Team 1 saw the return of Iain Johnstone after missing the last two matches and the rotation system was back in operation with Colin Green replacing Team Captain Greig McDonell who chose instead to watch some torrid stuff from Team 7 at Bathgate! David Melrose, fresh from some sunshine abroad, completed the team (Please can everyone else note that David, although on holiday during the season, had his week away during a free week – top marks to him!). Murrayfield 5 were the opposition at Roseburn and their position in the league table seems to be somewhat out of kilter with their abilities. Match 2 on the night was a classic between former Penicuik young gun Luke Hennessey and the returning Iain. At 2-0 down Iain was in trouble but he dug deep to win the final 3 ends for a great comeback win – Luke, who doesn’t hide his emotions very well, didn’t take that defeat too well. He put that behind him, however, when he continued his good form against David – 3 times in a row he’s now come out on top. The home side’s only other victory though was provided by Stella who defeated Iain as Team 1 continued their good form with an 8-2 victory.
Team 2’s Division 1 season has been a struggle so far. They faced two crucial matches in Week 12 against teams also in relegation trouble. On Wednesday night Gary McDougal, Charlie Brindley and Krzysztof Laszkiewicz faced Fife 2 at Ladywood. The night started brilliantly for the hosts with good 5 and 4 end wins for Charlie and Krzysztof, but Fife roared back with the next 3 matches before Gary restored parity with a match 6 win – 3-3 with the doubles next up. Gary and Krzysztof combined for a crucial win before Fife’s Lance Stockdale completed an undefeated night to level the scores again at 4-4. Gary secured a point and it was left to Charlie to play match 10 – with Team 2’s first win within touching distance Charlie lost a 1-0 advantage to go 2-1 down – with his teammates nerves shattered he levelled the contest before a fifth end marathon which went the distance – 13-11 in favour of Charlie to the relief of all home supporters.
The following night the same trio hosted bottom of the table Corstorphine 2. Could they pull off 4 points in a week. At 3-2 up it looked positive for the hosts but matches 6 and 7 were pivotal. Two fifth end losses for the hosts and they were suddenly 4-3 down and it got worse when Krzysztof lost match 8 in 3 straight sets. A defeat was suddenly on the cards but back came Gary and Charlie to win the final two matches to secure a 5-5 draw. A point gained? After an off night for Gary and Krzysztof it was a good point but against a previously pointless opposition, Team Captain Krzysztof felt this was a missed opportunity. Nevertheless, having started the week second bottom of the Division, 3 points out of 4 has moved the team up the table to 4th bottom, 2 points clear of the relegation zone.
Team 3’s scheduled fixture v West Lothian 4 in Division 2 was postponed at the request of WL. Looks like James Wighton is trying to wrestle back the nicest team captain award. They however played a match v Haddington, brought forward from the New Year. James was joined by Chris Markey and Abby Wighton as they travelled to East Lothian. Having defeated Haddington 10-0 at home only 3 weeks ago this was going to be a walk in the park for the visitors wasn’t it? It proved to be anything but! Chris showed probably his lack of match practice with only one win and Abby lost a bad one to a player playing up from Div 3. With a father and daughter loss in the doubles, suddenly the pressure was on James to make no mistakes. And he showed his true form with an undefeated night to secure a nervy 6-4 victory for Team 3.
This week’s award for the most shambolic team of the week goes to Team 4. They granted a postponement to Edinburgh International who couldn’t field a full team on the scheduled match night – and guess what – Team 4 then couldn’t field a full team. Millie played up from Division 4 but in a match, which went the distance, the home side really only have themselves to blame after a 6-4 defeat. Team Captain Julian almost salvaged a draw but lost the last match of the night 12-10 in the fifth. They’ll need an unbeaten second half of the season to try and secure a promotion spot.
In Division 4 there was a top of the table clash between Penicuik 5 and West Lothian 8. Having defeated WL9 the previous week, Stuart and Millie Bennett and Craig Johnson were hoping to give themselves some breathing space at the top of the Division. When the West Lothian trio raced into a 4-1 lead this match looked over. A crucial win for Stuart kept the visitors in it but a loss in the doubles ensured a point for the Bathgate side. Craig then inflicted only the second defeat of the season on Dave Stephen before Millie won match 9 to reduce the deficit to 5-4. The difference on the night, however, was Tommy Hamill who completed an undefeated night for him and with it a 6-4 victory for the hosts. Disappointment for Team 5 but they know that two wins to finish the first half will see them return to the top of the Division.
Team 6 also faced two matches in Week 12 and it was a week to forget for them. Wednesday night saw them host West Lothian 7, who themselves are still heavily involved in the promotion race. Louis McLeod won 2 and Craig Linton won 1 and they combined for a 5 set doubles win in a narrow 6-4 defeat. The following night, Rachel Petrie replaced Adam Woodhouse, but it made no difference as Haddington 5 secured a 6-4 win. Louis was again the player of the match for the visitors with 3 out of 3 singles wins, whilst Craig added one win. With Louis and Craig having had a good run in the doubles, it was perhaps surprising that Rachel replaced Craig to join Louis - it nearly paid off but, on this occasion, a 12-10 final end defeat resulted in another narrow loss.
And finally, in Week 12, Team 7 lined up with George Wilson, Phil Daly and Hannah McDonell as they visited West Lothian 9 looking for an unprecedented 4th victory on the bounce! The less said about this match the better. Team 1 captain Greig spent the night wishing he’d gone instead to Murrayfield – at least there seemed to have been some fireworks there. A somewhat lacklustre performance from the visitors saw them fall to a 7-3 defeat. The highlight of the night was 5 points in a row from 10-3 down by a completely disinterested and out of sorts Hannah due to the promise of a McFlurry on the way home if she could show some interest! Pity this was the last match of the night – a tactic though which may be used in future matches at an earlier stage!
And so to our Player of the Week Award for Week 12. Colin and James were the only two players undefeated this week in singles play. But there were also notable performances this week from Louis and Charlie with 5 wins out of 6 singles played. Unfortunately for Louis those 5 wins were not enough to even win a point for Team 6. The undefeated night for James included a doubles loss so sorry James not this week! A late contender for the award is Phil – despite a shocking night for him at West Lothian, he gave our intrepid Reporter two boxes of chocolates – a bribe? If only he’d played better, he was a cert for the award this week! For the importance of his 5 singles wins to his team – including two last match wins to secure a draw and a victory well done to Charlie!
And finally, our controversy of the week section.
With umpiring taking centre stage recently and Clubs being told to have their umpires take more control of matches, we think Corstorphine may have missed the relevant email. In their match against Team 2 this week, a rather toxic atmosphere was created by one of their trio who took exception to an edge being given to the home team player. It wasn’t an edge claimed the opponent. Charlie, who was playing the match, said it definitely was an edge – umpire and Mr Nice Guy, Krzysztof gave it as an edge to Charlie much to the annoyance and frustration of the visiting player. No doubt fuelled by that, the poor atmosphere rumbled on as the opposing player then started to question the fact that Charlie was supposedly using “speech play” to disrupt the match and no doubt his concentration. The alleged unfair actions apparently related to very occasional grunts from Charlie as he played certain shots – nothing untoward so far as we understand the rules.
It got worse seemingly as the same player then had a moan about young Sonny, who was playing a different match, because he was walking, outwith the playing area, supposedly in his vision. Words were seemingly exchanged, and the resulting atmosphere was entirely unnecessary.
Team Captain Krzysztof was greatly irritated by all of this – not because of a lack of respect towards him as an umpire, not because of the, on one view of it, ridiculous behaviour, but because he had been helpful and generous in agreeing to a postponement of this match because the opposing team at the scheduled date had all been unavailable due to a certain Football Derby Match in Edinburgh!! He had rearranged this match to a Thursday, much to the ire of other club members as it interfered with Club night, much to the annoyance of his own teammates who had to play two matches in two days - and the thanks he gets was this!
Lesson learned for Krzysztof – be more like that nasty James Wighton and just point-blank refuse postponements – we’ve got far too many nice people in our Club!!