Week 11 of the Edinburgh & Lothians League saw six of the Club's seven teams in action.
In the Premier Division Penicuik 1 faced an away match against League leaders North Merchiston 1. Back to full strength for the first time in six weeks, any hopes of an upset were quickly lost as five of the first six matches went the way of the home side. Greig McDonell and Colin Green both won 1 in the resultant 8-2 defeat.
In Division 1 Team 2 faced a home match against a strong Fife side who sat top of the division. Iain Johnstone, Clive Liddiard and Brian Bailey were no match for their opponents on the night as Iain won 2 and Clive 1 in their 7-3 defeat.
Those two very brief match reports are to appease those dissatisfied readers who, for some reason, claimed at the PTTC Xmas night out that the top two teams get more coverage than the other sides in the Club - surely that's not accurate - definitely not if Team 1 have a bad night!!!
In Division 2 Team 3 have been in excellent recent form - a 10-0 win in week 9 was followed by a 9-1 win in Week 10. Week 11 saw them travel to take on Edinburgh University. James Wighton, Gary McDougal and Abby Wighton were all in confident mood and the only blip on the night came in the final match of the night. By that time the visitors were 9-0 up. Gary and Abby were undefeated in singles play and combined for a victory in the doubles whilst James won 2 of his 3 singles in another convincing 9-1 win. The side's rich vein of form keeps them in 2nd place in the Division two points behind League leaders Haddington but importantly now 5 points clear of third placed North Merchiston.
In Division 3, Penicuik 5 have struggled all season to convert some good play into good results and their Week 11 fixture was a relegation battle against another winless side in Corstorphine 5. After two narrow 6-4 defeats in the previous two weeks John Bald, Phil Daly and Louis Myatt knew that a good start was essential in their quest to record their first victory of the season. After the first 3 matches of the night went the way of the Midlothian trio it was looking good for the visitors. When number 1 John Bald lost match 4, however, there was concern that momentum had turned in favour of the Edinburgh side. Those fears were quickly allayed as the next four matches were all won to give Penicuik an unassailable 7-1 lead. In the end, Phil and Louis were both undefeated whilst John won 1 singles and combined with Phil for a win in the doubles in a much needed 8-2 victory. Although still in the relegation zone, the trio now find themselves only one point from safety.
Team 6 returned from a two week break to face a home match against Edinburgh International 5. The break probably came at the wrong time for the Midlothian side who had been in excellent form and had sat top of the Division 4 table prior to their break from action. More bad news came when it was confirmed that "TV's Sean Lennon" was unavailable for selection because he's got a sore big toe - we think he may be protecting his average as the end of the first half of the season approaches! Stuart Bennet, Craig Johnson and Millie Bennett will look at two matches which could have gone in their favour as the determining factors on the night. In match 4, Craig lost 11-9 in the deciding fifth end whilst in match 6 Millie, having been 2-0 up, lost in five ends, the fourth end by a 16-14 scoreline. Craig won two and Millie won 1 whilst Craig and Stuart combined for a doubles victory as the Ladywood side fell to a narrow 6-4 defeat.
In a busy week for the Club, Penicuik 7 were also in action as they faced the long trip to Fife in Division 4. The youngsters of Lewis Baldock and Mark MacKay combined with Marcin Mroz in a difficult match against experienced opponents. Marcin was the only winner on the night for the visitors winning both matches in an 8-2 defeat.
Away from the League we have to mark some excellent achievements by Club players at the Edinburgh Championships on Saturday 3rd December. Not the best turnout by the Club but of our five and a half players who competed we had 3 winners - who was the "half player" we hear you ask - Louis McLeod turned up to coaching on Saturday morning at Ladywood much to Coach Tom's surprise, he having got his days mixed up and thinking the tournament was on Sunday - oops!! We're sure had he managed to get there the Band 4 event was his for the winning. As it was our 3 winners were Colin (Band 1 singles - some of us will never hear the end of it!!), Abby (Ladies Singles) and Louis Myatt (Under 13 singles). 50% of our players winning events is a great return and Club President Greig claims he should also get a trophy of some sort as the only two players he lost to on the day were the same two players who also defeated our newly crowned Edinburgh Mens Champion - go on Colin - you could give him the big trophy for a month or so surely??
Player of the Week award for Week 11? There was more criticism at the Xmas night out for our press officer for not picking any player from Team 3 so far this season for this honour. Sitting secure in 2nd place in the Division 2 table, both Abby and Gary sitting in the top 10 of the individual averages, Team Captain James is back to being the Club's "nicest" member - how could one of that trio not have been recognised thus far?? It's hard to split Gary and Abby this week so the award goes to.... Sean. OK, a bit of a left field selection especially since he's not actually played this week, but a bit like the League's player of the night awards the basis on which these can be voted for is, it seems, very individual and diverse. Sean definitely kept the party going on Saturday night and although our Press Officer may have been a bit under the influence he told him one of the best jokes he's heard - alcohol must have played a part though given that the response of the 5 people who have been told the joke today seems to be no more than a smirk! Even if in the cold light of day it wasn't that funny, he also gave the writer a lift home after the night out and that's worth the award in its own right - well done to "TV's Mr Sean Lennon"
And finally our controversy of the week section - It's been far too good a week to have a controversy - we all had a great time on Saturday night - all in festive spirit and even with copious amounts of alcohol consumed, our tagline of being a family friendly club was once again borne out with no arguments, no fallouts, no disagreements, no unpleasantness of any sort - if only the League was like that..... And a huge thanks to Mr & Mrs Bailey for hosting our "after party" and to Mrs B for her delicious desserts.
I wonder if Edinburgh University have paid their fees yet????????