In Division 1, Team 1 faced Edinburgh University at Ladywood and with team Captain Greig trying to preserve his average (sorry, we mean resting his shoulder injury) he was replaced by Colin Green. He was joined by David Melrose and Iain Johnstone against a tough looking Uni side. A crucial good start to the evening was provided by Ian who came back from 2-1 down to win 13-11 in the fifth against Edmund Lau. Colin then defeated Uni captain Yubo before match 3 saw the other 3 matches in the Hall almost come to a halt as a result of the noise coming from Table 1! At 2-0 up David was cruising against Dong Yan – somewhat vociferously cheered on from the sidelines, he found another gear and in a flash, David found himself 10-8 down in the fifth. David did remarkably well to maintain his composure as many around him were losing theirs as he recovered for a 12-10 win! The home side then won 2 of the next 3 to go 5-1 up going into the doubles. When David and Colin squeezed home in the fifth the match was over as a contest and further wins by that pair resulted in an 8-2 victory for the home team. Greig’s decision to play Colin was an inspired one as he was undefeated, ably supported by David and Iain who both won 2, both losing out to the vastly improved Yubo.
Team 2 faced only their second match of the season as they visited Murrayfield 5 in Division 1. Gary McDougal joined Krzysztof Laszkiewicz and Charlie Brindley in search of their first win of the season. The visitors held a 2-1 lead after the first round of singles with wins for Gary and Charlie and that pattern was repeated in the next three matches as the Midlothian trio took a 4-2 advantage into the doubles. But then things changed! A 5 set loss in the doubles was followed by a 5 set loss for Charlie as the match was brought level at 4-4. Match 9 saw yet another 5 set marathon and from 2-0 up Krys’ night got worse as he lost 11-9 in the fifth to Stella. Suddenly an unthinkable loss was on the cards. Fortunately for the visitors, Gary maintained his composure as he won the last match of the night to secure a 5-5 draw. A point lost or a point gained?? No doubt in Gary’s mind – the goal was wide open to secure a victory and the team fluffed it!
Team 3 were playing only their 3rd match of the season as they hosted a very strong looking Edinburgh International 3 in Division 2. This match saw the first appearance of the season of Chris Markey and he showed some good form with two good wins. Unfortunately, that was as good as it got for the home side as father and daughter Wighton drew blanks – James seemed preoccupied with plans for his few days holiday whilst Abby’s mind was on organising the party at her house while mum and dad were away! This Edinburgh International team are bound to be in the mix for promotion come the end of the season.
Week 5 saw all of our Division 4 sides in action on the same night. At Ladywood, Team 5 faced University 6 in a very one-sided affair. Only two matches on the night went more than 3 ends as Craig Johnson, John Bald and Stuart Bennett sped their way to a 10-0 win.
Meanwhile, Team 6 managed to field a full side for the first time this season as Craig Linton, Louis McLeod and Adam Woodhouse travelled to Bathgate to take on West Lothian 8. Dave Stephen was the difference on the night, undefeated and winning two crucial 5th end matches including a 16-14 win v Louis. Craig, who had thought this League malarkey was easy found his 2nd outing tougher than his debut, losing two five-enders but holding his nerve to win 1. Adam was also unlucky on the night losing out 11-9 in the fifth to Tommy Toner. A 7-3 loss for the visitors but with six matches on the night going the distance this is one of those matches which could easily have gone the other way.
Team 7’s Division 4 match against West Lothian 7 was closely monitored by Team 5 who had lost to the same Bathgate trio the previous week. George Wilson, Phil Daly and Hannah McDonell were in positive mood having picked up 3 out of 4 points in their last two matches but quickly found themselves 2-1 down on the night. Matches 4, 5 & 6 were to prove crucial to the outcome. First Hannah got the better of Ros Beck and her dodgy rubber, before George took care of John McLeod and that was followed by victory for Phil v Bob Lander. The West Lothian side were not finished, however, as the doubles went their way in five before John defeated Hannah and the scores were level at 4-4. When Phil defeated Ros, it was left to last week’s player of the week to secure a terrific win for the home side as he defeated Bob. A 12-10 win in the first end resulted in the loudest shout of the night by George (and that’s saying something given the shenanigans going in with University)! An excellent win for Team 7 brought just as much joy to Team 5 who, as a result, ended Week 5 in 2nd place in the Division.
And so to our Player of the Week Award for Week 5. Colin, Gary, John, Stuart, Craig and George were all undefeated in singles play. George has got to be in the running again for his 3 wins which pushed Team 7 over the line to victory. Gary’s three wins secured a 5-5 draw and the first point of the season for Team 2 – surely that undefeated night must put him into pole position. But for his week which started with a National Vets Win in the over 50s and finished with a controlled and undefeated night which set the tone for a good victory, well done to Colin (and to Greig for picking him!)
And finally, our controversy of the week section. On Wednesday at Ladywood, it seemed that University turned up to prove a point to Penicuik that they are promotion candidates. To say they were fired up is an understatement. It all kicked off in Match 3 as a scene, never before witnessed at Ladywood, unfolded. There’s nothing wrong with encouragement from the sidelines and from 2-0 down, Don Yang was certainly benefited as he roared back to 2-2. That encouragement, however, involved arms waving in the air, loud cheering (almost singing) and constant chat as points were being played. There is no doubt that this was affecting David. It resulted in the offending party being asked by our Club Coach, Tom, to move from the playing area to behind the TT barriers. The encouragement continued and at 10-8 down in the fifth, David was mid toss on his serve when more encouragement was shouted from behind the barriers. He stopped, looked around at the offending party and left the ball to fall to the floor. Club Coach Tom then became further involved in an exchange which brought about some utterly unnecessary behaviour from University, causing others to come from the other half of the Hall to see what all the commotion was about. Poor Ian was umpiring the match and eventually when calmness descended, he played a let for the interruption. David came back to win 12-10 amid the mayhem and his yelp of joy at the end was probably understandable.
The Uni position which continued to be put to Tom (and anyone else who cared to listen) after the match was that if he had ever attended an ITTF event this type of behaviour went on all the time. They couldn’t understand why some grown up 40 something male couldn’t cope with it. It was left to Colin to try and calm the situation down (that’s the first time that’s ever been said about our aggressive Aussie) by pointing out that there is perhaps a slight difference between a crowd of 10,000 in Düsseldorf watching the World Championships and a match at a Leisure Centre in Penicuik on a Wednesday night in October in the second tier of the Edinburgh League!! One of the best responses of the night came from David as he heard himself being referred to as a big 40 something baby when he clarified that he was actually 54!
In fairness, after the match had threatened to boil over order was restored and the second half of the evening passed quietly. At the end of the night a shake of hands and an apology of sorts for behaviour which we think was recognised as having been out of order. The off the table antics detracted from what was a cracking match – all-out attack from a very capable University side which certainly left those watching being in no doubt that they truly may be contenders for promotion by the end of the season. And in their Team Captain, possibly one of the most improved players, as he went on to show a couple of nights later when he played up in the Premier and won 2 against NM 1. It was just a pity that things got out of hand and effected other matches which were taking place in the hall.
One of the matches affected was Team 7's game v West Lothian - by far the best intervention of the night came from Team 7 Captain George who came over during the raucous behaviour to point out to a University member that their language needed to be reined in – there was a child in his team who could hear all the bad language – none other than El Presidente’s 11 year old daughter – George could have perhaps phrased his request in a slightly better manner than:
“Watch your ******* language – there’s a young kid over here – your behaviour is ******* outrageous!”
What a night……