Going into Week 24 of the season, Penicuik 3 of father and daughter duo James and Abby Wighton and Gary McDougall sat 3 points behind League Leaders Penicuik 2 of Clive Liddiard, Brian Bailey and Tony Brentnall. The 3rd Team, however, had two games in hand on their more senior Clubmates. One of those games in hand saw the trio travel last Monday night to take on Meadowbank. On a great night for the visitors, Team Captain James led the way winning all 3 of his singles matches whilst Gary added 2 and Abby 1. James also combined with Gary for a win in the doubles fixture in a terrific 7-3 win. That result mathematically ensured that Penicuik would fill the top two spots in the Division with two weeks to go in the regular season.
Two nights later, Team 2 had an opportunity to reinstate their three point lead at the top of the Division as they faced West Lothian 6 at home. The last few weeks have seen a couple of slip ups by the 2nd Team but with their opponents sitting in the lower half of the division it should have been a straightforward night for the hosts. The turning point of the night was Game 3 between Penicuik’s Brian Bailey and West Lothian’s Martin Rumsey. After winning two of the first three ends, Brian looked in control. Needing 11 points to win an end, but having to win by two clear points, the final two ends were mammoth affairs. Brian lost the 4th end by 17 points to 15 and then remarkably went even longer in the deciding end losing that by 20 points to 18. The home player never recovered and went on to lose his 3 singles matches. Fortunately Clive was able to win 3 and Tony 2 as the home team scrambled to a 5-5 draw.
Team 3 were then back in action the following night against West Lothian 5 and had none of the dramas of the 2nd Team as James and Gary both won their 3 singles and Abby won 2 as they ran out comfortable 8-2 winners. The victory draws the 3rd Team level on points at the top of the Division with Penicuik 2 but they still have a game in hand which they play next week. With a better game difference, the 2nd Team retain the advantage but a point from their penultimate fixture for the 3rd Team will mean that they will only require a draw when the two Penicuik teams go head to head in the title decider on 25th March.
It has been an up and down season for Penicuik’s 1st Team. Whilst Greig McDonell and Colin Green are veterans of the top flight, Iain Johnstone has stepped up two Divisions from last season for his first taste of the Premier Division. At the start of the season therefore, the 1st Team’s aim was to ensure another season of Premier League Table Tennis for the Midlothian Club. Although the 1st Team have never realistically been threatened with relegation they knew going into Week 24 that a win against Murrayfield 3 would mathematically secure their Premier Division status for another year. In what turned out to be a very tight and tense affair, Greig and Colin both showed their experience in winning all 3 of their singles matches in the visitor’s 6-4 victory. With three matches to go, the 1st Team sit comfortably in 6th position in the table.
The last match of the week for Penicuik saw the Club’s newest team, Penicuik 5, facing a home match against Edinburgh University in Division 4. Having lost the reverse fixture 10-0, the home side were looking for some improvement and that they achieved as Kathryn McKenzie, Louis McLeod and Rachel Petrie all won 1 match in their 7-3 defeat. The 5th Team can take heart from the fact that three of their seven losses on the night came in deciding ends and had those games gone the other way the result would have been very different.