Clive Liddiard was League player of the year last season as he remained undefeated in Division 3 winning 78 straight matches as Penicuik won promotion to Division 2. Add to that 21 straight wins this season and over a remarkable year and a half, Clive has won 99 singles matches in a row - a remarkable achievement by anyone's standards. With that record, the 2nd Team went into the match as favourites and knew that a win would see them leapfrog their club mates into top spot in the Division. The 3rd Team were on a great run of form themselves, however, top of the division and undefeated going into the match.
No surprise then when the 2nd Team sent out Clive in the first match of the night to face James Wighton and after winning the first two ends of the match, it looked like Clive's undefeated record would remain intact. Few (perhaps none at all) anticipated what was to happen next, however, as James played brilliantly to win the next 3 ends for a fantastic 3-2 win as he brought Clive's fantastic run to an end. When Abby and Gary won the next two matches to give the 3rd Team a 3-0 lead, a shock result looked on the cards. Back came the 2nd Team however winning four of the next five games to tie the match at 4-4 going into the final two games of the night. Game 9 saw Clive take on Gary and having not lost a match for a year and a half, Clive had no answer to Gary's strong play as he went down to a 3-0 defeat for his second loss of the night. A point secured for the 3rd Team and a win on the cards as James faced Tony in the final match of the night. Tony, playing up for the 2nd Team, had lost his first two matches but looked in determined mood to get something out of the night for the 2nd Team. At 2-1 down and match point down, the match looked over but back came Tony to win the fourth end and take the match into a deciding fifth end with some excellent play. The final end of the night swung one way then the other with both players having match points but it was James who held his nerve for a thrilling and nerve tingling 14-12 win which saw the 3rd Team finish the night 6-4 winners. A great result for James, Gary and Abby which saw them maintain top spot in the Division.
A great match which fittingly went down to the wire and while disappointed, the 3rd Team can still finish the first half of the season in 2nd place if they beat Edinburgh International next week in their last fixture before the festive break.
The 3rd Team's fantastic week wasn't over as two days later they travelled to take on Police Scotland. James and Gary both won three whilst Abby won two as the visitors finished the 1st half of the season on a high with an excellent 8-2 win. Nine wins and one draw sees the 3rd Team go into the Xmas break with an excellent 19 points out of a possible 20.
In the Premier Division, Penicuik 1 of Greig McDonell, Colin Green and Iain Johnstone were looking to bounce back from a bad defeat in Week 11 as they hosted West Lothian 2. Greig and Colin both won their 3 singles matches and combined for a win in the doubles as the home side comfortably finished the first half of the season with a 7-3 win. The win sees the 1st Team go into the Xmas break in 6th place in the division having won four of their last five matches. Having been precariously towards the foot of the Division after 6 matches of the season, a strong finish to the first half should be enough to already secure top flight TT next season for Penicuik. Iain Johnstone, although disappointed not to have won any matches on the night, has had some important wins in the last few weeks which will hopefully build his confidence going into the 2nd half of the season.
After a difficult start in Division 3, Penicuik 4 had also hit a rich vein of form winning their last four matches and were in confident mood as they visited Corstorphine 7. Phil Daly and Krzysztof Laszkiewicz came into the Team in place of Gregory Leplatre and Tony Brentnall to join Gavin Hunter and the 4th Team were never in trouble as they recorded their fifth straight win with an excellent 8-2 win. Gavin won his three singles whilst Phil and Krzysztof both won two. Gavin and Krzysztof also combined for a good doubles win. Five on the bounce for the 4th Team sees them go into the festive break, equal 3rd in Division 3. Like the 1st Team a remarkable turnaround from where they were earlier in the season.
Penicuik 5 faced a difficult trip to top of the table Fife in Division 4. Penicuik's trio of Luke Hennessey, Louis Myatt and Lewis Baldock, with a combined age of 34, played well against their far more experienced opponents and their 9-1 defeat doesn't do justice to the fact that four of the youngster's losses were in tight deciding ends. Luke ended the night as the only winner for the away side. Penicuik’s newest team finish the first half of the season with 2 wins but with a great deal of experience picked up which will hopefully help the team improve their performances in the 2nd half of the season.