And so on to the table and the first week saw all four of our teams in action – oh hang on – we all faced University opposition – ah well having waited 18 months another week wasn’t going to do any harm!
Week 2 and our first team (Colin Green, David Melrose and Carsten Giebeler) hosted a new look Murrayfield 3 side in the Premier division. When all three players lost their opening matches it looked grim, but there were then good wins for Carsten and David to bring the score back to 3-2. Match 6 saw Colin take on Ziaho Li and that’s where the comeback run ended – the Murrayfield player was never in trouble winning in 3 straight sets. With time marching on it was decided to continue playing the singles matches on two tables and leave the doubles to the end. When David lost match 8 a point was secured for the visitors. Wins however then followed for Colin and Carsten and suddenly a point was up for grabs in the crucial doubles. The job of securing that point was left to Carsten and Colin and when they won a mammoth first end 18-16 a draw was within their grasp. The second end was to prove pivotal as the Murrayfield youngsters overturned a deficit to secure an 11-9 victory. That seemed to dent the home pair’s confidence as they lost the next two ends and with it the match slipped away. As Colin pointed out it was perhaps no surprise that youth triumphed in the end – the cumulative age of the Murrayfield trio was probably not that much more than the average age of our “over 50’s trio”!!
Team 2 also faced Murrayfield opposition as they travelled to face Murrayfield 6 in Division 1. Gary McDougal joined forces with the Taylor father and son duo making their debut at this level. First coaching point from Sonny to dad Julian was make sure you check where the match is being played after Julian turned up to Royal High School for a game at Roseburn Church hall!! This was a tight match from beginning to end. After Sonny got the visitors off to a great start there were then defeats for Gary and Julian. On the night there were three crucial games that went the distance. The first of those was match 4 between Sonny and Murrayfield’s Masoud Nowbaveh. 2-0 up and Sonny looked in control but back came the tenacious Masoud with a crucial 14-12 win in the third before a comfortable fourth end win and a nervy 11-9 decider. 3-1 down and Penicuik in trouble. A win for Julian then reduced the deficit before the second “crucial” match of the night saw Gary take on Ian Moran. This time it was the away player who came back from a losing position. 2-1 down, Gary won the fourth 11-9 and then pulled through 13-11 in the decider to square the match at 3-3. Gary and Sonny were selected for the doubles and that turned out to be a great decision as they strolled to a straight sets victory. Match 8 saw Julian take a 2-0 lead against Masoud, just as Taylor Jnr had done. Surely it wouldn’t be the same outcome? Eh, yes it would – another comeback to win in five and the match was in the balance again at 4-4. Ian Moran’s experience was then too much for Sonny as Murrayfield secured a point. It was left to Gary to win the last match of the night to give the visitors a draw which he duly did in 4 sets. A fair result in the end?? Probably.
Finally in Week 2 Team 4 travelled to take on a strong Haddington side playing in Aberlady. From their five player pool, Craig Linton, Rachel Petrie and Jay Tracey made the journey and when Jay, making his debut, won the first match of the night the team must have thought Division 3 was going to be easy. Far from it though as Haddington won the next five singles to hold an unassailable 5-1 advantage. Maybe the doubles would change the visitors fortunes? Unfortunately not. 6-1 then became 9-1 and although a bad start to the season, as many a coach has said, you learn more from your losses than you do from your victories.
And so to the return of our player of the week award. None of our players were undefeated this week. There were a couple of 2’s – Carsten in Team 1 in a 6-4 loss and an important 2 for Gary in Team 2’s 5-5 draw. But for a change we’re going to include away players this season. And there can only be one man in the running – twice he was 2-0 down, twice he came back to win in five and his 3 resulted in a 5-5 draw for his Murrayfield side. Well done to Masoud – he’s probably never read one of our reports – if anyone from Murrayfield does, pass on our congrats to him!
Finally, what about our controversy of the week section. Surely there’s nothing to talk about this early in the season? What about our favourite topic from the 2019/20 season – Herriot Watt’s mid season promotion to Division 1 – surely not anything new to report there! Well…………….
The initial 2021/22 league formation had Herriot Watt in Division 1 and Penicuik 2 in Division 2. Interesting. How did that come about given that Penicuik 2 finished 5 points above HW in Division 1 in 2020? We sought an explanation and the following was provided:
“the basis for composition of the starting 50 teams next season, viz. 10 per each of five divisions: (1) Promotions and relegations were applied to the teams according to final positions in the truncated 2019-20 season; (2) Then a process known colloquially as “slicing and dicing” was applied in chunks of 10 working from top down, which adversely affected several recently promoted and/or narrowly avoided relegation teams e.g. Penicuik 2…”
Hmmm, OK – so can someone explain to us how HW didn’t fall into the same bracket as Penicuik given they finished not as a “narrowly avoided relegation team” but an actual relegated team since they finished bottom of Division 1?? No answer to that! It seems that for some reason the basis outlined by the League for determining the structure was either deliberately ignored or mistakenly not applied to HW. Maybe having promoted them mid 19/20 season someone wanted to see proof (two years later) that that was the right decision to have made? So how did we end up in Division 1 and HW in Div 2? The league must have corrected their mistake, right? Wrong! HW contacted the League to point out that the strong players they had for season 19/20 were no longer around and they thought Div 1 was too high for them! You couldn’t make it up!!
Ah it’s great to be back. Hope everyone has a safe, uninterrupted and enjoyable season.