In Division 1, Teams 2 and 3 have both struggled following their good performances in Division 2 last year. Team 2 (James Wighton, Gary Mcdougall and Abby Wighton) took on ESC 2 at Ladywood whilst Team 3 (Clive Liddiard, Iain Johnstone and Brian Bailey) faced what looked on paper like the easier match away to Edinburgh International 3.
The pattern of near wins for James, Gary and Abby unfortunately continued as games 2, 4 and 5 of the night all went the way of ESC in the fifth and deciding ends and whilst the home side picked up ends in 8 of the 10 matches only Gary won a singles and he also combined with Abby for a victory in the doubles as they fell to an 8-2 defeat. Last years Division 2 Champions now find themselves at the foot of the Division 1 table.
Team 3 started their match level on points with their opponents and were hopeful of leapfrogging them with a victory. I don't think many thought that the contest would be quite as one sided as it turned out. Ken Benjamin was again playing up for EI 3 and having taken 2 wins playing up against Team 2 the previous week, he again surprised Penicuik opposition with 2 more wins, only Iain managing a win against him. With Charlie Brindley and Xiao Han (where did EI find him?) both undefeated, Team 3 fell to an extremely disappointing 9-1 defeat.
Better news in Division 2 as Team 4 going into Week 9 at the top of the table came out still on top after a good 8-2 victory against Corstorphine 3. The scoreline doesn't do justice to how close some of the matches were as the Penicuik trio of Chris Markey, Krzysztof Lazkiewicz and Tony Brentnall won 3 out of the four 5 enders on the night. Chris in particular showed his steel winning two of his three matches deuce in the fifth. Tony was player of the night for the visitors not dropping an end whilst Kris was unlucky, his only loss being a deuce in the fifth defeat to Steve Chalmers. The result puts Team 4 a point clear of Murrayfield 5 at the top of the table.
Into Division 3 and Team 5 faced a home tie against North Merchiston 4 - two youngsters and the not so young Graham Booth faced John Bald, Gregory Leplatre and Phil Daly. Two turning points on the night, firstly young David Hale beating Phil in 3 straight ends and then in the very next match, the doubles, the two youngsters coming back from 2-1 down to defeat John and Gregory. In the end Gregory needed 4 ends to defeat young David in the final match of the night to secure a draw - he and John won 2 whilst Phil won 1.
And finally into Division 4 where the young guns of Team 6 faced North Merchiston 5 who sat two places above them in the Division 4 table. Team 6 came into the match on a bit of a roll having won 3 of their last four matches and that good form continued, particularly for Luke Hennessey and Louis Myatt, as they both won 3 and combined for a good doubles win. Louis McLeod added 1 singles win as the home side were victorious by an 8-2 scoreline, a result which sees them leapfrog their opponents and jump into third place in the Division 4 table. It was good to see so many youngsters competing at the Club this week.
And so to our player of the Week Award. Some good performances again - Tony had an excellent night in Division 2 but having knocked on the door for so many of the last few weeks the award goes to our young gun, Luke Hennessey, for yet another excellent performance in winning his 3 and combining for a doubles win. Looking at the Division 4 standings, he has now won 15 out of 21 matches played this season and has won 13 of his last 15 as Team 6 have risen to third place in the Division. Well done Luke.
Finally, controversy of the week. Can I really keep this going for 24 weeks...... Illegal services! In fairness the writer can't get too involved in this debate given his "questionable serves" but it came to a head today at the Vets tournament as an over 40s player was widely criticised for his "illegal serves". That led Drew McLaren to tell of how he was called up by our own 4th Team for an illegal serve at what he saw as a crucial point in a match. And that's the problem - if you don't call it early in a match is it ever fair to call it later? The vast majority of us probably have some serves which would not stand up under close scrutiny from a qualified umpire - some games wouldn't have any rallies at all!! Should we be too bothered about the serves? - we play the game socially and at a level that is far short of anything that could be described as "top quality"! How many of us in the league have actually gone through any umpiring qualifications? Probably not too many and yet we expect our teammates or opponents to pick up on these rule infractions - all I know is that when it does become an issue it doesn't do anything to promote sportsmanship and fair play.