AS SOON as West Lothian Table Tennis Club reached its goal – Edinburgh Premier status – it decided as a matter of strategy to increase its league participation by entering a further two teams, making five teams in all.
The new teams were intended to provide much-needed experience to the younger and newer players at the club, and both were accepted into Division Three.
With almost half the season gone both teams are in an excellent position to gain promotion.
In second-top spot is West Lothian D team, whose regular team comprises the experienced Drew McLaren, who mentors two youngsters in their first season playing at this level.
However, Daniel MacKay and Kieran Boyle have both performed particularly well – such that McLaren’s words of wisdom are rarely needed.
Their second place has been achieved through a 100 per cent record, putting them only two points behind the league leaders but with two games in hand.
At an individual level McLaren also has a 100 per cent record and is proving himself too good for this division, but the club owes him a debt of gratitude for dropping a division to coach and mentor his younger comrades.
The West Lothian E team currently lies fourth with two losses from six games – though one of the defeats was incurred after a penalty due to a registration problem.
Last week a team comprising Jim Stewart, Benny Flockhart and John Swift trounced bottom team, North Merchiston, 10-0.
Both Flockhart and Swift are league newcomers, but Stewart, like McLaren, has experience in the higher divisions.
They too, have two postponed matches and wins would take them into the Third Division.
Such is their current form and strength in depth that both teams are in with a good shout for promotion.
If things are looking great in Division Three, they are looking even better in Division Two where the C team top the table with eight straight victories.
Such is their dominance of this division that the team has a record of 69 wins against 11 losses.
Last week they beat second-placed Corstorphine 8-2 with their now regular trio of Kevin Milne, Keith MacKay and Zbigniew Stryzewski.
On the night MacKay was undefeated but Milne lost his first game of the season. Again, promotion chances look good.
In Division One the B team dropped a point in a 5-5 draw against North Berwick for whom former West Lothian player Bill Fleming registered two wins.
West Lothian’s Andy MacDougall returned to form with two singles wins and also combined with Andy Wyles for a win in the doubles.
The other two victories went to Wyles and Ian Wodecki with one win apiece. Wodecki’s win was of particular importance because he was playing his first match at this level.
The A Team capped a great week for the West Lothian club by winning 6-4 against Edinburgh Sports Club in a Premier Division match.
New signing Brian Hunter capped a fine display by winning two of his three singles encounters and joining team captain Lewis Hills in a doubles win.
Last season George Flanagan swept all before him in Division One and after a slow start in the top division is now finding his feet and matched Hunter with two wins.
Club champion Hills was unlucky not to win more than just one of his singles.
This win now takes the team from the bottom of the division and there is now every justification for believing that this victory can provide the impetus for moving up the league.
With only one point dropped from five games the club is excited about its end-of -season finishing positions because there is the potential within the club to compete at even higher levels.