Team 3 visited Napier University to take on the Edinburgh outfit’s 2nd Team in their Division 2 encounter. Krzysztof Laszkiewicz, Iain Johnstone and James Wighton made the journey to Edinburgh, fresh from steadying the ship last week after a miserable start to 2020, with an 8-2 victory over North Merchiston. They were looking to build on that victory against a side who started the night 4th bottom of the Division. When Krys lost a tight five ender in Match 1 and Iain then found himself in a deciding end in match 2, the visitors looked worried! Iain came through that match but when James lost match 3 they were behind after the first round of singles. Things got worse for the Penicuik trio as only Ian managed a win in the 2nd round of singles fixtures, leaving Team 3 in trouble at 4-2 down going into the doubles. From 1-0 down in the doubles, the hosts squeezed home 12-10 in the second and that proved to be the turning point as they secured a 4-end victory. 5-2 down with three singles matches left, only a point to play for – that point disappeared as James lost match 8 and although matches 9 and 10 went the way of the Midlothian side, the result was a bitterly disappointing 6-4 loss. Fortunately for Team 3, the teams below them have made a bit of a mess of the chase for second place in the Division – only 3 points from the last 8 on offer but they still hold a 6 point cushion over Penicuik 4 who are their closest rivals for the 2nd promotion spot. All thoughts of the title would seem to be well and truly gone.
Meanwhile, alongside Team 3, Team 5 were taking on Corstorphine 4 in Division 3. This match saw the first outing of the season of the “Girl Power” combination of Hannah McDonell and Rachel Petrie. They were joined by McDonell Senior (is he really allowed to play in this division)! As a result of great team captaincy, it wasn’t long before the visitors held a 3-0 lead. Although Rachel lost match 4, the McDonell duo then won matches 5 and 6 and a point was secured before the doubles was played. Rachel and Hannah lost the first end of that match 11-4 but after some words of wisdom at the change of ends the girl power pairing won the second by a similar 11-4 margin before winning two tight ends for a 3-1 victory – with that performance the win was secured. In the end a 7-3 victory for the visitors and they stretched their advantage over their opponents to 4 points in the division 3 table, in a comfortable 6th position.
There aren’t many to choose from for this week’s Player of the Week! Iain and Greig were undefeated but both of them are playing out of playing strength order and are therefore out of the running. It was a bit of a dismal week for Krys and James – only one win between the two of them so they too are out of contention. In Team 5 Rachel won 1 and Hannah won 2 and they combined for the doubles victory – Hannah won Player of the Match but there has been some late support for Rachel who got the team off on the road to victory with an important win in Match 1 – Girl Power it is as this week sees joint winners – well done to them.
And so, to our Controversy of the Week. Picking up on our topic of registration of new players halfway through the season, as we discussed last week, we note with interest that Than Htay Aung, was at it again in Division 1, as he had his second undefeated night, this time helping EI 3 to a 6-4 victory over Corstorphine 1. That really has put the cat amongst the pigeons in the battle to avoid relegation. Even North Merchiston 3 in 7th place don’t look safe as only 4 points cover 6 of the bottom 7 teams – add into that melting pot that the bottom team, Heriot Watt, are going to get double points for the rest of the season and they are only two wins away from safety!
Now, we can’t moan too much about players playing out of playing strength order given our two unbeaten players this week – both Iain and Greig, for different reasons, aren’t playing where their rating suggests they should – but that’s completely different from the circumstances surrounding new players registered halfway through the season – is it fair on other teams that players play out of playing strength? Surely people can’t really complain – it’s only an amateur sport that we play for fun isn’t it? If the League started to prevent people playing in teams with their mates, or family, surely the League would then run the risk of losing those players – can they really prevent someone playing at a lower level than they should?? We remember the days at our Club where a certain team played together for season after season after season just because that’s how it had always been and the team in question all socialised together. Is there anything wrong with that?? And anyway, just because a player is playing below their level doesn’t necessarily mean they are always going to win. We were reminded of that this week by Rachel – after El Presidente declared that the match was won so the “girls” could just relax in the doubles, it was pointed out we only had 5 wins on the board – “yes but I’ve still got one game to play” said Greig – that doesn’t mean you’re going to win it, you might have a heart attack before that point said the ever cheery Rachel! Don’t worry though, she adds, I’ve been trained in how to use a defibrillator! Great team spirit!!