In the Premier division Colin Green, Greig McDonell and new recruit Brian Hunter faced Edinburgh University 1 at Ladywood on Thursday night. The students have a number of new recruits this season but perhaps a little luckily for the hosts their “best side” didn’t travel to Penicuik. Brian and Greig played simultaneously to get the match underway – Brian hasn’t played in the ELTTL since an injury playing against Penicuik knocked him out in the middle of last season. He was still good enough to see off Jakub Kara playing up from Division 1 after the loss of the first end. Meanwhile Greig took on Rayaan Kalid and this one went the distance – an 11-9 fifth end defeat was a tough loss for Greig. Colin then took on Faye Leggat and looked in complete control at 2-0 up – Faye battled back however and this one also went to a deciding fifth end – this time it was the home player that came out on top. Faye got on the scoreboard with a three end defeat of Brian before Greig picked up a win against Jakub. Colin rounded off the second set of singles with a battling four end win over Rayaan – 4-2 for the hosts going into the crucial doubles – Greig and Colin’s experience got them over the line in four v Faye and Rayaan. Greig then had the chance to record the winning sixth match and at 2-0 and 10-8 up against Faye he looked like he’d do it – oh hold on – a 16-14 loss and the tide turned as Faye kept the match alive with a comeback five end victory. The match was then secured however as Colin completed his undefeated night before Brian showed glimpses of his best battling qualities going down in five to Rayaan – a good 6-4 win for the hosts and it was great to see Brian back – give him a few matches and he’ll be back to his best.
Meanwhile Team 3 also hosted University opposition as they took on University 3 in Division 2. James Wighton, Hannah McDonell and Ian Hislop played their second match together and the first two matches set the tone for the night – both games went to five ends with James winning 14-12 in the fifth and Ian recording an 11-9 fifth end win. Those two matches could easily have gone the other way and the pressure would have shifted to the hosts – Hannah made it 3-0 with an excellent straight sets win before her teammates then both had further five enders – this time James lost out in five but Ian secured his second fifth end win of the night. Hannah then won in four take the score to 5-1. With time passing quickly Team 3 proceeded to play all the singles – Ian and Hannah both won to make the score 7-1 before James decided to get involved in another fifth end decider! A 14-12 fourth end leveller gave him the initiative in the fifth which he won comfortably. Unfortunately, with six five enders time had run out and the doubles was conceded – an excellent 8-2 win to add to their opening week victory over Heriot Watt – Team 3 wish they could play students every week!
It was a Penicuik v Uni week as teams 2 and 5 travelled to Edinburgh on Friday night. The good news first – Aidan Craig, Patrick Shanks and Ian Millar (making his debut) faced University 6 in Division 4. After a difficult week 1 loss, the team were looking to bounce back and bounce back they did! Aidan and Patrick got the side off to the perfect start with two 3-0 wins before Ian played his first ever competitive table tennis match – to his credit he won an end against his opponent as he went down to a tight 4 end defeat. 2 further wins in the next round of singles for Aidan and Patrick gave the visitors a 4-2 lead going into the doubles. Patrick and Aidan did well to pull off a four end win to secure at least a point for the visitors. And the night got better as Patrick and Aidan completed undefeated evenings to give Penicuik 5 an excellent 7-3 win.
Whilst Team 5 were marching to victory, Team 2 were struggling against The University’s 2nd team in Division 1. Our biggest winners from week 1 came back down to earth with a huge bump as they never came to terms with the student’s strong play. Two matches on the night went to five ends, both involving Sonny Taylor – he was very unfortunate to lose both in very close deciders (11-9 and 11-7). Other than that though there was little to get excited about Gary McDougal and Krzysztof Laszkiewicz didn’t win an end in singles play although they combined for 1 end in the doubles as Team 2 fell to a 10-0 defeat. Oh well – they were top of the league for a week and we’ve got a screenshot for posterity!
And finally in a busy week, Team 4 entered the fray for their first match of the season with a visit to West Lothian in Division 3. Rachel Petrie and Jim Jack were joined by newcomer, Bob Porteous, making his debut. Rachel won the first end of the night but fell to a 3-1 defeat in her first match before Jim lost in straight ends. Bob’s first match was a good one for him – a 3-1 victory. In the second round of singles all three players found the going tough and three losses secured at least a point for the hosts. The doubles was a must win and Rachel and Bob came close but not close enough, losing in four ends. Bob then had a long five ender and came out on the right side of the result, 11-7 in the fifth but neither Rachel nor Jim could get on the scorecard as the visitors fell to an 8-2 defeat.
And so, to our player of the week award. Hmm – a tough one this week with several players in the running. Colin, Hannah, Ian H, Aidan and Patrick were all undefeated. Bob also deserves a mention with two wins in his first Edinburgh league match which shows his potential. Colin’s wins were vital to the first team’s 6-4 win. Whilst her teammates were struggling, Hannah comfortably secured her undefeated night although two fifth end deciders for Ian were crucial to the side’s victory. And what about our two newbies in Div 4 – both Aidan and Patrick are due a lot of credit for their first ever undefeated nights in only their second ever League match. Jings this is a difficult one! Neither Hannah nor Ian won the doubles (a bit unfair given they didn’t get to play it!) so they’re out of the running. Apparently it was Greig who pulled Colin through in the doubles to secure the victory so he’s also out of the running. That leaves Patrick and Aidan - they combined for a doubles win – in singles Aidan dropped 1 end out of 10 played whilst Patrick won 9 out of 9 and that was the only difference between the two - well done to Patrick on his first weekly award.
And finally, our controversy of the week section. There has been nothing but complaints from our players this week regarding the wonderfully named St Leonards Land – maybe some sour grapes from Team 2 after their 10-0 thrashing but our Team 5 non-playing captain also had plenty to say after his side’s victory – first it’s the lighting – it was so bad according to our NPC that when he tried knocking up with one of our players he claims he could hardly see the ball – now in fairness he is almost 102 and his eyesight has been badly affected recently, but even still….. Our Professional photographer sent the club a couple of pictures of the match – if you were wearing green you would have apparently been invisible to the naked eye!
The second issue was with the start time – having arrived early for a 7pm start the visitors were hanging around and by 7.20pm the tables were still not set up. Our NPC allegedly threatened to claim the match if the hall wasn’t set up by 7.30 – not sure how that would have played out at a Committee meeting – would have been a fun controversy though. The third complaint was that there was no proper seating in the hall - bearing in mind his age, if he’d got down onto one of the wooden gym benches he would never have been able to get up again. Oh what fun – none of this is aimed as a criticism of Edinburgh Uni – you have to play in the accommodation given and we, more than most, know how difficult it can be to have any control over what other events a venue has on. It wasn’t that long ago that our 6.30 start time was ridiculous because Zumba was in the hall until 6.30pm so there was no way we could get in before that – the Uni seemingly had a dance class on until 7pm (they do play in the “Dance Studio” so that’s not unexpected!) Back to our old favourite – how great it would be if we all operated our own premises – or maybe the idea of a Central Venue, as mooted at the end of last season, does have some merit – assuming that venue is a good one!
Finally, our own shortcomings with our venue again came to the fore. Two matches on last Thursday – 3 tables set up - so each team alternated using the second table. Plenty time to get finished by 10pm. Eh no! When you get a number of matches going the distance the time just flies by – it was recognised early by Team 3 that they were struggling so they conceded the doubles to enable the singles to all be played, finishing just prior to 10pm – if only we had our own venue – we can dream!