The performance of the Week came from the young guns of Team 6 who faced an away trip to West Lothian 9. In the reverse fixture at Ladywood the same six players had competed and the Bathgate side had run out 8-2 victors. The hope of putting youngsters into the League is that throughout the season with more match play and practice they will improve and that certainly seemed to be the case for Luke Hennessey, Louis Myatt and Louis McLeod as they reversed that 8-2 defeat and ran out 7-3 winners. Luke maintained his excellent form winning all three of his singles and combining with Louis McLeod for a win in the doubles, Louis Myatt picked up 2 singles wins whilst Louis McLeod won 1, all three players improving on their results from the first match of the season. Some sad news for the Team, however, came later in the week with the news that young Louis McLeod has broken his ankle and is likely to miss the majority if not all of the rest of the season - we wish Louis well in his recovery.
Maintaining the Penicuik v West Lothian theme, Team 2 faced an away match against WL 2, surely favourites for the Division 1 title. James Wighton, Gary Mcdougal and Abby Wighton have had a difficult season so far in this Division, having won the League 2 title last year. Although they went down to an 8-2 defeat with wins from Gary and Abby, there were positive signs for the Penicuik trio with a much improved performance compared to their 10-0 defeat against the same trio in the reverse fixture. Both Gary and Abby took an end of the undefeated Stan Stoodley and Gary was unlucky not to win against Dave Fletcher. Good signs for a strong second half hopefully.
Meanwhile also in Division 1, Team 3 of Clive Liddiard, Iain Johnstone and Brian Bailey started their second half of the season with a comfortable 8-2 victory against Edinburgh International 4. The match was made more comfortable for the home side as EI were only able to field a two man team, Ken and George. Iain won 3 and combined with Clive for a doubles victory whilst Brian and Clive both won 2.
The performances of the first half of the season have came from Team 4 who started the New Year in top spot in Division 2. Having gone through the first half undefeated, they went into their away match against Corstorphine 4 with the confidence of an 8-2 victory in the reverse fixture behind them. They had also seen, however, earlier in the week Murrayfield 5 leap frog them into top spot with a 9-1 victory over Corstorphine 3. Tony Brentnall, Krzysztof Laszkiewicz and Gavin Hunter matched that result and maintained their undefeated season as they ran out 9-1 winners on the night. Krzysztof and Tony won three whilst Gavin won two and combined with Krzysztof for a win in the doubles match.
In Division 3, Team 5 of John Bald, Gregory Leplatre and Phil Daly played two matches in Week 15. First up they faced League Leaders North Merchiston 3. Although the result seems somewhat one sided, the crucial games of the night came with the scoreline at 3-1 to the League Leaders. In match 5, John from 2-0 up lost the next three ends 9-11, 13-15, 8-11; that was followed by Gregory losing match 6 11-9 in the fifth and when match 7 went the same way as Phil and Gregory lost the doubles in five ends, the match was over. On the night, Gregory and Phil both won 1 as North Merchiston triumphed by an 8-2 scoreline. 24 hours later, Team 5 bounced back as they faced a home match against Edinburgh Sports Club 4. In another match where the scoreline doesn't do justice to the very tight battle which took place, five of the ten games went to a deciding fifth end but on this occasion the home side won all five and ran out 7-3 winners. All three players won 2 singles and John and Gregory combined for an important win in the doubles fixture.
In Division 4, Team 7 were not able to match the improvement of Team 6 from the first half of the season as Stuart Bennett, Craig Johnson and Millie Bennett all won 1 singles in their 7-3 loss to Murrayfield 8, the same scoreline as the first half of the season.
Finally, there were two walkover wins for the Club as Teams 1 and 8 both received concessions.
Player of Week 15?? For the improvement from the first half of the season and for bouncing back after his disappointment in the Edinburgh Championships, young Luke wins the award this week. Not only did he contribute all 3 singles wins and a doubles victory but he defeated a player to whom he'd lost in the first half (Stuart Gibson) and who was ahead of him in the individual averages - that's a great sign of improvement.
And finally to our controversy of the week. Two things this week, firstly surely Ken Benjamin must have read my New Year President's Report in relation to Brian's quest to win a player of the night award!! Iain was undefeated, Clive won 2 and defeated Ken in 4 ends and combined with Iain for a win in the doubles - but let's ignore that, Brian who has not won a player of the night award since it's inception got the honour at long last - I can only think it's due to him recovering from 2-1 down to defeat Ken in five!!
Secondly, back to that thorny subject of postponements, concessions, point deductions etc. Team 8 this Week had arranged their busy lives around a match on Wednesday night, were all ready and raring to go and simply no sign of their opponents. No contact from them prior to Wednesday and no contact from them on the night - indeed no contact from them since!! Whilst we have made our position clear in the past that a point deduction can be a double punishment to a Club, this is the type of scenario when a point deduction or some other form of punishment / fine is entirely appropriate. Putting aside the fact that our venue was booked for other matches and there was no financial loss to the Club as a result, the wasted time for the players involved leaves a bitter taste in the mouth. An apology/explanation from Edinburgh Uni would help...