In Division 1, Greig McDonell retained his place at the expense of Colin Green, only because Colin couldn't be bothered travelling to Fife (have we asked before which part of Edinburgh & Lothians Inverkeithing is located in)? He teamed up with David Melrose & Iain Johnstone as they faced Fife 2. Team 1's job was made easier by the absence of the Fife Team's number 1, Lance Stockdale. Only two matches on the night went beyond 3 ends, David defeating Steve Dow 3-1 and Iain losing out 3-1 to Steve McKay as the visitors recorded a 9-1 victory.
On the same night at Ladywood, Team 4 took to the table fresh from a 10-0 win against University. Regular father and son duo, Julian & Sonny Taylor were joined by Gavin Hunter, making his first appearance since the 2015/16 season. The visitors in this Division 3 encounter were Haddington 3. When Sonny lost the first match of the night and Julian found himself 2-0 down in Match 2 it looked like Team 4 were in serious trouble. A good comeback to win in 5 for Julian was unfortunately then followed by a loss for Gavin and another defeat for Sonny. Team Captain Julian kept the home side in with a shout with another win before a crucial Match 6 saw Gavin battle hard but lose out in 5 tight ends. Father and son then combined well in the doubles to reduce the deficit to 4-3. When Julian completed an excellent night for himself with a five end win in match 8 the scores were tied at 4-4. Having not played for almost 3 years, it is to Gavin's credit that he had already had 9 ends in his first two matches and he was very unlucky to lose out 11-9 in the fifth to his opposite number. A draw was still on the cards as Sonny took to the table for the last match of the night but he appeared somewhat out of sorts as a 4 end defeat resulted in a 4-6 loss for Team 4.
In the other side of the Hall, Team 6's dreadful and stuttering start to the season continued. A free week in Week 1 was followed by an injury to Brian Bailey in Week 2 causing him to withdraw. That was followed by a postponement in Week 3 because of injuries to both Brian & Rachel and Week 4 saw this pool of 5 unable to field a team from their own number as Craig was on holiday - it would be Ok though because Kristian from Team 7 was going to play up - Oops a double booking for him left the two youngsters of Louis McLeod & Adam Woodhouse to host West Lothian 9. With 3 players this was surely a match which could have seen a win for the home side. As it was Louis had a good night, undefeated in singles play but those were the only victories as the home side fell to a 7-3 defeat. Maybe Week 5 will see Team 6 actually complete a match with a full team!
Also in Division 4, Team 5 made the opposite trip along the M8 as they took on West Lothian 7 at Bathgate. With Millie unavailable it was a first outing of the season for John Bald, refreshed from his travels, as he joined regulars Stuart Bennett and Craig Johnson. Team 5 had made an excellent start to the season with 3 consecutive 6-4 victories but this match was to prove a tougher test for the visitors. The match was played out of order from the scorecard for some reason and involved some long matches - having played on two tables all night, the doubles played last still only got started at about 10pm! With neither Stuart nor Craig able to trouble the scorers, John's undefeated night for his new team was a mere consolation as Team 5 fell to a 7-3 defeat. Four five end tussles were shared and the high point for Penicuik was John coming back from 10-6 down in the 5th v Ros to win 12-10.
Finally in Week 4, Team 7 faced a trip to East Lothian as they took on Haddington 4. George Wilson, Phil Daly & Hannah McDonell were looking to build on the Team's good performance against Haddington 5 the previous week where they had recorded a 5-5 draw. They knew this was, on paper, a tougher match but when George started off with a terrific win against the highly rated Jordan Roderick there was a belief that the visitors may be able to cause an upset. A win for Phil and a defeat for Hannah was then followed by 3 terrific singles wins for the visitors who held a 5-1 lead going into the doubles. George bemoaned his travelling coach for abandoning him & Hannah in that doubles match as he went for some much needed practice and the Haddington side stayed in the match with a 5 end victory. Matches 8 & 9 on the night were played simultaneously, George v the yet to win, Duncan and Hannah v Jordan. As Hannah went 2-0 down to Jordan, George somehow managed to lose his first end and the unthinkable was on the cards. However, as George pushed his way to a gruelling 4 set win, Hannah & Jordan produced some high quality attacking play with neither of them willing to back off. In a brilliant match, Hannah turned the game on it's head to win in 5 terrific ends. Phil claimed as his reason for losing Match 10 that he was still tired from umpiring that match! A well deserved 7-3 victory for Team 7.
And so to our Player of the Week for Week 4. Undefeated in singles play this week were Greig, David, Julian, Louis, John & George. Greig, David & Julian were undefeated in doubles play so Louis, George and John are out of the running! Julian was on the losing side and lost 4 ends in singles - sorry Julian that's your chances gone! So a straight fight between David & Greig - only Greig didn't lose an end this week so the clear winner is..... Hold on a minute - our other Committee members have said we can't simply ignore the importance of George's undefeated night for his Team's win and that seems fair - even although he didn't win the Player of the Match Award, for setting the tone with a terrific opening win on the night and battling through undefeated, this week's award goes to George - well done to him!!
And finally Week 4 saw a couple of controversial moments on the table. Picture the scene at Ladywood, Louis v young Jamie Toner - 2 sets all, tight in the deciding 5th set, Jamie leading 7-5 when our home team umpire shouts let in the middle of a rally. Bemusement as everyone looks for an errant ball that's come in to the playing area - nope nothing to be seen - Umpire then announces the score as 7-6 - he's forgotten what the score was - eh no, it appears that during the rally young Jamie has nudged and moved the table whilst playing a shot! Oh dear - a bit harsh according to the West Lothian side. Jamie went on to fall 9-7 behind before recovering to 10-10 - to rub it in, however, Louis then won the next two points with the assistance of a net and an edge!! It was suggested by WL that maybe a warning would have been appropriate or having called the word "Let" a let should have been played. The most astonishing thing to us is that the Umpire was on the ball with the rules and his eyesight -
In terms of Rule 126.96.36.199 a point is scored against you..... if an opponent, or anything an opponent wears or carries, moves the playing surface.
We have to agree with our opponents though that this seems harsh but the rules are the rules......
And finally what about the standards of behaviour of players? We all face players who can sometimes get angry/frustrated with themselves. Indeed probably most of us have been that player. Language can sometimes be a bit choice, throwing a bat down or slapping your leg with the bat is another classic. What about kicking out at a barrier - this was commented upon by one of our opposing teams this week. We suppose it's better than some of the verbals that are commonplace in some matches. Is that acceptable behaviour? Frustration can make people do some silly things - just ask Mr Melrose's fist - the mark is still there from his confrontation with the wall last season - at least with a TT barrier you know who's going to come off best!!
On we go to Week 5 - a fifth of the way through the season already - Wow, how time flies when you're having fun!