In the Premier division Colin Green, David Melrose and David Simpson travelled to take on Murrayfield 3 who fielded the very strong international trio of Zihao Li, Yubo Zhou Rasmussen and Meijun Qu. The Edinburgh side probably fancy their chances of a top 3 (if not 2) finish. After Colin lost Match 1 in straight sets, David S tried valiantly to get the first win on the board as he faced Yubo – a tight match all the way and it went the distance, David just missing out 12-10 in the fifth. David M then lost his first of the night in 4 ends and the visitors were 3-0 down and in trouble. Things didn’t get much better in the second round of singles – Yubo again went the distance, this time against Colin winning 11-7 in the fifth, whilst David S lost in 4 and David M in 3. Match over and only pride left to play for. The doubles provided a bit of relief for the visitors as David S and Colin won in 4 ends, but a 3-0 loss for David M followed before the second win of the night came courtesy of a good win for Colin against Meijun Qu. The last match of the night went the way of the hosts as they secured an 8-2 victory. It doesn’t get any easier for Team 1 – they face the undefeated League Leaders Murrayfield 1 in Week 16 – good luck with that!
Meanwhile Team 4 hosted Haddington 4 in Division 3. Team 4 have struggled throughout the season, having stepped up from Division 4 last year – in the first half of the season the Haddington trio had won 9-1 – could the hosts improve on that scoreline? That 1 victory in the first half had been provided by Jay Tracey – he wasn’t in the team for the reverse fixture! Craig Linton, Rachel Petrie and Jim Jack had home advantage on their side this time…. Bizarrely, if we take out Jay’s results from the first half of the season the Penicuik side had won 4 ends in the first match – this time round they also won 4 ends – Rachel in the first match got closest to a win with an 11-8 in the fifth loss to Jie Yu – remarkably in this fixture she got closest again as she fell 11-8 in the fifth to Jie Yu. Déjà vu! It was a poor night for the home trio but in most of the ten matches they proved that they could compete, 11 ends were lost 11-8 or better – that’s something to work on – and after Team 4 get their “serving workshop” with Greig this coming Saturday we’ll see huge improvement next week!
With only two matches played, let’s take a look at the Edinburgh Championships which took place on Sunday 23rd January. The Club had a decent turnout. David S, Colin, David M, Greig, Hannah, Aidan and Michael all took part. The McDonell family had a day to forget – let’s move on! Well done to Aidan and Michael who took part in junior events in the morning and banded events in the afternoon – Aidan did well to win his group in the banded event but lost out in the semi-final – only his 2nd tournament and good experience for the future. Michael had some good games, particularly in the afternoon. Colin and David S had good days – Colin has a brilliant knack of coming back from the dead – in the Vets Event he was 2-1 down and match point down in one of his group matches but came back to win in 5. In the group decider he lost the first end 11-3 and was 8-2 down in the second – Greig turned away to go and watch Hannah playing telling himself that the match was over – Colin was being outplayed in every department – the next time he turned round it was 2-2 – how did that happen – a brilliant comeback win in five won him the group. In the semi-final he met David S who had comfortably won his group. David had had to wait for an age after his group for Colin’s to finish and he was really cold and unprepared (according to the interview afterwards)! Colin was never in trouble as he won in 3 straight to set up a final against Pete Lugton. Another tough match and it was no surprise to see Colin pull through to take the title – well done to him.
In the banded events in the afternoon, David S met Colin in the group stages – by that point Colin had done all his hard work (apparently he only came to win the Vets title and didn’t care about the banded – that’s what he said anyway)! David got his revenge and progressed from the group and all the way to the final where he met Christopher Wong – now Murrayfield have had some pretty amazing players over the years but having watched some of Mr Wong’s match against Pete Lugton, we don’t think they’ve had any better than this player – some of the forehand winners he hit were out of this world. Pete commented afterwards that balls were past him before he even knew they’d been hit! David was always going to be up against it and so it proved – but a great achievement to reach the final of the Band 1 singles – well done to him.
And so, to our player of the week award. Nothing to write home about in the league so let’s look at the Edinburgh Championships. A Vets win for Colin and a runners-up position for David – they both beat each other during the day in different events – honours equal really, so this week the award is shared – hang on not between that pair – between Aidan and Michael – well done to both of them in having the desire and courage to play in the Edinburgh Championships and to take on players who are far further along their TT journey than they are – great experience and both boys were a credit to the Club.
And finally, our controversy of the week section. After the League eventually dealt with the Team 1 v Edinburgh Uni 1 debacle of playing an ineligible player, Team 3 faced Uni 3 in Week 14. Nothing controversial in an excellent 9-1 win for Penicuik, until James tried to input the scores – ignoring the shocking writing on the scorecard which meant the info had to be provided by email - it turned out that one of the Uni players had a big star beside his name on the ELTTL Scoring site indicating that he was registered for Team 4 and prohibited from playing up for Team 3. Oh dear! This was made even more farcical because James at the beginning of the night had commented to the Edinburgh Uni captain that the team looked completely different from the one he had played in the first half – oh yeah we have about 8 players registered for the team – wow 8 players registered, and they still play an ineligible one! Maybe they just didn’t notice the prohibition on the scoring site. Even if they hadn’t, the Match Secretary had sent out to all Clubs before the 2nd half of the season started his “CAN’T PLAY UP DOCUMENT” and indeed the player was mentioned in that document. Never mind though – no harm done - he lost his three in any event – and he’s now subsequently been re-registered for Team 3.
At the Edinburgh Championships on Sunday controversial umpiring (completely unintentional) reared its head once more. The League are again running an Umpiring course this season so that all clubs can hopefully filter down to their players good practice. In one of Hannah’s matches, a West Lothian Club player was umpiring and at 9-9 Hannah’s opponent was serving – the serve was delivered from well over the table on the forehand side cross court short into Hannah’s forehand and she wasn’t able to reach it. Not expecting the umpire to pick up the illegal serve that would be 10-9 no doubt - oh hang on a minute – the umpire hasn’t awarded the point – he’s speaking to the server – oh he’s out of the umpire’s chair at the table beside the server explaining in detail why the serve was illegal – excellent umpiring by the looks of it – after the explanation was given the umpire returns to his chair and turns the scoreboard to 10-9, still in favour of the server – eh hold on a minute - What?!! Next point lost as well and in the blink of an eye the match was over! A certain family member of Hannah’s (we can’t say who) had to go and point out the error after the match ended (purely for educational purposes obviously) – the Umpire’s position was that he knew the serve was illegal but he was just warning the player – he didn’t realise that he shouldn’t have given the point to the server and on reflection he thought he should have replayed the point – of course as our Umpiring Guru Roger Thomas will tell all who attend the next umpiring course, that’s not right either – if the serve is illegal it’s a fault – there is no such thing as a warning unless there is uncertainty as to whether the serve is illegal or not. As we’ve discussed in previous weeks though, not many of us would award the point to the opponent in circumstances such as that. We probably would all say replay the point. This was just a genuine mistake by the umpire, but the point, of course, is that the error is because not enough of us actually know the rules or in some cases not enough of us apply them properly! Hannah’s reaction – “I played rubbish anyway – I didn’t deserve to win” – jeez she’s too honest!!