When Abby lost the first match of the night in 3 straight ends to John who had good serves and a terrific forehand the home trio were left muttering about who on earth had come up with a +6 handicap for him!! A win for Iain against Arunn followed by a win for Greig against Ben (both in 4 ends), gave the home side a 2-1 advantage. Match 4 was without doubt the turning point as Iain took on John giving away a 13 point advantage in a race to 18. Iain lost the first two ends 6-18, 14-18 and the writing looked to be on the wall. Team Captain Greig (the master of boring handicap cup table tennis) then explained to Iain that he had to play more like him and lo and behold Iain pushed his way to the next two ends 18-16, 18-16. The decider saw Iain catch John at 14-14 before he forgot that he was meant to be boring and lost the next two points to go 16-14 down - sanity returned however and the next four points went Iain's way to win the match 18-16 in the decider - maybe in fact the handicapping was alright after all!! Abby then won match 5 in four ends against Ben before Greig finished the match off with a win against Arunn 23-21, 23-21, 23-20 - a match which according to Abby included at least 2 winners from El Presidente in the 69 points he won!! So a 5-1 victory sees the 2014 Champions progress into Round 3.
Back to League Action and there was an opportunity for the Club to catch up with some outstanding fixtures. In Division 1, Team 3 of Clive Liddiard, Brian Bailey and Iain Johnstone were looking to finish the first half of the season with an important win as they took on the team who sat just a point below them in the League, West Lothian 4. The Penicuik trio recorded their fourth win of the season as they ran out 9-1 winners on the night with both Clive and Iain winning 3 and Brian 2. Clive and Iain also combined for a win in the doubles. The victory sees Team 3 go into the festive break secure in a mid table position and importantly 7 points clear of the relegation zone.
In Division 3, Team 5 finished the first half of their season in dominant form as they faced Haddington at Ladywood Leisure Centre. Gregory Leplatre, John Bald and Phil Daly were all on top form as they whitewashed their East Lothian based opponents 10-0, a result which sees Team 5 go into the New Year in sixth place in the Division 3 table but only 2 points out of third place.
Finally, there was another intra-club fixture in Division 4 as Teams 7 and 8 met. Team 7 of Stuart Bennett, Craig Johnson and Millie Bennett started the night two points clear of their Clubmates, Rachel Petrie, Lewis Baldock and Kathryn McKenzie. After the first 5 matches of the night, the match was evenly poised with Team 7 holding a slender 3-2 advantage but 4 of the next 5 matches went the way of Team 7 as they ran out 7-3 winners. The difference on the night was the play of 14 year old Millie who was undefeated in singles play and combined with dad Stuart for a win in the doubles. Stuart added two singles wins and Craig added 1. For Team 8, Lewis won 2 while Rachel won 1. The victory sees Team 7 move 4 points clear of Team 8 in the Division 4 table but both Teams are well behind the young guns of Team 6 who have bragging rights at Xmas as they sit in joint 3rd place in the division.
Player of the Week this week? Iain had a great week - undefeated in the League match and then contributing hugely to the Handicap Cup win. For the second week in a row, Sean was in the running having not actually played a match - he pointed out that at the Club on Thursday night he defeated all of Team 7 which means of course that had he played in the League fixture, Team 8 would have won 6-4 - good try Sean but I'm afraid not!! Player of the week has to be Millie - her first season in the League, an important and tension filled intra-club fixture and she contributes 4 matches on the night - Well done Millie.
And finally controversy of the Week - it's not really a controversy as such - more of a shock - for the second time this season, Brian has turned into Mr Nice! Maybe his reputation as a complete and utter ..... (don't think I can publish that) is unfair after all. Faced with a late call from Murrayfield 1, unable to field a team for the Handicap Cup fixture, he agrees to postpone the game until this coming week - what has come over him?? He has of course clearly forgotten our Club Directive to never grant Murrayfield a postponement after they refused us earlier in the season (only joking Murrayfield) but putting that to one side he seems to now be one of the more approachable captains in the Club. Really? Brain Bailey? The controversy of course is back to that discussed in our Week 7 Report about when fixtures are meant to be played - we think last season's rule is much better, namely that the game is played on the normal playing night of the home team in the week identified for the Handicap Cup - it avoids any confusion and also avoids the need for the home team to offer two nights in the relevant week when some clubs simply don't have the capacity to offer that. Even more controversial is that the past winners list on the ELTTL Website has every winning Club listed from 1980 onwards save for one season - http://www.edinburghtabletennis.com/past-winners.html - does anyone know who won in 2013/14!!??