Wednesday night at Ladywood saw one of the Club’s best nights as all three teams in action recorded victories. Team 3 started the ball rolling in rapid quick fashion as they faced Haddington 2. James Wighton, Ian Hislop and Abby Wighton were looking to build on their last two victories (9-1 & 7-3) and they proved too strong for their East Lothian opponents – although Haddington won 7 ends on the night, they lost 30 as Team 3 recorded a whitewash 10-0 victory. The only surprise on the night was that Team Captain, James didn’t win the player of the match award – he strolled through his games for the loss of only 45 points in 9 ends of table tennis – impressive, but clearly not enough to wrestle the award away from Ian! 3 consecutive wins have catapulted Team 3 up the table into 4th place.
Team 5 meanwhile faced Murrayfield 10 in Division 4. In the absence of father and daughter Bennett, George Wilson took advantage of a free week for Team 7 and played up for the second time this season – he was joined by John Bald and Craig Johnson. Team 5 have been the masters of close victories so far this season – of their 5 victories before Wednesday night, 4 of them were won by a 6-4 scoreline. There was no such tension in Week 9 however as only 3 matches on the night went beyond three ends as Team 5 kept the perfect night going for the Club as they too recorded a 10-0 win. With other results falling into place perfectly for Team 5, they ended Week 9 atop the Division 4 Table – a great week for them.
The final match of the night at Ladywood was in Division 1 and it had a “friends reunited” theme as for the first time in a couple of years those old muckers, Greig McDonell and Colin Green were seen playing together. They were joined by David Melrose who added to the feeling of “the good old days” – the last time this trio turned out in a match together was remarkably about a decade ago!! A top of the table clash v Murrayfield 4 awaited them, and their experience showed in the first round of singles matches as all three players won in straight sets. By the time the second round of singles were concluded the match was over as a contest, only David dropping an end, as the home side raced into a 6-0 lead. A doubles victory followed before Greig and Colin finished their unbeaten nights off. 9-0 and a perfect overall Club score of 30-0 was on the cards as David took on Luke (a former Penicuik player) in the last match of the night – there was no doubt Luke had been “up for it” all night and in a cracking game he secured a 3-1 victory to spoil a perfect night for the Club.
Away from Ladywood, Team 2 faced a trip to North Merchiston 3 still in search of their first win of the season. With Eddie Scott in the opponent’s ranks (he’s really a Premier player, isn’t he?), Gary McDougal, Charlie Brindley and Krzysztof Laszkiewicz knew that their matches against Amelia Norbury and Graham Booth we’re going to be crucial. Matches 3 and 4 on the night proved pivotal. With the scores level at 1-1 (Gary having beaten Amelia), Charlie had to defeat Graham – a five end marathon went all the way – game points for both but Graham came out on top 16-14 in the fifth. The pressure was then on Krzysztof as he faced Amelia and at 2-1 up, he looked like he was going to bring the scores level again – alas for the visitors, Amelia’s attacks proved too strong as she came through in 5 and rather than a 3-1 advantage, the visitors found themselves 3-1 down. When Eddie and Graham won the next 2 as well, the match was over as a contest. Charlie’s win against Amelia proved to be the only other victory on the night for the visitors as they fell to an 8-2 loss.
In Division 3 Team 4’s away match v North Merchiston 5 looked quite straightforward on paper, the visitors sitting in third place in the Division whilst their hosts were struggling at the wrong end of the table. Team Captain, Julian sat out this match as Sonny Taylor and Tony Brentnall were joined by Gavin Hunter, playing only his second match in the last couple of years. Gavin must be our unluckiest player this season. His first outing of the season saw him lose two close five enders and trying to secure a point v Haddington he lost 11-9 in the fifth as Team 4 fell to a 6-4 defeat. On this occasion, the TT Gods put him in the position to secure a 6-4 victory for the visitors in the last match of the night – you guessed it – he lost 11-9 in the fifth. On the night Sonny was undefeated and Tony won 2 for the 5-5 draw. In fairness a point is probably a fair result with 6 of the 10 matches on the night going to deciding 5thends.
Finally, in Week 9, a result which helped Team 5 was provided by Team 6 as they travelled to Inverkeithing to face then top of the table Fife 4. Craig Linton and Louis McLeod were joined by Rachel Petrie, making her first appearance of the season having almost fully recovered from injury. After wins for Craig and Louis the visitors held a 2-1 advantage after the first round of singles. Matches 4 and 5 were close – Craig is still kicking himself after letting a 2-0 lead slip away as he lost match 4 – Rachel then looked down and out after losing the first two ends in Match 5 but somehow managed to turn the game around for a terrific 3-2 victory. Louis was then defeated to bring the scores level at 3-3 going into the doubles. Craig and Louis represented the visitors and probably a good job that Rachel gave her injured leg a rest as she watched the first end extend to 44, yes 44 points!! A 23-21 victory for the Penicuik pairing seemed to knock the stuffing out of their hosts as they won the next two ends for the loss of only 8 points. A 4-3 advantage to Penicuik and when Rachel once again came back from 2-0 down it looked like at least a point was going to be secured. On this occasion though, the 5th end went the way of Fife and the scores were level again at 4-4. After a loss for Craig it was left to Louis to salvage a draw in the last match of the night and that he did in comfortable fashion. A hard fought 5-5 draw was probably a fair result in the end and a huge help to Team 5 and the chasing pack in Division 4.
And so, to our Player of the Week Award for Week 9. Greig and Colin from Team 1, all of Team 3, Sonny from Team 4 and all of Team 5 were undefeated in singles play this week. How do we sort that bunch out? 4 of the 9 players who were undefeated this week didn’t drop a single set, Greig, Colin, James and George. There’s no splitting them is there? Let’s give the casting vote to our opponents – despite not dropping a set, neither George nor James could even win the Player of the Match award in their outings – they must have been doing something wrong so sorry guys you’re out of the running!! A straight fight therefore between Colin & Greig – for his ability to claw his way off the floor and to provide his opponents with some amusement no doubt (the chair came off worse) Greig won the POTM vote from Murrayfield 4 and is therefore this week’s winner! That’s fair isn’t it? In fairness he did deliver the line of the week after “the chair incident” by pointing out that it seems it’s not only horses at Center Parcs that he can’t sit on due to a weight limit!!
We take a look this week in our controversy of the week section at the League’s stricter enforcement of the postponement rule – on one view this does seem to be working – you only have to look at the Unreported Matches section on the Scoring Website to see that across the 5 divisions there are only 4 matches showing as not reorganised and they are all still well within the 4 Week rule. One match which sat unreported for an age was the Corstorphine Derby in Division 1. That’s now disappeared but no result shows in the League table. The outcome seems to be that the match was declared void – all in terms of League Rule 6 (d)!
“For re-arranged matches between teams from the same club that are not played within four playing weeks the match will be void and no points awarded to either team….”
We’re struggling to see the rationale behind this – why should the points not be awarded against the team requesting the postponement just as it would be if two teams from different Clubs fell foul of the 4 week rule? Maybe it is to avoid some skulduggery taking place intra club – would Club’s really do that if promotion or relegation was on the line?? The problem with a void match, however, is that it too could have an impact come the end of the season. We do not know of the circumstances behind this postponement but what if promotion or relegation were to come down to game difference – a void match could significantly impact upon that, either at the top of a Division or indeed at the bottom. Indeed, if the stronger of the two teams were challenging for promotion, they’ve just lost the ability to gain two points, never mind game difference! Would a Club ever let that happen though? Maybe that’s the rationale, a void match is the lesser of two evils. It does seem strange, however, that this should be treated any differently.
And finally, we were saddened to hear today from West Lothian Table Tennis Club that a true gentleman of the sport passed away this weekend – Davie Dall was WLTTC’s first Chairman and an Honorary Life Member – many from our Club will also be aware of his family connection to one of our members – our thoughts are with Davie’s family and with our friends from WLTTC.