The Week 14 action all took place at Ladywood with our pre-Xmas Tournament. A terrific night was enjoyed by all and rather than our Press Officer giving a blow by blow account of the action one of our younger members did a poem about the night so here it is!!!
Attention turned to the Handicap Cup in Week 13. Of our 4 teams entered in this year’s competition, two had made it through to the last 16.
Team 2 made up of Krzysztof Laszkiewicz (-3), Louis Myatt (+5) and Louis McLeod (+7) travelled to take on Fife 1 who had defeated Clive, Brian and Sean in the previous round. (Who picked that team???)
When Lance came back from a 6 point deficit to beat Krys in Match 1 the home side looked as if they may send yet another Penicuik side packing, however, the two youngsters had other ideas. First Louis Myatt won in 4 ends before Louis McLeod won in straight sets to give the visitors a 2-1 lead. Mark Turnbull then came back from 2-0 down to defeat Krys in 5 to level the scores. Match 5 was to be a turning point - Louis McLeod v Lance Stockdale, with Louis having a 16 point start to 20. Surely a comfortable win for the youngster and after he won the first 2 ends 20-6, 20-4 there were the normal murmurings about how ridiculous the handicaps were and queries raised about the TT rating system!! To his credit, however, back came Lance to win the next two ends 20-18, 21-19 and suddenly the visitors were panicking. In the deciding end, Louis held his nerve and triumphed 20-14. That was followed by a straightforward 3 end win for Louis Myatt before Louis McLeod converted a 5 point lead to win yet another 5th end decider and with it gave Penicuik a 5-2 victory.
Also into the last 8 (but with slightly more ease) were those tactical geniuses of Team 4, Greig McDonell, Iain Johnstone and Abby Wighton. Their last 16 match against Haddington was won 5-0 in lightening quick time - so fast that the trio were able to get in a night’s worth of hard bat practice in advance of the Club’s Xmas tournament this week.
Player of the Week award for Week 13 - 5 of our 6 players this week were undefeated (Ok so Team 4 all defeated Brian’s favourite opponent, Mr Walkover - but it still counts!!) - for 2 comfortable wins and because Louis Mc has won the award already this season, this week’s winner is Louis Myatt - well done Louis.
And finally our controversy of the week section - In Handicap Cup week what else could we raise?? Yet another look at the League website perhaps? In addition to mentioning this about a dozen times last season we returned to the topic in our Week 7 Report pointing out that we seem to be the only team not shown on the Website as winners of the Handicap Cup - 35 years worth of winners dating back to Season 1980/81 - we’re beginning to think that it was just our imagination that we won it in season 2013/14 - maybe it wasn’t played at all - but hold on we’re sure we’ve seen photos of us with the trophy to prove it!! Never mind with a few more weeks of TT completed those wonderfully avid readers of this Weekly Report that hold positions of authority within the League would surely have taken note and updated the page……………………….......
Our conclusion?? The League really do not care or no one on the Committee actually reads this drivel week after week after week! Never mind, everyone in the Club knows how great we are and that’s all that matters really! Our Xmas Tournament to look forward to and we might squeeze in one final Report before Santa arrives.
Week 12 of the Edinburgh & Lothians League saw five of the Club's seven teams in action.
In the Premier Division Team 1 were without Greig McDonell as they faced a home tie against Edinburgh Sports Club 2. Iain Johnstone deputised to join forces with Colin Green and Stuart Gow. After two wins from Colin and a win from Iain things were looking good for the hosts at the halfway point as they led 3-2. Thereafter the match turned as the home side lost all five of their final matches - 3 of those losses being crucial fifth end losses - Stuart lost 11-9 in the deciding end in match 6 and 12-10 in the decider in match 9 while Colin lost 11-9 in the deciding end of match 8. A match which (on paper at least) ought to have produced a win ended with a very poor 7-3 defeat.
In Division 1 Team 2 faced an away match against University 2 to finish their first half of the season. Starting the night just three points ahead of their opponents Clive Liddiard, Brian Bailey and Iain Johnstone knew the importance of avoiding defeat. The visitors task was made easier by the fact that University could only field a two man team and by the end of the night the Ladywood side had put some daylight between themselves and their opponents with a 7-3 victory. Iain won 3, Clive won 2 and Brian added 1 beating that guy who has the worst record in the League, Mr Walkover.
Week 12 saw the first intra club fixture of the season as Team 3 took on Team 4 in Division 2. Had injury and other absences not effected Team 4 over the last 5 or 6 weeks this match would have been a top of the table clash. Team 4, however, have ended up at the wrong end of the table and once again were understrength as they took on second placed Team 3. With only one regular player available, Krzysztof Laszkiewicz was only able to call up Stuart Bennett from Division 4 as a two man team took on James Wighton, Gary McDougal and Abby Wighton. Remarkably, the unthinkable almost happened as Krzysztof won all 3 of his singles matches and combined with Stuart for a win in the doubles as Team 3 fell over the line with a narrow 6-4 victory.
Finally in Week 12, Team 5 were looking to build on their win from the previous week as they faced Edinburgh Sports Club 4 in Division 3. The win in Week 11 had moved the team to within a point of their opponents and they knew that a win on the night would have seen them move out of the relegation zone. A last minute call off due to ill health resulted in Louis McLeod replacing regular Louis Myatt. Going into the crucial doubles fixture the match was evenly poised at 3-3. Phil Daly and John Bald then lost that doubles but the scores were levelled by a win in match 8 for John. Team 5's season so far has been riddled with narrow defeats and that was repeated as Phil lost match 9 before Louis agonisingly lost a fifth end decider in the final game of the night as the home side fell to their 4th 6-4 defeat of the season. John was undefeated in singles play whilst Phil added 1 win.
And so to our player of the week award for Week 12. There's really only one player in the running this week, undefeated in singles play, contributing to a doubles victory and almost single handedly causing the upset of the season, Mr Scrabble Man himself is this week's deserved winner, Team 3 being most relieved that he didn't have any other regulars to play with him! Well done Krys.
And finally our controversy of the week section - we as a Club have struggled this season to fulfil matches with full strength sides and it appears from seeing the weekly results that we are not alone in this predicament. It does raise the question again as to whether the current format for league play is sustainable. Or maybe we just have to accept that players have busy lives and they can't commit to playing every week. Remarkably only 3 of our 26 registered players have managed to play all their team's matches - well done to Iain Johnstone, James Wighton and John Bald.
Without wanting to sound like Victor Meldrew, I don't remember these problems in the good old days. Registered teams of 3 were the norm; unless you were taken hostage or hospitalised on the eve of a match you played every week; we played on one table and still managed to get finished by 10pm; every team provided refreshments (even sandwiches); you would invite your opponents out for a drink afterwards; we didn't know the word "CHO" existed; a table tennis match was a night out where you would socialise together as a team - I feel I'm digressing away from the topic here but hey those WERE the good old days. Now we get thrown out if we can't finish on time, start times are ridiculously early, a variety of clubs "force" you to play on two tables, there's little in the way of "social interaction" with your opponents, refreshments have gone out of the game almost entirely (Murrayfield being an exception and due a pat on the back for at least keeping that tradition going) and half the time we seem to dislike our own club mates never mind our opponents - or is that just us!!! Anyway back to the point (if we ever had one) - maybe our current league format needs an overhaul - whilst we don't always agree with our friends from West Lothian they have often commented upon how the game needs to move on as society has moved on - people's life's are busier, traffic chaos effects us all, time constraints with venues impact on most of us - maybe a change to a different match format is required (there's plenty of alternatives out there) or given that the good old days are gone anyway (and unlikely ever to return) what about a radical change to a national league type set up where the league matches take place at a central venue on the one night - whilst recognising that we have far too many teams over 5 divisions to make a single night venue work we do have under 30 matches a week to play - three different nights would get them all done - now that is radical! Or maybe take change a bit slower and wait until we all get our virtual reality headsets from Santa to enable us to play matches from the comfort of our own living rooms!!!
First half of the season almost over already - I DON'T BELIEVE IT!!
Week 11 of the Edinburgh & Lothians League saw six of the Club's seven teams in action.
In the Premier Division Penicuik 1 faced an away match against League leaders North Merchiston 1. Back to full strength for the first time in six weeks, any hopes of an upset were quickly lost as five of the first six matches went the way of the home side. Greig McDonell and Colin Green both won 1 in the resultant 8-2 defeat.
In Division 1 Team 2 faced a home match against a strong Fife side who sat top of the division. Iain Johnstone, Clive Liddiard and Brian Bailey were no match for their opponents on the night as Iain won 2 and Clive 1 in their 7-3 defeat.
Those two very brief match reports are to appease those dissatisfied readers who, for some reason, claimed at the PTTC Xmas night out that the top two teams get more coverage than the other sides in the Club - surely that's not accurate - definitely not if Team 1 have a bad night!!!
In Division 2 Team 3 have been in excellent recent form - a 10-0 win in week 9 was followed by a 9-1 win in Week 10. Week 11 saw them travel to take on Edinburgh University. James Wighton, Gary McDougal and Abby Wighton were all in confident mood and the only blip on the night came in the final match of the night. By that time the visitors were 9-0 up. Gary and Abby were undefeated in singles play and combined for a victory in the doubles whilst James won 2 of his 3 singles in another convincing 9-1 win. The side's rich vein of form keeps them in 2nd place in the Division two points behind League leaders Haddington but importantly now 5 points clear of third placed North Merchiston.
In Division 3, Penicuik 5 have struggled all season to convert some good play into good results and their Week 11 fixture was a relegation battle against another winless side in Corstorphine 5. After two narrow 6-4 defeats in the previous two weeks John Bald, Phil Daly and Louis Myatt knew that a good start was essential in their quest to record their first victory of the season. After the first 3 matches of the night went the way of the Midlothian trio it was looking good for the visitors. When number 1 John Bald lost match 4, however, there was concern that momentum had turned in favour of the Edinburgh side. Those fears were quickly allayed as the next four matches were all won to give Penicuik an unassailable 7-1 lead. In the end, Phil and Louis were both undefeated whilst John won 1 singles and combined with Phil for a win in the doubles in a much needed 8-2 victory. Although still in the relegation zone, the trio now find themselves only one point from safety.
Team 6 returned from a two week break to face a home match against Edinburgh International 5. The break probably came at the wrong time for the Midlothian side who had been in excellent form and had sat top of the Division 4 table prior to their break from action. More bad news came when it was confirmed that "TV's Sean Lennon" was unavailable for selection because he's got a sore big toe - we think he may be protecting his average as the end of the first half of the season approaches! Stuart Bennet, Craig Johnson and Millie Bennett will look at two matches which could have gone in their favour as the determining factors on the night. In match 4, Craig lost 11-9 in the deciding fifth end whilst in match 6 Millie, having been 2-0 up, lost in five ends, the fourth end by a 16-14 scoreline. Craig won two and Millie won 1 whilst Craig and Stuart combined for a doubles victory as the Ladywood side fell to a narrow 6-4 defeat.
In a busy week for the Club, Penicuik 7 were also in action as they faced the long trip to Fife in Division 4. The youngsters of Lewis Baldock and Mark MacKay combined with Marcin Mroz in a difficult match against experienced opponents. Marcin was the only winner on the night for the visitors winning both matches in an 8-2 defeat.
Away from the League we have to mark some excellent achievements by Club players at the Edinburgh Championships on Saturday 3rd December. Not the best turnout by the Club but of our five and a half players who competed we had 3 winners - who was the "half player" we hear you ask - Louis McLeod turned up to coaching on Saturday morning at Ladywood much to Coach Tom's surprise, he having got his days mixed up and thinking the tournament was on Sunday - oops!! We're sure had he managed to get there the Band 4 event was his for the winning. As it was our 3 winners were Colin (Band 1 singles - some of us will never hear the end of it!!), Abby (Ladies Singles) and Louis Myatt (Under 13 singles). 50% of our players winning events is a great return and Club President Greig claims he should also get a trophy of some sort as the only two players he lost to on the day were the same two players who also defeated our newly crowned Edinburgh Mens Champion - go on Colin - you could give him the big trophy for a month or so surely??
Player of the Week award for Week 11? There was more criticism at the Xmas night out for our press officer for not picking any player from Team 3 so far this season for this honour. Sitting secure in 2nd place in the Division 2 table, both Abby and Gary sitting in the top 10 of the individual averages, Team Captain James is back to being the Club's "nicest" member - how could one of that trio not have been recognised thus far?? It's hard to split Gary and Abby this week so the award goes to.... Sean. OK, a bit of a left field selection especially since he's not actually played this week, but a bit like the League's player of the night awards the basis on which these can be voted for is, it seems, very individual and diverse. Sean definitely kept the party going on Saturday night and although our Press Officer may have been a bit under the influence he told him one of the best jokes he's heard - alcohol must have played a part though given that the response of the 5 people who have been told the joke today seems to be no more than a smirk! Even if in the cold light of day it wasn't that funny, he also gave the writer a lift home after the night out and that's worth the award in its own right - well done to "TV's Mr Sean Lennon"
And finally our controversy of the week section - It's been far too good a week to have a controversy - we all had a great time on Saturday night - all in festive spirit and even with copious amounts of alcohol consumed, our tagline of being a family friendly club was once again borne out with no arguments, no fallouts, no disagreements, no unpleasantness of any sort - if only the League was like that..... And a huge thanks to Mr & Mrs Bailey for hosting our "after party" and to Mrs B for her delicious desserts.
I wonder if Edinburgh University have paid their fees yet????????
Midlothian's only ELTTL representatives.