Team 1 of Greig McDonell, David Melrose and Abby Wighton travelled to North Merchiston 2 in a positive mood after their first win of the season in Week 7. A little bit of added spice to this match as David returned to take on his former team-mates! A crucial 5 set win for David against Geoff Hunter (11-8 in the fifth) gave the visitors a 4-1 lead in a match that was played slightly out of scorecard order. Eddie Scott pulled one back against Abby before David & Greig tried to repeat their victory of last week in the doubles – and failed miserably…. Merchi still in it at 4-3 down. When Abby was unable to come to terms with Geoff’s defensive style suddenly the scores were tied at 4-4 and the nerves were tingling. David v Eddie was match 9 on the night and when David won the first end 11-9 it looked like at least a draw was secured. David should have won the second and third ends as well but somehow managed to lose them 11-9, 16-14 – suddenly Greig was panicking that he would need a victory just to secure a point. David, however, showed some great determination as he won the 4th 11-9 before securing the fifth 11-8 – to say he was a happy chappy at the end of the match would be a bit of an understatement!! With the pressure off, Greig won comfortably in 3 ends against Neil Innes to give the visitors their second win on the trot – unbeaten nights for both Greig and David resulted in an excellent 6-4 victory. Maybe Team 1 can survive in the Premier after all?? Before they get too carried away though 3 of their next four fixtures are against Murrayfield 1, Merchiston 1 and West Lothian 1!!
In Division 1, Team 2 of Clive Liddiard, James Wighton and Charlie Brindley faced a home match against West Lothian 2 who were undefeated for the season and must be one of the favourites for promotion to the Premier. Charlie has been a great addition to the Club and has led the way for the Team thus far this season. Captain James has pointed out that the trio have never all played well on the same night and that lack of consistency came to the fore again as Charlie had “one of those nights”. That said at 3-3 going into the doubles, the home side were very much in the match. Clive & James then cruised into a 2-0 lead in the doubles before something peculiar seemed to happen - Halloween Week is well past, isn’t it? Not another end was won by the home side from that point on – 11 ends in a row to the visitors and Team 2 were left reeling from a 7-3 defeat. James picked up 2 and Clive 1 on the night.
Meanwhile Team 3 continued without regular Chris Markey as they visited another team at the top of the Division 1 table, Edinburgh International 2. Gary McDougal and Krzysztof Laszkiewicz were joined by Brian Bailey from Division 3. Two five end matches were the difference on the night – Gary came back from 2-0 down to level the scores against the Edinburgh side’s number 1 only to lose out in the fifth whilst Krzysztof from 2-1 up lost 14-12 in the fourth before a fifth end defeat to Jim Grahame. Had those two matches gone the other way a draw would have resulted. As it was, however, Gary won 2 and combined with Krzysztof for a doubles victory as the visitors fell to a 7-3 defeat – Brian meanwhile was looking forward to getting back to Division 3.
And so to Division 3 we go - Brian, John Bald and Louis McLeod went into their away match against ESC having won their last 4 matches on the bounce. When Louis lost Match 1 on the night 12-10 in the fifth, that winning run looked like it might be in danger but the visitors didn’t lose another singles as they stormed to an 8-2 victory. In fairness to the hosts, 3 of those singles wins came in 5th end deciders with all 3 Penicuik players coming out on top. The only other loss on the night came in the doubles as John & Brian fell to a 4-end defeat. The doubles is clearly a source of concern for Team 4 – 6 doubles played, 6 doubles lost – 3 losses for the Brian/Louis combination, 3 losses for the Brian/John combination! It’s not for us to interfere in team matters but is it not about time that the John/Louis combination was given a go???? What a great run for Team 4, however, and for at least two days their 5th consecutive win put them top of the Division 3 table – don’t worry a screenshot has been taken!
In their Division 3 campaign, Team 5 have not fared quite so well in recent weeks but they saw their match against West Lothian 7 as an opportunity to get back to winning ways. Starting two points ahead of their opponents Sean Lennon, Craig Johnson and Stuart Bennett were desperate to extend that gap to four points. When Stuart and Sean both lost their opening fixtures, however, it looked like being a long night for the home side but 3 wins out of the next 4 singles matches saw the scores levelled at 3-3 going into the crucial doubles fixture. Stuart and Sean took care of the West Lothian duo in 4 ends before Sean secured at least a point by winning Match 8. When Craig failed to secure victory, it was left to Stuart to try and do so against the undefeated on the night Ros Beck and her “funny bat”. Stuart lost the first end before winning the second – he’d come to terms with the style of Ros – maybe not – he lost the third 9-11 before comfortably winning the 4th 11-6. A fifth end decider for the match win – the only thing that could make this match more edgy was if the fifth went close – oh no…. a 12-10 defeat for Stuart as Ros secured a point for the West Lothian outfit – a point lost rather than one gained as far as the home side was concerned. 2 singles wins for Sean and 1 each for Craig and the unlucky Stuart.
In Division 4, Team 6 were without the services of Rachel Petrie as they faced a home match against George’s tip for the Division 4 title, KLOS 2. (there seems to be a wager on this one between George and El Presidente (his tip is Haddington) with our esteemed Club Secretary holding the cash until the end of the season – remember not to spend it Brian!). Julian & Sonny Taylor were joined by Phil Daly from Team 7. 3 wins out of their first 4 matches for Team 6 has now unfortunately been equalled by 3 losses out of their last 4 matches as the team go through a slightly sticky patch. Julian and Phil won 1 singles each in the resultant 8-2 defeat. According to Team Captain Julian, the losing is becoming a real irritation (good to hear) and resulted in the father and son duo turning up at Ladywood on Saturday for more practise (even better to see)! We’re sure this “little blip” in the season will be put right with all four of their matches remaining this half looking winnable – oh that could be controversial given one of those matches is against Team 7!!
And finally, to Team 7 who travelled to North Merchiston 6 to round off the Week 8 fixtures for the Club. Phil Daly, Kristian Skotzen and George Wilson were looking to build on their controversial 5-5 result against Fife from the previous week. The difference on the night proved to be the home side’s Jose Ramos who won his three singles and combined for a doubles victory in the resultant 7-3 defeat for Team 7. Phil won 2 and George added 1 in a disappointing defeat for the visitors although our Press Officer was given a number of reasons by Team Captain George as to why he didn’t play to his best – the most dubious one of them all being the fact that his wife had been keeping him up all week - yeah in your dreams Mr W!
And so to our Player of the Week Award for Week 8. For the second week in a row El Presidente showed his class as he didn’t lose an end in singles play – just give him the award now we hear you cry. Also in the running are David, John and Brian who were the only other players undefeated in singles play this week. None of the four managed to add a doubles win and for repeatedly trying and failing, Brian and John are out the running!! So a straight fight between Greig and David – it’s a foregone conclusion, isn’t it? Hold on a minute – who did Merchiston vote for player of the match? David! Really? For making his previous teammates rue the day they fell out with him and for his first 3 in about 15 years, this week’s deserved winner is David – Well done to him.
Eight weeks in and we’re still waiting on a week without any controversy! Oh, how our Press Officer wishes he could be a fly on the wall at this week’s League Committee meeting – looks like it might be a busy one. Rumbling on is the Edinburgh International Ineligible player controversy, Fife were to be making some comment about having to forfeit the two final games against Penicuik 7, the ridiculous no playing up for Clive or Charlie rule is also rumbling on. And just when we thought that was it, in response to a supportive email from a couple of well-known and well-respected gents regarding the ineligible player issue, it was pointed out that another rule that seems to be overlooked is the “4-week rule”! The rule is clear:
“A postponement MUST be played within 4 playing weeks of the scheduled date.”
Have a look at the Interactive site – a number of Clubs are breaching this rule it appears. We’re sure it used to be specifically an issue for intra-club fixtures but the rule now seems to apply to all fixtures. North Merchiston 1 v 2 was scheduled for 18 Sep! We say they should both be docked at least 6 points (that might keep Team 1 safe)! What about all the University matches – do they get special dispensation? Haddington 3 v 4 in Division 4 – what shenanigans are going on there? Team 4’s game in hand against Fife was postponed at Fife’s request – just claim it guys – Fife have fallen out with us anyway! Corstorphine, West Lothian, Murrayfield and ESC are also all in breach. Edinburgh Int also have a postponed match with no rescheduled date yet – the 4 weeks aren’t up so maybe they won’t be in breach. The only Club in the League not affected by this Rule – KLOS. Any guesses as to who brought this one up??
Of course, the truth is this is a crazy rule. Team 1 postponed their match with Fife 1 and the only date available to replay it is during week commencing 11th December. Our only match night is a Wednesday – Fife play at home on the week Team 1 is away – their match night – a Wednesday! If there are no gaps in the season then for Club’s with limited access to facilities it is nigh on impossible to comply with this rule. But hey, we are strong proponents for the philosophy that Rules are there to be enforced. Obviously that only applies when it doesn’t negatively impact on us though! Our infringement is malice free – just dock us two points and the rest of the League 6!
No doubt the Minutes of the League Committee meeting will be made available to all in due course – here’s hoping the minute taker can truly capture not only the content of the discussion but the manner in which it is fought out – we mean discussed!!
Roll on Week 9.