The following night Team 1 of Colin Green, Peter Aird and Greig McDonell travelled to Edinburgh International. The EI Team certainly live up to their “International” billing as the Penicuik trio faced Marek Domagala, Babu Valaguruvan and Debjit Roy Choudhury. Colin and Peter were first up, and both matches went the distance. Colin won his 11-8 in the fifth v Debjit whilst Peter lost his 11-9 to Marek. The next two matches saw Greig win in four against Babu whilst Colin was involved in another marathon 5 setter against Marek. This time Colin pulled back from 2-0 down to win 11-9 in the fifth. Matches 5 and 6 saw Babu have the first straightforward match of the night as he defeated Peter in 3 but at the same time the close games continued as Greig was involved in the fourth five ender of the night – he held his nerve to defeat Debjit 11-8 in the fifth, giving the visitors a 4-2 lead going into the doubles. Greig and Colin combined and strolled into a 2-0 lead with some of their best doubles TT of the season, but the quality of the rallies was there for all to see, and it didn’t take much for the tide to turn in sets 3 and 4 as Debjit and Marek could do no wrong. The fifth set was a nightmare for the Penicuik pair – 7-1 down and they looked completely out of it. TT is a funny old game – from nowhere a fantastic comeback saw them sneak over the line 12-10. A point was secured and further wins for Colin and Peter gave the Penicuik side a 7-3 victory.
At Ladywood on Thursday evening Teams 2 and 6 were in action both against Edinburgh International opposition. In Division 1 Steve Collins, James Wighton and Hannah McDonell find themselves at the foot of the table whilst their opponents are competing for promotion. This was always going to be a tough match – the first half of the season saw a 9-1 victory for the Edinburgh outfit and that had been with the Penicuik side’s number 1, David Melrose in the side! Things started well for the hosts as Steve got the first win of the night but that was cancelled out by a good win for Chandrasekaran Kaliaperumal against Hannah before Artur Labecki was at his destructive best against James – James genuinely seemed shocked by the match in which Artur just attacked at will and hardly missed. When the next three singles all went the way of the visitors Team 2 were facing another heavy defeat. Hannah and Steve combined for the first time in the doubles this season and maybe that’s a combination for the future as they secured a fantastic win. Was a remarkable comeback on the cards? Nearly as both Hannah and James competed well in their final matches with some terrific rallies on show, but neither could secure a win and the match was over. Steve won match 10 on the night as the hosts fell to a 7-3 defeat.
And finally on Thursday night Team 6 fielded a different looking side with both Mat and Ian unavailable. Roscoe Cairney was joined by Sian McDonald and Phil Daly. After their best result of the season in Week 16, a 6-4 defeat against Edinburgh University, the team were hopeful of keeping the momentum going. Match 1 saw Roscoe take on the very impressive looking Manu Silverton – pen hold style and when he hit them on the table there was little Roscoe could do – but consistency was lacking from both players. After falling 2-1 behind Roscoe somehow won the fourth end 11-2 – surely he was now in control? An 11-4 win for Manu in the decider followed! Meanwhile Sian was involved in another five set match against Mike Eggar – normally it’s the children who take up the sport to follow in their parents’ footsteps – not in the Eggar family – Mike took up TT after son Glyn and daughter Karin had become cracking players – his style is slightly different than the young Eggars as well – stoic pushing – and in Division 5 that will win a lot of games – Sian lost the third end 11-2, battled back for an 11-8 fourth end win and at 11-10 up in the decider had a match point – so close but it wasn’t to be and as if to rub salt in the wounds Mike won the match with a net dribbler for a 14-12 win. Phil got the team on the scoreboard with a four end win against Alan Gracie but defeats then followed for Roscoe and Sian as the hosts fell to a 4-1 deficit. A comeback was started, however, as Phil showed his younger teammates how to play against backspin with a comfortable win against Mike before a cracking performance in the doubles from Phil and Sian saw the deficit reduced to 4-3. Sian then defeated Alan to bring the scores level before Phil gave the Penicuik side a 5-4 lead with a win v Manu. Roscoe v Mike was always going to be tough, and Mike held his nerve to secure a point for the visitors. Never mind a point lost though – this was Team 6’s first point of the season – well done to them – a win next time out??
And so, to our player of the week award. Well done to Phil for his undefeated night in Division 5 – an integral part played in securing the first point of the season for Team 6. Special mention also to Hannah who was selected to play for Scotland Under 19s last week in an International friendly – she acquitted herself very well and played some fantastic attacking table tennis. But there can only be one winner this week – Greig was back to his “blocking best” in Team 1’s match, and in addition to his two singles wins he managed to pull Colin through in the doubles and then be on the side-lines to somehow rally Colin from losing positions to win his three against Edinburgh International – OK hold on – if he can’t win the award this week he’s never going to win it! Not only did he have an undefeated night and some terrific comebacks against the Edinburgh outfit but last weekend saw him win the Over 50s Assessment tournament at Bathgate, defeating Gerry Campbell on his way to first place – he tells us he’s been trying to defeat Gerry for about 18 years now since he first entered the Vets tournaments and in fairness there are not many veterans in Scotland who can claim to have beaten Gerry 3-0 in a competitive match – well done to Colin on a terrific week.
And finally, our controversy of the week section. Nothing much happened in the League this week to get too wound up about but at the aforementioned Veterans tournament there was a bit of a stand-up argument between a player and an umpire. The umpire got the score wrong in the third end of a match. The player was 5-4 up at the time and the umpire turned the score to 5-5. The player noticed this and told the umpire the score was 6-4. In a moment of confusion, the umpire turned the score to 6-4 but in favour of the other player! A genuine mistake and after the stand-up argument between player and umpire ended the scores were corrected, and the player actually went on to win the end. The player’s point was that he shouldn’t have to keep his eye on the scoreboard – that was the umpire’s job – the player should only need to concentrate on the game. A fair point if it had been raised in a calm and controlled manner. The umpire didn’t particularly take kindly to the way in which the player was behaving and suggested that if he wasn’t happy he could umpire his own game! The “argument” seemed to distract the player’s opponent rather than anyone else. Speaking to an umpire (even if he is a fellow player) in such an aggressive manner shouldn’t be tolerated and if it had been an official umpire we are sure a “card” would have been shown. In any event once the argument blew over, the pair shook hands and it appeared that that was the end of the matter. Social media has a lot of positives going for it, but many negatives as well! For some reason the player, apparently still angered by “a mistake”, decided to post a couple of comments (which were eventually removed) in which he referred to the umpire as a cheat! Let’s hope the umpire in question didn’t see the posts before they were removed (and hopefully he doesn’t read this Report). A cheat – really? Not sure what the player thought was happening but to suggest he was being cheated is outrageous – mistakes happen at every level of officiating, and we have absolutely no doubt that we have all, at some point in our “umpiring duties”, got a score wrong. If we were to start suggesting that these mistakes are cheating we may as well give up playing and umpiring! To end this particular story, the player in question played one of our teams in Week 17 and would you believe it??? You know what’s coming. Whilst umpiring he got a score wrong – no one to our knowledge suggested he was cheating!
Our final controversy is a little tamer – In a match involving Phil the umpire was asked to remind both players that the ball must be held in the flat of the hand before serve. At the end of the match, Phil’s opponent suggested to Phil that he had been serving from under the table. Phil was surprised and said he should have mentioned it to the umpire at the time. He pointed out that it’s not something he’d ever been accused of in the past. We think what he meant by this was that Phil was throwing the ball up from under the table, not serving from under the table which would be a pretty impressive skill which, no disrespect to Phil, he doesn’t have. We’re certainly not aware from seeing Phil in practice that he does this – there may be numerous other problems with his serve but coming from below the table is not one of them!! The point of course is just as Phil pointed out – if there is an issue, there’s no point waiting until the match is over to raise it – raise it with the umpire at the time – but in a polite and courteous manner obviously!
Week 18 already – the season will be over before we know it!