Team 1 saw Greig McDonell return in place of Colin Green as he joined forces with David Melrose and Iain Johnstone in their Division 1 home match against Corstorphine 1. On paper this looked like a tricky match, the Corstorphine team having been relegated with Team 1 from the Premier last season. The visitors were without Amjad Mohammed, replaced by Chris McCathie, but their side was strengthened from last year by Stan Stoodley, who although registered last season, had hardly played. On the night, however, despite some flashes of good play from the visitors, the home trio proved far too consistent and ran out 10-0 winners.
Also in Division 1, Team 2 faced a trip to Edinburgh University 2 – only their third match of the season. Gary McDougal, Charlie Brindley and Krzysztof Laszkiewicz were looking for their first win of the season and the University showed the depth of their pool of players with a completely different trio turning out from the dangerous team who had played against Team 1 a couple of weeks ago. The home team’s Asa Routledge proved the difference on the night with three straightforward 3-0 wins and a doubles victory. At 5-2 down the visitors caused a little panic with wins in matches 8 and 9 but couldn’t quite pull off the draw as the fell to a 6–4 defeat. Krzysztof won 2 whilst Gary and Charlie somewhat annoyingly both defeated different opponents as they picked up one each.
Team 3 have had a slow start to their Division 2 campaign with a postponement and a free week so they faced only their 4th match of the season against Corstorphine 3. James Wighton, Ian Hislop and Abby Wighton looked like they were in for a difficult night as Ian struggled over the line in match 1 with an 11-9 win in the fifth whilst James slipped to a 3-1 defeat. From there, however, the home side seemed to find another gear losing only 2 more ends as they raced to a 9-1 victory. Team 3 face 4 matches in 14 days from the 2nd of November – we will know by the end of that period whether they are title contenders or not!
Team 4 have also had a few weeks off and it was good to see them back to winning ways in Division 3 as they travelled to Edinburgh University. Julian and Sonny Taylor were joined by Tony Brentnall and they were never troubled after winning the first round of singles matches 3-0. In fairness to the Uni side, 3 matches on the night went all the way. Sonny lost out 13-11 in match 5 whilst Julian crept over the line in match 9 with a 12-10 in the fifth victory. The visitors also enjoyed an 11-9 in the fifth victory in the doubles. 3 wins for Julian and 2 each for Tony and Sonny saw Team 4 record an 8-2 win. The win sees the Penicuik side jump into the top half of the table but they may still rue two 6-4 defeats to the top two in the Division when promotion is up for grabs at the end of the season.
Wednesday night saw the first derby match of the season in Division 4 as Team 5 faced Team 7. A couple of unexpected changes for both sides saw Craig drop out of Team 5 and Hannah drop out of Team 7. Craig was seemingly unable to play due to his wedding anniversary – really?!! After ten years of marriage his wife was seemingly still more important than TT – who says romance is dead! Hannah, on the other hand, allegedly had a guides event to attend, however, there is a suspicion that she’s maybe picked up on her dad’s habit of trying to protect her average!!
John Bald, Millie Bennett and Stuart Bennett therefore faced George Wilson, Phil Daly and Kristian Skotzen in a match which went all the way to the fifth end of the last match of the night before victory was secured. The result turned the way of Team 5 in match 4 between Millie and George. Having defeated John in match 1 by an 11-9 in the fifth scoreline (accompanied by George’s, by now renowned, yelp of joy) it looked like he could be the deciding factor on the night if he won his three. 11-7 and 11-6 in the first two ends and Millie looked dejected and down and out. Perhaps George relaxed a little too much and suddenly the match was alive again with two 11-9 wins resulting in a fifth end being required. Millie got off to a cracking start and changed ends at 5-2 up. Back came George though and from 10-8 down he drew the game level at 10-10. Many would have buckled, but Millie proved she is made of strong stuff as she secured a brilliant 12-10 win. She went on to have an undefeated night and give Team 5 the advantage.
The match looked all over and at 5-4 up Team 5’s best player, (on paper anyway) John, with a rating of nearly 600 took on Team 7’s lowest rated player, Kristian with a rating in the low 200s. It was obvious John was going to win, a win that would be good for the Club as it would keep Team 5 in contention at the top of the Division 4 Table. Hang on a minute – Kristian hadn’t read the script! Having just lost the first end 13-11, John (and the rest of Team 5) were perhaps a little annoyed when El Presidente had some words of wisdom for Kristian - has he not read the rule about having a nominated person to coach during change of ends! In fairness, the words of wisdom were merely encouragement for Kristian who then played his best TT of the season as he won the next two ends with some great attacking play and then led 10-8 in the fourth. Two match points, silence as the rest of the hall watched on, John’s teammates contemplating the unthinkable, George and Phil trying to hide the grins on their faces, El Presidente thinking about the repercussions and John facing a winless night! Did Kristian tighten up under the pressure – perhaps a little – John’s 85 years of experience brought him through 13-11 in the fourth end and he strolled the fifth, Kristian’s mind probably still on his missed opportunity. A cracking match and a 6-4 victory for Team 5. Millie was the star with 3 wins and a doubles victory whilst John and Stuart both picked up 1.
Finally in Week 7 Team 6 faced a trip to the pleasance to take on Edinburgh University 6 who in five matches played had been winless and had a game difference of 7 wins and 43 losses. What a match for Team 6 to concede! Injuries to Rachel Petrie and Brian Bailey kept them out, Louis had not diarised the date and had something else on, Craig was always unavailable for this match, George and Phil are not allowed to play up and Kristian was still lying down in a darkened room after his last match loss on Wednesday night. Poor Adam who was left on his own! Shambles comes to mind! The 10-0 concession has resulted in the Uni side jumping two places and being replaced at the bottom by??? Let’s not bother saying it!
And so to our Player of the Week Award for Week 7. All of Team 1, Abby and Ian from Team 2 and Julian from Team 4 were all undefeated this week but really there is only one contender for this week’s award. Under a great amount of pressure and the team relying on her, Millie’s undefeated night was proof that not only has she got terrific ability but she has great mental strength – well done to her.
And finally, our controversy of the week section. One of the new rules which we have touched on previously states:
“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.”
Our Team 6 faced a dilemma this week. Rachel injured, Brian injured, Craig unavailable, Louis unavailable, two payers from team 7 not allowed to play up and the other two not available. Adam was ready to play. We have a team of 5 registered and two players beneath who can play up – does two injuries result in “circumstances outwith the control of the team??" Who knows? Clearly Brian and Rachel didn’t think so – they didn’t even bother trying to request a postponement. We’ll never know whether University would have consented to such or not? The point is that the mere existence of the rule led to the Team thinking there was no point in making a request and maybe that’s the intention of the rule – cut down on postponements and teams either have to play or concede? It does seem somewhat unfortunate though given the injury position. A further discussion which led from this was who was responsible for paying the fine in this scenario for a concession – what fine Team Captain Brian asked – his position, apparently backed up by someone on Committee is that a fine is only payable where not enough notice is given of a concession or a team fails to turn up – that’s not our reading of the rule:
“Should a team fail to play as scheduled when either insufficient (namely less than 24 hours) or no notice has been given to their opponents, or when a fixture is conceded, the fixture will be awarded 10-0 to the opposing team. Where insufficient or no notice has been given the offending team will be deducted one point. Such offences, and concessions, also shall be punished by fines, as under: first offence = £5; second offence = £10; third offence = £20 and, unless expressly waived by the Match Sub-Committee, a suspension of the team from the League for the remainder of the season.”
If fines are only applicable where no notice is given why do we need the words “or when a fixture is conceded” and then “such offences and concessions”. It seems clear to us that a concession, irrespective of when it’s given attracts an automatic fine. And indeed that seems to be the League’s position previously – we just have to look at past years where concessions have been fined (including our Team 2 last year). The real worry, if we are correct in this, is why when Brian asked about it was he told that no fine was payable? If a Committee Member doesn't know the rule how can we be expected to understand it? Never mind though, it gives us good grounds for our appeal against payment of the massive £5 penalty!
On we go to Week 8 already….