University 1 vs West Lothian 1

In the Edinburgh TT Premiership, league leaders West Lothian with a 100% record visited Edinburgh University 1’s away, against a very strong side.
In the first round of singles Dariusz Szymczak played their number 1 and highly ranked German opponent, Johannes Laute and won the first set before the German got in his stride and won the next 3 comfortably.  Next up was a debutant, David Simpson and he struggled losing 3-0 to an El Salvador international, David Diaz.  Finally, Lukasz Kaska had a very competitive game against their Chinese captain, Yubo, just coming out on top 3-2.
In the next round, Lukasz struggles against Johannes, losing 3-0, while David eased passed Yubo 3-0.  Finally, Dariusz found the key to David’s serve and was a comfortable winner 3-0, leaving the game nicely poised at 3-3.
Onto the doubles, and the West Lothian stalwart Polish pair of Dariusz and Lukasz played really well for 3 sets and were leading 2-1, but fell away and lost 3-2, meaning a 4-3 deficit for the team.
In the final singles round, Dariusz won well against Yubo and Lukasz won the critical game against David to give West Lothian a 5-4 lead.  In the final game, David won the first set, but the class of his German opponent showed in the end and he won the next 3 sets in a close game.
The game ended in a 5-5 draw, ending West Lothian’s 100% record but leaving us top of the league.  Next up a West Lothian club battle of the ones versus the twos.

Match scorecard

Match report – WLVII v Murrayfield X – One man down

After a second match loss at the previous fixture, WLVII were hoping for a good result to catch up a bit with our other two teams in the division who are supposedly the weaker ones. Unfortunately, on the day before the latest match, one of our three regulars fell ill and had to drop out. After 16 emails, 35 texts (received and sent), one unanswered phone call, and the assistance of the indefatigable Tommy Toner, we were still a player short.  Thanks to those who were able to respond quickly- it makes such a difference.
There was a flurry of excitement just after lunchtime on the match day when it looked like Haddington V might not have a driver for their fixture against WLIX at Bathgate, in which case Tommy T himself could have played up for our Team VII. Fortunately for those teams a driver was found and the match went ahead.  
So Bob and I turned up unaccompanied at the Royal High School in Edinburgh. Like most secondary schools it is rather a rabbit warren,  and Bob didn’t seem very confident when I decided, fortunately correctly, that we should go upstairs on entering the building. After asking a cleaner for directions we came across a lost looking boy, also searching for the table tennis hall. Luckily a big sign saying Physical Education materialised overhead which gave us all a clue where to go.
The fixture went ahead just as I like, smoothly and amicably with no angry words or disputed decisions, and we managed  to win all the seven matches without any five enders. I didn’t recognise any of the three opposing players, Peter, Terrence and Chad, who are new to the league, so felt a little guilty beating them while  playing in the bottom development division of the league after numerous seasons of league play. I tend to oscillate between Divisions 3 and 4. Bob is a stronger player than me with a history of league play down south.  
Anyway, it left me wondering why I had spent much of the past two days searching for a third player, and obtaining a new playing up decision from Ken, when we were able to win fairly easily with two players, although it did mean our opponents missed out on a some match play. 
One reassuringly familiar face on arrival was Ian (Robbo) Robertson, the non-playing captain of Murrayfield X who organised everything and ensured chocolates were available mid-evening. Having previously suggested to the league that refreshments were totally unnecessary, I still managed to force down a couple.
The final score being 7-3 to us, we went home very happy bunnies looking forward to our improved ratings the next morning.

WLTTC 9 vs Haddington 5: A deserved draw..

Team 9 were without the teams top scorer for season Jamie Toner and the experienced Neil Webb for home match v a young Haddington V team.

In stepped Aidan Kerr and David Macrae alongside Tommy Toner. Both Aidan and David performed well. Aidan showed great character in fighting back from 10-6 in the fifth set to win the final set 12-10 against Haddington’s Liam Govan. Both David and Tommy won their opening matches 3-1 so West Lothian went into an early 3-0 lead.

Haddington fought back with Tom Wilson beating Aidan in 3 very tight sets and Liam Govan outplayed Tommy in 4.

4-2 going into the doubles, David and Aidan started brightly going 2-1 up only to be pegged back losing the fifth set 11-8.

This set up a tight finish. Haddington levelled the match at 4-4 after David Hayman beat Aidan in straight sets. Tommy won a close match with Tom Wilson in 5 sets putting West Lothian 5-4 up.

It was left to David and Liam Govan to finish off proceedings and Haddington’s man of the match Liam Govan won in 4 sets to seal a deserved draw. 5-5 was a fair result given the fact 4 matches went the full distance.

match scorecard

West Lothian 8 vs Fife 4

Team VIII team suffer 1st defeat of the season at hands of a very experienced and decent team from Fife. 

West Lothian never really got into the match with two early losses setting the tone, however on the plus side, the  match saw the return of Kevin Boyle to league competition and showed encouraging signs.  Young Jordan played well in patches and with some added confidence will continue to improve over the season. 

Match scorecard

West Lothian VI v Murrayfield IX: West Lothain VI go down fighting in a 4-6 defeat

In a very close match where the scoreline never deviated from one game in it until game 8, where the visitors were 3-5 up and two games to play. Benny pulled one back in game 9, and we were 4-5 down with George our star man all evening in a nail biter. Up 2-0 and 4-0 up in game 3 and something changed. Dan put it down to a change in his stance, but whatever it was it made the difference, as Dan won the final three sets of the evening and West Lothian went down 4-6.

Well done to George and Benny both winning two each. The other player in the team didn’t turn up or at least that’s the impression he gave not winning a single end all evening. Division 4 looms next year or darts. (Come back John Swift, you are sorely missed.)

Well done to the youngsters in Murrayfield IX team. Both Hadyn and Ben played well. They don’t like losing and just need to keep their heads up. Very good young players with a lot of topspin and youthful impetuosity. Well balanced with Dan who has both good forehand and backhand counter play.

An enjoyable match with a lot of good table tennis.

 

Match scorecard

 

Match Report: West Lothian 9 vs Fife 4

Team 9 were defeated for the first time this season to an experienced Fife team at Inverkeithing.

Neil, Tommy and Jamie each won one match on the night. Neil won a hard fought five setter against Davy Duffy where he played some sublime back hand winners. Tommy also opened up with a five set victory v Maurice Whitelaw which could have went either way as it was 9-9 in the fifth but Tommy’s advantage of having serve for the last two points proved crucial. Jamie managed a fine 3 set victory v Maurice where he waited patiently on his opportunities to attack and done well to win the first set when 10-7 down. This gave him confidence to narrowly take the remaining sets.

However, all West Lothian players found one match each very tough with all losing in straight sets in one match.Tommy and Jamie lost in straight sets against Neil Hoggan where his attacking forehand proved too much for the Toners. Neil lost in straight sets against Maurice where he struggled to get in a position to attack.

The other 3 defeats in the singles were the ones that made the difference on the night as on each occasion West Lothian had got their noses in front.

The match of the night was the battle of the two Neil’s where West Lothians Neil performed brilliantly to take it to a fifth set with some brilliant winners against a very tricky and experienced campaigner. Neil had a great comeback in the fifth set to get a match point at 10-9 only to lose the final three points. It was no disgrace to narrowly lose 12-10 in the fifth against Neil Hoggan who has a 100 per cent record in the league this season. Neil deserved the away team man of the match vote on this performance alone and even more so as his own bat was still lost in baggage control fromhis holiday a few days previously. He played the match with a spare bat which could have been the difference but a great effort all the same.

Tommy and Jamie both took a lead against Davy Duffy. Tommy was 2 sets to 1 up and Jamie won the first set. Davy tactically worked out both Tommy and Jamie as the matches went on by winning in 5 sets v Tommy and in 4 sets v Jamie.

To utilise a free second table the doubles were left to the end of the night and Maurice and Davy won 3-1 against Neil and Tommy.

An overall deserved 7-3 win for a Fife team who will surely fighting for promotion with an experienced team. Next up for Fife is a trip to Bathgate to play West Lothian’s Team 8 who are still unbeaten.

 

North Merchiston 1 vs West Lothian 2: 22 October 2018

Buoyed by a surprise Premier league debut win over Edinburgh University I last week, West Lothian 2 travelled to North Merchiston to face their top team – regular Stewart Armitage, plus Geoff Hunter & Neil Innes, both playing up from NM2. 

With star man Lewis Hills ‘rested’ (dropped?) the WL2 team of Davie Fletcher (c) alongside Andy Honeyman & Steve Collins failed to trouble the scorer for much of the first half of the match, finding themselves 0-6 down after the first two rounds of singles, with only 2 sets won by the visitors. A strangely subdued Captain Fletcher failed to get into his stride against either Geoff Hunter or Neil Innes, with lots of unforced errors and none of his usual spark. Andy managed to take a set off Stewart in his opening match, but then after comfortably taking the opening set against arch chopper Geoff, couldn’t keep any consistency in his hitting as Geoff tightened up on his returns and dug deep in his book of defensive trench warfare, Geoff coming back to win 3-1. Steve had just returned from a couple of weeks holiday, and spent most of his (brief) match with solid attacker Neil trying to remember how to play table tennis. By the time he faced Stewart, his rhythm was beginning to return, but unfortunately he had also forgotten that Stewart was a) left handed and b) extremely good at slapping his serves dismissively away for winners.
A big fat ZERO-6 at the doubles – but Andy & Steve found themselves in the unfamiliar position of a healthy 7-1 lead in the 1st set – and then promptly went to pieces as Stewart & Geoff mounted a spirited comeback which included a rare, collectors item Geoff Hunter backhand winner. After losing a tight first set 10-12, Andy & Steve only managed 7 points in the remaining two sets, and at 0-7 down going into the final singles, WL2 were dreading having to answer the Lewis text “how’s it going, lads….?” 🙄
Although by this stage playing only for pride, all three players dug deep and produced their best table tennis of the night. Steve won an entertaining and energetic five setter against Geoff – managing to take control with some thumping smashes but patiently mixing up controlled attack with short touch play around the net. Geoff covered a huge amount of ground in battling back to win sets 2 & 4, but Steve hit some clinical winners when it mattered and avoided too many wild shots to clinch the fifth set 11-7.
Finally a win on the board! Next up was Neil vs Andy – this was only going to ever be a shootout! Despite Neil taking the first two sets – keeping Andy firmly on the back foot, Andy retaliated with some ferocious hitting, blasting forehand after forehand through Neil’s defences, and throwing in some devilish serves and some solid defensive play – taking the 4th set with a sweet backhand block down the line….hmm, I wonder where he got that from? The fifth set was a tense affair as Neil hit back with some winners of his own, but Andy kept his nerve and closed out the match 11-9 with another flurry of forehands.
Now at this point, it’s worth mentioning that seldom has a WL2 match report been written with such scant mention of Captain Fletch. Indeed, Davie had spent the previous three matches on the sideline, watching his team-mates mount a mini fightback and rue his own poor form in his first 2 matches plus the fact that he was playing Merchiston’s top gun – Stewart Armitage – next. For those of you familiar with Captain Fletch, you know that at this point he isn’t contemplating ‘let’s go through the motions and get home for tea’. No, no, no. He’s thinking….’WEAPONS GRADE TABLE TENNIS INCOMING”💣
The next few minutes saw what can only be described as a leadstorm of ferocious hitting, as Davie went through his extensive playbook of outrageous forehand bombs, including a round-the-net Scud missile of a forehand in about the 4th point of the opening set, which certainly got Stewart’s attention. Add in some backhand topspin crosscourt exocets, a couple more forehand airstrikes (down the line but played from about 3 feet off his backhand corner) – yes this was vintage Fletch! Stewart seemed slightly stunned by this barrage, but soon decided to join in with some wide forehand firecrackers of his own. The points rattled by like machine gun fire – this wasn’t one for the lovers of a rally.12-10 12-10 to Stewart, then Davie taking the third 11-9 before finally running out of steam (or ammo) in the fourth set 5-11.
So a 2-8 loss, which certainly didn’t feel like a win, but at least it did feel that WL2 could compete (when they kept their focus) – and it was certainly an entertaining evening of matches, played with great sportsmanship by both teams. WL2 voted Stewart M-o-t-M for North Merchiston, and Andy was voted star player of the night by the hosts for his win against Neil. At least that’s a tricky fixture out of the way – now who’s next….oh it’s Murrayfield I. Welcome to the Premier!

Match Report Team 9, and Division 4 season so far…

West Lothian Team 9 remain unbeaten for the season and  joined West Lothian Team 8 at the top of the league with an 8-2 victory away to Edinburgh University on Friday night.

Youngsters Jamie Toner and Aidan Kerr were again the stars for the team. Jamie won all 3 single matches not dropping a set all night and Aidan had two great wins including a 5 set victory coming back from 2-1 down. Aidan had been suffering from the cold all week and after an energy sapping 5 setter he  asked to sit out the doubles match. Tommy Toner stepped in and with his son Jamie beside him took the doubles comfortably in straight sets. It was a good win for Team 9 as they were missing their experienced player Neil Webb who no doubt will be practicing while on holiday! 

Great result for Tommy, Jamie and Aiden in latest league match 👍

Our other division 4 teams (Team 8 and Team 7) have also started the season well. Team 8 led by the experienced Dave Stephen are also unbeaten with youngsters Jordan Welsh and David Macrae performing well. Dave leads the way in the player rankings for the Division winning 100 per cent of games with young Jamie lying second with an 80% win ratio.

Bob Lander has won 75% of his games for Team 7 who alongside Ros Beck and John McLeod have won 3 and lost 2 so far this season. 

Teams 8 and 9 sitting pretty atop the league, and team 7 not far away either, could it be a 1, 2, 3 by end of season 🤔

Lots of WLTTC players in the top rankings 😁

Return to the National League: Round 1-3, @ Bells Sports Centre, Perth on 13 October 2018

WLTTC has returned to the Scottish National League fold having played the first three fixtures yesterday with a team comprising Lewis Hills, Dave Fletcher & Andy Honeyman. A first win of 4-2 against Dundee was followed by 6-0 defeats of Edinburgh International & Joe Wilson (North Lanarkshire) to see them top the table with Edinburgh University. Lewis was undefeated while Dave & Andy dropped one apiece. Bet Dave slept well last night as he seems to have developed a penchant for five enders! Full details on the SNL website: SNL Division 5 Table

 

The team before the fun began…

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