The outstanding issue for the Club was the Division 1 relegation fight between Teams 2 & 3. Going into their final match of the season against West Lothian, Team 2 knew that anything other than a 10-0 loss would see them safe for another season. As we reported last week, however, there was potentially to be a twist in the tale as Team Captain James Wighton had to call on two players from Team 3 to join him in Bathgate last Monday! As it turned out Team 2’s survival was to be decided by Gary McDougal and Krzysztof Laszkiewicz who both contributed as the title chasing West Lothian side secured a 7-3 victory – two wins for Krzysztof and one for Gary was good enough to relegate their own side to Division 2 for next year – how bizarre!! Team Captain James was disappointed by the season in general and with players missing from action in the 2nd half of the season he could only field his full side on 3 out of 11 occasions since January. Next season’s selection headache has started already! Never mind though we can rely on that wonderful Ratings Central System!
The other outstanding issue in Division 1 was the promotion race and that culminated in a winner take all match between WL 2 and Haddington on Thursday night. Last week we suggested that Haddington must have been favourites having won the reverse fixture 9-1. Even a draw (which would be enough for WL) looked unlikely. But sport has a habit of throwing up surprises – a draw was secured in the most unlikely of circumstances and WL 2 ended up winning the Division! A full report on the match (well worth a read) can be found on WL’s FB page.
In other news, last Wednesday was a significant one for the Club as Penicuik’s tradition of being represented in the Premier League formally came to an end – a huge crowd of three turned out to watch Team 1’s match against North Merchiston 2. It was always going to be a tough season for Team 1 of Greig McDonell, David Melrose & Abby Wighton and Wednesday’s match sort of summed up their whole season – Greig was undefeated and combined with David for a doubles win but alas neither David nor Abby could get a singles win as the home side fell to a 6-4 defeat. An end of an era for Penicuik? Since Greig & Colin Green joined Penicuik, the Club have always had top division representation. The worry for the Club is how long it might be before Premier play returns to Ladywood.
There was a thought at the beginning of the season after losing three of the Club’s top four players (Colin, Iain J and Stuart Gow) that we would withdraw our top side from the Premier but speaking after the match, Team Captain Greig confirmed that the right decision had been made to compete at the top level. He wanted to pay particular tribute to Abby who, despite having a very difficult first season in the Premier, never once wavered from her commitment to the cause. For many of us the results week after week would have impacted on our play and desire – Abby however turned out every single week (the only one in the team to play in all 22 matches) and gave everything she had, never once getting down or dejected – she enjoyed her TT, played with a smile on her face and even laughed in the right places at her Team Captain’s jokes. In a sport where we sometimes bemoan a lack of sportsmanship she always played with a fantastic attitude and was a credit to the Club, not to mention that we have no doubt she improved as a player as a result of the experience. Hopefully next season will see her as a force to be reckoned with in Division 1.
And so to our Player of the Week award for Week 28 – Surely it’s a foregone conclusion – Greig strolled through his last Premier League outing! But no – our Committee have taken into account that there was no pressure on him and the result meant nothing! Instead this week’s award goes to a man who performed under pressure and under the most unusual set of circumstances – for ensuring his own team was relegated and saving Team 2, two wins from Krzysztof make him our final weekly winner of the season – well done to him!
Controversy of the week? We can’t be controversial in this last report of the regular season! Another season in the ELTTL is over and it’s time for reflection – thanks to all our players and opponents (even Edinburgh International) and to all those involved in running the league who make it happen. Whilst we have often raised issues about rules and procedures there’s no doubt that were it not for all those individuals who give up their valuable time there would be no league for us to compete in. This season has been a difficult one for the Club in terms of results but amazingly, away from the table we have all managed to get through another 8 months without any internal bust-ups and fallouts – Penicuik really is, as our Website suggests, a friendly place to play the sport we love!
We’ll be back at some point over the summer with a Season’s Round-Up but until then keep practicing – we sure do need it!!