In the Premier Division, the 1st Team of Greig McDonell, Colin Green and Stuart Gow faced a tough match against Edinburgh Sports Club 1 at Ladywood. The first match of the night saw Colin just lose out in five ends to Graeme Sutherland. Playing on two tables (more on that later) when games 2, 3 & 4 were all lost the home side were in real trouble but wins from Greig and Colin brought the match score to 4-2 before the doubles. From 2 ends to nil down, Greig & Colin played well to come back and win in 5 ends and with it there was suddenly hope that at least a draw remained on the cards. Simultaneously, however, Colin lost to Martin McKay while Stuart lost to Scott McKenzie and with that the match was gone. Stuart lost out in the last match as the home side tasted defeat for the first time this season going down 7-3.
In Division 1, Team 2 were looking for their first points after a dreadful start to the season as they faced Murrayfield 5. Iain Johnstone who has been in terrific form got the home side off to a good start with a straightforward win in game 1 of the night. Clive Liddiard, has a bad five end record, having lost all three that he has played this season but perhaps this match was the turning point for him as two of his three singles went the distance and he won both of them. Both he and Iain were undefeated on the night and combined for a doubles win as the home side triumphed 7-3. Brian Bailey had been encouraged to get on the scoresheet with the promise of him being selected for the handicap cup if he could win his first match of the season - alas it was not to be although according to Brian his terrible start to the season has been tactical to get his handicap up for the 1st Round of the Cup!!
In Division 2, Team 3 were involved in a top of the table clash with league leaders Haddington. James Wighton, Gary McDougal and Abby Wighton knew that a win would result in the Penicuik trio leapfrogging their East Lothian opponents into top spot in the Division and they stormed into an unassailable 5-1 lead going into the doubles fixture. Father and daughter duo, James and Abby lost out in that doubles and that started a most unlikely comeback for the league leaders. With Gary and James both losing their last matches Abby probably had the best chance to win the match for the visitors as she faced Gordon Aien who had lost already to both Gary and James - it's a funny old game though all about styles of play - Abby lost in five ends as Haddington came back to secure a point. Whilst Team 3 may have taken a draw at the beginning of the night they will feel that this was a huge missed opportunity and a point lost rather than a point gained. On a positive note, however, they remain undefeated in the Division and only a point behind the League leaders.
Team 4 were also in action in Division 2 as they hosted Edinburgh University 3. After a disappointing loss in Week 4, Team Captain Krzysztof Laszkiewicz was worried by the absence of two of the team's regular players as he called on the services of John Bald and Louis Myatt from Division 3. Krzysztof's worries were misplaced as he won all 3 of his singles played whilst John won 2 and Louis won 1. Krzysztof and John combined for a win in the doubles as the students were dispatched 7-3. The victory sees Team 4 jump up to 3rd in the Division, two points behind Penicuik 2 but with a game in hand.
In Division 3 the Club's fifth team were also understrength as John Bald and Louis Myatt called on the services of Stuart Bennett from Division 4 as they travelled to face Edinburgh University 4. In a difficult night for the visitors, John was the only winner securing victory in two of his three singles matches as the University ran out 8-2 winners.
Our 6th Team were looking to build on their decent start to the season as they faced a home tie against Fife 4 in Division 4. They kept their amazing record of fielding a different team in each match going as Marcin Mroz played up from Team 7 to join Stuart and Millie Bennett. Going into the doubles fixture the scores were tied at 3-3 - Marcin and Millie were unlucky to lose out in 4 ends before Marcin defeated his opposite number to draw the scores level again at 4-4. Young Millie Bennett then faced Fife’s top player in Match 9 and fought back from 2 ends to nil down before losing in a fifth end decider. It was then left to dad Stuart to salvage a point which he duly did by winning the last match of the night. Marcin and Millie both won 2 singles whilst Stuart added the important fifth win. The point for the Penicuik side was enough to keep them top of the Division on game difference.
Finally in a busy week for the Club, Team 7 travelled to Bathgate to take on West Lothian 7. Louis McLeod, Lewis Baldock and Marcin Mroz will want to put their evenings work quickly behind them after the hosts cantered to a 10-0 victory.
Player of the week this week?? For breaking his duck and contributing a full house in his team's match against Murrayfield, Clive is this week's deserved winner - it's about time that someone other than Iain won a game for Team 2 so well done Clive - now we just need to get Brian on the board!!
And so to our controversy of the week. We don't just have a go at other Clubs or the League in this piece - we can equally be critical of our own internal difficulties. We had, this season, hoped to hire out the whole hall at Ladywood for league matches, leaving a Wednesday to be our Club night - strong views were expressed about the difficulty of having a Club night when there are league matches on as well - our problem is that Ladywood is a Community Leisure Centre and whilst we are an important member sport/activity, so are many others such as boxing, badminton and yes even the dreaded dog obedience classes!! So with the whole hall unavailable one team had to still play on "Club night" - that pleasure fell to Team 1.
Like many other clubs we now seem to start playing on two tables from the outset to try and finish on time. In the writer's view (not shared by all at the Club) this utterly destroys the "team nature" of league matches and effects team spirit - not only that but as with last Wednesday's match it impacts on the ability of others to participate fully in our Club session - Team 1 were aware of discontent being expressed by their fellow Club members, rumblings about the fact that they were taking up far too much space, moaning about how others felt inhibited from playing "normally", even more disquiet at some of the language / bad behaviour being exhibited when there were juniors at the Club (I hasten to add that relates to our opponent's conduct not Team 1's). And add to that the impact on the Team's ability to support each other and feel part of what, after all, is meant to be a team game and Wednesday turned out to be a thoroughly unenjoyable night for most involved! Did any of that have anything to do with the 7-3 defeat? Who knows? All we do know is that by the end of the night there was a pretty negative atmosphere at the Club and certain words were exchanged which required El Presidente's well known collaborative and mediation skills to come to the fore! Thinking about it now, although we said this wasn't a criticism or a controversy about the League, it is actually their fault - there just isn't enough time to get matches completed in the space of 3 hours - maybe we should have voted at the AGM for the proposal to play best of 3 matches! What can we do about it?? Not a lot it would seem - if only Craig could get on with securing that million pound sponsorship deal from his Japanese employers. To end on a positive note, Team 1 has a rearranged home match this coming Wednesday where we can do it all over again..................