Lets start with the good news - Team 4 have had a great season in Division 2 and Week 24 saw them face two matches. In the first of those Gavin Hunter, Tony Brentnall and Krzysztof Laszkiewicz ran out comfortable 9-1 winners against Edinburgh International 5.
Their second match of the week was the eagerly anticipated contest against Fife 2 who started the night in third place, two points behind the Penicuik trio. The home side knew that a win would virtually ensure a play-off spot. Chris Markey replaced Gavin Hunter for the match. After Chris and Krzysztof suffered losses in the first 5 encounters of the night, the home side led 3-2. Match 6 was to prove crucial as Tony looked in trouble losing ends 3 and 4 11-8, 11-4 but he performed well in the deciding end to give Team 4 a 4-2 lead going into the doubles. That doubles was won by Chris and Tony giving the home side an unassailable 5-2 lead. It was still nervy after Chris lost match 8 and Tony once more looked in trouble in Match 9 but he again won a close 5th end to ensure victory. Mr Scrabble Man had always been on hand though and pointed out that he was always going to win Match 10 even had Tony faltered!! Tony was undefeated in singles play and combined with Chris for the doubles victory whilst Krzysztof won two and Chris added one in a terrific 7-3 win. With two weeks left, Team 4 find themselves two points behind league leaders Murrayfield (who look uncatchable) but importantly now four points clear of third place and with a much better game difference than Fife only a completely catastrophic final two weeks of the season will deny them at least a play-off.
And now to the bad news - it looked for a long time that if Team 4 could secure a play-off they may face Team 2 who have struggled to come to terms with Division 1 this year. After some surprising wins for Edinburgh University (not to mention a good slice of controversy with registration of players etc. as per last Week's Report), Team 2 suddenly found themselves rooted to the foot of the table, a point behind University and 3 points behind Corstorphine, 3rd from bottom. And so there was no doubt about it - a win for James Wighton, Gary Mcdougal and Abby Wighton was essential as they faced University at Ladywood. The home trio have really struggled for confidence over recent weeks and every close match on the night was won by the visitors. Whilst the fat lady hasn't quite sung yet, she's warming up her vocal chords after a disastrous 10-0 whitewash defeat - although mathematically they can still avoid relegation Team 2 need to win both their remaining matches and hope that neither University nor Corstorphine pick up any points in their last two matches. Odds on that??? About the same as Colin winning another player of the week award!
Elsewhere for the Club, Team 1 of Greig McDonell, Colin Green and Stuart Gow faced a home tie against bottom of the table, Murrayfield 4 in the Premier Division. The home side were never in trouble as they ran out comfortable 9-1 winners with Greig and Colin both undefeated on the night.
In Division 3, John Bald and Phil Daly were delighted to welcome back to the fold Gregory Leplatre (after his very lengthy paternity absence!!) and the team confidently disposed of Edinburgh International 6 by a 9-1 scoreline. Gregory and John both won 3 whilst Phil added 2. Gregory and John also combined for a win in the doubles fixture. Team 5’s season has been somewhat up and down but they sit comfortably in a mid-table position with two weeks of the season to go.
In Division 4, Team 7 faced a home match against West Lothian 9. Young Millie Bennett showed her older teammates how it should be done as she won two singles matches but with neither dad, Stuart nor Craig Johnson able to contribute, the Bathgate side ran out 8-2 winners.
Also in Division 4, Team 8 took on top of the table North Merchiston 6 with just two players, Martyn Levy and Sean Lennon. Sean lost two close 5 end matches and his other singles in 4 ends. Martyn was the only winner for the Ladywood side on the night with one singles victory as the visitors went down to a 9-1 defeat.
And so to player of the week for Week 24. There's really only one person in the running - for his excellent undefeated night in probably his Team's most important match of the season, Tony Brentnall wins the award - Well done Tony.
Finally to our controversy of the week - really it's a follow-up to last week's controversy given that our 2nd Team played against University who have fallen foul of the rules - given the result this moan is going to sound like sour grapes but doesn't it just sum up Team 2's season when they discover that since the "out of time" registration of the University player, that individual has played in 4 matches and those matches have resulted in 5 out of a possible 8 points which has dragged University out of bottom spot in the Division and virtually ensured Team 2's relegation. Putting aside the fact that Team 2 probably deserve to be relegated given they have had only 1 win all season, it does reinforce the point that rules are either there to be adhered to or they're not - the moment you start bending/relaxing rules someone is going to be adversely affected. What about this rule:-
"All intra-club postponements must be played within 4 playing weeks whereas inter-club postponements can exceed 4 playing weeks provided a revised and fixed match date is agreed between the clubs and entered on ELTTL scoring site 7 days either side of original date."
We'd be interested to know how many times Clubs have entered the new date within the time period allowed - we would guess that failures to comply with this far outweigh those that have adhered to it - and what in fact is the sanction if an agreed date is not entered within 7 days or if an intra club fixture isn't played within 4 weeks - we had this ourselves when our Team 7 v 8 match was not played within the required period - the ELTTL Scoring site shows that in Division 1 West Lothian have an outstanding intra club fixture still to play from October. Maybe we should just tear the rule book up and start afresh - now there's a good task to keep someone busy over the summer.....