The matches between teams 3 and 4 in the draw (Corstorphine 5 and Edinburgh Sports Club) and between teams 23 and 24 (Corstorphine 2 and Lothians and Border Police) are still to be played, and I do hope that they happen soon. All other matches have duly been played. To pick a few notable performances:
Brian Bridson (handicap -7) of Edinburgh International 6, who overcame his dislike of the format and registered his team’s only win in their submerging by the unexpected members of North Merchiston 2, and had a match point against the accomplished Eddie Scott. (North Merchiston Club must be glad that this year they entered two teams in the Cup, rather than their usual one!);
Lindsay Muir (-12) of Murrayfield 3, who won his three against Penicuik 1, but found insufficient support from family and friend alike, so Penicuik won 5-4;
Similarly, Charlie Ellis (-15) of Murrayfield 1 showed just how good and adaptable a player he is, by winning his three against the young guns and the gnarled veteran of Edinburgh International 3. I saw two of his three matches, and he played, at times, at a level that most players in the Edinburgh League can only dream of, in all aspects of the game – serve, close chopped return of serve; and speed, spin and fleetfootedness once a rally developed; and hitting the ball with spitting venom equally on both backhand and forehand wings. Alas, like his clubmate Lindsay Muir, Charlie’s teammates did not follow his lead and so Edinburgh International held their nerve in the tight closing matches to win 5-4;
But the match of the first round was the visit of North Merchiston 1 (Kirsten Atkinson (-7), Geoff Hunter (-12) and Anna Porsch (+4)) to Edinburgh Sports Club 1 (Graham Sutherland (-16), Martin Mackay (-14) and Scott McKenzie (-12)) This was the classic 3 against 3 encounter from times past (before we started playing doubles in the League!) in that it went to nine matches, and nobody won their three, but equally nobody lost their three, hence 2, 2, 1 beating 2, 1, 1. Geoff found it quite a draining night, but the highlight must be the match between Anna (+4) and Graham (-16), so Anna started 20 points up, playing to 27. In one particular end Graham won the first 18 points, but somehow Anna hung on to win that end, and, I think, that match. North Merchiston won 5-4 overall, a great night of table-tennis which all enjoyed.
Forthcoming second-round matches
You will see from the draw sheet on the Handicap cup page of the website that in the first round matches, the winning teams are shown in red. I’ve squeezed in the actual match score immediately after the team names, so for instance in the match between teams 9 and 10, the result was Corstorphine 3 one win, West Lothian 3 five wins. So in the second round, the home teams are shown in CAPITALS, so that for instance WEST LOTHIAN 3 will host Penicuik 1. Oh, I realise that it may be necessary to use substitutes in the second round, but just a wee reminder that no more than five players can play for any given team throughout the entire competition, and, of course, nobody can have played for more than one team! The grid of League fixtures showed the second round of the handicap cup as taking place in the week beginning 23rd December 2013, which really was a bit optimistic! Could I urge all teams to play their second-round matches as soon as mutually convenient. The League will discuss the progress of the second round at its committee meeting later in January.