Team 1 of Greig McDonell, David Melrose and Abby Wighton knew that a win against ESC 2 would give them a little bit of breathing space at the foot of the Premier League table. After a good win by David in Match 6, the scores were tied at 3-3 going into the doubles. Greig and David have struggled as a pairing in the doubles in previous weeks but were hopeful they would fare better in this crucial encounter. After an 11-13 loss in the first set, it went downhill as the Penicuik duo lost in 3 straight sets. Greig levelled the scores again at 4-4 as the tension levels rose. Not that young Faye Leggett would be affected – a very straightforward 3 set win against David left Abby trying to salvage a draw but she came up short in Match 10. Greig was undefeated in singles play whilst David added 1 as the home side fell to a 6-4 defeat.
Team 2 of Clive Liddiard, James Wighton and Charlie Brindley travelled to take on Murrayfield 4 and started the night just ahead of their opponents in the Division 1 table. At 3-2 down, the match was evenly poised but from that point on the visitors failed to record another success as the Edinburgh side won the next 5 matches for a convincing 8-2 victory. Both Clive and Charlie won 1.
After a run of disappointing results, Team Captain and new dad Krzysztof Laszkiewicz (congratulations from all of us) was able to field a full side in Team 3’s Division 1 fixture against Murrayfield 5 at Ladywood as he was joined by Chris Markey and Gary McDougal. At 3-3 going into the doubles, Krzysztof and Gary gave the home side the advantage with a four set win. Match 8 was to prove pivotal on the night. Krzysztof took on the ever-improving Jamie Sloan and when he won the first two ends he looked in complete control. A 9-11 loss in end 3, however, turned the match on its head as Jamie came back to crucially tie the match up again at 4-4. When Chris then lost match 9 an unthinkable loss was on the cards. Gary, however, came through in 4 sets to salvage a point for the home side. Gary won 2 whilst Krzysztof and Chris both won 1.
Team 4’s fall from the summit of the Division 3 table unfortunately shows no signs of slowing up as they fell to their third consecutive defeat since reaching 1st position in Week 8! 3-3 against Edinburgh University as Team 4 entered the doubles fixture. John Bald & Brian Bailey (who have yet to win a doubles match) have plenty of experience behind them but they were no match for the students as they were defeated in straight sets. Brian then levelled the scores again at 4-4 but unfortunately neither John nor Louis McLeod could win their final matches as the Ladywood side fell to a 6-4 defeat. Both John and Brian won 2 singles.
Team 5 also faced University opponents in their Week 11 Division 3 fixture. Stuart Bennett, Sean Lennon and Craig Johnson now find themselves only a couple of positions behind their more senior Club mates but were no match for the University side as Sean provided the solitary win in the resultant 9-1 defeat.
In Division 4, Team 6 of Julian Taylor, Rachel Petrie and Sonny Taylor were looking for their 3rd win on the bounce as they faced Edinburgh University 6. In what was an excellent night for the Taylor family, both Julian and Sonny were undefeated and combined for a doubles victory as the visitors ran out comfortable 8-2 winners. Rachel added one singles victory.
Finally, in Week 11, Team 7 faced a home match in Division 4 against North Merchiston 7. George Wilson deputised for an ill Kristian Skotzen and was joined by Phil Daly and Hannah McDonell. In a good night for the Midlothian side, George and Phil were both undefeated and combined for the doubles victory in the resultant 7-3 win.
And so, to our Player of the Week Award for Week 11. Five players were undefeated in singles play this week – Greig from Team 1, Sonny and Julian from Team 6 and Phil and George from Team 7. Team 1 have dominated this award in recent weeks (don’t know why) but a loss in the doubles for El Presidente knocks him out of the running. The other 4 players all played in the doubles and won them! How do we decide this week then? The opposition gave the player of the match awards to Sonny and George so sorry Phil and Julian you’re both out of the running! For no other reason than the fact that he’s been close so often this season without getting over the line, we think it’s about time George had his moment of glory – well done to him!!
Last week we mentioned the ongoing exchange of emails regarding the “no bat change rule”. Oh my, how that has rumbled on into Week 11!! We bet Ken Ben wishes he’d never sent his initial email!! Email after email back and forth all about whether the ITTF Rules apply to our League games. Stewart McGowan, TTS lead international umpire and referee indicated that a racket can only be changed as a result of an accident and that the changed bat must be identical (Rubbers) to the one that was broken or damaged. He further confirmed “we play under the rules of the ITTF FOR ALL TT matches.”
Some disagree with this and it was pointed out that if we are following all the ITTF Regulations then we should all examine our opponents bats and make sure they are on the authorised list held by the ITTF – perhaps with that in mind and having read this email, with Team 3’s match last week evenly poised at 4-5 in favour of Murrayfield, a very experienced Murrayfield player sought to raise an issue about the “legality” of Gary’s bat – the same one he had played with during the rest of the match, the same one in fairness that he’s probably played with for the last 20 years!! Really – was the opponent having a laugh? No - it seems he was serious! See what you’ve started Mr Benjamin! He called over PTTC Head Coach Tom to ask him to give an opinion on the legality of the bat – we hasten to add the bat being used by the said Murrayfield player looked like it was 40 years old and if it had any rubber on it, it was minutely thin! The commotion died down a little as Tom told the individual concerned to… (in fact we don’t think we can put in print what was actually said!) – Gary went on to win the game and a 5-5 draw ensued – no harm done then……
Moving on to another controversy, at the Scottish Primary Schools Championships at Bathgate today, a certain young girl who plays for the Club could not believe how “rude” some of her opponents were – they never once apologised for a net or an edge –on occasion they would even look happy about getting a lucky point – is that the way they are told to behave she asked – why can’t they just say sorry? Maybe politeness doesn’t exist in competitive sport anymore? In fairness in the League whilst most of our Club members will always apologise after hitting a lucky shot, do any of them really mean it? Staying quiet in fact may be better than apologising with a smug look on your face!!! We all know players like that, don’t we? Oh, if only we were all innocent and young again!
And finally, table tennis, certainly at our level, is just a past-time – one which most of us love and we will all have stories to tell about characters we’ve met along the way. It’s about the people you compete against and the rivalries and friendships formed. Table tennis, like most amateur sports needs committed and driven individuals, people who give up their time for the love of the sport – one of those great characters was lost to us this week with the sad passing of Drew McLaren. All of us at PTTC would like to pass on our condolences to Drew’s family and friends (and his TT family at WLTTC) – he will be sadly missed.