In the Premier Division, Team 1 of Colin Green, Carsten Giebeler and David Melrose visited the side currently in 2nd place in the Division, Murrayfield 2. This was to be a test of the visitors’ top 4 credentials – a win would have drawn them level on points with their Edinburgh opponents. The first match of the night was key – David v Junji Hua. Ends 1 and 3 were won by David but Junji fought back to level the match and take it in to a deciding fifth end. A couple of missed forehands for David cost dear as the Murrayfield player won 11-8 to give first blood to the hosts. Two wins for Charlie Ellis and two for Colin in the next four matches resulted in Murrayfield holding a slender 3-2 lead. When Carsten then took out Keith Dingwall in 4 ends the match was tied at 3-3 going into the doubles – a real chance for Penicuik to get something from the match. From that point on, however, Murrayfield pulled away with 4 consecutive wins to record a 7-3 victory. Colin picked up two wins whilst Carsten picked up one. A good report on this match can be found on Murrayfield’s Facebook page.
Two nights later saw Team 1 host West Lothian 2. Although a comfortable looking 8-2 win for the home side ensued this match was closer than the score suggests. Match 4 saw Colin scrape through 11-9 in the fifth v Lewis Hills – had that match turned the other way the scores would have been tied at 2-2. As it was Carsten produced his best TT of the season as he had an undefeated night. Colin joined him but dropped sets in two of his three matches whilst David picked up 1 win. A good victory for Team 1 which put them back into fourth position in the Division.
In Division 1, Team 2 are in trouble! They faced fellow strugglers Murrayfield 6 in the knowledge that they needed something from the match, even a point, to keep ahead of their opponents who started the match second bottom. Charlie Brindley and Gary McDougal were joined by Krzysztof Laszkiewicz, who replaced the absent Ian Hislop. In fairness to Murrayfield, Team 2 came away from Royal High pondering how on earth their opponents are struggling at the foot of the table. An 8-2 victory didn't flatter the Murrayfield side. There seemed to be a big gulf and even had they played at full strength, it is doubtful the result would have been materially different. Young Charlie McGowan tactically had played up for Murrayfield 5 v Team 2 earlier in the season and had been undefeated – no surprise then when he went through this match with the loss of only one end. Gary and Charlie both picked up one win in a disappointing night for the visitors who now find themselves in the relegation zone. A positive for Team 2, however, is the fact that this relegation battle looks like being one of the closest over all of the divisions – only 4 points separates 7th from 12th!
In Division 2, Team 4 also played two matches last week. Monday night saw them travel to Granton who were hot on their heels in the Division, only a point behind in fifth place. An 8-2 win for Penicuik extended that gap to three points. It was a great night for the Taylor father and son duo who were undefeated in singles play and combined for a win in the doubles. Big shout out to Sonny again this week – he seems to play better when the pressure is on – all three of his singles were won in close deciding fifth ends (11-9, 11-9 & 11-8). He then combined with Dad Julian in the doubles for a 15-13 win in the fifth! Julian was more comfortable in his three wins whilst Chris Markey picked up one victory.
Three nights later, Team 4 were hoping to build on their positive week as they hosted University 3. This was a topsy turvy match which swung one way then the other. 3-3 going into the doubles and a rare doubles loss for the Taylor duo saw Team 4 in trouble but wins in matches 8 and 9 put the hosts back ahead at 5-4. Sonny has played some great TT this season including some terrific last match wins to secure the points – he fell just short on this occasion as the match was tied 5-5. Chris and Sonny both won 2 whilst Julian was disappointed with his one victory after such a terrific night on Monday. Still in fourth place in the table – on their game this team is capable of beating anyone in the Division.
And finally, to Team 5’s exploits in Division 3. Team Captain Kristian didn’t drop himself seemingly – he was otherwise engaged as his Team hosted one of the sides who look red hot favourites for promotion, Heriot Watt. Rachel Petrie returned to join George Wilson and Craig Linton. All the excitement took place before the match actually started. 7.15pm and there was no sign of the students. Messages were sent on the Team Group Chat asking what the rules were on late opponents - were they going to turn up at all, if they did what should we do etc. etc. etc. Kristian was at home beavering away looking up the rules. Rachel was wondering whether the old 30-minute rule still existed – not present and ready within 30 minutes – match over! Disappointment followed when first the rule was clarified and then the Uni guys showed up (bad traffic on the bypass)! It appeared Team 5's best chance of getting anything out of the match was to play as slow as possible and hope time ran out!! It didn't take the students long to record a 10-0 win and scupper those plans!
Our Player of the Week Award is a difficult one this week. Carsten deserves special mention for his excellent night on Wednesday at Ladywood as does Julian and Sonny for their performances on Monday night. But both Teams 1 and 4 played two matches last week and the result is that no player was undefeated – a first for the season! 5 wins out of six though for both Sonny and Colin?? They deserve to be in the running. But wait – this week saw Heriot Watt pay us a visit off the back of a 10-0 win v Edinburgh International – the same EI trio who had defeated Team 5 by a 7-3 scoreline a few weeks ago! The students didn’t lose an end in that entire match! Gauntlet laid down to Team 5 to pick up a win and any player who did so would win our POTW Award. Ok so a 10-0 defeat followed for Team 5 but this player managed to pick up an end in two singles matches and in the doubles! That’s surely good enough she demanded at Training on Saturday – and the Committee are too scared to disagree – Well done to Rachel!
And finally, to our Controversy of the Week - Bad tempers on the table! Now none of us at Midlothian’s friendliest Club suffer from any anger management issues. (Are we Midlothian’s only Club???) Anyway, we are all calm, measured and polite on the TT table – just as it should be. When anger really kicks in though, should there be some punishment for same? Team 4’s match at Granton saw one of their players have to use an alternative bat for part of the night - was that punishment enough for him deliberately breaking his bat in disgust after he lost a tight five end match? This was, as we understand it, after his second match of the night. The rules are fairly clear - if he had done so during an individual match, then he would forfeit that match. What a player does to their equipment after a game is finished though seems to matter not…..
Ah well, thank goodness all of us are such angels. On to Week 12 we go!!