The theme of this week at Ladywood was Penicuik v University. In Division 1, Team 2 hosted Edinburgh Uni 2. The University side, despite their 8-2 loss to Team 1 in Week 21 started as favourites. Krzysztof Laszkiewicz, Gary McDougal and Charlie Brindley were still reeling from their Week 21 loss to fellow strugglers Murrayfield 5 but were provided with a boost when Charlie won the first match of the night. Wins, however, in matches 2 and 3 gave the Uni side the lead after the first round of singles. The next 3 singles followed the same pattern, Krzysztof this time providing the home win. From 2-0 up in the doubles the home side were pegged back to 2-2 and in the tightest of finishes, they squeezed over the line to reduce the deficit to 3-4 going into the last 3 singles matches. Gary had lost his first 2 matches in 5 tight ends and his night got worse as he lost out in 4 ends in Match 9 which ended the tie as a contest. With all three singles going the way of the students, Team 2 fell to a 7-3 defeat and with Murrayfield 5 picking up a win v Corstorphine, it looks like any two of Fife, Corstorphine 2 and Team 2 are likely to suffer relegation. Team 2 face a huge match next week v bottom of the table Corstorphine 2 – anything other than a win.............
In Division 3, Team 4 of Julian Taylor, Tony Brentnall & Sonny Taylor faced Edinburgh Uni 4 as they looked to bounce back from a couple of disappointing results. Having only defeated Uni 5 by a 6-4 scoreline a couple of weeks before, there was concern that this might be a difficult match. With the first set of singles all going the way of the hosts, however, those concerns disappeared. Although Tony lost Match 4 in 5 ends, the home side were never troubled as they cantered to a good 9-1 win.
With the overall score 1-1, it was left to Team 6 to secure a victory for Penicuik in this week of Uni fixtures. They faced Uni 6 in Division 4. Uni 6 are worthy of special mention. They lead the whole of the league in having the most players registered in any one team – 11 players to choose from (maybe 12 at one point - 12 different players have played this season). For Clubs like us we could make 4 teams out of that!! Remarkably, however, there have been 5 occasions when they have played with only two players and once when they had to concede (1/3rd of their matches played). That must be very frustrating for their Team Captain. Anyway, back to the match – Rachel Petrie, Craig Linton and Louis McLeod have been on a bit of a run in recent weeks and this 10-0 victory gave them their 11th point out of a possible 14 over the course of their last 7 matches! Such a pity that their previous 11 matches only yielded 3 points!!
Away from Ladywood, Teams 1 and 3 both travelled to Corstorphine on Wednesday evening. In Division 1 Team Captain Greig McDonell was left panicking after the late call off by Iain Johnstone due to illness. With Colin Green already out for the match a check of the fixture list showed that every other Penicuik team was in action other than the Division 4 derby match! Oh dear! After some further manic phone calls, Colin was forced to rearrange his night and for only the third time this season he and Greig played together (just like the good old days!) as they joined forces with David Melrose. Corstorphine 1 on paper look a difficult prospect and when Stan Stoodley won Match 1 on the night v David in 5 long ends, this looked like it could get ugly! From there, however, Team 1 took control as they secured a 9-1 victory to keep them at the top of the Division 1 table.
Team 3 of James Wighton, Chris Markey & Abby Wighton meanwhile were taking on Corstorphine 3 in the other half of the hall. The first two matches were extremely tight affairs, James coming through 11-6 in the fifth in Match 1 before Chris secured an 11-5 in the fifth win in Match 2. Like Team 1, however, they also seemed to put that nervy start behind them as they raced on from that point - not wanting to be outdone by Team 1, they also lost only one match on the night (Chris losing Match 10) as they secured a 9-1 victory.
Before we get on to a number of good performances in the League this week, a special mention to Hannah who, last Sunday, qualified to represent Scotland in the Senior Schools Home Nations to be held in Guernsey later this year – well done to her. And so on to our Player of the Week Award - Team 1 saw Colin and Greig undefeated, Abby & James were both undefeated for Team 3, Julian and Sonny didn’t lose in Team 4’s win and all of Team 6 were undefeated in singles play. It doesn’t get any easier when we look at the doubles – 8 of the 9 undefeated players were also victorious in the doubles matches – sorry Rachel, having not played you’re out of the running!! Let’s look at our opposing teams – Team 6’s match was against bottom of the table University – Louis and Craig – gone! Team 3’s match was against 2nd bottom Corstorphine – sorry James & Abby! Teams 1 and 4 both played against opposition who lie 8th in their respective divisions! Jings this is tough. There was one player who stood out from the crowd – what on earth happened since we last saw him – dark haired one week and then suddenly we have a blonde in the Club – for his undefeated night and for the snazzy new hair – well done to Sonny!
And finally, our controversy of the Week section. Would you believe it – our intrepid reporter is away for a weekend of romance seemingly (some sort of anniversary!) – he’s clearly gone soft and didn’t complete this part of his report before he left!! He tells us we should be grateful that with all the matches taking place on Wednesday this week, he was diligent enough to get his round-up completed before he set off on Friday! Does he not know that many of our avid readers only look at this report for the weekly controversy item!! The only thing he did write about was Tuesday’s League Committee meeting which amongst other things had on the agenda “Incidents involving altercations between players late last year”!
Oooh – this would be juicy. Unfortunately, it was a bit of a damp squib and was left on the basis that the dust had settled and the Committee didn’t need to take any action – how disappointing!! We didn’t even get into the nitty gritty of what happened. The view expressed again was that umpires needed to take more control – we couldn’t resist in pointing out, as we have done in previous reports, that such a suggestion is crazy when we don’t have qualified umpires and, in many matches, certainly in the lower divisions, loads of youngsters “take their turn” at umpiring.
Oh well – that’s all for this week seemingly – hopefully our reporter’s “romantic side” will have gone by next weekend and we’ll get back to some decent controversies!!