Once again we are delighted to report success for Penicuik players at a National competition. This time the stakes were huge, with places at next year’s Men’s World Championships up for grabs. Penicuik were represented by Stephane Maurage (playing with Paul Bretenoux (Stirling), Johnny Wilson and Robbie Stronach (both from Fochabers)) and Colin Stewart (playing with Istvan Poka (Troon) and Derek Adam (Inverleith)).
Fochabers PC were the hosts for the weekend long competition between the top 12 ranked teams in the country. The format was a Round Robin resulting in 11 games.
Stephane’s team were drawn to play Colin’s team in round 2 making for an early showdown, both teams being amongst the favourites to take the title overall. With so much at stake tensions were very high and the round 2 match lasted well over two hours. The lead changed hands a few times in the game and both teams had the chance to close out the game but failed to take the chance. In the end Colin’s team won the match 13-11 which put them in a strong position early on. But they knew Stephane’s team would in all likelihood would be snapping at their heels from then on. Colin’s team needed to keep winning.
Sadly, a narrow loss in round 4 against a team of players from Perth who played out their skins meant that Colin’s team’s strong position did not last long. With Stephane’s team restoring their winning ways for the rest of the day, both teams ended day one with 5 wins from 6 with Stephane’s team having superior points difference and holding the lead narrowly.
Day two brought the threat of seriously bad weather although, in the end, all the players had to contend with were a few heavy showers and blustery wind. Colin’s team won their first 3 games whilst a slip from Stephane’s team in round 9 caused the lead to change hands once more. If Colin’s team could win their last two games they would be the winners without worrying about what any other team did.
Colin’s team lost their 10th round game however, leaving the whole competition outcome unsure going into the final round. By this time there were 3 teams (including Pretty Vacant from Fochabers who had quietly ‘come up on the rails’ on 8 wins from 10 and any one of them could win the title.
Pretty Vacant posted a strong final round win to really put the pressure on both Colin’s and Stephane’s teams. Colin’s team won a scrappy final game by a three point margin leaving them narrowly in second place with one game still going – that of Stephane’s team. If Stephane’s team won they game they would be champions, if not they would fall into 3rd place.
In the end, Stephane’s team won a very tense game 13-11 to take the title. Although 3 teams had 9 wins from 11 they had the better points difference. Colin’s team had to settle for a disappointing 3rd place.
So congratulations to Stephane who will be part of the team to travel to Tahiti in November 2014 for the Men’s World Championships. Stephane and Colin also did enough to qualify for the Scotland A squad for the Celtic Challenge in May next year, also in Fochabers.