Our only undefeated Team after two weeks was Team 6 of Julian Taylor, Rachel Petrie & Sonny Taylor. They faced a top of the table clash with Haddington 3 in Division 4. Neither Julian nor Sonny were available so up stepped Phil & Kristian from Team 7. Team 7’s Captain, George Wilson, was quick to congratulate his teammates as neither of them assisted their club rivals in the division in an entertaining but unsuccessful night for the Midlothian side. A 10-0 defeat certainly brought Team 6 down to earth with a bump.
In Division 1, Teams 2 and 3 both faced difficult matches away to Haddington 1 and at home to Murrayfield 3 respectively. Clive Liddiard, James Wighton and Gary McDougal (standing in for the injured Charlie Brindley) were tied at 3-3 going into the important doubles fixture against Haddington. James and Charlie unfortunately lost out to their East Lothian opponents before the match of the night decided the fate of the visitors – Clive against Lorenas swung one way then the other. Having shared the first two ends, Lorenas took the third 12-10 before Clive took the fourth by the same scoreline. The decider was won 11-8 by Lorenas and with it the visitors hopes of a victory were gone. Both James and Gary won 2 in a disappointing 6-4 defeat.
Meanwhile at Ladywood, Krzysztof Laszkiewicz, Gary McDougal and Chris Markey took on a strong Murrayfield 3 side who look favourites to bounce back into the Premier Division. Watching from the side-lines, our Press Officer thought the match was an extremely entertaining and close affair – entertaining was right but at the end of the night there was disbelief at the 9-1 loss. The gracious Murrayfield winners were quick to confirm that the final score did not do justice to the play of the teams – only two of the ten matches played were won in 3 straight ends. Chris recorded a good victory against Colin Clark for the home side’s only match win.
In Division 3, Team 4 made it two wins on the bounce as John Bald, Brian Bailey and Louis McLeod recorded an excellent 7-3 victory against yet another Murrayfield side - Murrayfield 8. It was a bit of a Murrayfield outing on Wednesday night at the Club with 3 of their teams all in action. John was undefeated in singles play whilst both Louis and Brian (who was suffering from back pain we are told) picked up 2 wins each.
Staying in Division 3, Team 5’s 10-0 Week 1 win seems a distant memory as they succumbed to their second loss of the season away to Edinburgh International 4. Last season, this team won the award for how many consecutive weeks they could play a different trio and they continued that trend on Friday night as for the third week out of three a different combination pulled on the Penicuik tops. Sean Lennon, Craig Johnson and George Wilson (playing up from Team 7) found it tough going as they all recorded 1 win in their 7-3 defeat.
Team 1 were one of only two teams to go into Week 3 of the season without a win under their belt. A home match in the Premier Division against Murrayfield 2 provided a good opportunity to get on the board especially when Murrayfield turned up without their number 1, Keith Dingwall, still smarting seemingly from a defeat by Greig McDonell in the Edinburgh Banded Event! Match 2 on the night summed up Team 1’s season so far. David Melrose against young Jake Somerville – a match which went into a fifth end with David having the momentum but as victory was on the horizon David managed two foul serves to hand the initiative to Jake who grabbed it with both hands. Only Greig managed to trouble the scorers in the resultant 8-2 defeat although Abby WIghton continued to impress and in the first two ends against Jake was 10-6 and 10-8 up respectively. (We’ll ignore the fact that she lost both!)
The other Team without a win going into Week 3 was Team 7. Their Division 4 match against Haddington 5 saw a league debut for another McDonell as 10 year old Hannah had her first outing in the company of Phil “long sleeved” Daly and Kristian Skotzen. The Club’s newest league player was over the moon with one victory and a couple of close losses. An even more impressive win than it appeared at the time as her opponent went on to beat 3rd Division Louis at this weekend’s Junior League – Sorry Louis – you knew that was coming!! Hannah’s win added to Kristian’s 2 wins and Phil’s undefeated night gave Team 7 their first points of the season with a 7-3 victory.
A quick report on the Junior League today – well done to Louis & Sonny, undefeated after 3 matches in Division 1 and also to Joe and Rhys who won both their matches in Division 3.
And so to our Player of the Week Award for Week 3. It’s simple this week isn’t it – a straight fight between Phil Daly from Team 7 and John Bald from Team 4 who were the only players in the club to be undefeated in singles play. With John not playing in the doubles (why did an injured Brian play with Louis??) Phil surely has the edge having also secured a doubles victory. But hang on a minute Phil didn’t even win the player of the night award for Team 7! If he can’t even win that he can’t win our player of the Week award!! And as Team Captain George pointed out the Player of the Week Award isn’t just based on winning – it’s about the manner in which you play, the conquering of nerves, the holding it together under pressure, blah blah blah. So, this week’s well deserved winner is none other than our youngest League player who on her League debut won a match and whose smile lit up the hall – who says our Press Officer is biased!!!! – Well done to Hannah.
And finally, our controversy of the week section. Another two to deal with – we should really save them up for quiet weeks when nothing controversial happens!!
Postponements rear their head for the first time this season. We really like our friends from Haddington TTC - a club to which a couple of our members have close connections. So, it was a bit of a shock to hear that the top of the table clash between Penicuik 6 and Haddington 3 in Division 4 involved a request for, and a rejection of, a postponement. Now in fairness, our Press Officer is probably making this more controversial than it actually was as Team Captain Julian did have the option of asking for Committee help to see if Haddington could be persuaded to grant a postponement – yeah because they would have had a huge amount of influence - but he decided to try and fulfil the fixture. The result was that two players from Team 7 stepped up; a 10-0 defeat! Would the result have been different against a full-strength Team 6 – maybe not but that’s not really the point.
As if to rub salt in the wounds, our second controversy is from the same match and relates to umpiring – another regular topic. There aren’t many qualified umpires in the League but one of them is a very senior member at Haddington and for some reason he found himself officiating a match involving Team 6’s Rachel. Given that Team 6 were not troubling the scorers and given that we are talking about a Division 4 match, it was perhaps a tad “officious” to say the least to simply, out of the blue, deduct a point from Rachel for a foul serve because she did not throw the ball up correctly. Ok we know the rule – it’s either a foul serve or it’s not; and whilst we accept that in terms of the rules there is no provision for a warning being given surely in these circumstances a quiet word with the player and a let being called would have been more appropriate. The man at the centre of the controversy said today that he objected to the term "officious" - he felt "pernickety" was more appropriate. The Umpire's always right!
Jings who would have thought that Haddington would be our first villains of the new season – Murrayfield we love you after all!!