To this season first – drawn by some sort of random generator phone app, Sonny Taylor, Gary McDougal and Rachel Petrie were pitted together for a trip to Edinburgh University last Friday evening. Rachel had little confidence that the students from the Uni or indeed her own teammates would have any clue about how the scoring worked and so sent a photo of the card with handicaps shown to Club President Greig just before the match started. He in turn outlined the starting scores and what score was needed in each match. Turns out Rachel’s concerns were well merited!
First game saw Gary (-4) against a scratch player. Straightforward 3-0 win for the student followed. Match 2 saw Rachel (+7) take on Carl (-7). A 3-0 win for Rachel. The first error of the night came in match 3, Sonny (-1) v Kevin (-18). 17-0 to 28. For some reason the match was played to 29 and that cost Sonny – had the correct scoring been used he would have won the first end, but he was pulled back to 28-28 and subsequently lost 30-28! He won ends 2 and 4 to force a decider (but of course the match should have been over by then). The fifth end went Kevin’s way and Uni led 2-1. Gary then played with a 3 point start to 14. Again, for some reason the scoring was wrong, and the match was played to 13 – no close games though, so made no real difference as Gary pulled through to level the match at 2-2. Sonny then lost in a race to 12 points before Rachel levelled again – 25-0 to 29 was always going to be a tough one to overcome for Kevin - You’ve got to love those +7 handicaps!
The funniest moment of the night then came after Rachel had completed her 3rd win of the evening – 4-3 to Penicuik – a WhatsApp call made to Greig with Rachel trying to round up the opponents and her own teammates to listen to the words of wisdom from El Presidente. Are we meant to have played this in order??? Eh…… the order on the scorecard – yes! Ah, OK! And should the scoring have been to 29 between Sonny and Kevin – eh no! Oh well it’s played now – could it be replayed! Eh…. - they’ve agreed it now anyway. Then from the background came the voice of Sonny – “we’ve made a total ********* ********* of this Greig!”. Not quite sure what order the matches had been played in but ultimately the last two matches saw Gary lose out to Kevin in four ends and it was left to Sonny to play the decider. It went the distance, Sonny getting a six point start to 17. He lost the first end 17-15, won the second 17-14 and then lost the third 17-15! Things looked bleak but then after 3 close ends he seemed to find a rich vein of form winning the last two 17-5, 17-7 and with it a 5-4 victory for the visitors. What an eventful night! Good job the win was secured, or the Sonny v Kevin match would have been a real controversial talking point!
And so to our 2019/20 quarter final v Corstorphine. The team which progressed to that stage had comprised Julian Taylor, Greig McDonell and George Wilson. Whilst Julian and Greig were still available, George isn’t playing this year. Hmmm, that’s a bit of a problem given that we are not allowed to play anyone who played Handicap Cup for another team that season and can’t play anyone who wasn’t eligible to play in 2020. Oh dear – looking at our list of players it looked like we might have to play with two players – then just when things were looking bleak, our knight in shining armour came riding into the Club last Saturday in his white van, having found his bat tossed away at the back of a dark cupboard – George was back!
90 minutes of practice behind him he was first up at Napier as he took on Jeff Clark, 8-0 to 18 and things looked great as he took the first end 18-14. When his advantages disappeared in ends two and three, however, his teammates gave him little chance of recovering from a 2-1 deficit. End 4 was crucial as he hung on somehow to win 18-16 and a terrific 18-14 win in the decider gave the visitors the perfect start. Match 2 saw Greig give a 15-0 lead to David Sykes in a race to 23. When Greig lost the first 23-21 he looked in trouble, but he took a crucial 2nd end by the same scoreline before winning the next two, 23-19, 23-18. Julian then faced Shaun Sutherland giving away a six-shot lead in a race to 13. Julian looked in complete control after a 13-8 win in the first end but when he lost the next 13-5 Greig and George were left wondering how Shaun’s +4 handicap could possibly be accurate! Credit to Julian, however, some great consistency saw him win the next two 13-9, 14-12 and Penicuik led 3-0. The next two matches were played simultaneously, Greig, already struggling for fitness, hoping he didn’t have to play again! Unfortunately for him although Julian defeated Jeff, David won 3-0 v George. 4-1 to the visitors. Greig v Shaun started at 0-16 to 23 and when Greig won the first two ends 23-20, 23-21 the match looked over. A 23-21 loss in end 3, however, gave hope to the hosts. Whilst we have been known to criticise handicaps in the past it appears these ones were spot on as Greig won the 4th end 23-21 and with it secured a place in the semi-final. Worthy of note, as some may have forgotten, the defending Handicap Cup Champions are……. Yip – Penicuik who won the 2018/19 event.
Away from the Handicap Cup, Team 4 hosted ESC in a Division 3 encounter which saw the first outing of the season for Paul Tracey as he joined up with son, Jay and Rachel. 3 matches played for Team 4 and a pattern has emerged – 1-9, 2-8 and 3-7. This was going to be no worse than a 4-6 defeat. Oh well a 10-0 loss puts an end to any weird pattern taking up any more time in these reports. Sometimes a 10-0 defeat doesn’t tell the true story of a match – this one does!! Only two ends won all night by the hosts in an old-fashioned hammering!
And so, to our player of the week award. Surely this is Rachel’s week – 3 wins out of 3 in a 5-4 victory – you can’t ask for much more than that? Well, we can – for her failure as Team Captain to successfully bring some order to the match, she’s out of the running! Sorry Rachel, we appreciate it would have been as difficult as herding cats! There were also undefeated nights for Julian and Greig but there could really only be one winner this week – for coming to the rescue of the team and for winning a vital match on the night well done to George – now we just need to convince him to join the Club again!
And finally, our controversy of the week section. This could have been a mammoth moan about people not being able to count properly and apply handicaps but fortunately, we squeezed over the line and in the end it didn’t matter. We could also air some of our own problems caused by “foul serving” but perhaps still a little raw at the moment so lets leave that for a couple of weeks. Let’s have a light-hearted moan instead and finish on a cheery note. Twice now our team captains the day after league matches have gone to upload the scores onto the Edinburgh Online site – twice they have found the scores have already been input! How on earth has that happened? Of course, the system shows who last created or modified a card and on both occasions this has been done by our opponents! Clearly excited to have won the match and given the modern practise of taking a photo of the card at the end of the night, they have a record of the score. But is this appropriate? It saves us time in doing so. But in the end of the day the rule is that it is the responsibility of the home team to do so – or have we missed a rule change? We would never think about uploading a score on behalf of another club – especially without telling them – a bit crazy really. Not that we are suggesting that people would put in the wrong score, but do we still then have to check that what is uploaded matches the scorecard that we have – we suppose we do. What’s the point of complicating matters – maybe the League could just send out a reminder to all as to the fact that the home team is responsible for uploading the card. On a positive note, however, maybe the teams in question have heard of our inability (at times) to upload timeously and they are trying to save the Club incurring fines for inputting late scores – if that was the case – thanks from us!!
Week 6 here we come….