In the Premier Division Team 1 of Greig McDonell, Colin Green and Stuart Gow had recorded their 3rd consecutive win of 2017 in Week 17 and they were looking to maintain their excellent start to the New Year as they hosted Edinburgh International 1 at Ladywood. After 6 matches the scores were tied at 3-3 going into the crucial doubles fixture. Greig and Colin have an excellent record in doubles and although they dropped a set to their opponents they triumphed to give the side a 4-3 advantage. The scores were levelled again before Greig secured at least a point with victory in match 9. The match looked like it would end in a draw as Colin quickly found himself 2-0 down in Match 10 but some excellent play turned the game around as he won the last 3 ends of the night to give Team 1 their 4th win on the bounce. (Greig's struggling to remember the last time that happened!!) On the night, Greig won all 3 of his singles whilst Colin won 2 and the pair combined for the vital doubles win.
Team 3 of James Wighton, Gary Mcdougal and Abby Wighton went into their Week 18 match against Murrayfield 6 still undefeated for the season in Division 2. After James lost the first match of the night, the Penicuik trio never looked back as they won all of the remaining singles, their only other blip coming with a loss in the doubles match. Both Gary and Abby won 3 and James added 2 in a terrific 8-2 victory. Team 3 remain undefeated and continue to put pressure on Haddington at the top of the Division 2 table, level on points although the East Lothian side have a game in hand.
Despite an excellent start to their Division 2 campaign, Penicuik 4 have struggled to match Team 3’s success this season, primarily as a result of an inability to field a full side consistently. That inability came to the fore again in Week 18 as only one regular player, Krzysztof Laszkiewicz was available. Although Louis McLeod stepped in for the injured Tony Brentnall, Team Captain Krzysztof was left extremely dejected by the fact that only two players were in attnedance for their home fixture against West Lothian 5. The resultant 7-3 defeat was no surprise in the circumstances. Krzysztof won 2 singles and combined with Louis for a win in the doubles fixture. Team 4 now find themselves somewhat unbelievably dragged into a relegation battle, only a point above the bottom 3 places in the Division. After Tony Brentnall declared himself out for the rest of the season it appears that reinforcements are desperately needed.
Following their narrow 6-4 victory in Week 17, Team 6 were looking to build some momentum for their Division 4 title challenge as they faced two home matches in two days. First up for Sean Lennon, Craig Johnson and Millie Bennett was North Merchiston 6. As with Team 1’s victory, after 9 matches of the night the home side led 5-4 and a point was secure. It looked like that was all the Midlothian trio were going to get as Craig went 2-0 down in Match 10 of the night. In the next end, Craig saved 3 match points before going on to win the final two ends 11-8, 11-7 resulting in another excellent 6-4 win. Craig won 3, Sean 2 and Millie 1.
The next night, the same trio took on top of the table Edinburgh University. Although somewhat fortunate that their opponents were unable to field a full side, Sean, Craig and Millie took advantage as they recorded another narrow 6-4 victory, their third in their last three matches. Two wins in two days has put Team 6 firmly back in the promotion race as they have leapfrogged into second in the table, three points behind University who lead the way but more importantly 2 points clear of third placed West Lothian.
Finally in Week 18, Penicuik 7 travelled to take on Edinburgh International 5 in Division 4. Mark MacKay (Snr), George Wilson and Mark MacKay (Jnr) were playing for the first time together and after Mark (Snr) won the first match of the night a surprise win looked a possibility but only one further win in the next five matches saw them trail their Edinburgh opponents 4-2 as they played the important doubles fixture. A first outing for Mark and George and they were unlucky to lose in 4 tight ends. Whilst George added a win in the final match of the night the points had already been lost by then. George won 2 and Mark added 1 in the 7-3 loss.
And so to our player of the week award for Week 18. Three players were undefeated in singles play this week: Greig for Team 1 and Abby and Gary for Team 3. Greig however also contributed a doubles victory in their narrow 6-4 win. But to prove the impartiality of our voting panel, this week's award goes to none of the above! For winning 5 out of 6 singles and in particular for saving 3 match points and turning round the final match of the night to gain a vital two points for his team, this week's deserved winner is Craig - well done to him.
And finally our controversy of the week section. Good old playing conditions back under the limelight. Now we can't really have too much of a go at anyone here given some of the issues at Ladywood. Indeed this week against Edinburgh International it was commented upon again about the noise levels in the hall - just as match 2 got underway the very disobedient dogs from the dog obedience class joined in the fun. If we didn't know any better you could be easily fooled into thinking there was a criminal underground dog fighting event going on in the other half of the hall. Add to that the fact that the Centre manager seems to like keeping the lights turned down a bit to save on the leccy and we can't really describe our conditions as ideal. Our opponents, however, have temporarily been decanted in to what must be the smallest school canteen in Edinburgh. Surrounded by lovely full length glass windows in which you can see your reflection, especially when the motion sensor switches the lights off in one half of the canteen isn't the best - add to that that one of the tables looks like something that you might find covered in cobwebs having never seen the light of day for 30 years and you know you might be in for a long night. Our Team 7 played there this week and whilst admittedly even playing in an Olympic stadium wouldn't have changed the result, they did feel that the venue was not particularly conducive to playing good TT. As one of our players put it, at various points in the match, with space at a premium, his derrière was virtually in the spectators faces - now that's not a pretty image especially if you know who our player was!! Brings back memories of the good old days of playing in carpeted canteens and small cupboards - our Press Officer remembers with fondness turning up to play against the Pakistan Association to a venue which looked like someone's house - in fact it was - they played in the garage with a sofa at one side of the table and bikes parked at the other - ah those were the days............