After their first win of the season in Week 4, Team 1 of Carsten Giebeler, Colin Green & David Melrose travelled to take on Edinburgh University on Friday night in the Premier Division. Colin got the night off to a good start with a four-end win v Mae Ng. David then agonisingly lost out 11-9 in the fifth to Sietse Van Meer and when that was followed by a 5-set loss for Carsten against Yubo Rasmussen it looked like being a long night for the visitors. Another 4-end win for Colin brought parity to the scores and that was followed by a gutsy 5 set win for Carsten as Penicuik got their noses in front. Back came the Uni side courtesy of a win for Yubo against David. 3-3 and the doubles suddenly had an even more crucial feel to it. Colin & David played together a number of times last year, but this was the first time this season and the change worked as they came back from a 2-1 deficit to win 11-3 in the fifth. When Carsten then won in straight sets in Match 8 a point was secured. Yubo tried to keep the match alive in Game 9 but fell short as Colin had his most comfortable match of the night with a 3 set win as the visitors recorded a good 6-4 victory.
In Division 2, Team 3 had to cope with the late call off through illness of their number 1, Iain Johnstone, as they hosted North Merchiston 4. Julian Taylor stepped in and acquitted himself well alongside regulars Krzysztof Laszkiewicz and James Wighton. The first two matches both went the distance with Krzysztof winning his but Julian losing 9-11 in the decider. A tight looking match suddenly turned, however, as the next six games all went the way of the home side who raced into a 7-1 lead. The last two matches were shared resulting in a terrific 8-2 win for Team 3. Krzysztof was undefeated in singles whilst Julian and James both picked up two. James & Krzysztof combined for the doubles victory. Three wins out of three for Team 3 who move above their Club rivals, Team 4 into second place in the Division 2 table. Leaders, Fife, however, look like the team to beat at this early stage of the season.
Team 5 are fast becoming the Team that covets the most controversy. After the controversial use of an illegal bat last week in their match v Edinburgh International they hadn’t even taken to the table before controversy hit this week (more on that later)! Back from holiday, Craig Linton replaced Rachel Petrie as he joined forces with George Wilson and Kristian Skotzen. Only two players turned up for Edinburgh Sports Club 3, so the hosts started with a 3-0 advantage and this was going to be a walk in the park, wasn’t it? New rubbers and fresh from a great practice at the end of last week, George was in scintillating form for the first end of his match v Euan Rae – pity it was a best of 5 as he went down to a 3-2 defeat. Craig’s first taste of Division 3 saw him fall 2-1 behind but he stuck in terrifically well to record a 3-2 comeback win. 4-1 to the hosts – over to Kristian to secure at least a point. 2-0 down against Elena Genova he battled back to 2-2 only to lose 11-9 in the fifth. Craig then recorded another 5-end victory to give the hosts a 5-2 lead. Credit to ESC, they fought back to win the doubles and then Euan made Kristian’s night worse by winning in straight sets. Suddenly it was 5-4 and the pressure was on George as he took on Elena. It was never in doubt according to George – yeah right! A 4-end win saw Team 5 stumble over the line for a 6-4 victory.
Our Player of the Week award this week sees only 3 players in the running after undefeated nights - Colin, Krzysztof and Craig. Although this was Craig’s first taste of Division 3 and he is due a huge amount of credit for getting the team the win, he only played two singles matches and he lost the doubles – you’re out the running Craig. Both Krzysztof and Colin played in the doubles fixture and both won. Whilst it was an excellent night for Krzysztof, his team would have still won even if he had dropped a game or even two. Having come close last week, he’s done it this week – given the importance of his 3 ½ wins in a 6-4 victory, this week’s winner is Colin – well done.
And finally, to our Controversy of the Week section.
For the first time this season (it’s taken 5 weeks!) postponements come under the microscope. ESC had sought a postponement of their fixture v Team 5 because they were struggling to field a full team. Team 5 are in a precarious position – although 5 players registered for them, Hannah is still out injured and at the time the request came in it looked like George may not have been playing much this season at all. Craig was carrying an injury as well and rearranging a fixture, even with free weeks built into the schedule, is a nightmare. This is especially so when we can only access our premises for a league match one night a week. The Club view on postponements is well known to anyone who reads these weekly reports – we think they should be done away with altogether. That being said, there is no rule at the Club as to how individual teams or team captains deal with such requests. Indeed, this week saw Julian grant a request from Haddington to postpone their fixture v Team 4 whilst Charlie requested and was granted a postponement for their Division 1 fixture v North Merchiston. Team 5, however, with player availability issues and difficulty in identifying a new date, felt that to agree to a postponement would put them at a potential disadvantage for any rearranged fixture. The result of course, a narrow 6-4 loss for ESC, won’t help them come to terms with the reasons behind the refusal. They will feel hard done by and will no doubt not be keen to do any favours for Penicuik if one is needed later in the season – and that’s the problem. As we have said many times, it just causes ill feeling between Clubs (if anyone is reading this from ESC though – remember it was only Team 5 who did this not any of our other teams who might need a postponement or two throughout the season)!
In the same match another Rule issue arose. There was a general feeling amongst the Penicuik players that there was a Rule against a player stomping their foot when serving. They were fairly convinced of the position until they sought by text message some guidance on the point. They were told that there’s no rule which prevents stamping or stomping of feet – not convinced they had to point out that it wasn’t during the rally this was taking place but as the player was striking the ball in service – they felt it was done to try and mask the contact point and confuse the opponent. That is indeed the whole point isn’t it?? We don’t think they were happy with the response – unless of course we’re wrong! And there’s the point for the second week in a row – Each Club should surely have someone that actually knows what the rules are! A qualified Umpire at every league match?? That will never happen! A copy of the Rule Book at every League Match – that shouldn’t be too difficult – but then there’s the question of how to interpret them…….
Ah well Handicap Cup is now upon us – nothing controversial ever happens there! Good luck to our 4 teams in action this week.