In the Premier Division, Team 1 were without regular third player Stuart Gow as they faced Murrayfield 2. The match was a fair contest, however, as Murrayfield also struggling for a third player suggested a 2v2 contest. Keith Dingwall and Yuhaung Wang were Colin and Greig's opponents. The match turned on Greig's two five end matches - 2-0 down in both, levelled both at 2-2 only to lose out in the decider in both - with Colin having already lost to Yuhaung the match was effectively lost with those two defeats - Colin defeated Keith in four and the "banker doubles" was won in 3 straight ends - an opportunity missed as Team 1 fell to a 5-4 defeat.
In Division 1, Team 2 were also understrength as they travelled to face Corstorphine 1. Iain Johnstone continued his excellent form as he won all three of his singles but unfortunately neither Clive Liddiard nor Abby Wighton, deputising for Brian Bailey could win a singles match. Iain combined with Clive for a win in the doubles as Team 2 fell to a 6-4 defeat.
Team 3 were one of only 3 Penicuik teams able to field a full side in Week 8 but keeping the pattern of understrength teams going, the Police side turned up with just two players. James will be disappointed to have lost one of his two singles but Abby and Gary were both undefeated and Gary and James combined for a doubles win as Team 3 recorded their biggest win of the season with a 9-1 victory. The win keeps Team 3 on the tail of League Leaders Haddington in 2nd place in the Division.
With only one regular player available, Team 4 were always going to struggle in their away fixture against Corstorphine 3 in Division 2. Marcin Mroz and John Bald, not unsurprisingly, found it tough going as Chris Markey recorded the only wins for the visitors as they fell to an 8-2 defeat. Having looked like contenders for at least a play off spot a few weeks ago, 3 defeats in their last 4 matches has seen the team’s promotion hopes take a real battering - they now sit mid-table and a massive 7 points behind the league leaders.
In Division 3 Team 5’s difficult start to the season continued as they were also a player down in the absence of Phil Daly. Their tussle with North Merchiston 4 was always going to be difficult and John Bald was the only winner on the night in the resultant 8-2 home defeat. Team 5 are winless so far this season and confidence seems to be low at present - we're sure with the experience of John and Phil and the talent of young Louis the turnaround will start soon - the good news is they're not bottom of the division and have a game in hand over the team just above them.
In Division 4, Team 6 have been one of the Club’s most consistent sides, despite their amazing statistical record of not having played the same trio in their first six matches! They were looking to maintain top spot in the Division as they faced Haddington 3. Starting the night just two points ahead of their opponents, Craig Johnson, Stuart Bennett and Sean Lennon knew that a win would see them open up a good gap on their opponents. When Craig lost the first match of the night, things didn't look good, however, the Penicuik trio won 4 of the next 5 singles giving them a 4-2 advantage going into the crucial doubles. Craig and Stuart combined in what was an epic 5 end tussle which swung one way and then the other. In the deciding fifth end they held their nerve to squeeze home 12-10 and with it give Team 6 an unassailbale 5-2 advantage going into the last round of singles matches. 2 of those 3 matches were won as the visitors recorded a good 7-3 win, all 3 players winning two of their 3 singles matches.
Finally in Division 4, Team 7 were looking to bounce back after 3 consecutive defeats as they faced a home match with North Merchiston 6. The home side of Marcin Mroz, Kathryn McKenzie and Louis McLeod will feel they were unlucky to not at least come away with a point as they fell to a 6-4 defeat. Marcin had a chance in the last match of the night to secure the draw but just fell short, losing out to the Edinburgh team’s number 1 in 5 close ends. Both he and Louis recorded two singles wins each.
With only two of our seven teams winning this week there aren’t many candidates for our Player of the Week award, especially when of those two winning teams, Penicuik 3 played against only two players and none of Penicuik 6 won their 3 singles. The only player this week (playing against a full side) who was undefeated was on the losing side for Penicuik 2 - for his continued excellent form (this week against a team who must be in the running for promotion) this week’s worthy winner is Iain Johnstone. A great start to the season with 17 singles wins out of 18 matches played - keep it going Iain.
Stat of the week - back to Team 6 - after fielding a different team for each of their 6 matches played Week 8 saw that run end as the trio that played in Week 4 was repeated - what next - surely not the same trio for their next match???
And so to our controversy of the week section - what's happening to the availability of players this season?? Are teams more reluctant to seek postponements? Are more teams making it clear that they won't grant postponements? Is the schedule so difficult that teams are taking the view "just get ties played"? Whatever it is, we are already in a bit of trouble in terms of players playing up - only 7 weeks of league action and we have already used players to play up 18 times - that seems a lot!! This week was particularly bad - Team 1 played with 2, Team 2 had Abby playing up, Team 4 had two players playing up, and Team 5 played with 2. Of our opponents, Murrayfield played with 2 as did the police team. With the league facing lots of issues, it seems, in relation to reorganisation of the league here's a radical proposal - teams of 2 - 2 singles matches each and a doubles - surely all clubs could field two person teams near enough all the time - it would also sort out the other issue of finishing times and get us back to the good old days of playing matches on one table - that would certainly freshen things up for the ELTTL!!! Given that we seem, however, to be struggling with the proposal to move to six divisions (see the latest League Committee meeting minutes) this complete overhaul would probably take years to progress, even if it did have support!
Week 9 nearly upon us - surely it can't be as bad as Week 8 for the Club?