After having to postpone their match against Fife due to Ladywood’s “snow closure” last month, Team 1 faced a Fife side who, had the match been played on 24th February, would have only been able to field two players, one of whom would have been playing up! By the time of this rearranged match, Team 1 was without David Simpson but fortunately after Team 2’s game last week was postponed, they were able to call up Charlie Brindley to join Colin Green and David Melrose. When Charlie won the opening end of Match 1 against Peter Aird a huge surprise looked on the cards. But Peter must have been caught cold as the next three ends were won convincingly 11-2, 11-4, 11-5. David then faced Tales Yamamoto and whereas in the first half David had pushed Tales to five ends, this time round it was plain sailing as the Fife player won in straight sets. Colin started his evening against Peter Fabian who was playing up for Fife’s top team. He was no match for Colin losing in a very consistent manner 11-5, 11-5, 11-5. David lost to Peter Aird before Charlie defeated Peter Fabian and Colin played well to beat Tales in 4 ends making it 3-3 going into the doubles. When David and Colin lost that match they were in trouble. David won his last match of the night but Charlie, as expected, couldn’t match Tales. The match hinged on Colin v Peter Aird – Peter had been victorious in the reverse fixture but when he went 2-0 down it looked as if Colin had the upper hand. Peter fought back and won the next two ends 12-10, 12-10 and so it came down to the final end of the night – Colin was probably overdue a good performance after a few indifferent weeks, and he produced the goods when it mattered to secure a 5-5 draw for Team 1.
After Team 3’s previous match had seen them secure a point against Division 2 Leaders, West Lothian they were looking to repeat the feat against second placed Edinburgh International. Abby had work commitments and was again replaced by Greig McDonell who joined daughter Hannah and Team Captain James Wighton. They faced the very international sounding Christophe Bauer, Artur Labecki and Alastairio Hillio – well two out of the three live up to the Club name. When James and Hannah lost their opening matches to Artur (0-3) and Christophe (1-3) respectively, the home side knew they were in trouble. Greig got the team on the board against Alastair, but the next round of matches was no better for the Midlothian outfit, Greig again the only one to record a win. 4-2 down going into the doubles and it was a bit of Deja-vu for Hannah and James who played some excellent stuff (as they had done in their two previous outings) – a win in the first end, however, couldn’t be followed up and that loss secured at least a point for the visitors. Greig kept the home side in the match but Hannah and James both needed wins in their last matches. Hannah’s match against Alastair saw the youngster play some super stuff in the first end to win it 11-6 but in ends 2 and 3 she fell to defeats – a reset before end 4 saw her find the right balance between her attacks and defence and she secured a 15-13 win to take the match to a decider. Meanwhile, James had taken a 2-0 lead against Christophe 11-9, 11-9. This pair have played twice already this season and both previous matches saw Christophe come out on top, the last following a recovery from 2-0 down. 9-11, 9-11 in ends three and four gave the score a very symmetrical look but the momentum was all with the visitor, and he pulled away for an 11-6 fifth end win. Hannah also got off to a shocker in her deciding end and could not recover – in the end a comfortable 7-3 on paper scoreline, however, Edinburgh International knew they had been in a tight match. Congratulations to them, as a result of their win, they have secured at least a 2nd place finish in the Division.
Team 4 were bolstered again by the inclusion of Ian Hislop. He joined Rachel Petrie and Craig Linton as they hosted West Lothian in Division 3. Rachel got the home side off to a great start with an excellent 3-0 win v Martin Rumsey and that was followed by a rather nervy 5 end win for Ian v Bob Lander. Craig rounded off the first three singles with a win v Aditya Zaveri and for the first time this season Team 4 had taken a 3-0 lead. Ian and Rachel then made it 5-0 before Craig went the distance v Bob, narrowly losing out in five ends. The doubles produced another win for the hosts courtesy of Rachel and Craig. Further wins followed for Ian and Craig before Rachel ended the night with her match v Bob – she played well but fell in four ends – an 8-2 win for Penicuik, their best result of the season by far – if only we had a few more weeks left maybe Team 4 could have hauled themselves off the foot of the table – their last match of the season could still have a bearing on who finishes second bottom – West Lothian’s defeat to Penicuik means a win for Corstorphine v Penicuik would see them jump above the Bathgate side!
And so, to our player of the week award. After a few tough weeks it was good to see Colin back on form – his undefeated night in singles play secured the 5-5 draw for the team and a vital point in the Premier Division – well done to him.
And finally, our controversy of the week section. Thank goodness for James Wighton – voted in the past as our nicest Club member he has suddenly become our “most controversial member”! He had the audacity at the end of the match v Ed Int to say that he was being led astray this year by El Presidente’s influence – he was once more in amongst the controversies! In the doubles, Umpire Greig called a fault on one of his serves which looked as if it had landed on the wrong side of the centre line – James was having none of it! He pleaded his case pointing out that the umpire needed glasses and was wrong – Umpire Greig (impartial to the hilt) told him his decision stood – James then turned his attention to his opponents and specifically the receiver who, in James’ view would have had the best view of whether it was a fault or not – you must have seen that it was in he says – no response from Edinburgh International – oh come on you must have seen it – the response this time was it didn’t matter because the umpire had made the decision – James pointed out that if all the players agreed the umpire was wrong then he could overturn the decision – Ed Int were having none of it and would not commit themselves to a view on whether the ball was in or out – grudgingly James played on incensed by what he saw as blatant “unsportsmanlike behaviour" from the opponents – either that or it’s James that needs glasses!
This match had a bit of niggle in it, from before a ball was even hit, as a result of Ed Int’s team captain indicating to both James and Greig that he thought it was very unfair that Greig was playing in the fixture. That could have a negative impact on their “fight for 2nd place” with Murrayfield. We think the argument was that it was unfair that Greig hadn’t played every match for Team 3 – this was only his 5th outing – in particular he hadn’t played in either match against Murrayfield 7 and that gave them an unfair advantage. We didn’t point out that what would definitely have given Murrayfield an advantage would have been had we refused to bring the match forward from its original scheduled date because Ed Int would not have been able to field a full side! It was pointed out that Greig only played if one of the others was unavailable – on this occasion Abby was working. We’re not sure what Ed Int wanted us to do – Greig not to play and give them a 3-0 start? As it was Greig playing had no impact on the result – we would have thought, however, the sensible thing to do would have been to wait until the match was over and then if they felt aggrieved because they lost they could have vented their frustration at that stage. Raising it before a ball was hit, was, in Team Captain James’ view, utterly pointless and soured the night a little.
Ah what fun – on we go to Week 24 – some of the ELTTL Teams have already completed their seasons – we still have a few matches left to report on, particularly Team 2 who somehow still have three games left and they probably need to win at least two of them to avoid relegation. Five consecutive losses for Team 2 has left them in a perilous position – but still mathematically possible that a miracle escape happens – Good luck to them.