Wednesday night at Ladywood saw three Penicuik v Edinburgh Uni matches. The last time University had visited Penicuik’s first team it had been in Division 1 and a certain University character had caused mayhem and destruction (not on the table – just with everyone else in the Hall). Fortunately, on this occasion that individual was nowhere to be seen and the night passed without incident. Edinburgh Uni can think themselves very fortunate, however, as both our Team 1 and Team 3 ended up with only two players. Colin Green and David Melrose were the only two available for Team 1 but it would be OK we weren’t up against Fife so a postponement was surely an option – whilst University may not have consented to a postponement, to have not asked for one was foolish in the extreme! With two players it was never going to be easy and when Colin lost the first match of the night, Team 1 were really up against it. A doubles victory gave them hope of a draw but a 4-6 defeat followed, with two wins for Colin and 1 for David.
Team 4 were truly unfortunate. They turned up with three players, Iain Johnstone, Krzysztof Laszkiewicz and James Wighton but after the warm-up, Iain had to go home and was unable to play due to ill health. The resultant disaster materialised as Team 3 also fell to a 6-4 defeat. A loss in the doubles for James and Krys sealed their fate, all in the same week as their rivals for the title Fife were given a concession by Granton – first they refuse Team 3 a postponement and they get ultra-lucky with an illness to one of our players and a concession from another team – who says bad sportsmanship doesn’t pay!
It was left to Team 2 to try and salvage something from Wednesday night in Division 1 and also to give them some hope in their relegation battle. At 4-2 up after two rounds of singles matches, Charlie Brindley, Gary McDougal and Ian Hislop knew that the doubles fixture would prove crucial. And the doubles went the distance with Charlie and Ian pulling through 11-8 in the crucial final end. Gary then secured both points in Match 8 and despite the last two matches going the way of the students a 6-4 victory was secured. It was a busy week for Team 3 who two nights later visited the University Team again (why on earth did they not just play our home match for double points!!!). A completely different trio turned out for University and they reversed the result with a 6-4 win. Ian won 2 whilst Gary and Charlie added one each – on this occasion the doubles wasn’t even close as Gary and Ian fell to a 3-0 defeat.
Our Player of the Week is a difficult one this week. There were some vital wins from Chris and Sonny to secure a Team 4 victory and huge wins for Gary and Charlie as Team 2 secured a much needed victory victory Edinburgh Uni. But this week, and a first for this season we think, the award goes to a player in a losing team. He did all he could to prevent a defeat with a full house of singles wins for Team 3 – well done to Krzysztof.
And finally, to our Controversy of the Week.
We’ve spent plenty of time looking at other clubs this season so for a change we’re going to concentrate on our own internal issues! There’s always an argument at the start of the season about team selection and the number of teams we can manage. Some think that each team should really have 4 players to cover for ill health, holidays, work commitments, other family issues etc. It had been thought that Team 1 was going to struggle with just three registered players - Carsten had indicted he was unlikely to be able to play every week. Our President, although registered for Team 5, sat on the sidelines in the first half of the season, willing to play and be committed to Team 1 if needed. He waited for a call up that never came. Remarkably Team 1 only played one match not at full strength and they won that with the assistance of Charlie and Gary from Team 2. Having not been called upon at all in the first half, week 1 after Xmas saw Team 5 unable to field 3 players from a pool of 5 so Greig answered the SOS call and made his div 3 debut.
The day after that match Team 1 came calling indicating that they needed him to play against University last week – too late - he’s now committed to Div 3 and not allowed to play up. That caused some rancour in Team 1s ranks – well, only one player was actually annoyed, and he made it clear to anyone who would listen at Ladywood last week that he was unhappy. His view was that the Club’s priority should be to ensure a fourth payer was available for our “top team” who were having a terrific season, the best in his memory. Should Team 1 be more important than the club’s other teams? We think it should certainly be a priority to ensure that our top team stays in the highest possible division but equally we should be looking to give all our teams the best chance of promotion. More important in our view is to ensure that teams avoid relegation. Team 1s terrific first half has already (barring an absolute disaster) ensured their Premier status for next year. Of course Team 1 had the option of seeking a postponement of their fixture – surely if their priority (and ours as a Club) was to have them finish in the highest possible position in the Premier then it goes without saying that a postponement should have been requested. None was sought and that was utterly senseless.
Our Team 2 selection has also been criticised – and on this occasion, that criticism is probably justified. Their team of 3 includes one player who is only in the country for a small part of the season. Add to that that Iain J, registered in Team 3 cant play up and it is easy to see how they’re going to struggle this season. We’re only in January and 9 substitutions have already been used. Crucial matches to come and the prospect of being understrength looms large.
Unhappiness at PTTC – surely not - its only other Clubs we fall out with isn’t it? We’re just like any normal family it would seem – we have regular fights along the way but love each other dearly!