Ladywood was busy on Thursday 2nd February with three teams in action. Gary McDougal, Abby Wighton & Krzysztof Lazkiewicz know that they’re in trouble in Division 1. It looks like a three way race to avoid relegation between Penicuik, North Merchiston and Murrayfield 7. Having lost to NM in Week 15 their match against Murrayfield was a must win. Abby started off against the awkward Graham Muir and his anti-spin rubber – Abby couldn’t quite work it out and Murrayfield got off to a great start. When Gary then lost to Mike Letchford, this looked like being another horror night for Team 2. In the first half of the season, Krys had lost to Anna Porsch in five ends and that was the match which cost the Penicuik side at least a draw – this match also went to five ends but on this occasion Krys came out on top with an 11-3 fifth end win. Gary then sprung the surprise of the night against Graham winning another five ender and when Abby then won in five ends against Anna, the home side had taken a 3-2 lead. Krys made it 4-2 with a win v Mike and a doubles victory meant at least a point was coming the way of the home side. That point was converted to 2 when Gary defeated Anna in match 8 – and a good job he did – Krys fell in match 9 to Graham whilst Abby was unlucky losing out 12-10 in the fifth to Mike. A 6-4 victory for the hosts who jump off the bottom of the table – maybe our negative comments about their chances of survival in recent weeks have been premature….
Also in action was Team 4 as they faced ESC in Division 3. With Rachel unavailable, Roscoe Cairney stepped up from Division 4 to join Bob Porteous and Jim Jack. The reverse fixture was a 9-1 victory for ESC and that was without their best player, former Premier League player Keith Walker – Keith played this fixture and ESC were never really troubled. Jim and Bob were unlucky in the doubles, losing out 11-8 in the fifth and the last match of the night saw Bob win 11-9 in the fifth v Euan Rae – another 9-1 defeat for Team 4 – this was always a match of little significance for Team 4 though – matches against the teams around them in the Division are still to come.
The final match on Thursday saw Team 5 take on Murrayfield 12. Patrick Shanks, Sian McDonald and Chamika Diyunugalge were looking to match the reverse fixture which had seen a 7-3 win for the Midlothian side – on this occasion though the Murrayfield side rotated their team and two new players took to the table. Sian was very unlucky as she lost the first match in 5 tight ends, 11-13 in the fifth and when that was followed by a fifth end loss for Patrick in match 2, the home side were in trouble. It got worse as Chamika lost match 3 before Patrick got the team on the board with a win in match 4. Unfortunately for Team 5, matches 5, 6 and 7 also went the way of the visitors and the match was beyond them – Sian did well to win the final match of the night in five ends but it was an 8-2 defeat for the home side.
And so to our player of the week award for Week 17. James and Julian were undefeated this week and James had two game changing wins in five ends – but the team ran away with the match in the end. The other winning team this week was Team 2 – their 6-4 victory brought them off the bottom of the division 2 table. Krys won 2, Gary won 2 and Abby won 1. The match which probably secured the win and keeps the Team in with a chance of avoiding relegation was a terrific doubles encounter – and there was one player who was on fire in that game, hitting winner after winner after winner – her partner said she was unplayable at points – this week’s deserved winner is Abby – well done to her.
And finally our controversy of the week. In Team 5’s match Sian was involved in a tight five end marathon – in game 4 she led 10-9 and hit a winner to win the game – or so she thought – the Murrayfield player claimed that the shot had missed the table – Sian was adamant and so looked to the umpire to make the call on her way to change ends. The umpire (a Murrayfield player), was apparently not sure whether the ball had hit the table or not. Sian looked in disbelief as an exchange took place between her and her opponent, both putting their points across – unfortunately Ladywood isn’t fitted with VAR and in the end with the umpire unable to decide either way it was decided to replay the point – Sian would have been raging had that point and the game not gone her way – as it was she won the replayed point and won the fifth end as well. Sian, however, was absolutely adamant that there should never have been any issue – it was clear that the ball hit the table – it wasn’t even an edge, it hit the table top! One of the downsides of playing on two tables of course is that all 6 players are engaged at the same time and so no other view of the incident was available! Although in fairness there’s nothing worse than spectators trying to umpire! That’s a whole different controversy!