Team 5 went in to their final match of the season against North Merchiston 6 knowing that they were in control of their own destiny. Thanks to Haddington’s win v Fife in Week 28, a win for Craig Johnson, Louis McLeod and George Wilson and promotion would be secured. A big win combined with a loss for WL the next night and the title was also within reach. When Louis turned up with a broken bat there was some worry from the visitors - it was ok though he’d turned up with a £9.99 replacement with pimples on one side!!! Really?? Did he know this was quite a vital match? George won match 1 in straight sets before Louis and his funny bat was put to the test by Alex McKay. A fifth end decider went the way of the visitors much to the relief of Louis’ teammates and when Craig won match 3 in straight sets things were looking positive for the Midlothian trio. Alex was even more unlucky in match 4 when he lost 12-10 in the 5th to George and when both Craig and Louis won the next two in straight sets, the match was over, and promotion secured. With the final 4 matches all going the visitors’ way, a 10-0 win flattered the visitors but meant they were still in the hunt for the title! Let’s not be greedy though Team 5! West Lothian were victorious the next night v Fife, their season ruined by two losses in their last two matches. So, WL 7 top the table – congratulations to them and Team 5 pulled off a terrific run of results to resurrect their season – 5th place 6 weeks ago to 2nd by the end was a great achievement – well done to them.
Team 1 welcomed back Greig McDonell as he, David Melrose and Iain Johnstone travelled to take on already relegated Corstorphine 2 in Division 1. With the title already secured this match was played in a very relaxed manner and the gulf from top spot to bottom showed as the visitors ran out comfortable 10-0 winners.
Meanwhile, Team 2 hosted Corstorphine 1 at Ladywood with James Wighton deputising for the injured Krzysztof Laszkiewicz and Ian Hislop standing in for Charlie Brindley. They both joined Gary McDougal in the knowledge that their Division 1 status had been secured by their 7-3 victory v Fife in Week 27. For the hosts, Stan Stoodley had an undefeated night in singles play but a terrific win by James v Amjad Mohammed and a win for Ian v Artur Labecki combined with wins against both for Gary meant the doubles would be crucial to the outcome of this match. Ian and Gary were victorious in 4 ends resulting in the spoils being shared between the teams with a 5-5 draw.
In Division 2, Team 3 finished their season off with a visit to Murrayfield 7. James Wighton, Ian Hislop and Abby Wighton were never in trouble as they comfortably dispatched their Edinburgh rivals by an 8-2 scoreline. A perfect night was spoiled for the team by Richard Lo who defeated both James and Abby, the latter being particularly unlucky with an 11-9 loss in the fifth. Other than those two matches, however, Team 3 only lost one end in the other 8 matches played as they ended their season in 4th place.
And so, to our Player of the Week Award for Week 29. This week’s undefeated players were all of Team 1, Ian from Team 3 and all of Team 5. Normally we don’t like being “soft” and not finding reasons to differentiate between players but this week we can’t overlook the contributions made by George and Louis in Team 5’s run in to promotion. Of his nine singles played over the last 4 weeks of the season Louis won 8 and also won all 3 doubles in which he played. Over the same period, George played 12 singles and 3 doubles – fifteen matches played, and fifteen matches won. With a combined 27 out of 28 matches won there’s no doubt that Team 5 would not have gained promotion had it not been for their sterling efforts. But hey this week they both lost 3 ends in their singles matches – Craig on the other hand only lost 1! Never mind, Louis and George, you got a nice write up - this week’s winner led from the front in the Team’s most important match of the season and his top 10 individual averages finish has also been key to the Team’s success – Well done Craig.
In a solid week for the Club, there was nothing particularly controversial which affected us. Oh, wait a minute – the Handicap Cup! Quick recap – 3 teams through to the quarter final stage (a terrific achievement) – Greig, Kristian and Ian H bit the dust with a narrow 5-4 loss to Edinburgh University – we could moan about a plus 2 handicap for a guy with a forehand loop to die for and a third ball attack that wouldn’t go amiss at a much higher level, but then again we had Kristian at +7 who strolled through his games with great serves and great style! George, Sonny and Abby made it to the semi final with a great win over North Merchiston – nothing to moan about there. So, what of our 3rd quarter finalists – they faced a Murrayfield outfit for the third time in the competition. Sorry, what do you mean it’s not been played yet? Deadline was 5th April. That deadline was set in February when the email came out to get the games organised. It will be easier this year because of the free weeks built into the schedule – let’s not bother having a dedicated week set aside for the Handicap Cup - what a load of nonsense! Despite about 20 emails dating back to 25th Feb (maybe a slight exaggeration) and direct conversations with Murrayfield to try and get them to offer dates, by 1st April we had still not had any contact from them. Maybe we shouldn’t have emailed a further reminder on 1st April suggesting that we’d be happy just to claim the match (somewhat tongue in cheek but not entirely so!). That at least got a response! Let’s play this Thursday – excellent, we’ll wait for 5 weeks to get a date arranged then get 48 hours notice of when to play - Ridiculous! No surprise we couldn’t get our team organised for then so here we are still waiting on an alternative, Murrayfield having offered this Wednesday when two of our team are involved in their final league matches of the season! We’re not particularly moaning about Murrayfield’s part in all of this (well maybe we are a little) but the real issue is that there should and needs to be weeks set aside for the Handicap Cup. Then everyone knows where they stand – if a team can’t play the match that week, then tough! As has happened in previous seasons, concessions will simply have to be granted. Instead we have a scenario where it looks like our semi final will be completed before the other quarter final is even arranged!
Speaking of which good luck to Penicuik in that semi final this coming Wednesday – they’ll be kept company by a couple of derby matches to finish the league season off for the club. And finally, a big shout out to Hannah, the Club’s newest Internationalist – she had a great weekend in Northern Ireland representing Scotland in the British Schools International. A great experience and we understand it brought back some tear-jerking memories for her dad - his one and only appearance – in fact it was a “non-appearance” - for his country as a youngster was also meant to be in Northern Ireland. Oh God, how many times have we heard that story????!!!
Week 30 already and the season's over for most - where have those 30 weeks gone??!!