In the Premier Division Team 1 were without Greig McDonell as they faced a home tie against Edinburgh Sports Club 2. Iain Johnstone deputised to join forces with Colin Green and Stuart Gow. After two wins from Colin and a win from Iain things were looking good for the hosts at the halfway point as they led 3-2. Thereafter the match turned as the home side lost all five of their final matches - 3 of those losses being crucial fifth end losses - Stuart lost 11-9 in the deciding end in match 6 and 12-10 in the decider in match 9 while Colin lost 11-9 in the deciding end of match 8. A match which (on paper at least) ought to have produced a win ended with a very poor 7-3 defeat.
In Division 1 Team 2 faced an away match against University 2 to finish their first half of the season. Starting the night just three points ahead of their opponents Clive Liddiard, Brian Bailey and Iain Johnstone knew the importance of avoiding defeat. The visitors task was made easier by the fact that University could only field a two man team and by the end of the night the Ladywood side had put some daylight between themselves and their opponents with a 7-3 victory. Iain won 3, Clive won 2 and Brian added 1 beating that guy who has the worst record in the League, Mr Walkover.
Week 12 saw the first intra club fixture of the season as Team 3 took on Team 4 in Division 2. Had injury and other absences not effected Team 4 over the last 5 or 6 weeks this match would have been a top of the table clash. Team 4, however, have ended up at the wrong end of the table and once again were understrength as they took on second placed Team 3. With only one regular player available, Krzysztof Laszkiewicz was only able to call up Stuart Bennett from Division 4 as a two man team took on James Wighton, Gary McDougal and Abby Wighton. Remarkably, the unthinkable almost happened as Krzysztof won all 3 of his singles matches and combined with Stuart for a win in the doubles as Team 3 fell over the line with a narrow 6-4 victory.
Finally in Week 12, Team 5 were looking to build on their win from the previous week as they faced Edinburgh Sports Club 4 in Division 3. The win in Week 11 had moved the team to within a point of their opponents and they knew that a win on the night would have seen them move out of the relegation zone. A last minute call off due to ill health resulted in Louis McLeod replacing regular Louis Myatt. Going into the crucial doubles fixture the match was evenly poised at 3-3. Phil Daly and John Bald then lost that doubles but the scores were levelled by a win in match 8 for John. Team 5's season so far has been riddled with narrow defeats and that was repeated as Phil lost match 9 before Louis agonisingly lost a fifth end decider in the final game of the night as the home side fell to their 4th 6-4 defeat of the season. John was undefeated in singles play whilst Phil added 1 win.
And so to our player of the week award for Week 12. There's really only one player in the running this week, undefeated in singles play, contributing to a doubles victory and almost single handedly causing the upset of the season, Mr Scrabble Man himself is this week's deserved winner, Team 3 being most relieved that he didn't have any other regulars to play with him! Well done Krys.
And finally our controversy of the week section - we as a Club have struggled this season to fulfil matches with full strength sides and it appears from seeing the weekly results that we are not alone in this predicament. It does raise the question again as to whether the current format for league play is sustainable. Or maybe we just have to accept that players have busy lives and they can't commit to playing every week. Remarkably only 3 of our 26 registered players have managed to play all their team's matches - well done to Iain Johnstone, James Wighton and John Bald.
Without wanting to sound like Victor Meldrew, I don't remember these problems in the good old days. Registered teams of 3 were the norm; unless you were taken hostage or hospitalised on the eve of a match you played every week; we played on one table and still managed to get finished by 10pm; every team provided refreshments (even sandwiches); you would invite your opponents out for a drink afterwards; we didn't know the word "CHO" existed; a table tennis match was a night out where you would socialise together as a team - I feel I'm digressing away from the topic here but hey those WERE the good old days. Now we get thrown out if we can't finish on time, start times are ridiculously early, a variety of clubs "force" you to play on two tables, there's little in the way of "social interaction" with your opponents, refreshments have gone out of the game almost entirely (Murrayfield being an exception and due a pat on the back for at least keeping that tradition going) and half the time we seem to dislike our own club mates never mind our opponents - or is that just us!!! Anyway back to the point (if we ever had one) - maybe our current league format needs an overhaul - whilst we don't always agree with our friends from West Lothian they have often commented upon how the game needs to move on as society has moved on - people's life's are busier, traffic chaos effects us all, time constraints with venues impact on most of us - maybe a change to a different match format is required (there's plenty of alternatives out there) or given that the good old days are gone anyway (and unlikely ever to return) what about a radical change to a national league type set up where the league matches take place at a central venue on the one night - whilst recognising that we have far too many teams over 5 divisions to make a single night venue work we do have under 30 matches a week to play - three different nights would get them all done - now that is radical! Or maybe take change a bit slower and wait until we all get our virtual reality headsets from Santa to enable us to play matches from the comfort of our own living rooms!!!
First half of the season almost over already - I DON'T BELIEVE IT!!