With Hannah McDonell and Ian Hislop both on holiday, Team 2 called up Krzysztof Laszkiewicz from Team 3 to join James Wighton and David Melrose as they faced Murrayfield 4 in Division 1. Lindsay Muir brought with him to Ladywood our quota of red and yellow cards – maybe he was expecting a replay of when James last played some “Murrayfield youngsters”! The less said about that the better! James v Lindsay was first up and at 1 set all this could have gone either way. The third and fourth sets however saw Lindsay pull away for a four-end win. Krzysztof then took on another up and coming youngster in Angus Halliday – this was tight – a 12-10 win for the home player was followed by three successive ends for the visitor. David then had the task of taking on Rory Thomson and this went the distance. 9-8 up in the decider, David will be frustrated to have lost it 11-9. 3-0 to Murrayfield and Team 2 were in real trouble. Although close, neither James nor Krzysztof could get on the board and the only wins on the night came from David with two 3-1 wins against Lindsay and Angus. An 8-2 defeat for Team 2.
Meanwhile Team 6 hosted a new club to the League this year, Dunbar. Team 6 of Roscoe Cairney, Mat Dyluk and Ian Millar have had a tough start to their Division 5 campaign and things weren’t going to get any easier for them against the “newcomers”. As he did last week, Roscoe won his first match of the night, a comfortable 3-0 victory over his East Lothian opponent. But losses for Mat and Ian gave the visitors the advantage after the first set of singles. Roscoe then played some terrific stuff in his second match to take it to five ends and will be a little disappointed to have lost the decider 11-7. Further defeats for Mat and Ian put the game beyond the hosts, 5-1 down going into the doubles. As in their last match, Mat and Roscoe combined and lost in four ends as they had done the previous week. 6-1 to the visitors and when the final three singles all went the way of the East Lothian side, Team 6 fell to their third 9-1 defeat of the season - they won picture of the week last week and this week they win the award for the most consistent team of the season so far. If Mat “multi-ball king” Dyluk can convert some of his practice play into matchplay his first wins can’t be far away.
And so, to our player of the week award. It’s a really tough one this week with no one particularly impressive on the table. Two wins for David out of three puts him in the running, but for his consistency and promise of better things to come, this week’s award goes to Roscoe – a win in each of his first three matches but games that could so easily have gone the other way over those three weeks as well. Well done to him.
And finally, our controversy of the week section. Yellow and red cards arrived at Ladywood in time for Team 2 v Murrayfield. There were no fireworks though from the Murrayfield youngsters and maybe the calming influence of our League President acting as captain has had a good impact – certainly there were nowhere near as many Chos, Allés and screams as we had been subjected to last season. The only thing which still was an issue was the umpiring by the youngsters who continued to look disinterested and seemed to be treating their umpiring duties as a laugh rather than an essential part of league play. In fairness to Team Captain Lindsay, he was aware of this and had words to try and ensure that they at least looked a little interested in the job!
On the other table, Team 6 came up against the newest team in the league and a couple of our players felt their opponents were far better than Division 5 standard. There were some very one-sided contests which left Team 6 thinking that it was somewhat unfair that a “beginners division” should contain players who are clearly not of a beginner standard. Whilst we can understand the difficulty, Division 5, or indeed whatever our lowest division is going to be, will always have teams in it which are far better than others. The lowest division in the league is not (and probably never will be) a “beginners” division. The only way that would happen is if we actually made a division requirement that players could only play if they were “beginners” or players with less than “x years' experience”, for example. Would that work? It’s great to have needed a new division this year and of course Dunbar as a new club would automatically be slotted in to the lowest division. Whilst the SNL appear to have a bit more leeway, the British League is very cutthroat and certainly in the veterans league it doesn’t matter how strong a side you have, as a new team you have to work your way up from the bottom division. That can make life very difficult for some sides to get out of lower divisions when they come across new sides coming into the league of a much higher standard. The downside in the ELTTL of course is that playing in the bottom division but coming up against far far better players can make matches very one-sided and dishearten true beginners from wanting to play league. What’s the answer? Who knows? Answers on a postcard to Ladywood.
Week 5 here we come.