After a disappointing draw in their last match, Team 2 faced an away match against bottom of the table West Lothian 4 in Division 1. Iain Johnstone, Clive Liddiard and Brian Bailey knew that a win would go a long way to securing their Division 1 presence for next season as they started the match five points clear of the relegation zone. In a fairly one sided contest, 8 of the 10 matches on the night were won by a 3-0 scoreline as the visitors recorded a convincing 8-2 win. Clive and Iain were both undefeated in singles play and combined for a win in the doubles whilst Brian added one singles win.
In Division 4, Team 6 also faced a trip to Bathgate as they took on West Lothian 7 in a crucial clash in Division 4. The Bathgate side started the night 4 points behind the Penicuik trio of Millie Bennett, Craig Johnson and Sean Lennon but crucially had a game in hand over the visitors and a superior game difference. With Team 6 sitting in the second promotion place in the Division they knew that a win or draw would keep them in with a very strong chance of promotion. A win for Sean in Match 1 got the visitors off to the perfect start but the scores were then tied as Craig lost out to West Lothian's player of the match, Graham Honeyman. Match 3 was to prove crucial on the night - young Millie took on the vastly experienced Ralph Taylor and looked to be in control after an 11-3 victory in end 3 gave her a 2-1 advantage. Ralph's experience showed, however, as he came back to win the final two ends. With the next two matches also going against the visitors they found themselves in deep trouble at 4-1 down. A win for Craig cut the deficit prior to the important doubles fixture. Sean and Craig unfortunately were no match for their West Lothian opponents losing in straight sets meaning the they needed to win all 3 of the remaining singles for a point. Sean and Craig won their matches but Millie was always up against it in her match against the undefeated Graham and although she was the only player on the night to take an end from him, he provided the crucial win as West Lothian ran out 6-4 winners. Sean and Craig both won 2 singles on the night - the defeat means that the promotion race is likely to go down to the wire with three teams still in contention for second place in the division.
Finally in Week 19, Team 7 hosted Haddington 4 at Ladywood. Rachel Petrie, Lewis Baldock and George Wilson were hopeful that they could close the gap on their opponents who started the night six points clear of them in the Division 4 table. The first match of the night was a tight affair as Lewis unluckily lost out in 5 tight ends. After 5 matches Rachel had been the only winner for the home side. Match six saw George come back from 2 sets down to take the game into a deciding fifth end but he too could not take advantage of the momentum gained as he lost out 11-7 in the fifth. When the doubles was lost, the home side knew that the match was gone. Against Haddington's number 1 Rachel had "an epic" second end just losing out 17-15. The only other win on the night for the home side came as George managed to win match 9 in the resultant 8-2 defeat.
And so to our player of the week award for Week 21. In a quiet week only Iain and Clive were undefeated but this week we recognise someone who has battled on throughout the season with little reward. With confidence taking a battering match after match he is due credit for sticking at it (and putting up with some good hearted banter form his team mates and others). After numerous unsuccessful attempts to win a match (we're ignoring his two victories over Mr Walkover) our esteemed Club secretary, Mr Brian Bailey, picked up his first win of the season for Team 2 against West Lothian! We all knew it would happen at some point - well apart from Iain who lost a tenner on it!! On a serious note we all know what it's like to have a bad run and how it effects your play and confidence and Brian has continued to work hard in training and continued to show determination to contribute to the team - well done to him - a worthy winner of this week's reward.
And finally our controversy of the week section. Quite a bit of controversy on the national and international front this week. We are told that yesterday in the top of the table British League match there was some controversy over umpiring when one of the Drum players, according to his opponent, was sprawled all over the table as he hit a winning shot - he seemed fairly convinced it should have been his point. Separately, go to the ITTF Facebook page to see a video of a match winning edge - or was it a side?? Strong umpiring needed - a good link to a plug for the Umpiring course being coordinated at West Lothian. Then there is of course the withdrawal of funding for Table tennis and other sports who haven't achieved or bizarrely been able to show enough promise in terms of Olympic chances. On that basis we'd be dropping a few of our own teams from the league for next season!!
But on a more mundane level let's have a go at one of our own failings - our premises! Everyone knows about the dogs at Ladywood - OK they're noisy but really everyone should be able to block that out (unless you're losing!) Last season we had Zumba - definitely more difficult to block out - indeed virtually impossible even to hear yourself think let alone speak! But good news - they're gone this year - replaced by boxing. Jeez who would have thought a bunch of big, aggressive, rather intimidating folk could make so much noise whilst training!! We've suggested Brian should go and have a word with them to try and quieten it down a bit but so far he's refused to do so! But at least they're only there for part of the night. Badminton - surely they can't cause too much trouble - try convincing yourself of that when on a Wednesday night they seem to have a court booked in our half of the hall when we're trying to get set up and get a match started - how dare you encroach anywhere near them with barriers - God help you if the ball goes in to their court. We may just be sitting at the sidelines chatting at 6.58pm but we've got this court booked until 7 so NO we're not finished yet!! The joys of sharing premises with others who clearly don't realise how important WE ARE!!
Craig seems to have gone very quiet on that life changing massive investment from his Japanese employers - or was that just a dream I had!!!