After three consecutive losses, Team 1 of Colin Green, Carsten Giebeler and David Melrose were hoping to get back to winning ways as they took on Edinburgh International 2 who sit at the bottom of the Premier League table. The loss of the first match of the night (David losing out to Andrew Mannion) wasn’t a great start but didn’t cause any particular concern. After Andrew defeated Colin in Match 4 and David lost another 5 setter to Babu in Match 5, however, the nerves were starting to jangle – 3-2 down and an upset looked on the cards. Carsten steadied the ship with a win in Match 6 but also seemed to injure himself which meant he had to sit out the crucial doubles. Fortunately for the home side, David and Colin played well together as they put the hosts 4-3 up with the final round of singles matches to play. Carsten recovered and in the match of the two undefeated players he comfortably secured a 3 set win. As David and Colin both won their final singles matches there was a sense of relief rather than achievement – the 7-3 scoreline a little unfair to the visitors. Carsten deservedly picked up player of the match for his 3 singles wins.
Following Team 2’s disastrous Division 1 loss to North Merchiston 3 in Week 18, they visited mid table Murrayfield 5, again without the services of Ian Hislop. Krzysztof Laszkiewicz played up from Division 2 as he joined regulars Charlie Brindley and Gary McDougal. The first three matches of the night summed up how close a battle this was going to be – First up Charlie v Stella Hughes – Charlie was 2-1 up but lost the last two ends 11-8, 11-9. First blood to the hosts. Gary v Stuart Wilson next – Gary was 2-1 up but lost the fourth 11-8, just as Charlie had done forcing a decider – an 11-9 scoreline followed but this time in favour of the visitors – 1-1. Finally, Krzysztof v John Yau – you guessed it – this one went to five as well, John recovering from 2-0 down and he looked to have the momentum in the deciding end – 12-10 in the fifth as Krzysztof dug in for the win. 8.30pm and only 3 matches played. The next three sped up the night a little and with only super-sub Krzysztof winning the scores were tied at 3-3 going into the doubles. Charlie and Gary were 2-1 up but had to go all the way, losing the fourth 13-11 but winning the decider 11-8. Stuart then tied the scores again with a win in match 8 before Charlie secured a point with a win in the 9th. Gary had the chance to win the match v Stella but fell to a 3-1 defeat as the honours were shared with a 5-5 draw. A good point for Team 2 who lost the first half match by a 6-4 scoreline - Krzysztof showed the two regulars how to do it with 2 wins whilst Gary and Charlie added one singles each and the crucial doubles.
With Teams 3 and 4 both having free weeks, Team 5 were the only other team in action as they hosted Edinburgh International 4. After two wins on the trot out dropped Hannah McDonell and her dad lookalike to be replaced by Kristian Skotzen and Rachel Petrie, both making their second half debuts as they joined Craig Linton. This was always going to be a difficult match – the reverse fixture had seen a 7-3 victory for EI and that result had included two wins for George Wilson – has anyone seen George??? Craig deservedly was the home player of the match as he defeated Ken Benjamin and took Stuart Macdonald to 5 ends and Anand Sundaram to 4 – he was also involved with Rachel in a 5 end doubles thriller just losing out 11-9 in the fifth. Other than that, though, Team 5 struggled, only one other end being picked up during the night as they fell to a 9-1 loss. Never mind though they’re still the team who provides most of our controversies – more on that later…..
Only Carsten was undefeated in singles play this week so he must be favourite for this week’s Player of the Week award – favourites don’t always win though (just look at Heriot Watt v Edinburgh Uni – oops we were never going to mention that again!). Securing the award this week is a man who has a style all of his own – but that style worked a treat whilst he played up in Division 1 – without him Team 2 would have fallen to a heavy defeat and for bettering the results of his two more senior Club mates well done this week to super-sub Krzysztof.
And so to our Controversy of the Week.
Those who follow us on Facebook will have seen pictures of the bat used by an opponent in Team 5’s match at Ladywood last Wednesday – this followed the first half of the season where the blue bat (which can be found at the “Gyle’s Pop in and Play” Facility) was used in the reverse fixture. By the time Team 5’s text query on the bat had been picked up by those in the know, the match was over – it seems clear to us, however, that the bat was not “legal” in terms of the Laws of Table Tennis. Have a look for yourself on our FB page or here https://t.co/ksCY8TCKqU
Now, we know we play an amateur sport, some say just for social fun, but that’s not the point. Rules are made to be followed. Whether our players failed to object in advance or not is irrelevant. They clearly had concerns and had sought guidance from other members in the Club by text message. Whatever level we are playing at is also irrelevant. Whether the bat provided an advantage to the opponent or not is also irrelevant. It has been suggested by others that we need to lodge a formal appeal – and the fact that even if the opponent’s matches were declared void the result wouldn’t change is also irrelevant. As a wise old head from Ayr put it when commenting on the pictures on our FB page
“Frankly, if you don’t enforce the rules, these people will never conform. And by facilitating their behaviour, you start to **** people off. That’s when they quit the sport and the only people left are those who play not within the rules”
And that’s the point isn’t it? If we allow rule breaches to carry on, then we are just as guilty as those breaching the rules in the first place. What sort of example does that set to others? So, an appeal then? Over to our Committee.
In the same match our second favourite topic once again came under the limelight – serving! We were sent a video of the complained about opponent’s last match and we have to say that the serve was so far from being legal that it was a joke – we won’t post the video here but instead will have a go, not for the first time, at our own shortcomings! Just like the failure to challenge the equipment issue raised above, how on earth no one mentioned this service technique is beyond us – the team knew it was an issue as they had specifically taken a video to show us the "problem”. But it seems they were too nice to raise it as an issue – a team with Rachel and Kristian in it – too nice??? Anyway, people need to speak up as things occur rather than after the event – however unpopular that may make them seem. In addition, what were the umpires doing in not raising it? Furthermore, given that one of the opponent’s team is a very experienced player, surely, he must know having watched this serve every week, that the player needs to be reminded of the rules. We would be amazed if nobody has raised it up to this point in the season. If only we could have called on Haddington's Roger Thomas to have umpired the match – Team 5 would have breezed to at least a 6-4 winning margin!
On we march to Week 20 – every point gained will prove more and more vital as the season enters its final third.