After Iain got the hosts off to the perfect start, Match 2 was a cracker and against the odds James came back from 2-1 down for a fantastic win against Fife’s number 1, Lance. Sonny lost his first match before James and Iain took care of the two Steve’s and Penicuik looked in control at 4-1 up. Match 6 was to prove to be a turning point. Sonny led 2-1 against Lance and found himself 6-2 up and on course to secure at least a point for the hosts. A wild shot by Lance resulted in the ball getting stuck in the dividing curtain which surrounds the hall – the pause in the game to retrieve the ball completely changed the momentum as Sonny lost his way and fell to a 5-end defeat. James and Sonny then lost the doubles before James lost match 8 and suddenly the match was tied at 4-4. The last two matches were played simultaneously, Ian v Lance and Sonny v Steve Dow. Ian took care of Lance in 3 straight ends, Lance seemingly losing his concentration a little as he seemed more interested in what was happening in the other match – maybe he didn’t feel he was in with a chance of defeating Ian?? Sonny fell 2-0 behind (4-11, 9-11). El Presidente entered the playing arena to give some encouragement to Sonny – and it seemed to work as he took the next two ends 11-3, 11-9 to set up a nail-biting decider. Despite the win eluding him, Sonny can hold his head up high having made a great effort throughout the night. So, in the end a 5-5 draw, 3 for Iain and 2 for James, A fair result? Of course not!
With Sonny having eventually been persuaded to play for Team 3, Team 4 were always going to struggle, and they fell to a 7-3 defeat at the hands of Corstorphine. Maybe dad Julian was missing and thinking about Sonny too much as both he and Rachel Petrie playing up from Team 5 were winless in singles. 2 wins for Chris Markey and a doubles victory made the score respectable.
Team 5’s task for their final match of the first half was to get at least a point v Corstorphine who were below them in the Division 3 table. Captain Kristian Skotzen took some amount of flak as a result of his call-off from the team with about 5 minutes to go before the match was due to start – seemingly he was a bit sniffly! It looked like George Wilson and Craig Linton were going to have to play on their own with Rachel already committed to helping out Team 4 and Hannah’s return to league play not scheduled until the New Year. Has anyone noticed another McDonell registered in Division 3 though?? A dash to Ladywood for both and despite McDonell Snr saying he wanted to play none of the other Team 5 members would sit out! Shocking! Ultimately, Hannah won player of the match for her good attacking play and smile. Craig nearly defeated David Sykes in Match 9 (7-11 in the fifth) which may have meant a draw was on the cards and George somehow managed to win two of the ugliest games of Table Tennis ever witnessed at Ladywood – it all added up however, to a 6-4 defeat for Penicuik who now only hold a one point advantage over 2nd and 3rd bottom in the Division!
Our Player of the Week Award this week is a fairly easy one. After Ken Ben promoting the Penicuik v Fife match there were a few emails back from League players about the result and Kevin Lawson from Granton TT Club summed things up perfectly in his email (not often that’s been said)!
“When I looked at the match card last night James Wighton's performance stood out like a beacon. Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Big congrats to James. Top man always”
We couldn’t agree more – well done to James.
And finally, to our Controversy of the Week.
The Heriot Watt promotion mid-season fiasco drags on – plenty of criticism directed at the proposal – no change of view or taking on board what was being said. Hold on, sorry did we say it was a “proposal”? Of course, by the stage it reached the League membership it wasn’t a proposal it was a decision, and clearly a decision which is not going to be reviewed. The only condition that remains for the mid-season jump to take place is that Heriot Watt fulfil all of their first half fixtures in Division 3. Should be easy – a week until Christmas and they’ve still got three matches to play according to the Online Scoring Site. Do students not tend to have gone home by now??? Maybe they’re planning on playing them in between Xmas and the New Year? Hold on! One of those three fixtures is scheduled for the 24th of January – their match against Edinburgh University. Did there not used to be a Rule to say that all postponed first half fixtures had to be played before the second half got underway? Maybe we’re dreaming that? We could be really pedantic and say that Heriot Watt do not get the same concession as Edinburgh University who are specifically allowed more than one postponed fixture – but that would be silly on our part – they’re new to the League and the Rules have just not been updated to include them in the same bracket as Edinburgh Uni. We can safely assume that the League will treat HW and Ed Uni the same - What the Rules say, therefore, is:
“For EUTTC teams, postponed fixtures should be re-scheduled within 4 playing weeks of their first completed fixture.”
Hmmm. September 9th, September 16th and the Uni match from 13th December. Looks to us as if none of those matches have been rescheduled within 4 weeks of their first completed match (Sep 25th). Never mind though, we only play for fun and it’s only a rule if someone makes an issue about it…. So, it looks like we’re going to have a situation where we have a team competing in Division 1 and Division 3 at the same time – hope someone has had the sense to check whether any of HW’s new Div 1 fixtures clash with any of their rearranged Div 3 matches?? And what if they don’t manage to play all of their outstanding Div 3 fixtures, are they then relegated back into Division 3? Silly us to have thought the condition that they fulfil their Division 3 fixtures meant that they would be fulfilled as a pre-requisite to being promoted into Division 1!
We could go on and on this week with various other matters but let’s save some up for a pre-Xmas treat next week! To finish though it’s back to our friends from Fife. Not happy enough with their desire for League points by refusing a postponement, their Team Captain then came up with the best complaint of the week after the match had switched onto two tables. He complained (mid match) that there was a rule which prevented any coaching taking place if a match was split onto two tables as this was an unfair advantage to the away team! Whilst there may be some merit in such a rule (we can see some rationale behind it) there is of course no such rule in existence. Had he referred to the rule about only one fellow player or nominated coach being able to coach once a fixture has commenced (Is that a rule?) then he may have at least avoided the sarcastic response and chuckle from El Presidente. Talk about desperation! What happened to this just being a fun sport. We have to take one final opportunity of reminding Fife’s Captain of his words earlier in the season in his email to the League about a different fixture:
“it's only a game but it looks like Penicuik are seizing an option for some easy points which reflects very badly on Penicuik.”
Until next week – and we already have a brilliant controversy from a Handicap Cup game on Monday night to look forward to!