Following a victory against Murrayfield 3 in Week 18 the 1st Team of Greig McDonell, Colin Green and Stuart Gow were hoping to repeat their performance against Murrayfield 2 at Ladywood. With Greig in jeans and not going to play through injury (all Colin's fault) it looked like being a quick night but after the first two matches were shared (Colin defeating Keith Dingwall and Grant Williams beating Stuart), Greig decided to give it a go and played well to defeat young James Forrest. By the time of the last match of the night the home team led 5-4 (two wins each for Greig and Colin who had also combined for a win in the doubles). Greig v Keith - the joke between the two is they should just play a deciding 5th end and preserve energy - lo and behold a five end marathon ensued (although we'll gloss over the fact that at 2-0 up Greig had a match point). Keith ground out the win including a 77 stroke backhand to backhand pushing rally, fitting of the old Division 10, as the points were shared in the resultant 5-5 draw! At the beginning of the night Team 1 would probably have taken a draw but no doubt who the happier team would have been on the journey home.
In Division 1, Team 2 have continued to struggle to come to terms with the standard of play following their promotion from Division 2 last season. What they needed was a bit of luck and a win to boost their confidence. The luck came as Edinburgh International turned up with only two players. When Abby Wighton defeated Jim Graeme in the second match of the night the home side were effectively 4-1 up. Unfortunately they managed only one further win in the final five matches of the night (Gary defeating Jim) and were ultimately bitterly disappointed with their 5-5 draw.
Team 2 looked to their Club-mates to do them a favour as Team 3 visited bottom of the table Edinburgh University 2. Iain Johnstone maintained his excellent form by winning all 3 of his singles and combining with Clive Liddiard to win the doubles but he had no support on the night in singles play from Clive or Ian Woodyer (making his debut appearance in place of the absent Brian Bailey) as the University side ran out 6-4 winners. Not only a shocking result for Team 3 but one which probably does more harm to Team 2's prospects of avoiding relegation as they now sit just a point ahead of the University side who have a game in hand - two huge matches for Team 2 in the next few weeks when they meet University and the team just ahead of them, Edinburgh Int.
In Division 2 Team 4 maintained their excellent form as they comfortably ran out 8-2 winners away to West Lothian 7. The team were boosted by the return to action of Chris Markey. Both he and Krzysztof Lazkiewicz were undefeated in singles play on the night whilst Tony Brentnall won two of his three matches. The challenge for Team 4 will be to stave off any challenge from Fife 2 who are 3 points behind but with a game in hand and the two have still to meet in what could turn out to be the decider for second place in the division (assuming no slip ups from a formidable looking Murrayfield 5 side).
In Division 3, Team 5 hosted Edinburgh University 3 without regular Gregory Leplatre to whom the Club's congratulations go on the birth of Etienne - surely a new baby in the house isn't going to keep him out too long!! Louis Myatt stepped up from Division 4 as his replacement and did well to win the only singles match of the night for the home side. John Bald and Phil Daly were winless in singles but combined to win the doubles fixture in what was an extremely disappointing 8-2 defeat.
Finally, Team 6 also faced University opposition at Ladywood in Division 4 but with much more success. With Louis McLeod out for the rest of the season with his broken ankle there was pressure on Louis Myatt and Luke Hennessey to perform well and both played brilliantly as they were undefeated in wining their 3 singles matches and combining for a win in the doubles fixture as the home side recorded an excellent 7-3 victory.
And so to this week's player of the Week. A really difficult one this week - Iain Johnstone in the running but he can't win again and he was in a losing team! Chris and Krys both undefeated in singles play but no improvement from the first half as they won the reverse fixture 9-1! Louis and Luke both undefeated in winning all 7 matches in their 7-3 win - but how could we split them without one of them being irritated by the choice. That leaves Colin and Greig - both with 2 wins and combining for a victory in the doubles to secure a point against a Team who defeated them in the first half 8-2 - Oh wait a minute that was when big bad Keith Dingwall refused a postponement and Greig wasn't able to play - Ok even though he blew a match point the award this week has to go to an injury inflicted Greig who once again showed why he's the doubles maestro by guiding Colin through to that important win!!
Controversy of the Week - Playing Conditions!! In fairness there used to be some really dodgy venues which were generally of an extremely poor standard whereas nowadays virtually all Clubs have decent playing conditions. But this week Penicuik's Dog Obedience Class came in for a huge amount of criticism from the visiting University side - they almost refused to continue playing as not very obedient dogs (let's face it that's why they're going to classes) barked and yelped their way through their matches. In all honesty, the dogs probably seem louder when you're losing as does chit chat from the sidelines and a myriad of other disturbances when you're struggling to perform to your best. Funnily enough the winning duo of Luke and Louis couldn't even hear the dogs!! Wouldn't it be great if we could all have our own venues which were for TT and nothing else - oh well we can but dream. On a positive note, the dogs are nothing compared to what we used to have to put up with on a Thursday night - Zumba music played at 100 decibels - now that really did take amazing concentration skills whether you were winning or losing!!