories and he lost the final match of the night from 2-0 up resulting in the match being drawn - perhaps Corstorphine felt he deserved it for enabling them to win a point! Of course we have to bear in mind that James is, as we have said previously in these reports, one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet, so maybe that was a factor. Turning to Team 5, as John won all his singles and Phil won 1, young Louis won the nomination having won only 1 end in the whole match? Maybe Fife could see his potential for the future - maybe it was his attitude on the table - maybe they just didn't like John and Phil (surely not)!! Who knows what the reasoning was behind it and we'll probably never know - maybe we need some guidance as to what we're meant to be voting for??
The good news from Week 1 - no real on the table issues, no major fall outs, no rule infractions that we're aware of - no intra club bust ups - how very boring - roll on Week 2!!