Report by Tommy Toner:
The last two weeks have seen a busy spell for West Lothian’s three Division 4 Teams.
First of all there was the clash between WL VII and WL VIII. Dave Stephen,Tommy Hamill and Jordan Welsh faced John McLeod,Bob and Nathan Lander, Dave seen his 100 per cent record go after losing to Bob. However Dave bounced back with two victories against John and Nathan. John, Nathan and Bob all had comfortable wins against young Jordan who played some great shots but lacked consistency on the night.
Dave and Tommy got the better of the Lander father and son duo in the doubles. The star of the night though was undoubtedly Tommy Hamill. Now well recovered from health issues earlier in the season Tommy is now coming into form and showed this with three single wins. Two of these matches were five setters against Nathan and John. The final match between Tommy and John was the crucial one on the night as the match was on a knifeedge at that point. It promised to be a very entertaining affair with a mix of styles with Johns forehand attack coming up against Tommy’s consistent defence. Unfortunately John suffered an injury during the match and bravely played on with Tommy coming out a five set winner clinching the match for Team VIII 6-4 on the night.
Team XI saw Neil Webb, Tommy and Jamie Toner travel to league leaders Penicuik V. Jamie performed well on the night with 2 wins including a great 4 set victory against Craig Johnson. Tommy couldn’t follow Jamie’s lead losing all three matches for first time this season. Neil performed very well beating Stuart Bennett and narrowly lost in five sets to Stuart’s daughter Millie. Neil was well in the match against Craig but as the game went on he couldn’t get to grips with the pimples on Craig’s bat. The doubles was the crucial match on the night with Jamie and Neil having a match point in the fifth only to lose the set 12-10. The match ended with a 7-3 defeat for the West Lothian Team but no disgrace given that Penicuik V were league leaders.
The following weeks matches saw all three teams play Penicuik. Team VII were minus the injured John McLeod and brought in Tommy Toner against Penicuik VI. It was a 90 minute drive through from Bathgate which didn’t leave much time for practice. This didn’t deter West Lothian as each of the team won their first game to race into a 3-0 lead. Penicuik bounced back with Craig Linton edging out Tommy in an entertaining match and Ros losing narrowly to Louis McLeod. Bob put the team on track by beating Adam Woodhouse in straight sets. Ros and Bob then lost in the doubles in 5 sets which meant it was 4-3 going into the last three single matches. Louis dispatched Tommy in three close sets and Ros got the better of Adam in 4 sets. It was left to Bob to clinch the match for West Lothian with a good victory against Craig. It was a tight match but Bob’s experience and determination came shining through to gain a 6-4 victory for Team VII.
Team VIII then faced league leaders Penicuik V so it was first against second in the league. Aidan Kerr replaced Jordan on the night and performed extremely well despite losing all 3 matches only narrowly losing a 5 setter against Stuart Bennett. Some of the winners Aidan played were sublime and looked effortless and are played with a smile on his face which is a joy to watch.
The rest of the match was pretty much a carbon copy of the previous weeks match with Tommy Hamill again the star of the show with 3 single wins and a doubles win alongside Dave. Two of Tommy’s wins were classic five setters against Millie Bennett and Craig Johnson. Those four points gained put West Lothian in a strong position and Dave Stephen closed out another 6-4 winning match out by winning 2 of his 3 singles. Dave dispatched of Mille and Stuart in straight sets but lost a close match against the persistent Craig Johnson who consistently returned the ball from all angles. This was enough to get the victory for West Lothian and put Team VIII to the top of the league.
Team IX brought in young David Macrae to join Neil Webb and Jamie Toner against a Penicuik VII trio of Hannah McDonnel, George Wilson and Phil Daly. Jamie was the star of the night winning all three singles without losing a set. This was particular impressive given that George had won his last 14 games in the division. Neil was made to work against young Hannah who showed tremendous speed and power but eventually Neil worked out a way to get the win. He didn’t fare as well against George and Phil losing both games. David Macrae lost his opening game against George where he couldn’t get to grips with his opponents serve. David bounced back brilliantly though by coming back from 2 sets down to beat Phil in an entertaining match. David and Jamie then got the win in the doubles against George and Hannah. David then topped off a good night for West Lothian by beating Hannah in four sets giving team IX a 7-3 victory.
These results see West Lothian occupying 3 of the top 5 places.