In Division 1, Team 2 faced a home match against Corstorphine 2 who sat two points above them in the struggle towards the foot of the Division 1 table. James Wighton, Gary Mcdougal and Abby Wighton had lost out 6-4 in the reverse fixture in October against the same trio of Jeff Clark, Tom Wallace and Tommy Sutherland. The home side got off to a good start with a win for James in the opening match but before they knew it the next four matches all went the way of the visitors. Gary kept the game alive with a win in match 6 to reduce the deficit to 4-2 going into the vital doubles fixture. When James and Gary lost that match, the writing was on the wall for the home trio and only Gary managed to pick up a win in the final 3 singles leading to a very disappointing 7-3 defeat for Team 2. Gary won 2 whilst James won 1 as Team 2 now trail their opponents by four points and more worryingly are only a point above the relegation zone in the Division.
Team 3 of Clive Liddiard, Iain Johnstone and Brian Bailey were also in action in Division 1 as they travelled to face one of the contenders for the title, Edinburgh Sports Club 2. Iain has been in excellent form so far this season with 30 wins out of 36 matches going into the fixture. The crucial match of the night was Iain's game against young Faye Leggett, surely one to watch for the future. With the visitors 2-1 down going into Match 4 Iain knew that a win would keep the tie in the balance but from 2 ends to 1 down, young Faye (is she really only 12!!) showed her determination and poise as she won the last two ends 1-9, 11-9. A 3-1 lead soon became 5-1 as Brian and Clive lost their second matches of the night and with it went any real chances of a point - The score was made to look respectable as first Clive and Iain won the doubles and then Iain and Clive both won their final matches in the resultant 6-4 defeat. There was no doubt that the star of the night was young Faye with her 3 wins.
Team 4’s form has surprised many and they went into Week 17 undefeated throughout the season, although only a point ahead of their opponents Murrayfield 5 as a result of 3 draws in the first half of the season. Chris Markey, arguably the Team’s best player this season (83%) was unfortunately unavailable for the top of the table clash. Tony Brentnall, Krzysztof Laszkiewicz and Gavin Hunter were still in the match going into the doubles fixture at 4-2 down and when Tony and Krzysztof upset the form book by defeating Rowan Campbell and Jake Somerville (both sitting around the 90% mark in the Division) in five ends there was renewed hope for the visitors that they could maintain their lead in the Division. The final three singles matches saw Rowan (who was seemingly playing an absolute blinder) dispatch Krys in extra quick style before Tony took on Jake knowing that a win was essential to keep the match alive. Tony reports that he felt he couldn't have done much more - he gave Jake a fright by winning the first end 11-6 but the match was ended as young Jake won the next 3 ends in style. Tony and Krys both won 1 and combined for the win in the doubles in the resultant 7-3 defeat. Team 4 may come to rue those draws from 2015 as they fall behind their opponents for the first time.
The only bright points of an otherwise poor week for the Club came in Division 4. Team 7 of Stuart Bennett, Craig Johnson and Millie Bennett recorded their third win of the season as they defeated Haddington 2 by a 7-3 scoreline. All three players won 2 singles whilst Stuart and Millie combined for a win in the doubles, a result which sees the Team jump 3 places in the Division 4 table.
Team 8 were in action at Ladywood as Sean Lennon, Martyn Levy and Lewis Baldock took on Murrayfield 8. In a topsy turvy match, the Penicuik trio were never behind their opponents but couldn’t quite get away from them. Going into the doubles fixture the match was evenly poised at 3-3. Sean and Lewis came back from the loss of the first end to win that important match but back came Murrayfield to level the scores at 4-4 before Lewis restored the advantage with a win in Match 9. Sean then played the deciding match but couldn’t quite get the Team over the line as Murrayfield stole a 5-5 draw. Sean won 2 on the night whilst Martyn and Lewis each won 1.
And so to player of the Week - A difficult one this week - Had Sean won that final match he would have been a cert for the award - Sorry Sean!! Also with two wins and a doubles win this week is Iain but he lost to a 12 year old girl so I can't bring myself to give him the award. So this week's award goes to Stuart Bennett - 2 wins and a doubles victory and he won an end in the one match he lost - Well done Stuart.
Finally to our Controversy of the Week. Those thorny subjects of postponements and Umpiring rear their ugly heads again. Firstly, we have made our view clear that to avoid bad feeling between teams perhaps postponements should just be done away with (other than in exceptional circumstances). This week what may effectively have been the Division 2 decider took place between our Team 4 and Murrayfield - surely Murrayfield don't feature in yet another controversy!! Team Captain Gavin sought a postponement on the basis that our Number 1 player, Chris, was unavailable and Gavin himself was struggling to arrange family commitments to make the match. Postponement refused. And whilst there is nothing wrong with that (we would probably have done the same thing - unless it was Brian "Mr Nice" Bailey who was asked), it does nothing to generate feelings of goodwill and sportsmanship between Clubs - in fairness to Murrayfield they too were weakened by the absence of 85% player Lynn replaced by 66% Roger - but for a match of such importance wouldn't it have been nice for both teams to have been at full strength.
Whilst in any sport mistakes will always be made by referees, there's nothing like a dodgy umpiring decision to get the blood boiling! In Team 2's match against Corstorphine there was some ill feeling in one of Abby's match when everyone in the hall saw a double bounce on the opponents side of the table other than the Umpiring Corstorphine member and the opponent himself! Would it have made any difference to the eventual outcome? Probably not. What can be done about it? Not a lot! A controversial proposal - maybe each Team should have to have one of their member go through an umpiring qualification? We have already touched this season on how many of us actually have such qualifications - we would be surprised if the percentage was in double figures!
Bring on Week 18!!