Match 1 saw Brian (-1) take on Callum (-19) 18-0 start in a race to 29 points. after a strong start by Brian in the 1st end, Callum was just too consistent and won in 4. Next up was Clive (-4) against Keith (-12) in a topsy turvy match which Clive won deuce in the fifth 19-17. Sean (+7) then faced Charlie (-14) who had to claw back a 21 point deficit in a race to 25 - impossible?? Nearly managed it in the first end, Sean sneaking home 25-23 but that gave Sean confidence as he won the next 2 ends comfortably. It looked like being an excellent night for the home side when Clive produced a terrific performance to win deuce in the fifth against Callum to give the home side a 3-1 advantage but back came Murrayfield as Charlie won 26-24 in the fifth against Brian before Sean got the 2 game advantage back in a mammoth struggle against Keith, another deuce in the fifth win for the home side who were one match away from victory.
6 matches played and four of them had been decided deuce in the fifth - who says the Ratings Central system and handicapping isn't accurate??!! Matches 7 and 8 would surely see the best chances for the home side to put the match away - first Clive tried and at 2 ends to nil down to Charlie he looked in trouble but back he came to win ends 3 and 4 21-19, 22-20 - another 5 ender and lo and behold this one went way past the 21 points needed to win as Charlie got over the line 26-24!! Calum then had to come back from 26-0 down in a race to 30 to keep the match alive - surely he couldn't, could he?? If the pattern of the night wasn't clear enough yet, this match threw up more drama as Calum's consistent attacking play proved just too strong as he defeated Sean 31-29 in the deciding end.
A dramatic and amazingly tight match and it was only fitting that it should be decided by a final match shoot out between Brian and Keith.......... Well it would have been fitting had it not been for the fact that despite playing on two tables the time was now almost 10.30pm. Unlike our opponents who could have played on at their venue into the wee small hours, we, like many other clubs, are not so fortunate and are constrained to a closing time of 10pm!! The order came to "Get Oot!!" and with it the chances of seeing Brian redeem himself for agreeing to a postponement of the match in the first place. I wasn't going to do a controversy of the week piece this week given the festive cheer which we should all be feeling but the whole report this week is controversial!
The rules are the rules and a concession has been given to Murrayfield. Sporting of our opponents?? No. The sporting thing to do would surely have been to agree to hold over the one outstanding match to another time to decide the outcome of such an excellent and dramatic night of TT. Would we have taken the concession if the shoe had been on the other foot...... In the early part of this season probably a definite yes, but Brian is a changed character as exhibited by his friendliness to opponents over the last few weeks - he's giving James a run for his money in the Club's season ending "Mr Nice Guy" award!
What a way to lose a knock-out match! Leaves a bitter taste in the mouth at this time of year - good tidings to all and all that! Made all the worse because of how competitive the match had been and how accommodating Brian had been by agreeing to postponing the match the previous week!
We can't end the first half of the season on such a depressing note. The Club continues to go from strength to strength and it's great to see such a great family atmosphere at the Club on both match nights and practice nights - Thursday past saw 8 tables on the go and players having to wait on the sidelines for games. Our Website Homepage describes us as a "friendly, family orientated Club" and I think that has been shown to be the case throughout 2015. Not only have we grown in terms of the number of League teams, but our Social membership continues to rise and that adds to the great Club atmosphere.
To add to that, the Club are delighted to announce that we have secured new sponsorship with Saltire Roofing & Building Limited, not only for this season, but for seasons 2016/17 and 2017/18 as well. The future looks good for the Club and who knows, maybe one day we'll have premises where we can play until the wee small hours ourselves!!
El Presidente wishes all our members and all our other table tennis friends (Murrayfield included!) a very Merry Christmas with best wishes for 2016.