Team 2 were first in action on Thursday 29th September. Edinburgh University 2 had their team sorted so the match went ahead at Ladywood. Hannah McDonell and David Melrose joined James Wighton to take on the students who got off to a good start as James lost a tight match 1 in five ends. At 1-1 and 9-9 in the third in David’s first match, it looked like the home side may go 2-0 down. David played the big points well in the third and comfortably won the fourth end to bring the match score level. The next two matches were also shared, Hannah losing out in her first ever division 1 match but David levelling the scores up again with another four-end victory. Match 5 was a cracker – a 15-13 first end win for James was followed by an 11-4 defeat in end 2 – James then won the third 11-4 and was 7-3 up in the fourth – this was in the bag wasn’t it? James loves a bit of drama as he lost the fourth 11-9. A crucial fifth end decider saw James regain his composure for a terrific 11-7 win. Hannah then had a real chance to open up a two game gap as she faced Charmaine Lee’s tricky pimples. She couldn’t work out the funny rubber in the first end but should probably have won the second, losing it 12-10. She then looked comfortable winning the third and was 8-5 up in the fourth before losing out 11-9. So, 3-3 going into the doubles. David and Hannah combined brilliantly in a high-quality match for a 3-1 victory to give the home side the lead again. The next two matches were shared so 5-4 to Penicuik as James faced Charmaine in match 10. After a fairly comfortable 11-7 victory in end 1, James lost concentration and lost the second 11-9. He restored the advantage in end 3 but then lost the fourth end. The decider looked like it might go the distance as ends were changed at 5-4 but from there Charmaine played some good aggressive TT as she ran out an 11-6 winner. A second consecutive 5-5 draw for Team 2.
Team 3 had a good start in Week 1 with a 7-3 victory and they were looking to make it two out of two as they travelled to face Murrayfield 9 in Division 2. Krzysztof Laszkiewicz, Bob Porteous and Charlie Brindley made the trip to the Church Hall to take on the very experienced Lynn Somerville, fellow veteran Phillipe Alamichel and up and coming youngster William Goh. Krys, unable to get his young kids looked after, took them with him to the match and we are grateful to Murrayfield Captain, Lynn, who agreed earlier in the day to Krys being able to play his three matches in a row and not put the youngsters through a full night of watching TT! His first match against Phillipe was tricky but he secured a narrow four end win. He also took four ends to defeat Lynn and his awkward style was too much for young William – 3-0 to the visitors as the captain abandoned the ship! Lynn got the home side on the board with a win against Bob and when William then defeated Charlie (some rustiness from Charlie who has hardly played in the last year or so) it was suddenly 3-2 and match on! From there however, Bob and Charlie gained control and didn’t lose again, including a good doubles win, as five wins in a row saw the visitors claim an 8-2 win.
Finally on Friday night, Team 5 travelled to take on Edinburgh University 6 in Division 4. Rachel Petrie, Patrick Shanks and Chamika Diyunugalge were looking to improve on their week 1 7-3 loss. The first two matches of the night were shared, a win for Rachel and a loss for Chamika. Patrick strolled into a 2-0 lead in match 3 before losing the next two ends to force the game into a decider. He held his nerve for a crucial 11-8 win. The scores were level again when Rachel lost match 4 but Patrick restored the advantage before Chamika gave the visitors a two-game buffer going into the doubles with an excellent victory in Match 6. The doubles, as always in close matches, tends to be crucial. Rachel and Chamika won the first end but couldn’t maintain the consistency as the score became 4-3. When Patrick lost to the opposition number 1 the match was level and when Rachel lost match 9 the visitors trailed for the first time on the night. 5-4 down and it was up to Chamika to play the final match of the night. Nerves played their part when he lost the first end, but his teammates never doubted him as he came back for a four-end victory to secure the draw. 2 wins for him and Patrick and one for Rachel secured Team 5’s first point of the season.
Both teams who drew in Week 2 left their matches disappointed, feeling they’d lost rather than gained a point. It was another excellent week for David, undefeated in singles play and this time also successful in the doubles with Hannah. There were two’s this week for Chamika, Patrick, Charlie and Bob but the only other undefeated player did so under extreme pressure – watched by his kids - well they were on their iPads and phones in reality – but he wanted to prove himself in their presence – we think he should bring them to every match – well done to this week’s player of the week, Super Daddy, Krzysztof!
And finally, our controversy of the week section. We didn’t have much to talk about in Week 1 but this week….. Before the season started we were told by the League via email the following:
Edinburgh University teams will not play matches in the first two weeks of the season.
Teams 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6 were all due to face University opposition this week. As a result, we informed all relevant team captains of the position. Team 2´s Captain James had taken it upon himself to contact his Edinburgh University opposition to see if they were able to play the match – James was concerned that a very full Division 1 schedule and limited availability at the club would make rescheduling a headache. No other team captain had been contacted until later in the week when Jim from Team 5 contacted his opposite number and hastily their match was put on for Friday. There was no contact in the opposite direction from Edinburgh Uni to us. Imagine the scene then, when on Thursday night about 10 university students turned up at Ladywood expecting there to be three matches on. Clearly the Uni teams hadn’t been aware of the league email, which was shown to them. They made a few phone calls to their club reps. The league match Secretary was also contacted – the league position was that had Uni been in a position to play in Week 2 they ought to have been in touch with us. Unfortunate for everyone really – we would prefer to have played the matches and not have to find rescheduled dates – clearly the students wanted to play – they had spent an evening travelling out to the wilds of Penicuik and were extremely disappointed not to be able to play. A few students stayed around for a knock (and we didn’t even charge them a non-member session fee)! Confusion and miscommunication was the only winner on Thursday night. As a result, we got some contact from Uni Team 1 and were able to confirm that our premier match wasn’t going to take place on Friday night.
On the table, Team 2's match at Ladywood had a couple of controversial moments. In match 2 David’s opponent moaned to the Uni umpire about David’s serve. The umpire wasn’t interested until the end of game 1 when he spoke to David – what a load of nonsense said David. In the final match of the night the same opponent was facing James. After a fairly convincing first end win for James, we had another word from a Uni umpire (did the Uni player moan again), suggesting that James needed to throw the ball up higher. Wait a minute says James. In all his time playing league (and that’s a number of years) he could never remember anyone suggesting he didn’t throw the ball up properly. In fairness to him, his teammates had no idea either what the umpire was talking about. Despite being told to forget about it, it was easy to see that James was still thinking about it in the second end as he went 7-1 down, focus lost. Now while we’re not suggesting that James would have won the match had this “warning” not been given, it clearly had an impact. The point surely is that if there is a debatable serve the umpire needs to bring it to the player’s attention of their own accord (not because a teammate complains) and at the time it allegedly happens. There is no point waiting until goodness knows how many points later before saying something. Were the warnings given tactical?? We certainly hope not. James was going to say something at the end of the match, but Hannah managed to calm him down by showing him that the Uni had given him the player of the match award for his one win on the night! He suddenly liked the students again!
On to Week 3 we go.