Table tennis: Penicuik reports

Abby Wighton  was in great form as Penicuik progressed to the semi-finals of the annual League Cup Competition
Abby Wighton was in great form as Penicuik progressed to the semi-finals of the annual League Cup Competition

With a break from regular league action in week 20 of the Edinburgh and Lothians Table Tennis League, attention turned to the annual League Cup competition.

The last two seasons have seen success for the club with Greig McDonell, Iain Johnstone and Abby Wighton combining to win the cup for the first time in the Club’s history in Season 2013/14 and reaching the semi-finals last season.

The same trio had again advanced to the quarter final stage and they faced an away fixture against West Lothian 9 with a semi-final place up for grabs.

The West Lothian trio all play regularly in Division 4 and the handicapped format of the competition meant that the Bathgate based team held significant advantages in each of the matches played.

In Match 1 Greig failed to overturn a 0-19 deficit in a race to 23 points as the visitors went 1-0 down. Matches two and three were to prove crucial. Abby gave a five point start to her opposite number, Stuart Gibson in a race to 12 and held her nerve to win in four tight ends. Iain then clawed back a 14 point deficit against John Crilly as he squeezed home in the fifth and deciding end of his first match by 18 points to 16. That result gave the Penicuik trio a 2-1 match lead. The Bathgate side put up dogged resistance and stayed in the match courtesy of two wins for Stuart against Greig and Iain. As the last two matches of the night were played simultaneously, Penicuik held a 4-3 lead knowing that one victory would book them a semi-final slot. The visitors got over the line as Greig came back from 0-19 to defeat John in three straight ends and Abby defeated Kenny in four ends to give a final score of 6-3 to the Penicuik side. Abby was delighted with her performance on the night, the only undefeated player in the match and the trio now look forward to their third consecutive semi-final appearance later in the season.

Meanwhile, a number of outstanding fixtures were caught up on in the league. In Division 1 Penicuik 3 faced Fife 1 without their best player, Iain Johnstone, who was on cup duty. Krzysztof Lazkiewicz stepped up from Division 2 to join regulars Brian Bailey and Clive Liddiard.

In a stroke of good fortune for team three, the visitors turned up at Penicuik under-strength and it went down to the final match of the night between Clive and his opposite number. In a tense encounter, Clive held his form to win 11-7 in the deciding end and with it the home team secured a terrific 6-4 win.

In Division 3, Penicuik 5 also faced opposition from over the water as they visited Fife 3, without regular Gregory Leplatre. Luke Hennessey stepped up from Division 4 as his replacement and caused Penicuik’s selection Committee some headaches as he showed what great progress he has made this year with the performance of the night winning all three of his singles matches. Team captain, John Bald won two and Phil Daly won 1 as the Penicuik side recorded an excellent 6-4 win.

Finally, there was an intra-club fixture at Ladywood as Penicuik’s seventh and eighth teams met for the second time this year in Division 4.

Team seven had to cope with the late call off through illness of Millie Bennett who was replaced by Martyn Levy from team eight - he did his team mates no favours winning two singles whilst regulars Craig Johnson and Stuart Bennett were undefeated on the night as team seven ran out comfortable 9-1 winners.