Week 20 of the Edinburgh & Lothians Table Tennis League saw a break from League Action as the Handicap Cup Competition reached the quarter final stage. With two teams still in the hunt from Penicuik, including defending champions, Greig, Iain and Abby, there was still hope of an all Penicuik final.
The attention therefore turned to Penicuik’s 1st Team who played the following night against the 2013 runners-up Murrayfield 3. With Murrayfield fielding their normal Premier League outfit of Ian Moran (-11), Colin Clark (-8) and Derek Croll (-9), Team Captain Greig McDonell caused a number of raised eyebrows in the Club when he suggested breaking up the team which had gone undefeated for a season and a half and had reached the semi finals in 2013. The only thing more surprising than the selection of 10 year old Louis Myatt from Division 4 was his decision to put Louis into the team at his expense!! Was this a stroke of genius from El Presidente or a crazy decision that the club would live to regret?
When Iain (-8) lost the first match of the night things didn't look good. Louis then played Ian Moran, Murrayfield’s number 1 ranked player. 18-0 to 22 looked like an advantage that was surely too much for Ian to overcome but with his tricky serves Louis found it hard going to win points. When Ian won the first end 24-22, Louis looked in trouble but back he came to win the next end 22-14 before losing the 3rd 22-19 causing Greig to question his selection. Credit to Louis, however, as he kept the head to win the final two ends 22-17 and 22-14 to pull the match level. Abby then played some great attacking table tennis against Derek Croll and although Derek in each end seemed to virtually catch Abby from a 9-0 deficit, this just seemed to spur Abby on as she won in 3 straight ends.
The 4th match of the night would turn out to be crucial as Iain came back from 2 ends down to defeat Ian Moran in 5 tight ends. Abby was unable to hold on to her 8 point lead against Colin as she lost in 3 straight ends before Louis came back to the table to face Derek with a 16 point start to 20. Although a slight blip in end two, Louis capitalised on Derek's errors as he won in four ends to give the visitors a 4-2 lead. Abby's form of the first match of the night seemed to desert her as Ian Moran proved too strong for her which left Iain to finish the match of as he faced Derek with just a 1 point start which really meant nothing to either player. Iain won in 4 ends to secure a semi final place for the defending champions. Team Captain Greig returned home a relieved man with his selection vindicated as Louis was the only player on the night to be undefeated. The semi final line up sees Penicuik take on the team currently sitting top of the Premier Division, Murrayfield 1 and no doubt more selection headaches will follow!