The next night saw Team 5 in action as they visited Corstorphine in Division 4. Patrick Shanks, Aidan Craig and Roscoe Cairney made the trip to Sighthill for this match and after the first set of games they trailed 2-1. A five end win for Aidan in Match 4 levelled the scores but that was followed by a loss in Match 5. The night turned on Matches 6 and 7 which both went the distance – Patrick lost out 11-9 in the fifth end before he joined Aidan in the doubles and that too was lost in a close fifth end decider. With only Patrick able to pick up a win in the final three singles, Team 5 fell to a 7-3 defeat – closer than the result sounds.
Team 4 were also in action on Tuesday with a trip to Heriot Watt in Division 3. This was a must win match for Team 4 – bottom of the table but signs of improvement in recent weeks and they were taking on the team just above them in the Division – a win by a decent margin would see them leapfrog Heriot Watt on game difference. Robert Porteous and Rachel Petrie were joined by new boy, Richard Millar, making his debut for the Club. This was a terrific match for Team 4 – the first five matches all went their way for the loss of only one end before Rachel narrowly lost out 15-13 in the fifth in Match 6. A five end win in the doubles secured the first victory of the season for Team 4 and two further wins gave the visitors an 8-2 win.
Team 4 weren’t finished there though as they played their second match of Week 12 on Thursday night at Ladywood against Fife 2. Jim Jack came in to replace Richard Millar and two crucial five end wins in the first three matches gave the hosts the advantage – Bob, somehow came back from the dead in his five-ender to win 12-10 whilst Jim won the fourth and fifth ends 11-9, 11-8 for a great comeback win. Two of the next three matches were won by Fife and so going into the doubles, the match was all square at 3-3. It was looking good for Bob & Rachel as they led 2-0 but when the next two ends were won by the Fife duo this crucial match was on a knife’s edge. Bob & Rachel retained their composure and the hosts led 4-3. Rachel then secured a point by winning match 8. Fife won the next and it was left to Bob to round off an excellent week for Team 4 as he won match 10 for a 6-4 victory. 4 points in the space of three days has seen the team move out of the relegation zone for the time being – long may it continue.
Thursday was a busy night at Ladywood with Team 1 and Team 3 also in action. Team 1 were again short of a player as Colin Green & Greig McDonell hosted Fife 1 in the Premier Division. 3-0 down, both players lost out to Peter Aird but they battled to wins in their other matches and with only the doubles left to play they trailed 5-4. Colin & Greig took on Peter and Jim Wilson. At 2-1 up the home pair looked like they might have been able to secure a point but it wasn’t to be as Peter’s dodgy rubber came to the fore in the deciding end as they secured an 11-7 fifth end victory. A 6-4 loss for the home pairing left them very frustrated.
Team 3 meanwhile hosted Murrayfield 8 in Division 2. After dropping Julian Taylor last week, Team Captain James dropped himself this week as Julian was joined by Ian Hislop and Hannah McDonell. This match could have ended up being a difficult one for the hosts after Murrayfield’s third player turned up some 45 minutes late and the match was played out of order. In the end, it was Julian who played the best TT on the night, winning his three singles in Team 3’s 7-3 victory. He also combined with Hannah for a good win in the doubles.
And so to our player of the week award for Week 12. Three players were undefeated in Week 12 – Julian from Team 3 and Bob and Richard from Team 4. It was Richard’s first match for the Club having just joined so too early for him to win it – sorry Richard! Julian must be in with a chance – he won his 3 singles for the loss of only one end and also won in the doubles – he was also pleading his case at our Xmas night out on Saturday pointing out that he had to be in the running this week. Well he was but what about the terrific week for Bob – 6 singles wins out of 6 and also two doubles victories, both in five ends, one with Rachel and one with Richard – now that’s impressive – but hold on, there’s a late entry for the award this week. We don’t always have to look at the ELTTL for this award – this weekend saw the Edinburgh Schools Championships take place – not only did this youngster reach the semi-finals of the family doubles, with a win against the strong Toner father and son duo, he won the Under 11 title with seven wins from seven matches played – how impressive is that – although his dad is trying to claim the credit for it, we think it’s the superb coaching at the Club – well done to Colin Green’s son, Fletcher! Equal now with his dad for the number of weekly awards won!
As for controversies this week, we don't have to look much further than Thursday night at Ladywood. We had a couple of dodgy moments from Team 3’s match v Murrayfield. First off, Hannah was made to feel great by her own Teammate before the match even started – with Team Captain James not there at the beginning of the night, Ian Hislop was tasked with filling in the match card – that will be the last time he does it – he managed his own name and Julian’s but had to look at the young girl who he’s played with since October and ask her name! Oh dear – fair enough though, Ian is in his 90’s and he’s not known Hannah that long – and what’s your surname again he asks! Oh dear – he’s only known dad Greig for about 35 years!!
On the table, Murrayfield’s third player showed up at about 7.30pm, some 45 minutes late – he then proceeded to wander away for another five minutes or so before re-entering the Hall and hanging about aimlessly. Our own shortcomings meant that Team 3 played the match out of order to make up for the missing third player – After 4 ends against Ian Hislop, Murrayfield’s second player went on immediately thereafter against a very cold Hannah – Hannah should have pretended not to hear Ian as he told her to play out of order – it completely messed up the flow of the night and just led to one problem after another. The old rule used to be that if you turned up more than 30 minutes late you were too late and your games could be claimed – that rule seems to have been mothballed in favour of the rule that if you’re late and the match can’t get finished then the late team have to concede any unplayed fixtures – we prefer the old rule – or at least the courtesy of a call to give advance notice of a late arrival.
During the match, the Murrayfield umpire gave a warning to one of our players for foot stamping whilst pushing! What? Team Captain James had arrived by this point and had an argument with the Murrayfield player that no such rule existed and there was nothing wrong with what was happening. He didn't accept that. The same umpire was then playing in the doubles and complained about Julian’s service technique! Pot and Kettle came to mind for Team 3 – of course if the umpire had been a bit stronger he would have told the players that it was up to him to decide on service errors not the players – who was umpiring – ah 92 year old Ian – we don’t think he heard any of the commotion!
Our own problems continued on Thursday night with our premises – funny now but not at the time as various players in the hall had to keep their tracksuits on whilst playing – and for some they were tempted to keep their woolly hats, jackets and gloves on whilst playing – we have never previously looked around the hall to see all the spectators dressed in full winter apparel! Good news though – the heating was fixed by Saturday – just in time for Xmas!
Next week sees an outstanding league fixture for Team 3 as well as two Handicap Cup 2nd Round matches – should be fun!