Team 1 started the week on Monday at Edinburgh Sports Club without David Melrose (Happy 65th Birthday to him!!) – Colin Green and David Simpson called in Greig McDonell to make up the visiting trio. David got the Penicuik side off to the best possible star with a controlled 3-0 win v Scott McKenzie. Greig then took on young Faye Leggatt and after 5 winners in the first six points, Greig looked in inspired form – oh if only it could have continued – he fell to an 11-7, 11-9, 13-11 defeat. Colin then looked in complete control against former teammate, Martin McKay after an 11-3 first end win. He was also coasting in the second but suddenly hit a bad patch and Martin recovered for an 11-9 victory. When he followed that up with an 11-4 third end win it looked serious. 8-2 down in the fourth Colin did what Colin does – an amazing fight back to deuce – but on this occasion he couldn’t finish off the comeback falling 16-14. When that was followed by a straightforward 3-0 win for Faye v David, the visitors were in big trouble at 3-1 down. Colin steadied himself to win against Scott before Greig took on Martin. When Greig lost the first two ends 11-9 from winning positions the writing looked on the wall for him, but he battled back to take the next two 11-6, 11-7. At 9-7 up in the fifth a great turnaround was on the cards – oops – four points in the row lost as he fell 11-9 in the decider. 4-2 to ESC with the important doubles to come. David played some terrific stuff as he and Colin claimed a 4 set win to keep the visitors in with a chance of winning the match. Colin then faced Faye in an effort to level the match at 4-4 – At 2-1 up he looked to have the better of Faye – but Faye has some great battling qualities and forced a decider with an 11-8 fourth end win. Colin again looked in control in the 5th – he led 5-2 at the change of ends but back came Faye again winning 9 of the next 13 points for an 11-9 deciding end victory. 5-3 for ESC and a point secured. 2 points for the home side would have gone some way to relieving the pressure on them near the foot of the Premier Division, whilst at the same time keeping Penicuik in the “relegation mire”. David comfortably won match 9 on the night against Martin which left Greig to try and secure the draw in the last match against Scott – it was never in doubt according to Greig!! A four end win and a 5-5 draw resulted – a fair result in the end and a good point for both.
The next night saw Team 4 in action at Corstorphine 2 in Division 3. This would have been a daunting task with three players but due to player unavailability only Craig Linton and Rachel Petrie were able to make the trip to Napier University. Corstorphine are the League Leaders and at the beginning of the night sat 21 points ahead of bottom placed Penicuik. You could have got fantastic odds on a Penicuik win but anyone with sensible money would have run a mile from that bet! There were a few close ends and Rachel won the player of the night award courtesy of winning an end against Tommy Sutherland – but ultimately that was as good as it got for the visiting duo in a 10-0 defeat. It’s been a tough season for Team 4 in a strong Division 3. Mathematically they’re still in with a chance of surviving – 4 matches left and 6 points behind 2nd bottom – and Craig has got himself some new awkward rubbers!! Never give up….
Thursday night at Ladywood was due to see Team 1 in action again against Fife whilst Team 3 were lined up to play Edinburgh University. Ladywood, taking heed of the severe weather warning, took the decision to close for the day! Last minute postponements had to be sought – thanks to our opponents for their understanding – mind you Fife were over the moon not having to travel to Penicuik in the snow with only two players, one of whom was going to be playing up from a lower division! There’s a chance of a nailed on 2 points gone for Team 1! In the end, the snow wasn’t as bad as forecast, but we suppose safety first…..
The week ended with Team 2’s trip to Edinburgh University – Team 2 have had a really tricky season – Gary has continually remained positive in the face of various losses telling us that they’re too good to be relegated and there’s worse teams than them in Division 1. Edinburgh Uni are definitely not one of those teams and they took control early against Charlie Brindley, Gary McDougal and Sonny Taylor winning the first three matches of the night by 3-0 scorelines. Gary showed some glimmers of his potential with an 11-1 victory in end 3 of match 4 but he lost the other 3, 11-7. The excellent Ji Haonan was never troubled throughout the night, and his 3-0 win against Charlie gave the hosts a 5-0 lead. Sonny got the visitors on the scoreboard with a five end victory in match 6 but when the doubles was lost, so was the match – 6-1 down going into the last round of singles – Charlie was the only winner for the Midlothian side in those last three matches as the students secured an 8-2 win. The Division 1 table doesn’t make for good reading for Team 2 – after they defeated Murrayfield 6 on the 20th of January they looked as if they had enough to pull away from the relegation dogfight and sat third from bottom. Fast forward a month and the two teams who had been below them, Corstorphine and Murrayfield, have both had some excellent results – 5 points out of the last 6 for Murrayfield and 4 points out of 6 for Corstorphine has resulted in Team 2 falling to the foot of the table. Both Murrayfield and Corstorphine have acquired new players who have significantly boosted their team's fortunes. The only good news for Team 2 is that they have games in hand over the teams above them and with 5 games left only 4 points separate 6th from 10th in the division.
And so, to our player of the week award. It’s been a poor week for the Club with no one being undefeated but in Team 1’s 5-5 draw there was a good performance from Greig holding his nerve to secure a point - that point was only possible as a result of David’s comfortable two wins and excellent play in the doubles in which he pulled Colin through to victory – for his 2 ½ points out of 5, David wins this week’s award – well done to him.
And finally, our controversy of the week section. The Handicap Cup no show by Murrayfield rumbles on. The Handicap Cup Secretary effectively put the ball into our court by indicating to Murrayfield that given our email setting up the fixture went to five quite senior people within Murrayfield, he was at a loss to understand why they did not turn up for their quarter-final at Ladywood. He did hold out an olive branch of sorts by indicating that if agreement on a date to play the match could be reached by 9pm this evening (28th Feb), then that would be fine. If he had stopped there we probably wouldn’t have had much to write about in this section. However, he went on to say that Penicuik had the prerogative to decline any rescheduling and if a date was not agreed, then the match would be awarded to Penicuik! Oh dear! How do other Club’s reach decisions like this? Does the Committee take control and make the decision? We decided to leave it up to the three players who have played the previous rounds and who were all put out by being stood up on a dreary night at Ladywood earlier in the month. A flurry of WhatsApp Messages back and forth – well actually it wasn’t that much of a flurry – a bit like the snow in Penicuik last week – a lot may have been anticipated but in the end very little need for protracted discussion – we’re a really friendly and easy going club who hates conflict – oh hang on the decision was what?? Unanimous as well. Ah well most of us at PTTC are helpful, amiable and accommodating – just not this trio who’s names remain anonymous in case of reprisal!! We’re sure we’ve not heard the end of this……
On we go to the last month of the season.