First up for them was a trip to reigning Premier League Champions Murrayfield 1. Having won the top division for 6 of the last 9 years, Team 1 were always going to be up against it. When Colin Green then pulled out to protect his average (no wait – he had something on) the job got even harder. Iain Johnstone came into the side, having last picked up his bat in about 2018, to join Carsten Giebeler and David Melrose. Overwhelming favourites at the start of the match, the bookies closed the book on a Murrayfield win after the first match of the night when David had to pull out with a calf injury. 1-0 down and a player down, credit to Carsten who had to dig deep to come back from 2-0 down against young Charlie McGowan to win in five. Whilst Iain struggled against Krzysztof Borkowicz and Gordon Muir (two of the top two players in the League just now) he also had a great match against Charlie – he just fell short after a good comeback to force a deciding fifth end. Carsten can take a lot of positives, however, having pushed both Gordon and Krzysztof the whole way, losing out 11-6 in the fifth against both. A 9-1 loss was perhaps a little bit unfair on the balance of play.
At the end of Week 3, Team 1 then caught up on their outstanding fixture from Week 1 with Edinburgh University. Having agreed the re-scheduled date, imagine the horror for Team Captain Colin on learning of David’s injury and then realising that Iain wasn’t available. Oh well the Club have a Premier League standard player (allegedly!) sitting in reserve waiting for just this type of scenario – none other than our Club President, Greig – oh hang on, the League have decided he is banned from playing up because he’s trying to help youth development by playing in Division 2 (more on that in a future Controversy of the Week no doubt!). With no one else available on a Friday evening it was a two-man team who took on the students. Starting 3-0 down this was always going to be tough and after both Colin and Carsten lost their opening matches the best they could have hoped for was a draw. A comeback then started as Colin held on (just) to defeat Kevin Qu 11-9 in the fifth. That was followed up by a 3-0 win for Carsten against Lydia Fu and when Colin and Carsten then defeated Lydia and Lei Zhu in the doubles, a miracle recovery was on the cards! Colin then won another five-end mammoth struggle with a 12-10 fifth end win v Lydia and the result came down to the final match of the night between Carsten and Kevin Qu. An 11-1 win for Kevin in the first end didn’t give much hope to the visitors but remarkably back came Carsten with an 11-9 victory in the second. An 11-6 third end win put the students on the verge of victory and despite Carsten’s best efforts he lost the last 12-10 – a 6-4 defeat on the night but from 5-0 down that was a good result.
Team 3 had their first taste of action this season as James Wighton, Hannah McDonell & Abby Wighton (together with NPC Greig McDonell) travelled to take on Herriot Watt in Division 2. The fourth member of this squad makes this team quite unique – two father daughter pairings representing the same Club may have happened before but in the same team???? That must be a first for the ELTTL we think. After Abby lost the first match of the night to Dan Potter there were comfortable wins for both Hannah and James to give the visitors the advantage. The next two matches saw Dan defeat James 3-0 before Abby won her match 3-0. Match 6 was ultimately to prove pivotal. Hannah took on Megan Sullivan and having lost the first two ends from winning positions (11-13 and 10-12) Hannah looked in trouble – to her credit she then played a little more freely as she won the next three ends to complete a terrific comeback. James & Hannah were defeated in the doubles cutting HW’s deficit to 4-3 overall. The visitors knew that wins in matches 8 and 9 would seal the victory and James and Abby duly delivered with straight sets victories. The last match of the night saw Dan take on Hannah, in what was probably the best quality match of the night with some terrific play from both players – the Uni’s number 1 held his nerve for a four-end victory as Penicuik recorded a 6-4 win, all three players picking up 2.
Finally in Week 3 Team 4 hosted Murrayfield 8 at Ladywood. Jay Tracey and Rachel Petrie were joined by Jim Jack, making his debut for the Club and he was unlucky in Match 1 of the night losing out 12-14, 4-11, 13-15 to Arjun Singh. Jay then lost 13-15 in the first end of his opening match which seemed to dent his confidence and the hosts were 2-0 down in the blink of an eye. Rachel then picked up a win against young Jamie Simpson in 4 ends before Arjun restored the two-match lead with a straight sets victory against Jay. Jim was then involved in a tight five-ender, winning 11-7 in the fifth to reduce the deficit once more. Match 6 saw a rather frustrated Rachel lose out to Peter Nettleton and when the doubles was then lost in straight sets, the home side trailed 5-2 and a point was the best they could hope for with the final three singles to play. It wasn’t to be for the hosts as all three players lost their final matches of the night as their Edinburgh opposition recorded an 8-2 win. Jim, in his first match for the Club, was awarded home player of the match – well done to him. As Rachel pointed out afterwards, it’s getting better for Team 4 – a 9-1 loss in their first outing, 8-2 in their second – only another four weeks or so to wait until that pattern results in a victory - and watch out – by Xmas someone’s in for a 10-0 hammering!
And so, to our player of the week award. Like last week, none of our players were undefeated this week. There were a few 2’s – Colin in Team 1 in a 6-4 loss and important 2s for all of Team 3 in their 6-4 victory. In our first report of the season, we gave the award to a Murrayfield player, and we were tempted to give this week’s award to an opponent as well – but that would be too much! A special mention though to Dan Potter from Herriot Watt for his undefeated performance and also for his general good sportsmanship and attitude throughout the night. But this week’s award goes to our youngest League player for her important two, and in particular the comeback from 2-0 down in ends, which effectively sealed the 6-4 victory for Team 3 and that coming in her debut at this level – well done to Hannah.
And finally, our controversy of the week section. Two reports done and we’re saving up controversies already! At the beginning of Team 1’s match, it appeared there was a last-minute phone call between the Uni Team and the League Match Secretary – Colin and Carsten were a bit in the dark about what was going on and indeed had the Uni Captain actually left the room to make the call they would still be in the dark! It turns out however that one of the University players was not originally registered for Edinburgh Uni when the original fixture ought to have been played – if that is the case, in terms of the rules, they are not entitled to play in the rescheduled fixture.
“Players, including re-registered players, may play in re-scheduled fixtures only if they were eligible to play in the originally scheduled fixture. No player shall be eligible to play in any re-arranged fixtures originally scheduled for a date prior to his/her initial registration. Any team playing an ineligible player will result in the team forfeiting the fixture”
Hmmm… If the player in question had just been late registered because that’s what happens with Edinburgh University (late start and all that) then there wouldn’t be an issue but apparently in this case, the player was actually registered for a different club as at the date of the original fixture. Despite that knowledge, the player played, and the rules were clearly not applied. Colin managed to corner our Match Secretary at the National League at the weekend - his comment was that we should bring this issue to the attention of the next Committee meeting!
That shouldn’t be necessary of course, had the rules simply been applied at the time. Our famous saying for many a year makes a reappearance – what’s the point of having rules if they’re not going to be enforced! Over to the Committee we suppose..
Week 4 here we come!