Team 1 faced last season's unluckiest team, Haddington 1 in Division 1. After a loss to a 15 year old girl in Week 1, Team Captain, Greig was dropped and replaced by Colin Green who joined David Melrose and Iain Johnstone. Carsten Giebeler was the star performer on the night, not losing an end as he strolled through his 3 matches. There were two crucial 5 end games which turned the match in favour of Haddington - David fought back from 2-0 down against Russell Firth only to lose in the 5th, whilst Iain came back from 2-1 down to lose 11-7 in the 5th v Lorenas Vismantas. Those defeats resulted in both winning one singles match whilst Colin added 2. The doubles was therefore crucial to the overall result. Colin & David played some excellent stuff (including an 11-0 granny) to salvage a point for the Penicuik side. A point lost rather than one gained according to the man who was hiding in Fife with Team 7 as the drama unfolded!
The theme of Week 2 seems to have been Penicuik v Murrayfield as these two clubs met in Divisions 1, 2, 3 & 4. Team 2 (Krzysztof Laszkiewicz, Gary McDougal and Charlie Brindley) started their Division 1 campaign against Lynn Somerville, Alex Asyunkin and Jamie Mullineaux at Ladywood. Other than 2 wins for Charlie the only matter of interest for the home side was the description of the team lineups given by Murrayfield on their FB page. Each team seemingly fielded "a grizzled veteran, a young attacking player and a predominantly defensive chopper." OK Murrayfield we can take a joke but that's just cruel! We can accept the grizzled veteran and defensive chopper but who is our mysterious young attacker?? Did we field a last minute replacement? Nope - we've checked the scorecard! Mr Scrabble Man has been described as many things but attacking is fairly low down the list - as for young???? If nothing else it gave us a laugh after a disappointing 7-3 defeat.
Meanwhile in Division 2, James & Abby Wighton were joined by Julian Taylor in the absence of both Chris Markey & Ian Hislop. Abby performed well with 2 wins on the night and Julian chipped in with an excellent 5 end win v John Yau. The star of the night, however, was in Murrayfield colours as Leandro Golinski had an undefeated night for the second consecutive week. Might we suggest that his start of season rating was perhaps on the low side - 6 wins out of 6 and a 160 point increase in his rating already! Another 7-3 victory for Murrayfield.
In Division 3, Team 4 would surely buck the trend of losing to Murrayfield opposition as Julian Taylor, Tony Brentnall and Sonny Taylor looked to build on their good win in Week 1. 2 wins for both Sonny and Julian had the match finely poised. Unfortunately, youngster Haydn Jackson had other ideas, undefeated on the night in both singles and doubles - he continues to show terrific promise for the future as he helped his side to a 6-4 victory.
Three Murrayfield matches so far, 3 defeats - Team 6 weren't going to allow a clean sweep for the Edinburgh based outfit. After an injury blow to Rachel Petrie ruled her out for the next few weeks up stepped Club Secretary and true grizzled veteran, Brian Bailey. A last minute registration approved by the League and he was straight in the team to join new boy (not really a boy!) Craig Linton and young Adam Woodhouse in their first match in Division 4. No way could we lose this encounter. Brian had thought long and hard about registering this year - due a hip operation soon and last season being completely ruined by the pain he suffered he was rightly worried about playing competitive TT. Buoyed by El President'e words of wisdom (just don't move and push everything, I've made a career out of that tactic) Brian took to the table in Match 1 of the night v Peter Nettleton - Brian's hip held up well - unfortunately what he had forgotten about was his recent history of tennis elbow. I thought it was cleared up he was heard to say - Not so apparently! Acutely painful by the time he'd played 4 sets in his first match he had to withdraw from the night! Add forgetfulness to his list of ailments! We wonder what the chances are of a refund of Brian's League fees??!! Craig Linton's first ever League experience was, however, a real positive - undefeated in singles play in a 7-3 defeat.
With Murrayfield ruining our week it was left to Team 5 to provide some relief with a trip to Haddington 5. Craig Johnson fresh from his training camp in Japan (he says it was a work related trip - we don't believe him) was undefeated and Millie Bennett added two good wins. The doubles, as is often the case, was to prove crucial to the outcome. Millie and Craig combined for an excellent 3-1 win to secure a 6-4 victory. Joint top of Div 4 after two matches - the way this week has gone maybe we need to take a screenshot for posterity reasons!
And finally to Team 7. A two player team (George Wilson & Hannah McDonell) travelled to Inverkeithing as Storm Ali threatened to cause a divorce in the McDonell household - you're going where in this weather, Mrs M was heard to shout!! Kristian couldn't make it because of his wedding anniversary - we've heard some dodgy reasons for missing TT but really?? Does he still have romance in his marriage? Does Mrs Skotzen not understand the importance of League matches? Phil Daly, meanwhile, was blatantly breaching the Club rule of not taking holidays in the League season! A 6-4 defeat resulted for the away side - George having won his 3 in Week 1 whilst playing up against Fife for Team 5 could only manage 1 win whilst Hannah won 2 singles and played some super stuff to secure a doubles victory as well. Oh what might have been had a full team been fielded - do either of the absentees feel guilty? Seemingly not!
Player of the week is a three horse race this week - Craig Johnson and Craig Linton were undefeated in singles play but add to that Hannah who had her best night in her short League career. It was Craig L's first ever League match - surely that puts him ahead in the running - hold on - where's he going for the next fortnight? A holiday! Great start Craig but you're chances of Player of the Week are gone! Craig J also won the doubles in securing a 6-4 victory for his team - but hold on - he's just back from Japan and did he bring any cheap TT stuff back for the Club or for El Presidente?? Well done Hannah - more wins in the first two weeks of this season than in the whole of last season - there's no bias here!
And finally to our Controversy of the Week. Back to one of our favourites this week - postponements! Our Team 6 are already in trouble. Two injured players, one player on holiday, two youngsters left that have to rely on an adult to get them to away matches and two players from Team 7 who aren't allowed to play up for them - this coming week's match has already been postponed. The League have tightened even further the rule on postponements:
"No team (other than EUTTC) shall be allowed more than one postponement request in each half of the season without the express consent of the Match Sub-Committee which consent will be given only should the request be the result of circumstances outwith the control of the requesting team."
Do Team 6's circumstances fall within the above definition? Who knows? What about Haddington 1 who we played this week - they postponed their fixture and we played them at Ladywood on Wednesday instead of Monday at Haddington - is that their "one" postponement request for this half of the season? Our Team 7 took the view that the rule on postponements is so difficult to comply with that even though Fife were gracious enough to offer us the opportunity to postpone, it would be easier just to play with two players. Given that any rearranged fixtures are meant to be played within 4 weeks, we think the League are actually just trying to bring in through the back door our proposal from a couple of seasons ago - Just do away with postponements! They're more hassle than they're worth. Mind you that presumes that there will be any enforcement of this rule - watch this space...
On the table this week, there was a dispute over an umpiring call in the doubles played at Inverkeithing. George was faulted for serving into the wrong half of the table - he felt the serve was bang on the line - chalk dust he screamed - everyone else on the table was clear it was a fault - the umpire had no doubt - if only he'd had his yellow cards with him - how dare a player challenge such a decision - the umpire was none other than El Presidente - and everyone knows he's never wrong!
Hopefully Week 3 will see more of our teams return to winning ways.