The following night Team 2 travelled to face Murrayfield 6 in Division 1. Gary McDougal, Abby Wighton & Krzysztof Lazkiewicz were buoyed by their victory the previous week and at 2-1 up they were hoping to pick up more points v Murrayfield opposition. Losses for Abby and Gary in matches 4 and 5 however gave the initiative back to the Murrayfield side. Krys levelled things again with a good win against his opposing team captain and the doubles was then to prove crucial. After a great win for Abby and Krys the previous week surely they would play again – eh maybe not!! Krys and Gary took to the table looking for only their third win as a doubles pairing this season and when they took a 2-1 lead, Captain Krys’s decision looked a good one – an 11-8 fourth end loss was unfortunately followed by an 11-4 loss in the decider. At 4-3 down there then followed two massively important five end marathons. First up was Gary v Artur Chodacki – a topsy turvy affair which went the distance, Gary agonisingly losing out 11-9 in the decider. Then Abby took on Lynn Somerville. After a first end loss Abby seemed to work out Lynn’s dodgy rubber winning ends two and three 11-4 and 11-5. And she had a chance to win it in the fourth but after two deuces lost out 13-11 and her confidence deserted her in the fifth. Despite Krys winning match 10 – another epic five ender, the visitors fell to a 6-4 defeat.
Team 1 are facing a hard slog to the end of the season with only two players – Colin Green and Greig McDonell faced West Lothian 1 at Ladywood on Thursday night. The reverse fixture in Bathgate produced a 5-5 draw for a three man side but a player short this was always going to be difficult. Only Colin got on the scoresheet with a win v ex Penicuik player and fellow veteran, David Simpson. Unless a miracle can happen to find a third player, the end of the season can’t come quick enough for Team 1.
On the same night at Ladywood, Team 3 were up against Corstorphine in Division 2. In the reverse fixture all three of the Penicuik team had defeated James Grant and all three had lost to Jonas Falter. It was therefore a huge bonus when James Wighton defeated Jonas in match 1 – that was followed by a win for Julian Taylor v Dave Hall. But Hannah then lost to James G, before Julian also reversed the result from his match v Jonas in the first half to restore a two game lead. That was reduced again however as the visitors won the battle of the James’s. 3-2 to the hosts and the next two matches were to prove pivotal. Hannah led Dave 2-0 and was coasting before she lost a tight third. The wheels seemed to the come off as she lost the fourth and before she knew it she was 7-1 down in the decider. Somehow, Hannah then relaxed and remarkably won 10 of the next 12 points for an 11-9 win. She then combined with Julian in the doubles – having won the first, the home duo then lost the second and third ends by 11-3 scorelines! End 4 then saw a complete reverse as Julian and Hannah secured an 11-4 win and remarkably that was repeated in the decider to give the hosts a 5-2 lead. Julian’s recent run of good form then continued as he won a mammoth encounter v James 12-10 in the fifth. The night ended brilliantly for the hosts as Hannah then defeated Jonas and James defeated Dave for an 8-2 win.
Team 5 were last in action as they travelled to the Gyle on Friday 10th Feb to face Corstorphine. Aidan Craig, Ian Millar and Roscoe Cairney made the trip and the night got off to a good start as Aidan won a tight five ender 11-6 in the decider. He also won match 4 in straight ends but there were also 4 defeats before the doubles which gave the hosts a 4-2 lead going into the doubles. A loss there and only a draw could be achieved for the visitors. Roscoe was very unlucky in match 8 as he lost out in five ends and the match was gone – Aidan won his final match of the night but Team 5 suffered a 7-3 defeat.
And so to our player of the week award for Week 18. Krys, Julian and Aidan were undefeated this week. Krys however made a bad captains choice in the doubles (according to Abby anyway) so he’s out. Aidan lost out in the doubles and his wins were in a losing performance so he misses out. That leaves Julian – but hang on – his third win of the night came when the pressure was completely off! This week’s winner follows in the footsteps of Julian’s player of the week award in Week 15 – wins that prove to be turning points and comebacks from apparently hopeless positions are real game changers – with the match poised at 3-2, Hannah showed real fighting spirit to turn around a 7-1 deficit to give her team some breathing space – and apparently she then went on and pulled Julian through for an important doubles win- well done to her.
And finally our controversy of the week. It’s not just in the ELTTL that dodgy serving is to the fore. In the least round of Scottish national league fixtures at Perth earlier this month one of the matches between two Edinburgh Premier League players was halted for what seemed like an eternity as a result of a row over illegal serving. The argument this time related to the “offending player” using his body to hide the ball during service – now that is a tricky one to call – by the very nature of where an umpire sits it can be difficult to see the service motion clearly – we assume that’s one reason why at higher levels there are two umpires – one of them will always have a better view of certain serves. The offending player here was not prepared to accept there was anything wrong with his serving and it resulted in the tournament referee coming across to officiate. He too called the server up on his serving technique – in fairness to the player he seemed to keep his composure and won the match in five ends. Of course we don’t have the benefit in the ELTTL of calling on a tournament referee and we think it would be a brave player to call a fault in those circumstances in the League. Whatever “training” we’ve had on the rules, this is still a really difficult one to call in our view.
On a more mundane matter James was irritated at Ladywood in his team’s match v Corstorphine when the opposing player wasn’t happy with the match ball. James went through his match ball box handing over one after another, all rejected apparently because the balls were missing some logo. Yikes – do the rules suggest we have to play with a certain logo certified ball? Maybe James needs to empty his bag to find some more up to date ones – those BARNA classic one stars are maybe a little outdated now James!