The only real issue yet to be decided (other than the Handicap Cup Final) is promotion and relegation from Division 1 and Team 3 had a lot to say about that as they faced Haddington 1 at Ladywood last week. After their win against Team 2 they still had the chance of avoiding relegation and if they dared to win against Haddington, the top of the Division would have been affected as well. On the night Team Captain Krzysztof Laszkiewicz was joined by Gary McDougal and Ian Hislop. Their East Lothian opponents fancied themselves so much for the match that they left arguably their best player, Carsten, out of their line-up. When Krzysztof and Ian both defeated Graeme McKinnie in matches 1 and 4 the scores were tied at 2-2 and nerves were dangling a little for the visitors. But from there, the Haddington side never lost another match and although a couple of games could have perhaps gone the other way, an 8-2 win for the visitors was probably fully deserved. Are they now favourites for promotion? It will all come down to their final match of the season against West Lothian 2 assuming WL have no difficulty in disposing of our Team 2 tomorrow night. In fairness to our friends from WL, a point against Haddington will be enough for them but if the reverse fixture is anything to go by they’ll have a very difficult task – a huge improvement will be needed from that 9-1 defeat.
As for Team 3’s relegation worries, the two games they picked up last week puts them on an identical “games for” total as Team 2 - 79 wins. Their loss column shows 141 losses compared to 131 for Team 2. Let’s get the rule book out to add some interest to the end of the season – what happens if Team 2 lose 10-0 to WL 2 – identical points and game difference! Let’s go for a play-off to prolong the season further!
So, Team 2’s target tomorrow night? Avoid a whitewash and they’ll survive in Division 1 for another season. Looks like it will be all on Team Captain and Penicuik’s “Mr Nice” James to pull off the win needed – his other two regulars are not available so he’s going to play with Gary and Krzysztof from Team 3!! What?? Is he serious? He turns up against Team 3 with a weakened side and then relies on two of their players to secure Team 2’s survival? Questions are being asked as to whether James is actually really, really nice or whether he’s lost the plot!
Just to put a little added pressure on the game, we don’t care about ratings central – one of the factors the Club are going to take into account for deciding who plays in Div 1 next year is which Team survives in the Division!!! Good luck James – if Gary or Krzysztof start cheering on West Lothian tomorrow you know you’re in trouble!!
Now we don’t often publish apologies or retractions in this piece – because we’re always right obviously - but we feel the need this week to reconsider a matter raised in our last Report! We pointed out how hard done by our Team 5 felt and alluded to ESC having been somewhat fortunate with two concessions from Edinburgh University and matches played against weakened teams. All of that is obviously correct – ESC, however, questioned our use of the word “understrength” to describe our own Team 4 turning out against them. The team was technically understrength as Julian Taylor played up from Division 4. So what if he won his 3 and contributed to a doubles win in a 5-5 draw! In fact the more we think about it the team were understrength – Julian replaced Brian Bailey, a player who in the last two seasons has played in Divisions 1 and 2 respectively – he may now be over a 100 years old but that experience was sadly missed by Team 4 in the second half of the season. Before his injury he was in the top 5 of the Individual Averages, before his injury he was passing on all that wealth of experience to his young teammates, 87 year old John Bald and 15 year old Louis McLeod – in the circumstances how can that not be understrength?? Thanks for the point ESC but actually we’re right after all! Well done to Julian though!
Our Player of the Week award for Week 27 – oh come on – one win each for Ian and Krzysztof to choose from – We’ll not bother!
Controversy of the week? One of our favourite topics in the past has been those players who are, how can we put this, a little bit overly vocal during their matches. We have nothing against players who give an occasional “good boy” or “C’mon”. Absolutely nothing wrong with geeing yourself up – what we do think is out of order is when players do this incessantly – what’s even more annoying is when they do it irrespective of what the rally was like that led to them winning a point. Your opponent hits one in the net – “YES”, they miss a push long – “CHO” – you get a lucky net and edge “CHO CHO” – and so it goes on. Who would have thought this would have become a topic of discussion at the Primary Schools International at Largs last weekend! Even more surprising the worst proponent of it was some 11/12-year-old Welsh girl! Jings we’ve never seen so many people wanting a young innocent looking child to lose! Yet lo and behold she didn’t lose – maybe that aggression at that age does in fact help you win games but come on – surely someone has to have a word with youngsters like that – her coach, her family (who were all cheering her on obviously), the Umpire, the Tournament Referee?? Mind you as we’ve said before when they watch some of the top Senior players is it that surprising that the kids pick this type of thing up?
To end on a positive note though, Penicuik has a new Scottish Internationalist in its midst – well done to Hannah who gained her first (hopefully of many) cap at the aforementioned Primary Schools International and not a CHO in sight from her – oh she has a lot to learn…….