In Division 1, Team 2 hosted West Lothian 3 and when WL showed up with only two players, Krzysztof Laszkiewicz, Charlie Brindley and Gary McDougal suddenly had a chance to get a huge win in their battle to avoid relegation. It was therefore disappointing when only a draw could be achieved, the difference on the night being Keith Mackay for the visitors who was unbeaten, a winless Charlie and a defeat in the doubles by a 14-12 in the fifth margin ended the hopes of a victory for the hosts. If a couple of points had gone the other way, Team 2 may well have secured safety – as it is they face a huge match this week v Fife – a win in that and their Div 1 status shall be secured…..
Meanwhile our 3rd and 4th teams have little to play for in the remaining weeks of the season, both look likely to finish 4th in Divisions 2 and 3 respectively. Team 3 faced WL 4 at Bathgate last Monday and secured a good 6-4 win, Abby Wighton starring for the visitors with an undefeated night in singles play, Ian Hislop added 2 whilst James Wighton had an off night but contributed the all-important 6th win. Team 4 faced WL 6 at Ladywood - Julian Taylor, Tony Brentnall and Sonny Taylor got off to a flyer (4-0 up) and were never pegged back as they recorded a 7-3 win. Julian won 3 whilst Tony and Sonny both won 2.
In Division 4, Team 5 faced an away match against WL9 on Thursday night amidst all the controversy referred to below! A 7-3 win for the visitors keeps them in with a chance of promotion, thanks to 3 wins each for Louis and George playing up from Teams 6 and 7 respectively in the absence of John Bald and Craig Johnson.
The two non “West Lothian matches” featured Teams 6 and 7. Team 6 were subjected to their worst defeat of the season, a 10-0 thrashing at the hands of Haddington 4 whilst Team 7 travelled to Edinburgh International where they secured a 9-1 win, young Hannah showing that she’s picking up the wrong things from old Dad as she got very annoyed at losing the last match for a whitewash victory although unlike how her old man would have reacted she was reportedly still smiling at the end of the night - we'll soon get that knocked out of her!
And so, to our Player of the Week Award for Week 26. This week’s undefeated players were Abby from Team 3, Julian from Team 4, George and Kristian from Team 7 and George and Louis when they played up for Team 5. 6 wins in a week for George must surely make him favourite. But our Committee says no – sorry George! Louis had a nightmare on Wednesday night for his own team with a duck, the first time this season that he has failed to win at least two of his singles. In his 17 previous matches for Team 6, he’d only lost 7 singles. The losses to Haddington dented his confidence badly and so it is hugely to his credit that, after some gentle persuasion, he was prepared the next night to make the trip to Bathgate. His undefeated night (including a doubles win) showed his class. We should also mention that he was Runner-Up in the Band 4 Event at the Edinburgh Championships, a win against Murrayfield’s high-flying Charlie McGowan in the Group stage being a highlight – Well done to Louis!
Hmmm, that was a shorter than normal round up of the week’s action – what’s left to talk about?
Our friends from Haddington have complained about the fact that in Division 4 our Team 7 conceded their fixture to our Team 5 scheduled for 13th February. Rule 6 d states:
“For re-arranged matches between teams from the same club that are not played within four playing weeks the match will be void and no points awarded to either team….”
Our reasoning and explanation for the concession, a copy of which was sent to Haddington, was as follows:
We were under significant pressure from the match secretary who had emailed to remind us of Rule 6 d - it was pointed out that he had already voided one match this season as the teams had failed to play their replayed fixture within the 4 week period allowed. It was made clear to us that the game had to be played by 13th March or the same fate could befall us. In terms of the match itself, hindsight is a wonderful thing! Our Team 7 lost Phil as a result of an eye injury just after Xmas. We wanted this match to be a fair fight so when Kristian wasn’t available for the original fixture rather than playing 2 v 3 Team 7 sought a postponement. Looking back now Team 7 should probably just have played the match with two players. Given our Hall availability, we have significant difficulty in rearranging matches. With pressure on from the League, the match was provisionally rescheduled for our Thursday club night on 7th March. Unfortunately, Team 7 could not raise a team for this date (not even a two) hence the decision was disappointingly made that a concession required to be granted. Even had an extension to the 4 week limit been given to get this fixture rearranged, Team 5’s number 1, John Bald, who would have played in the original fixture, left us just after 7th March and won’t be available for the rest of the season - it would have been very unfair on Team 5 if they had to then play a weakened team as a result of a postponement request from another of the club’s teams! In the circumstances, the only fair thing to do was for the team who requested the postponement to concede the fixture, just as would have been the case for any match in the League involving different Clubs.
Haddington’s complaint? A 10-0 win may skew the game difference come the end of the season. Haddington 4 still have a chance of promotion, together with WL 7, Fife and our Team 5. Having given our explanation we thought that was an end of the matter. Oh how wrong! Whatever Haddington’s agenda is they sent a further message after their Team 4 seemingly raised the matter during their thrashing of our Team 6. The terms of that email were disappointing and disrespectful to say the least, raising issues about how our desire to win was usurping fair play and calling into question the integrity of our decision to concede the match. What a load of codswallop! The only Club which seem to be wanting to win above all else seems to be Haddington and for a Club with whom we thought we had a very good and close relationship, it is even more disappointing. In the end we took the moral high ground and didn’t reply in an equally confrontational and disrespectful manner. We simply pointed out that we were disappointed by the tone of the email given that PTTC has always had a high regard for Haddington TTC and indeed for the author of the email.
But hold on a minute, a number of issues were raised bringing our integrity into question. We think it is only fair to point out the hypocrisy of the points made. If promotion is on the line surely a club will try and put out their best team to give that team the best chance of gaining promotion. It was suggested by Haddington (although perhaps we are being unkind to the Club and the views are simply those of the author of the complaint) that it would be disappointing if Louis and George were to play up for Team 5 in the remaining fixtures. Now hang on a minute Haddington, this comes from the Club who registered a player, none other than one of the nicest guys we know, Pete Lugton, to simply play 1 match against their closest rivals in Division 1 for the second promotion place that division! Really? And you want to have a go about playing players up in important matches? Let’s take a look at Haddington 4 actually – a certain Martin Hayman from their Team 5 played up v our Team 7 and secured them a vital point by defeating George. Should that result not be allowed and a 6-4 victory for Team 7 be put in its place? What about young Liam who also played up for Team 4 in a 7-3 victory where he won 2 - should that result be a draw instead? There was no complaint about PTTC 5 playing Haddington 4 when they were understrength, and Craig Linton played up from our team 6 - maybe of course that's because Haddington won 6-4? We think we’re getting the picture now. It’s only an issue if the players who play up play for an opponent’s club and they end up winning! Yeah that makes sense!
Had the shoe been on the other foot we question whether Haddington, or indeed any other Club, faced with the situation which arose would have made any decision other than the one taken by us. If Haddington 4 granted a postponement to HTTC 5 and then couldn’t rearrange within 4 weeks and the League were telling them that if it's not played the match will be voided, would it seriously be suggested that HTTC 4, in the running for promotion, would just let 2 points go? Of course they wouldn’t! They would have done exactly the same as our Team 5 - the other team asked for the postponement and they will have to suffer the consequences of that.
So that’s the end of that issue and as that sound and reasoned Mr Roger Thomas pointed out, let’s see who gets promoted based on how the teams play over the last few weeks of the season rather than as a result of hypocritical, petty and disrespectful complaints being made – we wholeheartedly agree with that sentiment and hope that in hindsight the author of the complaint sees fit to apologise for some of his comments (we can but hope)!
Hold on – it’s not over! Having raised the complaint to the League, they’re now involved and are “strongly encouraging us to play the fixture” – they will give us an extension on the 4-week time limit! You’ve got to be joking?? So, Team 7, who could only field two players for the original fixture now have a chance to play a full side against Team 5 who have lost their best player due to his departure from these shores – yeah that seems a really good idea – let’s see how our Team 5 players react to that! And next year there is going to be a rule change suggested so that you cannot concede Intra Club fixtures! Bizarre in the extreme. It seems astonishing to us that complying with the rules seems to have now led PTTC being criticised in certain quarters - entirely unjustified criticism – but hey who cares about that – let’s just make the rules up as we go along to keep certain people happy. We should add that it was suggested that WL were also perturbed by our concession, however, in fairness to WL, it was pointed out to us by them that there had been an individual comment made to the League in passing and it appears that said individual, the foregoing explanation having been made known, accepts that we could do little else.
Well then – a somewhat short round-up of the week’s action followed by a rather mammoth controversy of the week section! And the story will no doubt rumble on to the end of the season. Is winning more important than fair play – complaining about things that other Clubs do, moaning about playing players up, but only if it's the opposition, suggesting it's unfair to put your strongest side out when chasing promotion (but again only if other Clubs are doing it) and trying to get rules changed to punish another Club who have done nothing wrong and indeed have complied with the rules to the letter - well, looking at that evidence for some it seems winning is everything!
To end on a lighter note well done to all our players who competed this weekend at the Edinburgh Champs and in the Veterans Nationals today - particular mention to Ian Hislop, runner up in the Over 70's National Champs, Colin Green, winner of the Edinburgh Vets Championship and Hannah for winning the Under 13 Event.
Good luck to all as the fight for promotion, titles and relegation carries on in Week 27.