Featured post

Welcome to St Andrews Table Tennis Club

clubFife_logo_providerSt Andrews Table Tennis Club provides both competitive and recreational playing opportunities for all levels.
Informal adult beginner/returner sessions, “The Rascals”, are led by Elaine Forbes. Rascals normally meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9.15 to 11.15am though this depends on School holidays and hall availability. There are also “occasional” evening sessions. Anyone who is interested in joining the Club’s activities is invited to click on the contact page and submit their details. You will then be contacted as soon as spaces become available.

For the 2022-2023 season, the Club has three teams competing in the Dundee and District League:
Truants: Graham, Howard, Knut
Swots: Ian, Martin, Sandy
New Kids: Charlie, Chris, Dave, Lilian, Victor, Ryan

Some action from our competitive matches can be viewed on the club’s YouTube channel

Mid season standings

Two of St Andrews Table Tennis Club’s three teams will feel a fair
amount of satisfaction with their performances over the first half of
the season, but Truants are currently four points adrift at the bottom
of Division Two of the Dundee League and will be hoping that 2023 brings
them better fortune in being able to field Howard Lee and Graham Wood
more regularly than has proved the case in the last three months.

The last week of competitive play in 2022 brought important challenges
for the three teams. Swots travelled to Lundin sports Club for a Fife
derby against current Division 2 leaders, Lasers. While Ian Smith,
Sandy Pearson and Martin Turnbull each managed a singles win, the 3-7
defeat failed to advance their league position from midtable fourth place.

New Kids’ trio of Charlie Ross, Chris Wroniecki and Victor Trojan made
the long journey to Brechin fortunately just a few hours before the
snowstorm hit the east coast. Hoping for a good win which would mean
they would leapfrog opponents Buccaneers, the threesome didn’t quite hit
the heights and also went down 3-7 with Charlie managing two wins and
Chris one. This result also leaves them in the middle of a very tight
Division 3 in which only 7 points separate second from fifth.

Following Truants’ disappointment at losing 2-5 to Defenders in the semi
final of the Secondary Shield, they rallied to register a 5-5 draw with
closest league rivals Telecoms and must hope that this will be a
springboard to climbing the table to escape relegation.

Competitive play now pauses until the next league matches scheduled for
11th January.

Dave Goddard

Dave Goddard

Dave Goddard

Members and friends of St Andrews Table Tennis Club were greatly saddened to learn of the death of David Goddard at the age of 57. Dave was a well-known character in the Dundee & District Table Tennis League and served as Match Secretary for a time. Dave played for many years for Barons at the Mylnefield Club. The trio of Dave, Fabio Sani and Derek Johnston were a formidable and collegial team. More recently he played for the Prospects at the St Andrews Club where he linked up again with Fabio. On the table, his serves were spinny and tricky to handle. He won a lot of points from forcing a weak return and attacking the third ball. Alongside table tennis practice, Dave loved socialising with Club members whether that was chatting over coffee, sharing a curry, enjoying a drink in the pub, consuming Wendy’s cakes, or visiting players in their homes. He had very warm personality and a great sense of humour. The Club trip to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow with Dave at the heart of the fun is a special memory. He will be greatly missed.



Davewith Sandy and Jon

The Prospects (left to right: Sandy, Dave and Jon)

Another Prospects line up. Left to Right: Fabio, Dave and Ian Brumwell



The Barons – from the left: Fabio, Derek and Dave










Gillian Edwards and Dave enjoy a selfie at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow

Dave with St Andrews’ players supporting Team England at the Commonwealth Games

League season update

With the first round of matches completed in the Dundee & District League, St Andrews TTC’s three teams have been experiencing mixed fortunes.

Pride of place goes to Swots who are currently sitting in second place  in Division Two. Ian Smith has had a very sound start to the season with an excellent average of 72%. He has been well supported by Sandy Pearson on 61 % and, perhaps the most pleasing aspect is Martin Turnbull’s 53 % in his first season at this level.

Martin in action

Unfortunately, clubmates Truants are holding up the division in seventh place. This is largely attributable to various circumstances meaning that leading players Graham Wood and Howard Lee have rarely both been
available for the same match but hopefully this problem is now behind them and they can gather up more points on the run in to the festive break.

In Division Three, the most regular threesome of Dave Beveridge, Charlie Ross and Victor Trojan have steered the team to fourth position and the addition of former Stirlingshire player Ryan Campbell to the competitive
branch of the club augurs well for future results, with Ryan making an unbeaten debut on Wednesday evening.

The social TT side of the club is also flourishing, with an excellent turnout at Cosmos Community Centre every Tuesday and Thursday morning enjoying mainly doubles play. New players are always welcome to come along and join in the fun.

Cup games open the new season

Competitive table tennis got underway this week in Dundee and District
with the first round of the Secondary Shield which involved all three of
St Andrews TTC’s teams.

First to the table on Tuesday evening were Truants, taking on
Mylnefield’s Lairds at Gauldry. Happy to say that Truants were certainly
not posted missing on this occasion with Graham Wood, Howard Lee and
Knut Radmer each scoring two wins to advance to the quarter finals of
the competition.

On Wednesday evening at Cosmos Community Centre, New Kids found the
going tough against Defenders from Forthill. A 3-6 defeat means that the
“Kids” now move into the Consolation Cup. Clubmates Swots were severely
tested by Duffers, also from Forthill, but came through with a 5-4
victory. Star of the evening was Ian Smith (pictured) who scored an
unbeaten treble. Sandy Pearson and Chris Wroniecki backed up Ian’s
victories with a win each, Chris holding his nerve to win the deciding
match with the score at 4-4.

While the teams now move on from cup to league play, the club’s social
sessions continue to attract a cheery group of players on Tuesday and
Thursday mornings at Cosmos.

Summer success

Dundee & District’s Summer League has been adjudged a great success by
the five St Andrews players who took part -but perhaps their domination
of the event was largely responsible for this view.

The competition took on a new format for this summer : teams were made
up of three players who each played their opposite number in a singles
and then combined to play doubles with each teammate giving six ties per

It was particularly pleasing for the club that three “Rascals” made
their competitive debuts. Jie and Lilian joined forces with Sandy and
put up a tremendous display in every match. Myke K benefitted not only
from the experience of Charlie but the St Andrews pair also had the good
fortune to be drawn with Andrew Nimmo (Mylnefield) as their No
1. Undefeated as a team, they were the only threesome who inflicted
defeat on Sandy, Jie and Lillian.

The photos show Myke, Andrew and Charlie with their winners’ trophies at WRG
and also the “Famous Five” celebrating St Andrews success in more
informal fashion.

Howard wins hardbat

Hard men play hard bat

Unfazed by the sizzling temperatures, seven members of St Andrews Table Tennis Club donned their shorts and rolled up their sleeves to compete in the club’s annual hardbat championship. The sandpaper covering proved a great leveller, which meant that neither did any player win all six of his matches nor did any player lose all his games. Eventual winner of the Legacy Trophy with five wins from six was Howard Lee, with three players tied for second place on four wins each – Graham Wood, Dave Beveridge and Charlie Ross.



The Legacy Shield was presented to Howard (right) by former Club Chair, Neil Lea (left).

From the week commencing 22nd August, the club’s autumn adult programme starts at Cosmos Community Centre. Morning sessions are held weekly on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9.15 to 11.15, while play also gets underway on Wednesday evenings between 6.30 and 8.30.

News from the Club AGM

At the St Andrews Table Tennis Club AGM held at Cosmos Community Centre,
members reflected on the past season largely on a positive note but
tinged with deep sadness at the passing of Kong Wan, their longest
serving player.

Club Chair Sandy presents Martin with the Neilson Trophy

At the end of business, Club Chair Sandy Pearson presented Martin Turnbull with the Neilson Trophy, paying tribute to Martin’s excellent results in his first season of competitive play which culminated in him winning the Dundee & District Division Three Challenge trophy.

In the District’s Summer League, the two teams featuring St Andrews players continue their great start with both unbeaten. Having joined forces with Andrew Nimmo from Mylnefield, Charlie Ross and Myke Tiernan have won four matches in four starts, while Sandy and team mates Jie Guo and Lilian Horton have won two and drawn one of their fixtures.


The Club is always on the lookout to welcome new players, especially those with competitive experience. Anyone interested in finding out more should submit a message using the CONTACT US tab.

Summer League

While the major league now has its four month break, five local table
tennis players have signed up for the Summer League being organised in
Dundee & District. Charlie Ross and Myke Kiernan have joined  with young
Mylnefield hotshot Andrew Nimmo to form a team, while Sandy Pearson, Jie
Guo and Lilian Horton have combined as a St Andrews team. Making their
competitive debuts last Monday, it would be fair to say that Jie and
Lilian were a little nervous but they got off to an absolute flier. With
the benefit of Sandy’s sound advice as well as playing ability, they
were undefeated in singles and doubles against the much more experienced
Rob Fotheringham, Lee Nixon and Heather Gunn. The photo shows that the three
haven’t stopped grinning since their victory!

Play on a social basis continues throughout the summer at Cosmos Centre.When the school holidays begin, the day time sessions will pause, but practice will be held on Tuesday evenings from 6.30 to 8.30 starting from 5th July.

It’s alright on the night

Last Monday turned into a case of “alright on the night” for two of
the St Andrews TTC league teams without them actually lifting a bat!

In Division Two, Truants were already stress free with a midtable fourth
place finish but clubmates Swots had to await the outcome of the very
last match between Comets and Barons which had been pushed by a Covid
postponement beyond the normal end of season date. A 7-3 win for Barons
meant that Swots could breathe a sigh of relief with a fifth place
finish which will ensure Second Division status for them next season, an
achievement which seemed beyond then a few weeks back when they were
firmly anchored to the bottom. Credit goes to Ian Smith, Sandy Pearson
and Louis MacLeod for never giving up the fight, and grateful thanks
also go to substitute Ivan Szabolcs who was undefeated in two matches
after the sad loss of team captain Kong Wan in the last weeks of the season.

In Division Three, New Kids also were watching with interest the final
tie between Duffers and Sputniks, a Forthill derby. Again the result
went the St Andrews’ team’s way, but by the narrowest of margins. The
resulting 8-2 win for Sputniks meant that Duffers could not overtake New
Kids who finished in fourth place by a single point.

All players deserve credit for bringing the club timeously to the end of
a competitive season fraught with Covid-related problems. Howard Lee and
Graham Wood anchored Truants with averages of 62% and 61% respectively
while Ian Smith scored 51% for Swots. Dave Beveridge proved top New Kid
in the Division Three averages with 64% and  Charlie Ross scored 51%.
Martin Turnbull and Victor Trojan should be pleased with their returns
in their first competitive season, with Martin finely poised on 50% wins
while Vic won 12 matches from 30 outings.

Two more Dundee and District invitation events will still involve the
Division Three squad, but otherwise competitive play is over until
September. However, practice and social sessions will continue at Cosmos
Community Centre over the league break. While unfortunately the club is
currently unable to offer sessions to youngsters, we are pleased to hear
from any adults who would like to pick up a bat.

The league season draws to a close

The three St Andrews Table Tennis Club teams have now finished their league campaigns but results from delayed matches involving other clubs are awaited before final positions are verified.

In Division Two, Truants finished with a pleasing 5-5 draw against higher placed Defenders (Forthill) to give them a definite fourth place. However, such peace of mind is still not enjoyed by their clubmates, Swots, whose  current fifth place would guarantee them a place in this division next season. However, Forthill’s Comets in seventh place still have one match outstanding and could arithmetically overtake Swots. The trio of Ian Smith, Ivan Szabolcs and Louis MacLeod fought hard to secure a 5-5 draw against Mylnefield’s Barons in their final match with this result going a long way to put them in their semi-comfortable position.

In Division Three, New Kids finished with a fine 9-1 victory against Missiles. The Kids currently sit in fourth place, but they too are awaiting the result from one outstanding match to find out if they have been nudged into fifth. Whatever the outcome, it has been a good season for the team given the introduction of two “rookies”, Martin Turnbull and Victor Trojan who joined the experienced Charlie Ross and Dave Beveridge in scoring a number of fine wins.

The Kids: from left, Dave, Charlie, Victor and Martin

Despite the end of the competitive season, play continues at Cosmos Community Centre throughout the spring with sessions on Tuesday and Thursday mornings and Wednesday evenings.

Neil is the new 007

Sandy (left) presenting Neil with his certificate of Honorary Membership

The highlight of this week was not an amazing forehand smash but instead a special presentation. With former Chair Neil Lea reaching a landmark birthday, his years of service to the Club were recognised with the award of honorary membership, and honour previously only accorded to six people. Noting that Neil could now be addressed as 007, current Chair Sandy Pearson paid tribute to Neil’s contribution over many seasons  as a player, as a committee member and, most importantly, as a welcoming figure to all newcomers which has encouraged many to join in the sport.

News from this week’s matches was mixed. In the quarter finals of the Handicap Cup, Swots found the allocated margins too steep and went out 10- 3 to Sputniks at Forthill. However, with their precarious Division Two position perhaps more to the forefront of their minds, the Swots
threesome of Sandy Pearson, Ian Smith and Louis MacLeod dug deep in the club derby against higher placed Truants’ trio of Graham Wood, Howard Lee and Charlie Ross. With the scoreline 4-2 in Truants’ favour after two rounds of singles, a marathon doubles followed with Truants edging home 11-9 in the fifth which meant that they could not lose the match overall. Knowing how important every point might prove at the end of the season, each Swot rose to the challenge to win his last encounter to end the evening with a 5-5 scoreline.

In the other half of the sports hall at Cosmos Community Centre, New Kids were finding the going tough against Brechin’s Buccaneers who were in their best form of the season. Despite the St Andrews’ players trying their full range of tactics, they went down 2-8 with only  a singles win from Martin Turnbull who then combined with Dave Beveridge for a victory in the doubles.

Martin and Sandy triumph in Tournaments

It was a busy week for St Andrews players with both league and tournament play on the schedule.  In Division Two, it was an important week for Swots. A faultless start by Ian Smith, Louis MacLeod and Sandy Pearson say them race into a 3-0 lead against Comets at Forthill, and they built on this to go 6-1 ahead after three more singles and the doubles. Unfortunately the last three encounters slipped away, but the 6-4 victory has lifted them off the bottom of the table, albeit by one point and so the danger of relegation still looms. Also in Division Two, Truants found Mylnefield Barons too strong and succumbed 2-8, but the positive from this match was a return to league play for Knut Radmer who has been kept off the table by illness for most of the season.

An uncharacteristic result was New Kids 0-10 whitewash by Sputniks at
Forthill. Charlie Ross and Martin Turnbull will no doubt claim in retrospect that they were saving themselves to peak at the Division Two & Three Championships held at Ward Road Gym in Dundee on Saturday.

Martin in action

The five St Andrews players who took part made a serious impact on the destination of the day’s trophies. Dave Beveridge joined Charlie and Martin in dominating the Division Three event, with the trio taking up
three of the four semi-final slots. Martin finished strongly to defeat teammate Dave in five games, while Charlie went down to Plebeians’ Andy Reid, but Martin gained revenge for the Fife club in the final with an outstanding straight games victory to claim the title- a great achievement for Martin in his first season of competitive play. Playing in the Division Two event, Louis and Sandy finished second and third respectively, but Sandy got his name on a trophy with a win in the Ballot Doubles, partnering Bill Beattie from Mylnefield to round off a good day’s play.

Tribute to Kong Wan

St Andrews Table Tennis club members were hugely saddened to learn of the death of Kong Wan last weekend. Kong (pictured) was the club’s longest-serving member still playing in the league at the age of 81. He joined in 1982/83 and represented the club’s teams with distinction in the Dundee League over forty years and serving on the St Andrews’ committee for most of this time. His pen-grip style, his sportsmanship and his friendship will be much missed.

Kong’s work on Quantum Mechanics







Earlier in the week, two of the St Andrews teams faced the same opponent in Telecoms but with differing outcomes. On Tuesday evening, Telecoms ran out 6-4 winners against Truants, with two wins from Howard Lee and one each from Martin Turnbull and Graham Wood not quite enough to secure victory. However, on Wednesday night at Cosmos, Sandy Pearson and Ian Smith both were pleased to score a double but were happy to give the headlines to new club member Ivan Szabolcs, who returned three wins on his debut to give an overall 7-3 scoreline.

On the same evening, New Kids were delighted with their third win of the season over Duffers from Forthill. Dave Beveridge won twice as did Martin Turnbull and they combined to win the doubles tie. With Charlie Ross also chipping in with a singles win, the overall scoreline finished 6-4 in New Kids’ favour.

A busy week for Sandy

A busy week of fixtures in the Dundee and District Table Tennis League
saw Second Division Swots take to the road twice. In a rearranged match
against Barons from the Mylnefield Club, Louis MacLeod was on top form to win his
three encounters. With Ian Smith and Sandy Pearson ably backing him up,
the team scored a very pleasing 6-4 victory. However, Louis’s form sadly
did not go with him to Forthill Sports Club the following evening when
he and Sandy were unable to put wins on the score sheet against
Defenders to back up a hugely impressive three victories from Ian in a 7-3 defeat.

A super busy Sandy gamely set off for the third night in a row to guest for Truants
in the long haul up to Brechin and he was rewarded when, along with
Howard Lee and Graham Wood, he took the scalp of reserve player Stewart Ferguson. Three points for Truants against the runaway Division Two leaders could prove
very useful in the final league table as few clubs have gained anything
on their travels to Guthrie Park.

Injury and non-availability of players for Division Three side New Kids
meant that Charlie Ross and Martin Turnbull faced a nigh- impossible
task at Forthill against Tigers. Both recorded wins against Marion
Davidson and they were unlucky not to win the doubles tie after leading
2-0, but in the end the scoreline was a predictable 2-8 loss.

A good week for New Kids and Truants

It was back to earth win a bang for St Andrews TTC’s Swots. Riding high on the back of two excellent cup wins the previous week against Barons and Buccaneers, the trio of Sandy Pearson, Ian Smith and Louis MacLeod had hopes of striking terror into the runaway Division Two leaders Guthrie Park. However, the magic disintintegrated with the Brechin side heading home with all ten points.

The week was far from a write off for Sandy though as he contributed two excellent wins when guesting for Truants in their match against Forthill’s Comets. With “Captain Dependable” Graham Wood winning his three singles and Howard Lee two along with victory in the doubles, it added up to an excellent 8-2 win for Truants.

In Division Three, New Kids also enjoyed success with a 9-1 win against Squires from Mylnefield TTC. Indeed, the threesome of Charlie Ross, Martin Turnbull and Victor Trojan only just lost out on a clean sweep when Vic was pipped 13-15 in the fifth set by Steve Wilson after an absolute marathon of a tie with no game being won by more than two points

Swots top of the class

In a very busy week of cup matches in local table tennis circles, St Andrews TTC’s Swots enjoyed two excellent wins. Their trio of Ian Smith, Sandy Pearson and Louis MacLeod crossed the bridge to take on Barons at Ward Road Gym in a Stanley Doubles tie. With the first four matches shared, the threesome then hit top form to reel off the next three in straight sets to advance to the next round. Two nights later they set off on the long haul to Brechin to face Buccaneers in the second round of the Handicap Cup where they continued in the same manner, returning with a 10-4 victory under their belts.

Clubmates Charlie Ross, Martin Turnbull and Victor Trojan did not enjoy the same good fortune with New Kids losing 0-6 to Forthill’s Tigers in the Stanley Doubles and also going down 2-16 to Villa in the Handicap Cup.

Meanwhile, Truants’ results fell between the two extremes of Swots and New Kids. In the Handicap Cup, Howard Lee, Graham Wood and Dave Beveridge played out one of the closest ties of the round in overcoming Division One Aces. With super-sub Dave making the most of his handicap in winning 7 points out of 8, Graham put himself in the position of having to play a shoot out decider at 9-9 against Grant Williams. The doughty defender held his nerve to give Truants the victory. However, there was no fairy tale ending to the week when, facing the same opponents in the Doubles but without the benefit of handicaps, the trio were beaten 0-6.

Table Tennis competition resumes in 2012

Following a winter break extended by two weeks due to the high rates of Covid infections, play has resumed in the Dundee and District Table Tennis League.

Truants were the first St Andrews team to return to the table against Defenders at Forthill Sports Club. Graham Wood (pictured) was in excellent form, taking two scalps from the higher placed team, and reserve Martin Turnbull pitched in with an excellent five-set victory against the vastly more experienced Ian McLagan but unfortunately Truants had no third player available on the evening and so had to settle for a 7-3 defeat.

New Kids had more success in Broughty Ferry two nights later when they took on bottom of the table Missiles. However, Charlie Ross and Dave Beveridge both had to dig deep to win their first encounters 11-9 in the deciding games, but thereafter they were rarely troubled in each taking a treble and combining to win the doubles. With team mate Victor Trojan adding two wins, the team returned over the bridge with a pleasing 9-1 victory.

Play has also resumed at the over 50’s social sessions at Cosmos Community Centre on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Anyone interested in joining in should drop in to the centre between 9.15 and 11.15.

No consolation in the Consolation Cup

Having enjoyed their best league form of the season in their midweek Division Two encounter, Swots headed over the Tay to Ward Road Gym on Saturday with high hopes of landing a trophy in the team semis and finals of Dundee & District Cup competitions.

The trio of Ian Smith, Sandy Pearson and Louis MacLeod started their campaign well with a 5-1 victory against Buccaneers from Brechin in the semi final of the Consolation Cup. In the final against Telecom, each won one encounter and lost one in the first six ties, going into the final sequence at 3-3. Sandy then lost to David Monteith who remained unbeaten throughout the event. When Ian won to draw Swots level again, it was youth against experience in the deciding ninth match and unfortunately for Swots, student Louis just could not find his comfort zone against the backspin of wily veteran Stewart Clark, losing narrowly 2-3.

At the Cosmos Centre in midweek, however, Swots had been all top attacking play and smiles with an excellent 7-3 victory over Comets from Forthill. Ian Smith scored his first singles treble of the season and Louis pitched in with two wins. Kong Wan picked up a valuable victory over Dougal Ogilvy, two veterans who have been opponents on the table for too many seasons to dare mention! Ian and Louis added an efficient 3-0 doubles win to add to the enjoyment of the evening.

At the same time in the other half of the hall, New Kids were not enjoying as much good fortune against Sputniks, with two wins each from Charlie Ross and Dave Beveridge not enough to prevent a 4-6 loss.

The previous evening, Truants also tasted defeat, going down 3-7 to Mylnefield Barons . Howard Lee, Graham Wood and Ian Smith all defeated Stewart Mason, but had no seasonal joy against the formidable duo of Fiona Kinloch and Andy Hughes.

Lighting up the Cosmos

St Andrews Table Tennis Club is delighted to have benefitted from a recent grant from St Andrews Community Trust which has enabled an upgrade to the sports hall lighting to be carried out in Cosmos Community Centre. This not only makes the hall one of the best and brightest facilities for table tennis in the Dundee & District League but also means that the Tuesday and Thursday morning Over 50’s social TT group can’t blame the lighting for any “ropey” play! The club welcomes any adults who would like to join in these sessions to drop in between 9.15 and 11.15 a.m.

The upgrade has also been welcomed by many other community groups who use the facility and David Murray from the Community Trust urges other organisations in the town to contact the Trust at www.standrewscommunitytrust.co.uk  if they have a project which may be appropriate for a funding application. The photo shows TT Club Chair Sandy Pearson (centre) and club members welcoming David and Steve Spackman ( Chair of Cosmos Management Committee) who dropped in to check out the recently completed work.

Young guns overcome golden oldies in Eglinton Trophy

Louis and Emma with the Eglinton Trophy

It was a busy week on the table tennis tables at Cosmos Community Centre last week when St Andrews Club members were delighted to be able to compete once again for the Eglinton Trophy in memory of founder member and club stalwart David Eglinton (after cancellation last season because of Covid restrictions). This event, superbly organised by Elaine Forbes, is played in a handicap team format and always makes for an evening of close scoring as members vie for bragging rights against each other. At the end of the evening, the coveted trophy was won by the youngsters Emma Bissett and Louis MacLeod (pictured) with three wins from three, although their matches against the ageing pairings of Graham Wood / Ian Smith and Howard Lee/Sandy Pearson were only won by the narrowest of margins.

Two teams were also in action on Dundee & District league business. Truants’ trio of Graham, Howard and Sandy posted an excellent 8-2 win against Telecom – with Truants sitting only one place higher in the Division Two table than their opponents, this was a very important scoreline.

A good all-round team effort from New Kids’ Dave Beveridge, Martin Turnbull and Charlie Ross saw them finish with a 5-5 draw against Duffers after an exciting night’s play in a very cold Forthill hall in Broughty Ferry.

Hats off to Louis’ fine hat-trick

With Forthill’s Defenders sitting in a strong second place in Division Two and St Andrews’ Swots sitting at the bottom of the table, expectations were realistically low for the home side when they met at Cosmos on Wednesday evening for their Dundee & District league match.
Swots’ team selection was also hit by a foot injury to Sandy Pearson which meant that Kong Wan had to play despite carrying a niggling shoulder injury. However the best tussle of the season ensued with many close match ups and Swots’ student Louis MacLeod producing his finest form so far.

Louis in action

Excellent wins by Ian Smith and Louis put Swots 2-1 up after the first round of singles, and another win from Louis in round two put the score at 3-3 going into the pivotal doubles tie. Ian and Louis went 0-2 down to the experienced pairing of Tony O’Shea and Ken Head but fought back to level at 2-2, only to be agonisingly pipped 11-13 in the fifth. Louis then added his third win of the evening to bring the match score back to 4-4. Ian started well, taking the first end against Tony, but just couldn’t get over the finishing line in the next three games, going down 9-11 in each and with Ken winning in three against Kong, the home team lost out 4-6 overall – but the four points won are invaluable in keeping them in touch with the team above them in the division.


Meanwhile, an equally fascinating tie was played out in the other half of the sports hall. Defenders’ clubmates Tigers were never behind in the match, but St Andrews’ New Kids trio of Charlie Ross , Victor Trojan and Martin Turnbull each chipped in a singles win to gain valuable points and even with the match over for them at 3-6 down, Martin produced the best win of his debut season in beating the vastly experienced Kenny McLean to give another 4-6 finishing score line.

Chas and Dave – the perfect couple

A win and a draw were posted by the two St Andrews teams in action this week in the Dundee & District Table Tennis League. The particularly pleasing aspect of these results was the success of the players in winning the majority of the ties which went to a deciding fifth game, thus reversing the early season trend of being edged out of close matches.

In Division Two, Truants travelled to Forthill in Broughty Ferry to take on Comets. With only two points separating them in the league table, a close match was expected but Truants had the ace in the pack with Graham Wood (pictured) undefeated in his three singles. Graham also combined well with Howard Lee to score a valuable 3-0 win in the doubles. With Howard chipping in with a singles win, the overall match score of 5-5 fulfilled the promise of a tight evening’s play.

New Kids travelled over the bridge to Ward Road Gym hoping to reverse the early season defeat they had suffered at the hands of Squires, and it was in the early encounters of this match where New Kids’ resolution held strong as Victor Trojan, Charlie Ross and Dave Beveridge gave the Kids a 3-0 lead, all winning in five games. With “Chas and Dave” now on song, they each added another two singles wins and duetted to win the doubles, their excellent eight point haul keeping them in third place in the Division Three table.

Victor is victorious

There were mixed results for St Andrews teams in their recent matches in the Dundee & District Table Tennis League.

New Kids take the headlines for their 9-1 victory against Forthill’s Missiles. Only the doubles tie was lost, with Dave Beveridge, Martin Turnbull and Victor Trojan each winning their three singles ties. It was a special night for Vic (pictured) in particular as he broke his league “duck.” The nine points have propelled New Kids to third place in Division Three at the end of the first round of league ties.

In their match against Defenders, another Forthill side, Truants managed a very creditable draw. The match swung back and forwards over the evening. Truants started well, going ahead 3-1 with two wins from Howard Lee and one from Graham Wood. Defenders hit back with four in a row to go 5-3 up but up stepped  Sandy Pearson to hold his nerve with a very tight three game victory over the experienced Ian McLagan to keep Truants in the hunt. The final match up between Graham and Richard Tough reflected the evening : Richard took the first, Graham went ahead 2-1, Richard pulled it back to 2-2 but Graham held his nerve to win the fifth comfortably to give Truants the overall draw.

Despite many good performances, Swots just couldn’t get past three wins in each of their ties against Telecom and Barons. Playing at Ward Road Gym against Telecom, they got off to the worst start, losing 0-5 at the halfway stage. They then rallied with singles wins from Ian Smith and Louis MacLeod, who combined well to also win the doubles but having pulled back to 3-5, the last two went Telecom’s way. Playing at Cosmos against Barons, again Swots lost out in the early encounters with only Ian posting a win -although the 1-6 scoreline could have looked so different with a bit of luck for Charlie Ross in going down 11-9 in the fifth against Stewart Mason. Louis and Ian could also have claimed they were mugged in the doubles when, from a 2-0 lead, they lost 11-13, 11-13, 9-11. In the last round of singles, Ian and Louis each managed another win to give a 3-7 scoreline.

With all teams having played six matches, the Division Two table shows Truants in fourth spot. Unfortunately Swots are in bottom place at seventh but are only four points behind sixth placed Telecom and so by no means are cut adrift.

Drama and Entertainment at the Cosmos Centre

Two close matches in the Dundee & District League provided an entertaining night of table tennis at Cosmos Community Centre on Wednesday 27th October.

A derby fixture between the St Andrews Club’s Division Two teams saw Truants leading for most of the encounter, but Swots kept in touch and drew level at 4-4 when Sandy Pearson defeated Louis MacLeod in straight games. In match nine, Howard Lee added to his two earlier wins with a five game defeat of Ian Smith and fellow Truant Graham Wood ensured the 6-4 victory for his team with a 3-0 win over Kong Wan. It was good to see Kong back on the table after a lengthy absence, and indeed he was unlucky not to mark his return with a win, only going down 12-14 to Louis in the fifth set of their tight encounter. Ian was the best Swot on the night with two singles wins as well as pairing up with Sandy to win the doubles against Graham and Howard.

Picture: Martin Turnbull in action. Martin is proving a valuable addition to the club with a number of fine wins against more experienced opponents.

In the other half of the hall, New Kids welcomed Brechin side Buccaneers for a Division Three tie. Another tight match ensued, with a 3-3 scoreline at the end of the first two rounds of singles, Dave Beveridge winning one and Martin Turnbull two for the home side. Martin then only just failed to win his hat=trick, losing 8-11 in the fifth to Stewart Ferguson. Charlie Ross brought new Kids level again with a four set win, but Dave agonisingly lost out 9-11 in the fifth to give the Brechin side the edge again. However, Martin and Charlie rolled up their sleeves and got the 5-5 draw with an excellent 3-0 win in the doubles.

Competitive Table Tennis is back

Due to the pandemic, season 2020/21 was sadly cancelled. The good news is that the St Andrews Club has re-opened and resumed play in the Dundee and District League. Matches started in September. Two of the teams, Truants and New Kids, made it to the quarter final stage of the Secondary Shield cup competition but did not progress.

Playing away at Forthill in Broughty Ferry, Truants never really got
their teeth into the tie against a very strong Defenders threesome, with
Graham Wood and Sandy Pearson only managing one win each in the 7-2
defeat. At Cosmos, New Kids put up a stronger fight against Comets with
wins from Charlie Ross and Louis MacLeod holding the visitors to 2-2 in
the early stages. However, Dougal Ogilvie proved a thorn in the flesh 
of the home side, coming back from a 0-2 deficit twice to defeat both
Dave Beveridge and Charlie in five sets.With only Louis managing one
more win for New Kids, the final scoreline was a 3-6 defeat.

Returning to league business, results seem to be following a pattern
from earlier weeks. Truants again couldn’t quite get over the line
against Barons despite an excellent performance from Howard Lee who took
two singles and combined with Graham to win the doubles. With the latter
only able to add one singles win, the score was a frustrating 4-6 loss,
and this was replicated by Swots in their tie against Comets at Forthill
where there were two wins from Louis, one from Sandy and one from Ian
Smith. Gaining a draw proved just beyond reach with the pivotal tie of
the night being game eight, when Ian was just edged out by Jill Milne
10-12 in the fifth.

A good allround team performance by New Kids proved the highlight of the
week in 5-5 cliffhanger against Sputniks in Broughty. Charlie won one
singles, Dave took two and combined well with Martin Turnbull to add a
doubles win. At 4-5 down, Martin produced a tremendous performance
against the hugely experienced Jack Oughton to win 11-8 in the fifth to
gain the draw.

There have been two pieces of good news for the local players in the
past week.

The club has purchased a further two tables which mean that six are now
available at their Tuesday and Thursday morning community sessions,
meaning that they can expand the number of players who can be welcomed

In addition, a grant application to St Andrews Community Trust has been
received favourably which means that work can go ahead in upgrading the
lighting in the sports hall at Cosmos. This will be of great benefit
particularly to the league players competing in the Dundee & District
League, but should also be a welcome bonus for our social players and to
all the many and varied users of the facility.

Anyone interested in playing table tennis locally at whatever standard
is encouraged to contact the club secretary at forbes4030@btinternet.com

Howard voted winner of the Neilson Trophy

With activities on hold since March, the members of St Andrews Table Tennis Club have taken to their laptops to vote for the player who made the most significant contribution to season 2019/20.

Howard wins award

With a number of contenders nominated for the prestigious Neilson Trophy, presented in memory of our late Chairman and club stalwart Graham Neilson, the player attracting most votes was Howard Lee who received many citations for his wins in the Dundee & District League. Howard’s victories proved essential in ensuring that his team, Swots, will retain their place in Division Two when league play resumes and they were all the more worthy given that a number were achieved with Howard battling on through injury.

A final local derby before the season halts abruptly

There was a lot of activity in the last round of matches before the Covid-19 virus rudely interrupted the season. In Division 1, Prefects kicked things off at home against Villa. All of the Prefects managed to overcome Tony O’Shea but they also all lost to David Sim and David Hunter. Villa capitulated in the doubles but still secured a 6-4 win against the hosts.

In Division 3, Prospects enjoyed two matches in a week, first against Lairds and then against Missiles. The outcomes were excellent for St Andrews team as they won both fixtures in style only dropping one point each night to accumulate 18 valuable points towards the end of this season. Gold stars for Louis McLeod and Sandy Pearson, who both secured a pair hat-tricks and won both doubles matches together in the same week: quite a rare achievement.

Truants had an unpleasant night at Ward Road Gym in Dundee against Barons. The former had no ambition for victory against a Barons team who are the solid leaders in Division 2. The fixture was disrupted by raucous cheering from other tables in this large venue with no regard for the players engaged in other matches. Both Truants and Barons found it hard to focus but Barons showed more talent and grit to secure a 7-3 victory over Truants.

The final match of the week featured two St Andrews teams: Swots and New Kids. The latter got off to a very good start, taking the first four points although two of these required a fifth and deciding game. Howard Lee put Swots on the scoresheet, but New Kids secured victory by claiming the next two matches. Player of the night Ian Smith completed a fine hat trick as well as the doubles with Colin Bleak, but Swots salvaged two of the last three points to reduce the arrears to 7-3 overall.

With the season tantalisingly almost concluded, fixtures have been suspended until further notice due to the Covid-19 virus. Only time will tell if this season will be completed at a later date or abandoned altogether.

Blood spilled in aid of victory

In Division 1 last week, Prefects travelled to Forthill to attack Defenders. The hosts defended bravely at the start, taking the first two matches, although Bonifac Legrady was unlucky to lose 11-9 in the fifth game of his match. Against Ian McLagan, Nick Shepherd avenged Bonifac and triumphed in the final game 11-9 to nick one back for Prefects. Defenders extended their lead to 3-1 but Prefects rallied with Nick and then Holly McGerty picking up wins to level the fixture going into the doubles match. Holly combined well with Bonifac to put Prefects in the lead for the first time. Nick completed a fine hat trick and gave Prefects their fourth consecutive point. The last two points were shared as Holly took the final match of the night to seal a fine 6-4 victory.

There were floods of blood but no floods of tears for Prospects as they took on Squires at the Ward Road Gym in Dundee in a Division 3 encounter. Prospects started well, surging ahead 5-1 with both Charlie Ross and Sandy Pearson undefeated. Charlie and Sandy then combined in the doubles. Things were going to plan until an aggressive move by Sandy resulted in him smashing Charlie instead of the ball. Charlie survived unhurt but Sandy’s throbbing thumb was pumping out blood profusely, assisted by the adrenaline flowing! Initially, the bleeding wouldn’t stop and Prospects faced retiring their “on fire” player. But in a fine display of sportsmanship, the Squires team located the first aid kit, patched up Sandy, waited to check that all was well before re=commencing the doubles match. Despite all of this trauma, Prospects battled to an 8-2 victory with everyone giving “thumbs up” to Sandy who was unbeaten on the night.

Less dramatically, there were two matches in Division 2 involving teams from St Andrews. New Kids played at home against Comets. Collin Bleak had a good opener against Dougal Ogilvie, although the contest went down to the wire, clinching the match 12-10 in the fifth game. But overall, Comets played steady all evening to win 6-4 overall and leave the Kids fighting for survival near the foot of the league table.

Finally, Swots and Truants clashed at Victory Memorial Hall for the penultimate second division club derby of the season. Swots pulled away with two good wins from Howard Lee and Dave Beveridge, but Truants levelled the match through the efforts of Sascha Roschy and Graham Wood. Howard then had an incredible win over Sascha in the deciding fifth game 12-10. On the back foot at 4-2, Truants clinched the next two matches to draw level with Swots at 4-4. Graham then proceeded to put Truants in front for the first time on the night but hero Howard saved Swots from defeat with a win in the final match and ensure a 5-5 draw.

Charlie Ross saves the day

Coming early to help his teammates warm up and set up the tables, Charlie was not due to play for Prospects against Duffers on Monday, but as the clock began to tick towards the start time it became apparent Prospects would be a man down. Step forward Charlie into the breach, even without a water bottle, to provide two crucial wins, as did his teammates Sandy Pearson and Ken Falconer, who, in addition, easily won the doubles. None could tame Richard McLaren from Duffers, who scored the only points for his team. Final score, 7-3 to Prospects.

In Division 2, New Kids travelled to Telecoms House in Dundee to face Tass. The latter were on top form as they took four out of the first six singles, led by unstoppable Emma Bisset who combined well with Kyle McPhee to win the doubles. Collin Bleak won the final match of the night but Tass had already secured victory 7-3.

St Andrews’ Swots couldn’t stop Comets hurtling through space and could only catch a glimpse of their tail as the team from Broughty Ferry had an impressive nine matches winning streak, and only Howard Lee was able to prevent a whitewash by winning the final game of the night. Swots will be hoping they collected enough star dust to defeat Truants, their next opponents.

Speaking of which, Truants stood prepared to tame the Tigers at home. Team Captain Graham Wood, aided by Sascha Roschy and Alain Léger, secured the first two rounds of singles to go up 6-0 before the doubles. He sent his teammates to battle in the doubles (which they won), hoping to conclude the night on a flawless victory for Truants, which almost happened when he and Sascha secured their hat tricks. However, Kenny McLaren for Tigers was too strong for Alain, giving his team a consolatory point.

Following the theme of 9-1 results, Bonifac Legrady started early for Prefects as they faced Rockets, by defeating Peter Yearworth. Unfortunately that was to be the one and only point for Prefects on the night.

Another tough week for St Andrews

Back to league business this week as the St Andrews teams prepare for the final five fixtures of the regular season.

In Division 1, Prefects had a tough night after the long haul trip to Brechin, unable to avoid a whitewash against a strong home team. Bonifac Legrady pushed John Anderson to a deciding game but couldn’t quite clinch the match, losing by the narrowest of margins 13-11. Sadly, Prefects went home empty-handed with only a larger than usual carbon footprint to show for their efforts.

Meanwhile in Division 2, Swots were hosting Tigers at the Victory Memorial Hall. Both teams had to field a third division reserve player but Tigers had the advantage of calling on rising star Euan Steel, who is currently the second best performing player in Division 3. The guests took the two opening matches before Howard Lee put the Swots on the scoreboard with a hard-fought battle against Euan, which lasted the full distance, as Howard kept his nerve to edge out his opponent 13-11 in the fifth game. Swots took two of the next three matches to level the tie going into the doubles, which the big cats won in four games, before Euan struck again to go 5-3 in front. Player of the match Howard retaliated by beating Marion Davidson in four games to complete his hat trick. Hoping to salvage a draw for Swots, John Carlton did his best but Kenny McLaren was just too strong, and this gave the Tigers the final say, winning 6-4 overall.

On the neighbouring table, the New Kids were facing the Lasers of Lundin Links in another Division 2 encounter. The home team struggled in the first six singles, with just a single victory thanks to Collin Bleak. These matches were not as one-sided as the scoreline suggests as four were decided in the fifth game, three in favour of Lasers. In a similar vein, New Kids lost the doubles in three straight games but 11-9 each time suggests Lasers got off lightly. Under the impulse of Collin, New Kids then fared a little better and reduced the gap to 7-3 overall.

Meanwhile, Graham Wood, captain of the Truants, was returning with some apprehension to the basement of Telecom House in Dundee with his team to play Telstars. The last time he visited he crashed into a window in a determined effort to play a shot. Graham’s all-out commitment to the game cannot be doubted even if this risks his personal safety. Still, that did not prevent the home team soaring into a 4-0 lead before Alain Leger surprised everybody, including himself, by winning a match against Stewart Clark! Graham Wood and Knut Radmer added a second point for Truants in the doubles. Graham saved the final point and avoided injury but Truants finished 7-3 behind overall.

Handicap Cup – Round 2

Only two St Andrews teams had progressed to the second round of the Handicap Cup this year, Swots had already beaten New Kids and Truants enjoyed a free pass to the second round.

Both teams play in Division 2 and had drawn opponents from Division 3, meaning that they would start with unfavourable handicaps.

With the odds stacked against them, but armed with reserve Graham Wood, Swots travelled to Forthill to play Duffers. Giving as much as a fourteen point start in a first to 26 race, Swots were under pressure to make every point count. The first two points were shared between Duffers and Swots, but the latter suffered a six point drought before Dave Beveridge added two valuable points to keep Swots in contention, albeit with a mountain to climb. Duffers, however sealed the victory and walked on to the next round with a fine 10-3 win.

Truants faced similar odds as Swots as they were facing the firemen from Kingsway at Blackness fire station. The firemen blazed into a healthy 4-0 lead, and although the next six points were shared evenly, Truants could feel their opponents closing in on victory without giving any ground. As the firemen extended the lead to 9-3, there was little hope from Truants to overcome the handicaps in all eight remaining ends. Sascha Roschy fought valiantly to earn the next two points but the firemen extinguished all hope, to finish as victors 10-5.

Overzealous Swots also played a postponed league match against Telstars. A strong performance in the first round of singles by Stewart Clark, Jim Houghton and reserve Graeme Elrick put Telstars 3-0 in front, though Swots conceded two of these losses by the thinnest of margins in the fifth game. Howard Lee scored a fine win against Stewart, which inspired reserve Collin Bleak to overcome Jim in straight sets. Going into the doubles, Swots were trailing by 2 points, and an epic battle ensued between Dave Beveridge and Howard Lee for Swots and Jim and Graeme for Telstars. Neither team was willing to let anything go, but as the match progressed to its logical conclusion, tied at 10-10 Swots showed just a little more resolve to edge their opponents 16-14. The final three matches were equally disputed, all going to a fifth and deciding game. Howard managed to beat Graeme to equalize at 4-4, but Telstars were able to clinch the final two matches to win 6-4.

St Andrews teams challenge all three division leaders

Reasons to celebrate have been scarce this season for Prefects and playing the undefeated Division 1 leaders Viscounts was unlikely to be any different. However, Nick Shepherd valiantly won the opening match against Patrick Cao to put Prefects ahead. Viscounts must have been stunned when Holly McGerty subsequently levelled the match at 2-2. Viscounts stormed the last six points for the loss of only one game to win 8-2, but it is still a good achievement for Prefects as Viscounts have so far won over half their matches with a perfect 10-0 score line.

Meanwhile, in Division 2, New Kids were also playing the league leaders, Barons, although their record this year is less daunting. Barons did, however, sweep up the first six singles in four games each time, as well as the doubles in straight sets. Ian Smith scored a late point for New Kids against Tanya Kapelyukh, but Barons won 9-1 without too much resistance.

Swots had an easier run against Tass as the latter could only field two players, automatically handing over three points to the St Andrews’ team. Howard Lee, Dave Beveridge and reserve Louis McLeod all beat Rob Fotheringham but failed to defeat Kyle McPhee, who scored the only three points for his team as Dave and Howard added the doubles match to give Swots a 7-3 victory.

Finally, in Division 3, Prospects were hosting Sputniks at Victory Memorial Hall. Sputniks are also the leaders of their division, but the match was a lot closer than they would have anticipated, including five matches decided in the final fifth and final game, and only two being won in straight sets. It was 3-3 after the first salvo of singles, including two very good wins for Louis McLeod and one for Charlie Ross. The guests then took the doubles, as well as the next two singles. Since Louis was decidedly unstoppable, he secured the last point and a very good hat trick in the process, reducing the deficit to 6-4 for Sputniks overall.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times for Sandy Pearson last week…

In Division 1, Prefects faced Chieftains who were promoted from Division 2 last year but, under the impulse of young rising star Jacob Munro, have performed better than Prefects so far. Opening with a 2-0 lead thanks to Bonifac Legrady and Sandy Pearson (reserve), Prefects were hoping to put the Chieftains under pressure. Jacob and Jim (Tawse) levelled the match, however, and the teams shared the next two points before going into the doubles encounter from which Chieftains emerged victorious and took the overall lead for the first time on the night. Nick Shepherd scored a good second win against Jim after beating Fiona Kinloch earlier on. Jacob put Chieftains in front again going into the last match, but Sandy who normally plays two divisions below, fought very hard to force a deciding fifth game against Fiona after a marathon 16-14 win in the fourth. Fiona eventually triumphed but Sandy’s excellent performance at a higher level was probably the story of the night.

The following evening, the indefatigable Sandy was at the table again, but this time battling on behalf of his usual Division 3 team, the Prospects. It may well be that he gave too much the previous night as he only managed one win, as did Charlie Ross. Sandy paired up well in the doubles with Ken Falconer, the latter adding two more single wins for an overall 5-5 draw against Astronauts.

The most anticipated match of the week however was New Kids hosting the Division 2 St Andrews’ club derby against Truants. New Kids were hungry for revenge as Truants had claimed victory in the first half of the season. The home side started very strongly, taking the first four singles before Graham Wood was able to score the first point for Truants against Kong Wan. New Kids went from strength to strength picking up the next two points, and more importantly breaking the doubles winning streak Truants had maintained in league matches since the start of the season. With victory now a certainty, New Kids relaxed a little, allowing Graham to overcome Collin Bleak in 5 games (after being 2 games behind), and Ian Smith almost let Alain Leger do the same but eventually overcame the Frenchman’s awkward play 11-8 in the fifth game. Knut reduced the arrears to 7-3 in favour of New Kids with a 3-0 win against Kong.

Last but definitely not least, Howard Lee had a terrific day at the Division 2/3 tournament in Dundee, winning the Trident Challenge Trophy and also runner-up in over 25 singles.

A tough week for St Andrews

After enjoying a change in the match format last week with the Handicap Cup, normal service resumed with the start of the second half of the league season for St Andrews Table Tennis Club. Truants had a rest, having accepted a postponement requested by their opponents.

Prefects opened the hostilities against Aces at the Victory Memorial Hall. Aces are comfortably sitting in second place in Division 1 whereas Prefects are narrowly avoiding the bottom spot. Despite pushing Grant Williams to a deciding game on two occasions, the Prefects were trumped. Aces had all the best cards and picked up all 10 points.

The following night, Swots (Division 2) were travelling to Lundin Links to play Lasers. Unfortunately, Chris Wroniecki picked up a calf injury in the opening match while marginally ahead in the fifth game. Disappointingly, Chris was unable to continue and had no choice but to concede all his matches on the night. The team never recovered from this unlucky start and were only able to salvage one point, thanks to reserve Ian Smith. Lasers secured a strong 9-1 victory.

On the same night, Prospects were up against the firemen of Kingsway. It was a tense affair with half the matches going all the way to a final game. The firemen took a two-point lead early on, and although Prospects closed in on them a few times, the firemen held on to win by the smallest of margins, 6-4. Sandy Pearson had a good night, winning two singles and losing one match in the fifth game.

Finally, New Kids ventured over the Tay to try and tame the Tigers of Forthill in Broughty Ferry in a relegation battle. Both Ians (Brumwell and Smith) took their opening games, giving New Kids an early lead. Two more contributions from Colin Bleak and Ian Brumwell put their team 4-1 in front at the half way point. But Tigers valiantly clawed two points back including the doubles match before Colin added a fifth point on the score sheet at 5-3 with two games remaining. The fierce tigers wouldn’t let their prey escape so easily and kept a cool head to pounce on the final two points to deprive New Kids of an away win. Final score 5-5.

Too much Christmas pudding

Before the Christmas festivities, 30 players from throughout the three divisions of the Dundee & District Table Tennis League gathered at Ward Road Gym in Dundee to celebrate the lives of Sandy Elrick and Dave Axton who both sadly passed away in 2019. The format for the evening was a tournament which mixed players from different clubs into ten teams of three, and timed matches were played. Sandy Pearson, Howard Lee, Chris Wroniecki, Dave Beveridge, Neil Lea and Sascha Roschy from the St Andrews club made the journey over the bridge to honour their former table tennis friends with Chris combining so well with Scott Wishart and Paul Monteith that they ran out winners on the night.

The first week in the new year was focussed on shifting a little extra ballast thanks to the first round of the Handicap Cup. This popular competition aims at levelling the playing field by attributing a starting score based on how well they have been performing in the league so far this season. Truants had a free pass to the second round, but the other teams all played their first-round match last week.

Prospects were up against Defenders, who are two divisions above the St Andrews’ team. The handicaps for this match were shrewdly picked as the scores were very close all night. Prospects preserved a two-point lead until game six, but Defenders took six points in a row to seal the victory 10-7.

Prefects also drew a first division team, Viscounts. The latter had a strong night, taking the first eight points, which was a decisive advantage in the first to ten format. Prefects fought back and managed to score three points but Viscount reached their goal with three matches to spare.

New Kids and Swots clashed in a first-round derby at the Victory Memorial Hall, although New Kids had to call on two reserves from Truants. Swots looked the stronger side all night. Chris Wroniecki and Dave Beveridge claimed the opening four points against Knut Radmer and Kong Wan. Alain Leger clawed two points back against Howard Lee thanks to his explosive back hand. Kong and Chris then split their encounter evenly, after the first set had to be played again due to an umpire error with the starting scores. Knut then levelled the match at 5-5. Dave won both sets against Alain very comfortably, leaving Howard and Chris to finish the job to complete the win 10-5 for the Swots.

Celebrating 25,000 views

Thank you to all the readers who peruse this blog. We’ve now crossed the 25,000 views threshold! The site has welcomed visitors from as far a field as Mongolia, Uganda, the Seychelles, Thailand, Turkey, South Korea, Rwanda and Malaysia. It’s great to know that St Andrews Table Tennis Club has fans from all over the globe.

A busy week of defeats to wrap up the first half of the season

Before breaking off for the solstice celebrations, the Dundee & District Table Tennis Association had prepared a busy cup week across the divisions, culminating in the finals of the Consolation, Secondary Shield and Excelsior Cups on Saturday at Ward Road Gym in Dundee.

Swots and Truants were competing in the Stanley Doubles cup, both hoping to erase the gap with their Division 1 opponents. Swots came close in some games but were significantly outplayed all night by Aces, who are currently second in Division 1. The latter won 5-0 without dropping a game.

Also playing in the Stanley Doubles, Truants had more opportunities against Villa. With some very hard-fought battles, Truants put pressure on their opponents and Sascha Roschy and Graham Wood managed to beat Ian Hunter and Tony O’Shea. Villa won 5-1 in the end but the scoreline wasn’t a fair representation of the evening.

Unfortunately, New Kids had to concede their fixture as they were unable to field a team at the last minute, giving Missiles automatic qualification to the next round. However, the Kids were representing the club on Saturday in the Secondary Shield semi-final against Telstars. Collin Bleak started well with a long battle against Stewart Clark but prevailed in the fifth game. Ian Brumwell had a tough match against David Monteith but couldn’t stop him. Fortunately, Ian Smith put New Kids in the lead again with another five game victory against Jim Houghton. David managed to equalise for Telstars. The next two matches also went to Telstars as both Ians (Brumwell and Smith) narrowly losing in five games. At 4-2 down (first to 5 wins) Ian Smith came back to the table, hoping to keep his team in the match. Despite a good start, he was unable to stop David qualifying his team for the final.

In the Consolation cup, Prospects’ semi-final against Tass got off to a bad start as the Telecoms team claimed the first two matches. Charlie Ross reduced the arrears, but Tass added two more to their tally. Sandy Pearson kept Prospects’ hopes alive with a fine win against Robbie Fotheringham. Unfortunately, young Kyle McPhee secured victory for Tass and a place in the final, which they also won 5-2.

The first half of the season is almost complete

We start in Division 2 this week as Prefects were not playing due to the postponement of their fixture against Up4It who were not up for it.

New Kids had a close contest against Telstars, at least close in terms of how many five game matches took place. But out of the five deciding sets, they were only able to win one. Ian Brumwell saved the day after a great comeback from 0-2 down to clinch the match against Stewart Clark. Unfortunately, Telstars made the score line look a lot harsher than it could have been if New Kids had converted the other tie-breakers into victories. Final score, New Kids 1, Telstars 9.

However, New Kids were also playing Tass in the same week and this time they turned the tables. Tass could only field two players due to a late call-off, and were dominated by the New Kids, who only lost one late match, hence reversing the score of their previous fixture to win 9-1. This was the first, long awaited, victory in the league for the Kids this season.

Truants were receiving the same team (Tass) at home, and had called on Howard Lee as a reserve, which turned out to be an excellent idea as he was undefeated all night, winning all three singles and the doubles with Graham Wood, who also won his matches. Knut was not so successful but he will be pleased to add one point to contribute to an 8-2 victory for the Gauldry side.

Finally, Prospects had a tough time against Buccaneers, who got off to a great start, winning the first five matches 3-0. Louis McLeod eventually put Prospects on the scoreboard, defeating Murray Johnstone in three straight games, however they had to wait until the final match to earn a second point thanks to Sandy Pearson, also against Murray. Buccaneers were pleased to smuggle 8 points back across the Tay.

More action from the Dundee & District League

The recent round of matches in the Dundee and District leagues started well for St Andrews. Prospects travelled to the Forthill Sports Club in Broughty Ferry to play Missiles. The St Andrews’ team had too much fire power and dominated the evening but they couldn’t neutralise David Hunter who was undoubtedly the player of the night. The trio of Charlie Ross, Sandy Pearson and Louis McLeod brought home seven much needed points from the Division 3 encounter.

In Division 1, Prefects had a more challenging night in Dundee against Knights, who were in control from start to finish. Nick Shepherd narrowly missed out on scoring a point against Andrew Nimmo in the fifth game decider. Apart from that close shave, Knights didn’t drop any game all evening and inflicted an emphatic 10-0 defeat on Prefects.

Truants were travelling south to Lundin Links to face the Lasers. Sascha Roschy was impregnable all night, only dropping one game in the proceedings. He had a little help from Alain Leger in the doubles. Thanks to Knut Radmer, Truants avoided their first defeat of the season and settled for the draw: 5-5. Truants and table topping Barons are the only teams in Division 2 to remain undefeated.

Finally, Swots were at home against Barons. The first four points were split evenly although it is worth mentioning that the hosts were unfortunate to lose their two in five games, and by the narrowest of margins at that. Howard Lee was squeezed out 11-9 by Andy Hughes and Dave Beveridge lost 12-10 to Bill Beatty. The guests then secured the next three points including the doubles match to lead 5-2 going into the final round of singles. Howard kept Swots’ hopes of salvaging a draw alive by beating Bill, but Chris Wroniecki couldn’t add a second point to his name after defeating Tanya Kapelyukh earlier on and lost to Andy. The final score 7-3 is a little harsh on Swots, who came tantalizingly close to a draw.

Another derby night in St Andrews

In Division 3, Prospects crossed the Tay to Dundee to meet Lairds at Ward Road Gym. Charlie Ross put Prospects ahead after the teams shared the first two matches evenly. It was a game of cat and mouse all night, but Prospects never lost the lead after that. A good performance overall for the team, with two wins for Ken Falconer and Louis McLeod complemented by Charlie’s and Louis’ victory in the doubles, resulting in a 6-4 victory.

In Division 1, Prefects were also away, but at Broughty Ferry against Villa. Bonifac Legrady had a good opening win against Tony O’Shea in five games, Holly McGerty also battled hard against Ian Hunter but eventually succumbed. David Sim then put Villa in front with an impressive performance against Nick Shepherd. Nick also defeated Tony in singles and teamed up with Bonifac to win the doubles but David and Ian (Villa) secured the remaining points to win 7-3.

Truants had a tough fixture at home against Barons. Captain Graham Wood and Sascha Roschy both claimed two points each and the doubles match together, but the new recruit for Barons, Justus Ludwig, was just too good and won all his singles. Truants will be pleased to have salvaged a draw from the encounter.

The headline match of the week opposed Swots to New Kids in another St Andrews derby. Swots called on reserve Sandy Pearson to play up from Division 3, which he did rather well, scoring the first point. Swots went from strength to strength collecting three more wins to lead 4-0. Ian Smith reversed the flow with a good victory against Sandy. Collin Bleak then added a second win and partnered with Ian to win the doubles and close in on Swots. However, the latter had other ideas and Howard Lee and Dave Beveridge both won their final singles of the night to secure overall victory. Collin added a hard-earned point against Sandy in five games to reduce the arears to 6-4 in favour of Swots at the end of the night.

A Good Week for St Andrews

After a poor start to the season, Prefects were in need of good news. Hosting Defenders, they made a bad start dropping the first two points of the fixture. Bonifac Legrady was unfortunate to lose 13-11 in the fifth game to Ian McLagan, and Holly McGerty lost in straight games to Arthur Pritchard. Things picked up when Nick Shepherd beat Richard Tough in three close games. Holly comfortably beat Ian in an impressive display to equalize, and Prefects never looked back thereafter, securing all the remaining points for themselves. Final score: 8-2 to Prefects and their first win in the league this season.

New Kids were crossing the Tay to face Comets at Forthill Sports Club in Division 2. It was a close contest all night, with both teams responding tit for tat, 1-1, 2-2, 3-3, 4-4. Going into the penultimate match of the night, Collin Bleak (New Kid) and Glenn Christie (Comet), both undefeated in the encounter, faced each other. Colin took a two game advantage and had two match points in the fourth game but Glenn came back to force a fifth game. Unfortunately, Colin crumbled and succumbed to Glenn 11-2 in the decider. In the last match, Ian Brumwell had the chance to salvage the draw for New Kids but could not defeat Dougal Ogilvie, meaning New Kids suffered a 6-4 defeat and still hoping for their first league victory.

In Division 3, Prospects had a good night against Squires at home with the exception of Charlie Ross who struggled and lost all three singles. Fortunately, his team mates, Sandy Pearson and Ken Falconer, collected the other seven points to win 7-3.

Last but not least, there was another local derby, this time between Swots and Truants in a friendly atmosphere at the Duncan Morrison Hall in Gauldry. The home team, Truants had a similar night to Prospects with Sascha Roschy and Graham Wood winning all of their singles and the doubles match, whereas Alain Leger was below his best, yielding to Swots three welcome points. Of Dave Beveridge, Chris Wroniecki and Howard Lee, only the latter dropped a game against the Frenchman.

A Hat-Trick for Louis

Prospects (Division 3) travelled to the Forthill Sports Club in Broughty Ferry to face Duffers. The Duffers started slowly, losing their first two matches to Sandy Pearson and Louis McLeod. However,they fought back to level the fixture as Andy Reid easily beat Ken Falconer in three games and Richard McLaren battled hard in the deciding game to get the better of Sandy. Prospects pulled away again thanks to two good wins by Ken and Louis. Duffers then secured the point from the doubles match. Prospects only needed two of the three remaining singles to leave with a win. Ken added his second point of the night and Louis completed a fine hat-trick to give Prospects a good 6-4 away win.

In Division 2, Swots were hosting their league fixture against Comets at the Victory Memorial Hall in St Andrews. The home team won the first three singles although two of these were very narrow victories in five games. Dougal Oglivie (Comets) put his team on the scoreboard with a difficult win over Howard Lee in five tight games. At 4-2 up, Swots then won the doubles match comfortably in straight games and went on to sweep up the last three singles as well. They will be pleased with their valuable 8-2 win.

Also in Division 2, Truants went head to head against the fierce Tigers at Forthill. The Tigers roared into the lead with two early wins for Kenny McLaren against Alain Léger, and Scott Thomson against Knut Radmer. Graham Wood reduced the score line to 2-1 with a straight games win against Marion Davidson, but Scott scored again against Alain this time. Back to the table, Graham tamed Tiger Kenny to keep Truants within one point of the hosts but Marion emerged victorious against Knut, putting Tigers 4-2 in front. Knut and Graham battled hard to triumph over Kenny and Scott in four games in the doubles. Needing the last three singles to bring home the win, Truants went all guns blazing, first with man of the match Graham, who claimed his third tiger skin of the night, and then Alain with a comfortable win over Marion. Alas an experienced Kenny secured the final point against Knut to salvage a 5-5 draw at home.

Prefects had a difficult match against Rockets in Division 1. The latter claimed all 10 available points for the loss of only three games.

Cup joy for Prospects

After four league fixtures, let’s take a look at the fortunes of the St Andrews teams in the early part of the season.

Prefects are feeling the absence of star player Michael Hahn. Indeed, the Division 1 team have lost all of their matches so far, and quite heavily too, collecting only three out of a possible forty points. They will need to find some form promptly to avoid relegation. Will new recruit Holly McGerty be able to lift the team up from the bottom of the table and safe from relegation?

In Division 2, Truants are also (temporarily) at the bottom despite winning both matches played. They have two games in hand and could climb up the rankings swiftly, however, they were hoping to gather more points from their relatively less challenging opening games (with no offence intended to New Kids) and will need to be more convincing if they are to battle in the top half of the division along with Swots. The latter are currently in fourth place, breathing down the neck of the leaders, being only two points behind second placed Comets. New Kids are currently sixth, safe from relegation (for now).

Representing the club in Division 3, Prospects have lost their strongest player from last season as he moved up to play in Division 2. They are currently seventh with one game in hand and could be the dark horse in this division if they can find the kind of form they displayed in their Consolation Cup match against Missiles. Prospects came close to a 5-0 clean sweep, but David Hunter avoided total annihilation for Missiles by winning a highly contested fifth game 16-14 against Charlie Ross. Sandy Pearson and Ken Falconer both won their singles convincingly and Prospects are now through to the semi-final of the Consolation Cup in December.

Tough week for St Andrews

While two of the five St Andrews teams enjoyed a well-earned week off, Prefects were playing at home against Brechin in Division 1. They called on Louis McLeod to step in as a reserve. Louis normally plays in the third division, but did exceptionally well to win a game in all four matches in which he played. Prefects started strongly under the influence of Bonifac Legrady who won the opening match against Ian Farquhar. However, Brechin swept up the rest of the matches for a comprehensive 9-1 win.

Swots were on the hunt for the elusive Tigers of Broughty Ferry. For the big cats, Kenny McLaren easily disposed of Dave Beveridge to give Tigers an early lead. Howard Lee was also in trouble against Paul Jackson but fought back from 2-0 down to force a fifth game with Howard narrowly clinched the match 11-9 to level the tie. Tigers roared back in the lead with three straight wins before Howard came back to the table to score a second point for Swots. Tigers responded by taking the doubles match in the deciding set. Chris Wroniecki gave Swots hope of salvaging a draw with a fine win over Kenny. Tigers only needed one of the two remaining points to secure a victory, which Scott Thomson duly provided at the expense of Dave. Howard brought the last point home to reduce the deficit to 6-4 in the end.

In the third fixture, New Kids travelled to Lundin Links. The hosts took the lead with two straight sets victories. Ian Smith reduced the arrears with a fine win against Ron Filsell, but the Lasers ensured a successful outcome on the night by scoring four matches in a row for the loss of only two games. Ian clawed one back but that was all for New Kids who drove home with only 2 out of a possible 10 points.

Secondary Shield local derby

In Division 1, Prefects welcomed a new player, Holly McGerty, to the team. She could have hoped for an easier first match but was thrown in at the deep end against Viscounts, who are league title contenders. Viscounts dominated the encounter winning all of their matches for the loss of only three games, two of which went to Holly on her debut.

In Division 3, Prospects were taking on Squires in the Consolation Cup. The former seized a commanding 3-0 lead as Ken Falconer, Charlie Ross and Louis McLeod each won their opening match. Charlie then narrowly lost to Derek Johnston by the smallest of margins in the fifth game. Ken and Louis, however, showed no mercy and clinched victory in the tie 5-1 to qualify for the next round.

In the Secondary Shield, Truants were stunned at home by a strong Telstars team. Sascha Roschy put Truants ahead against Jim Houghton, but Alain Leger missed the chance to extend the lead for his team, losing 13-11 in the final game despite being 2-0 up against Stewart Clark. Telstars claimed the next three points to take them to the brink of victory at 4-1 in the first to 5 contest. Graham Wood kept the hosts’ hopes alive with a good win against Stewart but Alain was no match for David Monteith who easily sealed the fixture for Telstars.

The headline tie of the week was a local derby as New Kids faced Swots, the first of four encounters scheduled this season. Chris Wroniecki put Swots in front with a good win over Kong Wan in straight games. New Kids levelled the match as Collin Bleak was victorious over Dave Beveridge. Howard Lee eased past Ian Smith in five games to put Swots in front, but Collin came to the rescue again and beat Chris this time to level the match at 2-2. Both teams scored another point each (Howard beat Kong and Ian beat Dave) with three matches left in the fixture. Howard and Collin clashed and shared the first two games but Collin was too strong on the night and won his third match to put New kids in front, putting all the pressure on Swots. Chris needed a solid performance against Ian, but the latter was in control throughout the three games which he won comfortably for New Kids. With the overall victory in the bag, Kong added a final blow against Dave for a 6-3 overall scoreline in favour of the Kids.

Tragic news

It was a quiet week for the St Andrews teams as both Prefects and Truants were not competing.

Prospects (Division 3) travelled to Forthill to face Sputniks. The hosts took off with the first two points before Sandy Pearson managed to beat Eric Brown in five hard-fought games. But the Sputniks scored the next two singles to extend their lead to 4-1. Unlucky Eric lost in five games again, this time by a fractal to Ken Falconer. At 4-2 going into the doubles, Prospects needed to win all the remaining matches to secure victory in the fixture, but unfortunately lost them all.

In Division 2, New Kids were playing Barons at home. After an equally poor start as Prospects, the Kids managed to equalize when Ian Smith and Collin Bleak secured straight sets wins against Bill Beatie and Tanya Kapelyukh respectively. Barons bounced back and took the next three points, including the doubles. Collin kept New Kids’ hopes alive with a combative win against Bill in five games, but that was all they could manage as Barons grabbed the final points and a 7-3 win.

On the neighbouring table, Swots won 8-2 against a Tass team with only two players. The circumstances were tragic as the Telecoms team were mourning the untimely passing of their team mate David Axton who was due to play. The Table Tennis community was shocked by the impossibly sad news and all our thoughts are with David’s family at this difficult time.

A Promising Start for our Division 2 Teams in the Secondary Shield

Four of the five St Andrews’ teams were engaged in the first round of the Secondary Shield, which is open to teams from Divisions 2 and 3 of the Dundee and District League.

Truants opened the hostilities against Missiles at Forthill on the last day of September. Being a division above, Truants were under pressure to perform. All was going well indeed, with Knut Radmer and Sascha Roschy taking the first two points, until Lee Nixon (Missiles) stunned Graham Wood (Truants) in five games for a well-earned point. Fortunately, there was no further slip-up from Truants who cleaned up the rest of the matches to win 8-1.

The triumphant Swots in matching shirts: from left to right, Dave Beveridge, Chris Wroniecki and Howard Lee

Swots were hoping for a similarly strong result at home against Squires, benefiting from the same divisional advantage as Truants. And they even managed to outperform the latter, winning all nine matches for the loss of only two games.

Prospects (Division 3) had the toughest opening draw as they faced Comets, newly promoted to Division 2. The former had a great night, and were leading 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2 thanks to impressive wins from Sandy Pearson (2 victories) and Louis MacLeod (1 victory). However, Comets always managed to level the score to 1-1. 2-2 and finally 3-3 before eventually taking the lead 4-3 and securing overall victory at 5-3. Prospects will be disappointed as they had the potential to take home the win. Still, they did themselves proud and will come back stronger next week.

Finally, New Kids (Division 2) were also player against a lower division team in the form of Duffers (Division 3) over in Broughty Ferry. On paper New Kids should have had an easy night, but they were made to work hard. They were able to grab the first three points, but two of these required deciding fifth game. Indeed, Ian Brumwell was very much on the back foot, 10-6 behind in the final game against Andy Reid, but he saved four match points in a row and dominated the next two rallies to win 12-10. Kong Wan (New Kids) was also taken to five games by Andy but wasn’t so fortunate and lost 11-3. The two Ians (Smith and Brumwell) snatched the last two points they needed, but New Kids will be aware that they need to raise their game in the next round against Swots to stay in the competition.

First St Andrews derby of the season

In Division 1, Prefects were hosting newly promoted Chieftains at home. Young rising star Jacob Munro (best second division player last season) was the chap to beat. He faced Bonifac Legrady after Nick Shepherd had defeated Fiona Kinloch in three straight games. Bonifac was unable to stop Jacob, who levelled the tie. Chieftains took the next two points before Nick won his second match of the night against Jim Tawse, but the guests then won four matches in a row to secure victory. Nick started the final encounter well, taking the first set comfortably but Jacob came back strongly to take the next three. Prefects will be disappointed to have scored only 2 points out of the 10 available.

On the other side of the room, Prospects were hoping to send Astronauts into orbit, and were indeed ahead for the best part of the night. Louis Macleod levelled the tie for Prospects after Charlie Ross misfired in the opening match against a promising Nairn Nixon, who then combined well with McKenzie Rough in the doubles to reduce the deficit to 4-3 going into the last three singles of the night. The hosts were looking up after Louis took the first one to lead 5-3, however, the Astronauts kept their cool and held Prospects to a draw at home.

Away from home, Swots had a tough night against Telstars at Telephone House in Dundee. Telstars were impressive, taking the first six straight singles to seal victory, but Dave Beveridge and Chris Wroniecki fought to the bitter end at 10-10 in the deciding game of the doubles to claim the first point for the away team. They each went on to win their final singles to reduce the deficit to 6-3 but Howard Lee could not quite manage the same feat and lost 14-12 to Jim Houghton in the deciding game. Final score: Telstars 7 Swots 3.

The first St Andrews derby of the season took place in the village of Gauldry, where Truants welcomed the New Kids. Although Truants play in Gauldry, they are affiliated to the St Andrews club. It was an international line-up with four countries represented, but no Scots on this occasion. In a friendly but competitive atmosphere, both teams held the lead at some point during the night, and it was anybody’s game at 4-4 with two singles remaining. Collin Bleak and Alain Léger battled hard for every point going to a deciding set but Alain was slightly more consistent and managed to put Truants in front, allowing Sascha Roschy to secure a 6-4 win for the continental European hosts.

A Modest Start to the New Season

The St Andrews had a very modest set of results for the opening week of the league fixtures.

Prospects opened the proceedings against the firemen of Kingsway (recently relegated from Division 2) with a strong start taking a 2-0 lead but the hosts took the next seven matches in a row. Louis Macleod, the newest member of the Prospects clinched the last point to reduce the arrears to 7-3.

In Division 2, Swots had a close encounter against Lundin Links Lasers. After the first 5 matches, the Swots held a commanding 4-1 lead but Lasers reversed the steam and secured the draw in the last match of the night.

The New Kids (from left to right) Ian Smith, Collin Bleak and Ian Brumwell

On the neighbouring table, there was another tight game in Division 2 as New Kids welcomed the Tigers to St Andrews. Based on their names alone, the cat and mouse game both teams played all night should have favoured Tigers, but the home team held on to a draw with strong performances from Ian Smith and Collin Bleak, who both won two singles and the doubles match together.

The final Division 2 game took Truants over the Tay to play Comets in Broughty Ferry. Alain Léger (Truant) started on the backfoot against Fraser Smith, but unexpectedly came back from 2-0 down to win in the deciding game. Glenn Christie (Comet) levelled the match against Knut before Graham Wood put Truants in front again when he beat Nairn Nixon (reserve) 3-1. Alain then forced another deciding set against Glenn this time, but the former was unable to win the war of attrition, allowing Comets to level the match again. Truants took the next two singles and the doubles to go 5-2 up before the last three singles. However, they had to wait till the very last match to take the win as Alain and Graham both lost, but Knut thrived under pressure and beat Fraser for the away win 6-4.

The top team Prefects (Division 1) severely misfired against Aces, but in fairness, they had to field two reserves from Division 2 against the first division title defenders. Whilst the encounter was a rather one-sided 10-0 whitewash, Nick Shepherd (Prefect) pushed Grant Williams (Aces) to the limit after taking a 2-1 lead, and had the chance to win in the fourth set as the score reached 10-10, but in the end Grant pipped Nick to the post 12-10 to seal the win in the final game.

Bats ready for the new season

Club chairperson Alain Leger presents the trophy to the 2019/20 winners, Emma Bissett and Graham Wood

The long summer of well-attended practice came to an end with the Eglinton tournament, organized and expertly run by Elaine Forbes in early September. Groups of two and three players competed in a handicap-based round-robin tournament. Emma Bissett and Graham Wood were unstoppable and dominated the event despite some very fair handicaps, adding their names for the first time to the trophy.

Revelling in the previous week’s glory, Graham led the Truants (from Division 2) to victory in the first round of the DDTTA (Dundee & District Table Tennis Association) doubles tournament, kicking off the season in style. Their opponents, Astronauts (from Division 3), fielded a young and promising team, but they were no match for the experienced side from Gauldry who march on to the next round of the competition, where they will face Villa (second division winners last year and newly promoted to the first division).

Prospects, however, couldn’t compete against the Knights, last season’s runners up in Division 1. The two-division differential was too great to overcome and although Prospects put up a good fight, they were unable to trouble Knights who enjoyed a whitewash.

Now the regular league season is underway with Prefects facing Aces in Division 1, New Kids and Swots welcome Tigers and Lundin Lasers respectively and Truants are away against Comets in Division 2. Last, but not least, Prospects are also away to face the firemen from Kingsway in a Division 3 encounter.

The season’s legacy

New Kids had the honour of playing the very final league match in the 2018/19 Dundee & District League season away against high flying Chieftains in Division 2. The latter stormed to a 6-0 commanding position. Fed up with this negative sequence, the Kids showed what they are truly made of in the doubles, slaughtering their opponents by the narrowest of margins in the final game. Howard Lee completed his strong season with a victory in the singles against Fiona Kinloch. But the Chieftans were doubtless happy to confirm their runner’s up spot in the division with a splendid 8-2 win.

New Kids had the chance to leapfrog Truants for fifth place, but they would have needed 6 points from the last fixture and only managed 2. Overall, the three St Andrews teams dominated the middle of the table, with Swots earning a commendable fourth place, followed by Truants, while New Kids finished on the seventh rung of the ladder. Swots had already established that they were the stronger team reaching the final of the Secondary Shield cup, narrowly losing in the final. In individual averages, Nick Shepherd finished fifth with a win ratio of 76%.

Division 1 was dominated by four teams who created a chasm with the rest of the league. Prefects, on the wrong side of the gap, still secured fifth place, partly thanks to the laudable performances of Michael Hahn, winning 39/45 matches (87%), finishing joint fifth in the individual averages.

In Division 3, Prospects had to settle for fifth place overall, led by Chris Wroniecki with a 77% win percentage.

Chris Wroniecki (right), winner of the 2019 Legacy Shield, is congratulated by tournament organiser Howard Lee

The club rounded up the season with a local “hard bat” tournament, the Legacy Shield, which saw Chris take on the mighty Michael in a thrilling finale. Before revealing the winner, it is worth clarifying that the hard bat is a great leveller as everybody plays identical bats, without rubbers. The modern game is heavily affected by the spin and speed of various rubbers, none of which could be used at the tournament. The final last year had already opposed Michael to Chris, the former emerging victorious. However, this year Chris was more determined than ever to reverse the result. It started off well for him as he took the first game 15-11. And the second game was won on sudden death at 14-14, by … Chris, earning the right to have his name engraved below Michael’s on the trophy.

The club would like to honour Michael, who will be leaving the area and therefore the club, as he will be completing his PhD (we hope) in the coming months. We wish him well in his future endeavours.

Another league season concludes

It was a busy week for the St Andrews teams as the 2018/19 league season drew to a close.

In Division 1, the Prefects finished on a high by defeating Telstars 7-3 with two hat tricks by Michael Hahn and reserve Elaine Forbes. Playing up from Division 3, Sandy Pearson almost claimed his first Division 1 scalp but ultimately lost to David Monteith in five sets. Sandy did however receive a consolation prize in helping Michael win the doubles match.

Swots had the pleasure of ending the season with two derbies, against New Kids and then against Truants. With both New Kids and Swots playing on their home turf, the rivalry between the two second division teams reached its pinnacle when Nick Shepherd and Howard Lee faced each other in the last deciding match. Nick’s perfect record against Howard over the past six years motivated both players. Beating the odds, Howard came out on top to secure a 5-5 draw in the fixture and a personal hat-trick.

From the left, Swots with Dave Beveridge, Collin Bleak and Nick Shepherd, and from the right, Truants with Graham Wood, Alain Léger and Knut Radmer.

Swots were also in a strong position against Truants going 5-4 ahead into the final match of the last derby of the season. Dave Beveridge was hoping to repeat a strong performance against Alain Léger to avenge his team, after Truants defeated Swots 6-4 in their previous encounter. The Frenchman took the first game by the smallest of margins, but Dave reacted well and levelled the match in the second set. However, the latter was very slightly worse for wear in what turned into a war of attrition. Alain saved Truants from defeat to complement Graham Wood’s man of the match performance and end the night with a 5-5 score line. Truants had a less fortunate night the week before against top of the league Villa, losing 8-2 at home.

In Division 3, Prospects could only field two players in Broughty Ferry against Duffers. The home team were dominant all night, only yielding Sandy Pearson and Ian Brumwell one win each as well as the doubles match, although Prospects could have drawn as they lost two matches at the end of two very long five setters.

In their final week, Prospects faced Division 3 runaway champions Tass, who were undefeated all season. Whilst Tass were able to preserve their unblemished record, Prospects gave them a fright, and managed to draw 5-5 thanks to man of the match Chris Wroniecki with a hat-trick.

Mixed League Results for the Club

Prefects were missing their best player to receive Knights, riding high in second place in Division 1, but then again Knights were also without their star. Victory was never in doubt for the visitors as the hosts fielded two reserves. There were some very high-level rallies, and Elaine Forbes even managed to save Prefects from a whitewash by beating Andrew Nimmo in five sets. Final score 1-9.

Prefects were sharing the Victory Memorial Hall with Swots, who were hosting the firemen from Kingsway in a Division 2 encounter. The teams shared the first four points equally, but it was all downhill from then for the firefighters who couldn’t put out the flames of “on-fire” Nick with another man-of-the-match performance. He was well supported by Collin in the doubles and two single wins, and Dave Beveridge with one win. Swots ended the night 7-3 up against the firemen.

Meanwhile in Broughty Ferry, New Kids had a difficult night against Sputniks. Although the teams were neck and neck all evening, at 4-4, Sputniks took off with the last two points available to win 6-4 at home.

Truants were at home against the second-best team in Division 2, the Chieftains, who showed no mercy in the opening four matches before Alain Léger managed to beat Jim Tawse in five games. The latter also lost to Graham Wood in five games just before Knut Radmer very nearly caused an upset and only just lost in the deciding game against young rising star Jacob Munro from Chieftains. Jacob was undefeated on the night, as was Fiona Kinloch. Truants salvaged two precious points from the fixture.

Finally, Prospects were playing away against another space-themed team, Astronauts, in Broughty Ferry. Prospects were pleased to welcome round-the-world-traveller Sandy Pearson back to the team. If it wasn’t for Euan Steel for Astronauts, Prospects would have sent them into orbit as they won all of the singles and the doubles match to claim a solid 7-3 victory at Forthill.

Local derby does not disappoint

Prospects were delighted to collect 10 free points last week as their opponents forfeited the match due to not being able to field a team and rescheduling was not possible before the official end of the season.

Meanwhile, Truants and Swots clashed in a second division derby in Gauldry. Swots started strong with Dave Beveridge and Nick Shepherd overcoming Knut Radmer and Alain Léger. Graham Wood then put Truants on the score sheet with a straight games win over Collin Bleak. Dave returned to the table against Alain for a great performance. Alain had three match points in the deciding game, but Dave held his nerve to win the next five points for a 12-10 win, including a superb return from a strong attacking shot. Knut then created the first upset of the night as he beat Collin in the fifth game before the headline match of the night: Graham versus Nick. It was a tense battle but Graham came out on top, as he did in the thrilling doubles match aided by Alain, against Nick and Dave. Collin then easily defeated Alain in style, as Graham also beat Dave in three games. Nick was hoping to save Swots from defeat against Knut in the final match of the night, but Knut pulled out an extraordinary performance to give Truants the winning point. Man of the match performance for Graham, undefeated all night, but Dave and Knut with two wins each went home with plenty to be happy with. The two teams will meet again in four weeks to play a re-arranged match from the first half of the season, Swots will be hungry for revenge then.

New Kids were up against the Lundin Links Lasers at home last week. Arthur Duncan and Robert Brown from Lasers were both undefeated except when they lost the doubles match against Howard Lee and Ian Smith, who both beat Nat Forno in the singles. Final result 7-3 for the visitors.

Finally, in the first division, Prefects were away to Forthill to play Defenders last week. The former had no choice but to field two reserve players for the fixture: Graham Wood and Howard Lee. Howard narrowly lost two matches against Kenny McLaren and Ken Head but Graham was able to comfortably beat the same players, as did Bonifac Legrady. However, none even came close to causing problems for Jos Berkhout, who was head and shoulders above the rest. Defenders defended their home ground well with a 6-4 victory.

On the home straight

A last-minute injury for star player Michael Hahn meant that Prefects were at a severe disadvantage against Viscounts in their Division 1 fixture. Facing a two man team, Viscounts took no prisoners and inflicted a complete whitewash over the remaining Prefects Jean-Augustin Touton and Bonifac Legrady.

New Kids were at Forthill in Broughty Ferry to face Tigers in Division 2. It ended up being a very close match, with quite a few surprising results. Man of the match Howard Lee took a hat trick of singles wins while Ken Falconer added two excellent points for the St Andrews team. Ian Smith had an off-night, unable to contribute to the 5-5 scoreline.

At Ward Road gym in Dundee, a beatable Barons team was waiting for Truants who relied heavily on team Captain Graham Wood to deliver the points as Knut Radmer and Alain Léger struggled. Barons kept their cool and seized 7 of the 10 points available as Graham secured three wins including the doubles match.

Nick Shepherd kept Swots in the game against Chieftains with a stellar performance after winning all his of singles and the doubles match aided by Collin Bleak. Dave Beveridge has been struggling since his injury, but Chieftains are a tough team and showed him no mercy. The fifth point was snatched by Collin in the fifth set against Jim Tawse to secure a draw.

Finally, Prospects were keeping Truants company at Ward Road Gym, facing Lairds in Division 3. Prospects opened up an early two point lead against fierce competitors who were chasing all night, but Chris Wroniecki secured victory after winning all three singles and the doubles match with Charlie Ross. Both Charlie and Ian Brumwell earned a point to contribute to the 6-4 win.

With four matches left in the league, Prefects are still in fourth place in the top division, but their considerable lead has almost vanished, and with a couple of difficult weeks ahead, they could tumble down the ranking quickly. In the second division, Swots and New Kids are in a good position to avoid promotion as well as relegation while Truants are second from bottom but with three matches in hand, which should suffice to keep them in second division next year. Prospects are in third place in the third division but with a few teams breathing down their neck, they would do well to maintain that position.

The Tay Bridge disrupts play

Several matches were disrupted and two were postponed last Tuesday as a result of an incident on the Tay road bridge. Unfortunately, two St Andrews teams were affected and now need to reschedule their fixtures. In Division 2, Truants waited to no avail for their opponents, Sputniks, who were unable to cross the Tay. Heading in the other direction, the New Kids, were thwarted in their efforts to play Chieftains in Dundee.

Meanwhile in Division 1, Prefects welcomed Aces to St Andrews on Monday. Aces are the current division leaders and were ahead throughout the fixture. However, excellent performances from Michael Hahn and Justin Yang allowed Prefects to come away with three out of the ten points.

On the other side of the Victory Memorial Hall in St Andrews, Swots received Barons in a second division encounter. The man of the match was undoubtedly Nick Shepherd who won all three singles in straight sets and the doubles match with the help of Dave Beveridge. Collin Bleak added a fifth point for Swots to secure a draw 5-5.

St Andrews teams crash out of the Handicap Cup with a hard exit

Competitive action last week was devoted to three fixtures in the second round of the Handicap Cup.

The Handicap Cup is often a good leveller, giving a better chance for teams in the lower divisions to compete by assigning handicaps according to ability levels. For instance, a third division player might start the game on 20 points and a first division player would begin on 3 points; first to 31 points wins.

Prospects (Division 3) were playing at Ward Road Gym in Dundee against first division title contenders Knights. The hosts were all starting on 3 or 4 points while the guests’ starting score ranged between 16 and 20. Despite the generous lead awarded to them, Prospects only managed to win two game while Knights secured the ten needed to progress to the next stage of the competition.

New Kids (Division 2) were hosting Tass (leaders of Division 3) from Dundee at the Victory Memorial Hall in St Andrews. Despite the favourable handicaps, Tass still had a mountain to climb as they could only field two players including a reserve. However, it proved easier than a short walk in the park as they surprisingly won every single game they played. Given the emphatic result, New Kids will doubtless be traumatised by the handicaps assigned for the match.

On the other table, Swots (Division 2) were playing Earls (Division 3). Both teams had brought a reserve player, which made some of the handicaps slightly unorthodox. This fixture was probably the most balanced of the three, and after the first three matches, the teams were neck an neck with three points each. However, Earls took control of the match in the next three by grabbing all six points available. Collin Bleak kept the Swots’ hopes alive in game 7 by breaking the Earls’ impressive winning streak but then succumbed in the next game, handing Earls the tenth and qualifying point. The fixture was played out, but Swots had no complaints as Earls took the remaining points anyway.

With all the St Andrews teams crashing out of the Handicap Cup, the focus returns to league matches next week.

Ken’s rubber flies off against high flying Villa

All five teams were engaged in league fixtures last week. In the top division, Prefects faced a difficult match against “Up4it”. Although the former are only two places behind the latter, there is a large gap in points between the teams. Star player Michael Hahn (Prefects) still managed to win two matches and lose one against Paul Montieth in the decider. In the process he defeated Gillian Edwards, an impressive achievement given she is currently the third best player in the league. Unfortunately, Up4it were up for it and comfortably took the remaining 8 points.

New Kids were up against Division 2 leaders Villa at home. Ian McLagan won his first two singles for Villa but Howard Lee and Ian Smith kept New Kids in the race with fine victories against James Pickles and Sandy Bertie. For the Kids, Ken Falconer was discombobulated when his rubber detached itself from the blade during a rally. Thankfully Ian McLagan provided some glue to patch up the bat. Villa strolled into a 5-2 lead before Howard reduced the arrears but that was too little too late as Villa seized the last two points to claim a 7-3 victory.

Calling on reserve Chris Wroniecki, Swots were away at the Forthill Club to play Sputniks. The Swots immediately took control of the fixture with a strong 3-0 lead. Sputniks fought back for the rest of the night but couldn’t quite recover from the early surge from Swots. In the end they reduced the deficit to two points, but Swots secured a 6-4 victory, with strong performances from Collin Bleak with a singles hat trick and from Chris with two wins.

The last match in second division was played at Lundin Links were the Lasers were hoping to ambush Truants. The guests had other ideas, thanks to a strong display by Graham Wood, undefeated in singles and the doubles (aided by Alain Léger) and an additional point scored by Knut Radmer. Truants held the draw amidst controversy, after one player from the hosting team forfeited the match due to unsporting behaviour. In fairness Lasers were embarrassed by their own player and the teams parted in good spirit.

Last but not least, Prospects had a great night at home against Squires in Division 3. Charlie Ross was undefeated on the night, while John Carlton and Ian Brumwell both recorded two solid wins each. Squires narrowly avoided a whitewash as the Dundee side earned two points in thrilling five setters which could have easily gone the other way.

Struggling against adversities on and off the table

With a number of injured players, it was a challenge for the club to field five teams of three players last week.

In Division 1, the Prefects experienced another 7-3 defeat in a home fixture against Star. Normally they would have expected to perform better against opponents flirting with relegation. But with a team weakened through absence, the Prefects relied on stellar player Michael Hahn to win his three singles and avoid a whitewash.

New Kids in Division 2 playing against Kingsway at Dundee’s fire station depended heavily on reserve player, Elaine Forbes. Showing her class, Elaine was on fire as she secured a very comfortable hat trick. Ken Falconer and Ian Smith both won one match each to scrape a 5-5 draw overall.

Swots also had a difficult night at home against Lundin Lasers despite a splendid hat trick for Nick Shepherd. He was helped by Dave Beveridge in the doubles and a singles victory.  Swots fielded a reserve player, John Carlton, but the Lasers were too experienced for him despite some very close games.

Truants managed to field three of their own players against Tigers at home. It was a very long night with six five setters and some very long rallies. Truants tamed their opponents in the first four singles; Tigers rallied and roared back, but too little too late as Truants closed in with a 6-4 victory. Graham Wood had a good night with a hat trick, complemented by two wins by Alain Léger and one by Knut Radmer.

In Division 3, the Prospects were up against a strong Comets team away at Forthill in Broughty Ferry. Despite a good win for Chris Wroniecki in the opening match, Comets were too strong and grabbed all nine remaining points.

Finally, the club was well represented at the lower divisions (Divisions 2 and 3) individuals’ championships at the Ward Road gym in Dundee. Howard Lee reached the final of the over-25s, frustratingly losing by the narrowest of margins in the deciding game against Ian McLagan. Dave Beveridge also had a good run in the Fowler cup but lost to Andrew Nimmo in the semi-final.

Strong Win for Prospects

Last week’s report ended on a cliff-hanger on the deciding point of the final game of the Handicap cup first round match between Up4it and New Kids. At 25-25, the outcome of the fixture is decided by sudden death, whoever wins the point wins the game, and in this case the match as well. Kong Wan for the New Kids was facing Ryan Docherty.  Kong was king as he showed nerves of steel to conquer Ryan and qualify the Kids for the next round of the competition.

In Division 3, Prospects enjoyed a splendid win at home against Missiles. Chris Wroniecki and Charlie Ross recorded hat tricks and claimed victory in the doubles match together while Ian Brumwell won two out of three.

On the other side of the Victory Memorial Hall, New Kids were ready for the derby against Truants. Truants had a good start with Alain Léger and Knut Radmer taking the first two available points against Ken Falconer and Howard Lee. However, the home team took seven of the remaining eight points to seal a well-deserved 7-3 victory. The man of the match was clearly Knut having defeated Howard and Ian Smith in straight sets. Graham Wood, not having his best night, was the only player not to score a point in the match.

Meanwhile Swots were away at Forthill against Tigers. After the first six singles, both teams were neck and neck on 3 points; Nick Shepherd and Collin Bleak then picked up a win in the doubles to put Swots in front for the first time on the night. Tigers roared back to clinch match by winning all three remaining singles in deciding sets. Swots will be disappointed to let victory slip away  6-4.

Finally, Prefects were making the arduous journey to Brechin. Michael Hahn took the first match against Aaron Robertson, but the home team secured victory winning the next seven. In a damage limitation exercise, Michael and Bonifac Legrady grabbed the last two matches by a small margin in the deciding sets but the long journey back to Fife would have been even longer discussing the 7-3 defeat.

It was left to Kong to be up for it against Up4it

A happy new year to all readers of the blog. Wishing you a smashing time at the table!

With the first half of the season completed, it is time to take stock and find out how the St Andrews teams are doing in their respective divisions.

Starting in the lower league, Prospects are currently holding 4th place in a pool of 11 teams dominated by Tass from the Telecoms club. Given that there are 6 teams close behind them (within 12 points), and the gap to bridge to the third place is 13 points, Prospects will need to battle hard to maintain the status quo.

In Division 2, the three teams representing St Andrews (Swots 4th, New Kids 5th and Truants 6th) occupy the middle of the table and are within three points of each other, but there also three other teams breathing down their necks within a handful of points. It is also worth mentioning that all three teams reached the semi-final of the Secondary Shield in December, with Swots very narrowly missing out on bringing the trophy back to St Andrews after losing 5-4 to the division leaders in the final.

Finally, in the top division Prefects are comfortably in 5th place out of 10 teams. Unlike in the other two divisions, teams are spread quite far apart, and the order is less likely to change if Prefects maintain their standards.

In other news, Truants and New Kids were engaged in the Handicap cup last week. The former were up against third division Missiles, but couldn’t overcome the handicaps assigned to them and lost comfortably 10-4. The latter however, faced Up4it, currently second in Division 1. Enjoying favourable handicaps, New Kids got off to a flying start, claiming five of the first six points available. The next two encounters saw the games split evenly, leaving the Kids three points away from victory at 7-3. Ryan Docherty and Gillian Edwards put up an impressive display of fortitude to level the match by claiming the next four points, and when Ian Smith and Paul Monteith shared the spoils in the penultimate match, it was all down to Kong Wan and Ryan Docherty to decide the outcome of the fixture. Kong drew first blood but Ryan was up for it and levelled at 9-9, forcing a game and match decider. Even this final set went down to the wire as it was decided in the last possible rally by sudden death at 25-25.

To be continued…

Swots so close to winning the Secondary Shield

The three St Andrews teams in Division 2, had all qualified for the semi-finals of the Secondary Shield tournament held at the Ward Road Gym in Dundee on the penultimate Saturday before Christmas. The fourth team remaining in the competition was Villa, the current leaders of the second division.

On one side of the room dividers, Swots were up against New Kids. Collin Bleak drew the first blood against Kong Wan with an easy straight sets victory. Just back from a gardening injury, Kong had brought an old bat with him by mistake which had very little grip. Howard Lee levelled the match against reserve Chris Wroniecki, but this was far from a comfortable win. Nick Shepherd put Swots in front again by beating Ian Smith in four games, but Howard once again evened up the scores with a narrow victory over Collin. Immediately, Nick responded by defeating Kong in three games, before Chris slayed Ian to put Swots within one point of qualifying for the final. One chance was all Nick needed to seal the victory for Swots with a four game win over Howard by 5-2 overall.

On the other side of the dividers, Truants were playing their semi-final against Villa. Unfortunately, Truants were without their injured star player Sascha Roschy who was supporting from the sidelines. Villa got off to a flying start, taking the first two matches. Alain Léger from Truants reduced the arrears with a narrow victory against Sandy Bertie, but Villa took the next three games to qualify for the final 5-1.

The finalists from left to right, Chris Wroniecki, Nick Shepherd and Collin Bleak for runner-ups “Swots”, and Ian Hunter, Sandy Bertie and Ian McLagan for champions “Villa”

Swots were very much the underdogs in this final against the division topping Villa. However, with a strong core of players supplemented by an excellent reserve, they caused a lot of problems for the favourites. Chris and Nick both beat Sandy Bertie and Ian Hunter, but stalwart Ian McLagan held on strong to pip Swots to the post 5-4 and claim the silverware.

In other news, Truants had a tough battle against first division Rockets in the Stanley Doubles cup. Despite winning the opening match, the Rockets took off and powered to a 5-1 victory. New Kids were also competing in the Stanley Doubles, but were narrowly edged out by Villa in a tense encounter settled in the deciding match. Prospects had a night to forget as they failed to bring a single point home from Telecom House in their encounter with Tass. Finally, Michael Hahn scored perhaps his most meaningful hat trick of the season against Up4It (current first division leaders), remaining unbeaten though his team mates were less successful. Final score 7-3 to Up4It.

Derby lives up to expectations

The first round of matches in December opened with a hotly anticipated Division 2 derby between New Kids and Swots at the Victory Memorial Hall. With bragging rights at stake, the players could not resist speculating on the likely outcome. First blood was drawn by Dave Beveridge, who disposed of Ken Falconer in straight sets, and then Nick Shepherd who inflicted the same punishment on Howard Lee, putting Swots 2-0 in front. But Ian Smith turned the tide by beating Colin Bleak in a nail-biting fifth game, before Howard levelled the match against Dave. Ken was defeated again, by Collin this time, which spurred Nick on to beat Ian in three closely contested sets. Having regained their 2-point lead, Swots went into the doubles match full of confidence, rightly so as Dave and Nick opened a comfortable 2-0 lead. However, Howard and Ian regrouped well to force a fifth game, which they then went on to win, inflicting the first defeat of the season in the doubles match on the Swots. Tired from this draining encounter, Collin and Howard engaged in battle. Howard picked up the first two games, Collin caught up but could not take the deciding set, allowing New Kids to level the match again at 4-4. With two singles left in the fixture, Ian kept his cool against Dave and, for the first time of the night, put his team in front. Nick concluded the fixture with a strong straight-sets win over Ken to clinch the draw at 5-5, which (almost) nobody had predicted.

In other news, Prospects had a straightforward 8-2 win over Duffers at home in which Charlie Ross was on top form as he scored a hat trick for the loss of only one set.

Michael Hahn also picked up a hat trick for Prefects against Telstars, but his team mates struggled against the team from BT. However, they secured an honourable draw 5-5 overall.

The final match involving a St Andrews team last week opposed Truants to Villa in Broughty Ferry. Villa are the current leaders in Division 2, but they were aware that on a good night Truants could cause an upset. Villa were merciless and took the first five matches, leaving little doubt about the outcome of the encounter. It was Graham Wood who stepped up to the mark to stop the haemorrhage, winning two singles and the doubles with Sascha Roschy, who had a night to forget after winning only one singles match. Alain Léger had no influence on the outcome despite showing some signs of form. Final score 6-4 to Villa.

Good results for St Andrews to celebrate St Andrew’s Day

It was a busy couple of days for the St Andrews teams at the end of November. Swots and Prefects were sharing the Victory Memorial Hall welcoming two teams, Villa and Rockets respectively, both from the Forthill Club in Broughty Ferry.

With Villa one of the title contenders in Division 2, Swots found themselves thrilled to be 4-3 up after the doubles, and looking like they would secure at least a draw. But Villa displayed great resilience and managed to take the last three singles matches to clinch a 6-4 win.

Prefects were in a stronger position and never looked like losing. Michael Hahn scored his usual hat trick while his team mates Bonifac Legrady and Jean-Augustin Touton only lost to Gary Lowson. 8-2 was the final score for the Prefects in this Division 1 fixture.

Truants were also at home, but in the Gauldry against the firemen of Kingsway. The first match of the night saw Knut Radmer face Willie Cooper. Between them, these very experienced players have celebrated 150 birthdays, showcasing the inclusivity of table tennis for all ages. At the end of the night, the points were shared evenly by the old timers 5-5.

On the same evening, New Kids were away at Ward Road gym in Dundee, playing Barons in Division 2. Both teams fielded a reserve, but whilst Barons’ Mohammad Alrubayee was unable to win a point, New Kids’ Nick Shepherd brought a triumphant hat trick home. Whilst New Kids were always in the lead, overall victory was only confirmed in the penultimate match of this highly competitive tie.

Finally, Prospects were playing twice last week. Their Consolation Cup match started well when Chris Wroniecki beat Stewart Clark in five games, but that was the only consolation for the Division 3 team, who lost the fixture 5-1 overall. Later in the week, they were on the road again for the long, long drive to the most distant venue in the whole league, facing Buccaneers in Brechin. The Dundee and District chairperson Elaine Forbes led the charge with three singles victories, assisted by Charlie Ross (2 wins) and Dave Goddard (1 win). The Brechin side took the doubles match but Prospects were able to savour the 6-4 victory on their lengthy journey home.

Hat tricks galore!

All five teams were back in action this week for St Andrews.

Prospects were at home facing Astronauts in Division 3. Chris Wroniecki, Charlie Ross and Ian Brumwell all won their opening matches to put the Prospects 3-0 ahead, but Ian Roberts landed one for the Astronauts against Charlie Ross. However, the engines failed for the space explorers who crashed to defeat in the remaining encounters, giving a solid 9-1 win for Prospects. Hat trick count: 2 (Chris and Ian).

New Kids were competing on the other side of the Victory Memorial Hall against Sputniks in Division 2. The hosts took a 3-1 lead, but the match was level before going into the doubles encounter, which swung the fixture in their favour. Howard Lee was on fire and his sparkling form lifted the team to a 6-4 victory. The story could have been very different if New Kids hadn’t won all three five-setters. Although Ken Falconer struggled on the night for the Kids, he declared his defeat against Carol McLean to be his happiest moment of the past two years. Indeed, both players caught the giggles during some of the lengthy defensive rallies. The club is grateful to Carol for bringing some joy to a pure mathematician. Hat trick count: 1 (Howard).

At the same time, Swots were visiting Kingsway at Blackness fire station. At 2-2, the teams seemed evenly matched, but Swots proceeded to extinguish their opponents as they blazed to victory in the six remaining matches. Nick Shepherd and Collin Bleak were on top form, both coming home with a hat trick.

The following day witnessed two St Andrews’ teams heading to the Ward Road Gym in Dundee. Truants were facing Chieftains in Division 2 while Prefects clashed with Knights in Division 1.

Chieftains lined up a strong team against Knut Radmer, Sascha Roschy and Graham Wood. Indeed, they dominated the encounter except when Sascha was at the table both in the singles and also combining well with Graham in the doubles. All the other points went to Chieftains, final score 6-4. Hat trick count: 1 (Sascha).

Finally, Prefect Michael Hahn fought hard to win the opening match against Knight Stuart Halliday in five games. But his team mates Bonifac Legrady and reserve Nick Shepherd struggled in their respective opening matches. Michael beat Peter Aird to secure a second point which was to be the last for the team. Prefects fell 8-2 at the hands of the rampaging Knights equipped with some powerful weapons.

Overall hat-trick count = 6

Prospects and Telsports teach the lost art of conceding to each other

Three of the five teams were in action this week for St Andrews with mixed results.

Former club member Emma Bissett, who now plays for Telsports in Division 3, was very pleased to welcome Prospects to Telecom House in Dundee, especially as she managed to win all her singles against Chris Wroniecki, Ian Brumwell and Charlie Ross. Although none of the matches required a deciding game, both teams were neck and neck all evening, never being more than one point ahead of each other. The fixture came to a highly unusual conclusion as Chris decided to concede his match against Emma, despite leading 1-0 in the penultimate match of the night. The floor had become too slippery and dangerous by that point. Both teams agreed that a fair outcome under the circumstances would be a 5-5 draw, and so, the final match was conceded by Telsports.

In Division 2, New Kids traveled south to Lundin Links to face Lasers who were set to stun. The home team were on top form as they prevented New Kids from scoring a single point. It was a solid display from Lasers who were only once forced to resort to a decider. Despite the absence of their best player, New Kids had hoped for a better result. Onward and upward.

Playing at home in St Andrews, Prefects were on the attack against Defenders. Michael Hahn and Justin Yang (for Prefects) secured the first two points in the singles, before Jos Berkhout was able to overcome Jean Augustin Touton (Prefects) in straight, but very close, games. The trio from Fife each went on to win their next wave of singles, extending their lead to 5-1. Defenders however, took the doubles match, and Jos concluded his evening with another win, against Justin this time. Prefects secured the last two points for the 7-3 win at the end of the night. Michael bagged another hat trick with a strong performance for the loss of only one game.

Swots and Truants were due to play a second division derby but Swots requested a postponement on account of injuries.

A quartet of losses for St Andrews

Teams from St Andrews were perfectly synchronised last week as they all succumbed to heavy defeats.

Prefects were away at Ward Road in Dundee to face Viscounts in a first division encounter. Viscounts were promoted from the second division last year, and with the addition of Callum Riddoch (a first division title holder), they are a force to be reckoned with. And indeed, they opened the proceedings well by taking the first three matches. Michael Hahn offered some resistance as he put Prefects on the scoresheet after being 2-1 down against David Hay to win 3-2. Jean-Augustin Touton and Michael both secured victory against Andrew Nimmo, but Viscounts took the rest of the available points to secure a well-deserved 7-3 win.

In the second division, New Kids welcomed the roaring Tigers at home. Ken Falconer, Howard Lee and Ian Smith all managed to beat Marion Davidson, but that was the end of the good news as Logie Anderson and Scott Thomson both scored undefeated hat tricks for Tigers. The result could have been very different if New Kids hadn’t lost all four of the matches which went to a deciding fifth game. Final score New Kids 3 Tigers 7.

Also in Division 2, Swots were playing Chieftains in Dundee. The first two points were shared evenly as Chris Wroniecki (reserve) lost to Fiona Kinloch but Nick Shepherd beat Jim Tawse in five games. However, Chieftains took all the remaining singles to win 8-2. Swots continued their 100% run in the doubles but that was meagre consolation on the night.

Receiving Lairds at home, Prospects were looking to stop their losing streak. Charlie Ross has a bad start against Mohammed Alrubayee, but Chris Wroniecki levelled the match, beating Ryan Connor in straight games. Lairds then stamped their authority by taking the next six points. Chris did well to beat Derek Johnston by 3-0. Alas, Ian Brumwell and Charlie were unable to make an impact on the final score 8-2.

Truants, plagued by injuries lately, had to request a postponement, and inadvertently ensured that the club avoided a quintet of defeats.

Best possible outcome in cup proceedings

All second division teams from St Andrews were competing in the secondary shield last week.

Swots and New Kids shared the home venue on Monday, welcoming Tigers and Kingsway respectively. The latter were stunned by a strong start by New Kids, harvesting a 4-0 lead with two wins from Howard Lee and one each for Ian Smith and Kong Wan. Kingsway kept their hopes alive in this first-to-five race when Derek Thomson defeated Kong in four games, but this was short lived as Ian Smith clinched the fifth point for New Kids with an impressive straight-sets win over Alan Carrie.

On the other table, Swots started well when Dave Beveridge and Nick Shepherd took the first two points against Kenny McLaren and Marion Davidson. Scott Thomson responded for Tigers with a fifth game victory against Collin Bleak, but Nick added his second win of the night, against Kenny this time. Scott reduced the arears once again, overcoming Dave Beveridge. Collin was able to place his team within one point of victory against Marion. Tigers needed all three matches left in the fixture and looked like they would force a deciding match when the next two encounters were played simultaneously. Scott went 2-0 up against Nick and Kenny lead 1-0 against Collin. Nick staged a great comeback to level the match at 2-2. Collin also came back and both matches reached their final set. Despite a great performance, Collin lost 11-9, but Nick was able to get the better of Scott 11-8, earning the final point needed for qualification.

Also at home, but in the Gauldry this time, Truants were facing Earls for a place in the semi-final. Earls couldn’t field three players and had a mountain to climb by forfeiting 3 points to Truants before the match even started. Knut Radmer (Truants) had a strong start against Stewart Mason leading 2-0 but Stewart turned the tables (figuratively), levelled the match and went on to win the final set 12-10. For his first match of the season, Alain Léger was fortunate to beat Scott Wishart in 4 games, but Sascha earned the second point needed to qualify Truants for the next round with a victory over Stewart. The fixture was played out with a final score of 7-2 for Truants.

This means that all three teams will be disputing the semi-finals in Dundee on December 15th. Swots and New Kids will be facing each other, and Truants will play the second division leaders Villa.

Mixed results for St Andrews

Back to league fixtures this week with Prefects away at the Forthill venue in Broughty Ferry to play Aces in a Division 1 fixture. Michael Hahn fought hard against Zeesth Naseem but succumbed in the final game. Bonifac Legrady and Howard Lee (reserve) also lost their opening matches. With a 3-0 deficit, Michael returned to the table to give some hope to the team by beating Mark Lundberg. Aces however took the next four matches including the doubles losing only one game in the process. Now playing for pride, as the overall match was already lost, Michael returned to the table to defeat Grant Williams. Final score 8-2 for a dominant Aces team.

In Division 2, New Kids were at home against Chieftains. Normally a strong team, Chieftains were only able to field two players, giving New Kids a 3-0 head start. However, Jacob Munro and Fiona Kinloch from Chieftains were able to win the first four matches. New Kids had to react, and that is precisely what they did. Howard Lee and Ian Smith combined well to win the doubles in straight sets, and the pair struck again in the singles to give the Kids a 6-4 victory.

Still in the second division, Swots played Barons in a fixture where all matches were won or lost in three games, except for the doubles and one other match. Barons opened well with victories in the first two matches, only to be matched by Swots in the following two encounters. Barons went two points ahead again, but Swots responded well and equalized again. At 4-4, Dave Beveridge took the lead for Swots for the first time on the night, but Andy Hughes completed his hat trick to scrape a 5-5 draw.

Finally in Division 2, Truants were away at Forthill to face Sputniks. Knut Radmer, Dave Beveridge and Sascha Roschy took a commanding 3-0 lead, only interrupted when Carol McLean defeated Knut in the deciding game of their match. Sascha very comfortably sent Eric Brown into orbit, but Jill Milne’s riposte against Dave Beveridge kept their hopes off the ground. The feeling didn’t last long though as the Sputniks crashed down to earth in the final four matches, giving a scoreline of Sputniks 2 Truants 8.

In Division 3, Prospects clashed against Squires at Ward Road. Dave Goddard and Charlie Ross did well to win two matches each, but Neil Lea was too modest to win a match. Squires edged Prospects 6-4.

Action from the second round of the Secondary Shield Round

Four teams from the St Andrews club competed in the second round of the Secondary Shield. This tournament is open to all teams in the league except those in Division 1.

New Kids (Division 2) were first up against Missiles (Division 3) at Forthill. Craig Fraser fired off the first point on the score sheet for Missiles, shooting down Kong Wan in three very tight sets before Howard Lee equalized for the Kids against David Hunter. Missiles self-destructed in the next two matches before Craig returned to the table with too much ammunition for Ken Falconer. In this first-to-five race, New Kids were only one point ahead with up to four matches remaining. However, the Kids had too much firepower as they torpedoed the next two matches without conceding a game to qualify for the next round.

Swots were also facing a lower division team: the Lairds, at Ward Road gym in Dundee. This was a much more straightforward affair. Taking no prisoners, Swots triumphed 5-0, and were only once pushed to a five-game match. Dave Beveridge, Collin Bleak and Nick Shepherd confidently qualified for the next round of the competition.

Finally, a St Andrews club derby rounded up this stage of the competition at the Victory Memorial Hall. Prospects (Division 3) the home team welcomed the Truants (Division 2). Sandy Pearson (Prospects) opened the fixture with his first appearance since a knee injury but lost in straight games against Sascha Roschy. Charlie Ross did well to come back from 2-1 down against Knut Radmer to level the match at 1-1, keeping the prospects of the Prospects alive in the contest. Truants, however, had other ideas and snuffed out any hope by taking four consecutive matches to qualify for the next round. Both teams were keen to make the most of the night and decided to play out the rest of the fixture. Truants consolidated their dominance as they picked up the next two points. Despite his dodgy knee, Sandy managed to take the last point against Knut, giving a final score line of 2-7. Sandy reflected in a post-match interview that he had returned to the table a bit too soon after his injury. We wish him a full and prompt recovery.

St Andrews has three teams through to the quarter finals, and all playing opponents from different clubs. Watch out for some more local derbies if they progress further to the semi-finals and final in the Secondary Shield.

The three musketeers

In Division 2, Truants welcomed the Lundin Lasers from Lundin Links to Gauldry last week. It was a real game of cat and mouse all night, both teams taking the lead in turn. At 4-4, Dave Beveridge (reserve) landed a crucial blow for Truants against former team mate Robert Brown to put Lasers on their back foot for the final encounter of the night. Stalwart Graham Wood then secured the victory for Truants and a personal hat-trick with a straight sets win against Roman Nydza. Gritty Knut Radner’s positive attitude at the table finally paid off as he at last scored his first point of the season.

Also in Division 2, the top two teams clashed at Forthill where New Kids were ambushed by a rampant Villa. In a very one-sided encounter, Villa took all the singles matches, only conceding the doubles in the deciding game by the smallest of margins. The hapless New Kids were stunned by superior opponents on the night. Howard Lee and Ian Smith were only able to take a bit of comfort from holding on to their unbeaten run in the doubles so far this season.

In the final match in Division 2, Swots hosted Sputniks. Although the man of the match, Jack Oughton, was on Sputniks’ side, the guests were sent into orbit in a convincing display by Swots. Even then, Jack won 2 of his 3 matches in a deciding set. Nick Shepherd, Collin Bleak and Dave Beveridge for Swots all managed to surpass Carol McLean and Eric Brown, who only won one set between them. Swots’ 7-3 victory means they are now 3rd in the second division, ahead of New Kids after their capitulation to Villa.

Prospects, representing St Andrews in the third division, travelled across the river Tay to play Squires at Ward Road Gym. Charlie Ross for Prospects opened the score against Winnie Stein, but the hosts took the next four matches, establishing a commanding 4-1 lead. Neil Lea reported feeling unwell during match against Winnie, but it took all of Dave Goddard’s powers of persuasion to convince his team mate to forfeit his third match. True team spirit does not mean winning at all costs, in this case Prospects were happy to reduce their chances of victory to protect one of their own. One for all, all for one. Prospects played catch up with Squires from there, but only reduced the deficit to 4-6 in the end.

Rain disrupts play

In Division 3 last week, Prospects welcomed the Earls from Dundee. It was raining both outside and inside the Victory Memorial Hall due to a leaky roof. Despite the meteorological hazards, the teams did their best to ignore the water ingress in a hard fought affair with 6 of the 10 matches needing a deciding game. The Earls poured down their shots as they raced to an early 3-0 lead. Not to be inundated, Dave Goddard and Charlie Ross reduced the deficit by soaking up the pressure in five game thrillers as they beat respectively Stewart Mason and Jamie Harle. Eddie Dougan, however, kept his cool for the Earls and swamped Neil Lea 3-1. In the doubles, Dave and Charlie combined well to overcome Stewart and Eddie. Earls then secured the next two singles to steam to victory. As the precipitation subsided, Charlie returned home for a well-deserved shower after claiming the last point of the night with a deluge of fine shots to defeat Eddie. Final score 4-6 to Earls.

In Division 2, Swots travelled to Lundin links to take on the Lundin Lasers. Swots started slowly, going 2-0 behind, but rallied to take the lead back at 3-4 before the hosts took the next three matches, securing a narrow 6-4 victory. The performance of Roman Nydza from the Lasers was decisive as he picked up all three singles in the deciding fifth game. Highlights for Swots included a win for reserve Chris Wroniecki and two victories for Collin Bleak in addition to the doubles match with David Beveridge.

It was a fine performance for first division Prefects in the Chairman’s Challenge trophy against Defenders. The opening two points were shared evenly by the teams. Reliable as ever, Michael Hahn then put the Prefects in front with a straight set win and received help from Bonifac Legrady for the first doubles match of the night. With their backs to the wall, Defenders had to win the next doubles to stay in the match, which they did when Arthur Pritchard and Jos Berkhout beat Bonifac and Jean-Augustin Touton in straight sets. Michael needed only one opportunity to secure the victory and therefore qualification for the next round when he beat Jos 3-1.

Action from week 2 of the new league season

The New Kids trio of (left to right) Ian Smith, Kong Wan, and Howard Lee

It was another good week for teams from St Andrews. New Kids welcomed Kingsway from Dundee Fire Station at the Victory Memorial Hall. Despite losing the first match, when Derek Thomson beat Kong Wan in four games, the home team never looked like losing the fixture as they won the next seven matches for the loss of only three games. It was Derek Thomson again who broke the winning streak to take his second and Kingsway’s only points on the night by beating Ian Smith in the fifth and deciding game. Howard Lee scored his first hat trick of the season, dropping only one game on the night. Ian and Kong tallied two victories each as they extinguished the flames of firemen Willie Cooper and Alan Carrie. The final score was 8-2 for the hosts. After two matches New Kids (temporarily) lead Division 2 sharing the top spot with Villa.

On the other table, Prospects were facing Comets from Broughty Ferry but with a very different outcome. Guests Glenn Christie, Fraser Smith and Dougal Ogilvie were only ever troubled when Chris Wroniecki was on the other side of the table, as they were pushed to deciding games on each occasion. Chris will be relieved to take the one consolation point in a 9-1 reversal but disappointed to have lost three encounters by the smallest of margins, including the doubles. In the singles, Dave Goddard and Neal Lea were reduced to cosmic dust, winning only one game between them, against a dominant Comets team.

In Division 1, Jean-Augustin Touton made his debut for Prefects and saved the team from an away defeat against Star in the last game of the night. Michael Hahn won his singles and Graham Wood (reserve) scored another point for the visiting team. Star were represented by Ian Martin, with two victories as well as the doubles, and Jim Hutcheson, who won one single, as did Andy Ferguson. Overall, the 10 points were evenly shared between the two teams.

Finally, Truants, who were away at Forthill in Broughty Ferry playing Tigers, returned home victorious 6-4. Sascha Roschy lead the charge with a hat trick, as well as the doubles, partnering with Graham Wood who added two more victories to the score sheet, beating Kenny McLaren and Scott Thomson, but losing to Logie Anderson. Unfortunately, Knut Radmer was unable to tame the big cats despite two very close matches against Logie and Kenny.

The league season opens brightly for St Andrews

The opening week of the 2018/19 season in the Dundee and District League heralded fixtures in first round of the Stanley doubles. Second division Truants and New Kids both managed relatively straightforward victories against third division teams, Tass and Duffers respectively. On the other end of the spectrum, second division Swots and third division Prospects predictably fell at the hands of first division opponents Viscounts and Aces. Any deviation from the above results would have been a huge surprise.

The victors of the first week clashed in the opening match of the new league season in a local derby as the New Kids travelled to Gauldry to play Truants. With Truants as second division title contenders, and the Kids hoping to avoid a relegation battle, expectations were confounded as the New Kids stunned their rivals in an emphatic 7-3 victory. It was an excellent result for Ian Smith, undefeated on the night, Howard Lee, with two wins and Ken Falconer who scored one point for the team. New Kids will be especially pleased to have taken (twice) one of the most coveted scalps in Division 2, namely Sascha Roschy, who could only manage to beat Ken while Graham Wood overcame Ken and Howard. Knut Radner was unfortunate to leave with nothing despite taking Ian to a deciding set.

Also in Division 2, the Swots bounced right back after being eliminated from the Stanley doubles cup with a solid 9-1 victory over the Tigers in the league. Colin Bleak and Nick Shepherd combined well in the doubles to add to their splendid individual hat tricks, while Dave Beveridge was only defeated by Scott Thomson. Marion Davidson and Kenny McLaren for the Tigers were left to lick their wounds as they struggled and were unable to score any points on the night.

In Division 3, Prospects opened their league season with a commendable victory over Missiles 6-4. Chris Wroniecki was the sharp shooting man of the match, taking home an undefeated hat trick of wins, while Charlie Ross secured two points and Dave Goddard one over the misfiring Missiles.

Last but not least, Prefects in Division 1 secured their first win for the loss of only one game by reserve Sascha Roschy. Michael Hahn and Justin Yang remained undefeated in singles as well as in the doubles match. Their newly promoted opponents from Brechin comprised of Andrew Crawford, Aaron Robertson and John Anderson, the latter taking the only point on the long, long journey back to Angus.

Chris and Dave triumph in Eglinton Cup

Thirteen players at St Andrews Table Tennis Club dusted their bats to compete in the Eglinton Cup, the now traditional opening tournament of the season at the Victory Memorial Hall.

Club chair Alain Leger presents the 2018 Eglinton trophy to winners Chris Wroniecki (left) and Dave Beveridge (Right)

If the Eglinton trophy can be used as a barometer for the season to come, the pair to watch for the start of the competitive play on September 10th is Dave Beveridge and Chris Wroniecki, who took the final with a commanding 4-1 victory over Michael Hahn and John Carlton, the latter winning the only end for the runners up on the deciding point. The tournament, organized by Elaine Forbes and Alain Leger, is handicapped, to even the playing field and make the outcome more unpredictable. With many games going to sudden death, all players shared a fun and exciting evening. Dave equaled a club record on the night, taking the trophy home for the third time in the last four years. The evening was also marked by the last appearance under the St Andrews banner for Emma Bissett, who had an impressive night, conceding only one set during the event. Emma’s good nature and friendly attitude will be missed by all, although she has threatened to drop in occasionally at social events.

All league players are now focusing on the new season looming round the corner. The club will enter five teams again in the Dundee and District League, in the same divisions as last year, as all the teams avoided promotion and relegation alike. Leading the charge with the elite team in 1st division are the Prefects, but the club is represented in greater numbers in the second division with the Truants, New kids and Swots. Whereas in third division, the Prospects have renewed energy and focus and could well impress this season.

The club would also like to invite new players, either beginners or adult returners to drop in at Victory Memorial Hall at any time on a Monday between 1:30pm and 4pm to join the Rascals group. As a safe and relaxed environment to enjoy the sport in a leisurely manner, this is a great introduction to the club. Those who wish to play competitively are also very welcome.

Kong prepares for the new season with the help of quantum theory

Kong Wan – New Kids

As he prepares for another table tennis season with the New Kids in Division 2 of the Dundee and District League, Kong Wan has spent considerable time planning to exploit his knowledge of quantum mechanics to confuse his opponents. Just like a quantum particle, a player may be able to identify Kong’s position but not his momentum. This means we have no choice except to expect the unexpected with Kong’s spin, speed and direction. To find out what Kong knows and to thwart his quantum strategies, it is highly recommended that you read his latest book on quantum theory. If you discover his secrets, he will be very happy to sign your copy. To make it even easier, a solutions manual will soon be available for the various exercises.

Michael Hahn wins hardbat tournament

The competitors in the 2018 Legacy Shield (Dave Beveridge missing, presumed taking the photo)

On Monday, St Andrews Table Tennis Club hosted their third annual ‘hardbat’ tournament, using sandpaper bats and adopting the style and format used by the World Championships of Ping Pong. Top seed Michael Hahn was victorious, but did not have everything his own way, losing his first group game to Chris Wroniecki 21-12, before recovered to beat both Alain Leger and John Carlton to 12 and 14, respectively. John beat Chris to give a three-way-tie between Michael, Chris, and John for first place, with Chris taking this countback. In group 2, last year’s winner, Graham Wood and Collin Bleak both beat Neil Lea comfortably, while Graham came back from 19-17 down to edge out Collin 21-19 to take top spot. In group 3, Howard Lee won all of his games, although struggled against Nick Shepherd and Emma Bissett, winning 21-19 and 21-18, respectively. Nick won his other games while Dave Beveridge beat Emma to go through as third. The bottom players from each group, Neil, Alain, and Emma played off in a round robin group, with Alain winning with 21-19 and 21-12 victories against Emma and Neil, respectively, while Emma beat Neil 21-20.

The other players entered the quarter finals. Chris and Michael beat Nick and Collin fairly comfortably in their respective games, while Howard won a close contest against John 21-19 and Dave came through against last year’s champion, Graham in an even closer 21-20 game. The losing quarter-finalists, Nick, Graham, John, and Collin played off for positions five to eight with everyone winning at least one game, and Nick taking 5th place overall with two wins from three.

Michael Hahn (left) receives the Legacy Shield from Howard Lee

Chris beat Dave 21-16 and Michael beat Howard 21-17 in the semi-finals to set up a repeat of the first game of the night in the final. Dave beat Howard to take third place. Michael started well in the final to gain a small advantage by the half-way stage, and maintained that lead for the rest of the game to gain revenge and win the final 21-18. Chris should be commended for his good play throughout the night, especially as he only joined the club this year. Thanks go to Howard Lee and Elaine Forbes for running the event.

Last week, Swots finished their season in slightly disappointing fashion, losing to Division One team Rockets in the final of the Handicap Cup, however should be proud of their performances to take them that far. Playing each game in two sets up to 26 points, Emma Bissett and Dave Beveridge started on 15 points and Collin Bleak on 14, while their opponents Gary Lowson and Pete Yearworth started on 5 and Peter Dixon started on 6. Emma got a good start beating Peter 26-23 but then lost the second set 26-24. Then Gary, the best player on the night, beat Dave in two close sets to give Rockets a 3-1 lead. Pete then won two sets against Collin and Gary won another two against Emma to extend this to 7-1. Collin won a sudden-death point to win the first set against Peter 26-25 and won the second set more comfortably 26-16 to make it 7-3. Dave lost the first set comfortably to Pete but won another 26-25 set to make it 8-4. Gary then won both sets against Collin to close out the fixture and give the cup title to Rockets, doing very well to remain undefeated on the night.

Grove Trophy 2018

Edward Coles (4th from the left) is pictured with the Grove Trophy while the other boys display their participants’ mementos, which were kindly donated by club member, Sandy Pearson. Unfortunately the Paterson brothers were not available for the photoshoot.

The members of St Andrews Table Tennis Club’s youth coaching group recently competed for this season’s Grove Trophy. After an exciting final a new name was engraved on the trophy, with Edward Coles defeating the 2016 champion, Murray Paterson. It was fine performance from Edward who was unfazed by reaching the semi-finals as the second placed in his group matches. The losing semi-finalists were Keir Paterson (finalist in 2016) and Michael Snodgrass (finalist from 2017).
As usual, all the boys displayed a high standard of sportsmanship over the course of the night.

Swots Avoid Relegation in Final Week of League Fixtures

In the final week of league fixtures in the Dundee and District Table Tennis League, St Andrews team Swots needed four points to avoid relegation to Division Three in their fixture against Comets. Nick Shepherd and Collin Bleak started with fairly comfortable 3-1 and 3-0 wins against Dougal Ogilvie and Glenn Christie respectively, and Dave Beveridge and Collin then came through in two 3-2 wins against Fraser Smith and Dougal, to obtain their required four wins in the first four matches of the night. Nick extended the lead to 5-0 with a 3-1 win against Fraser and the pair of Collin and Dave beat Glenn and Fraser 3-1 in the doubles, but the remaining four games went to Comets.

New Kids lost 7-3 on two occasions, against leading Division Two teams, Villa and Brechin. Against Villa, cadet David Hay was too strong for the New Kids trio of Howard Lee, Ian Smith, and Kong Wan, not dropping a set. Howard and Ian both managed to beat Ian McLagan, Ian 3-1 and Howard 3-2 (coming through a close fourth set 15-13 when 2-1 down). Ian managed a good 3-2 win against Sandy Bertie and Howard was just denied the same victory, losing 12-10 in the fifth to Sandy.


Ian Smith who had an outstanding win against Brechin’s Derek Mitchell

Against Brechin, it was the same number of wins for each of the New Kids players, and the same overall result. Howard and Ian both lost comfortably to John Anderson and beat Aaron Robertson in five sets, Ian in a very close 14-12 deciding set. Ian got an incredible win—maybe the best individual win for any St Andrews player this season—against Derek Mitchell, Derek having only previously lost three matches this season.

Truants managed a dominant 8-2 win against Tigers. Sascha Roschy won all three of his singles games for the loss of only one set to Scott Thomson. Scott had previously defeated both Alain Leger and Graham Wood. Alain and Graham were both successful in their two other games against Kenny McLaren and Marion Davidson, and Graham and Sascha teamed up to win the doubles 3-1 against Scott and Kenny.

Prospects finished their season with a 5-5 draw against Tass. Chris Wroniecki was in excellent form for Prospects, beating Stewart Clark 3-2, Robert Fortheringham 3-0, and Jim Wotherspoon 3-1. Dave Goddard managed the other singles win, recovering from 2-0 down to win 13-11 in the fifth set against Robert. Dave was unfortunate not to get a second win, losing out 11-9 in the fifth to Jim. Despite his best efforts, Neil Lea was unable to win a set on this occasion. In the doubles, the pair of Chris and Dave managed a good 3-0 win against Stewart and Jim, including a 17-15 first set.

Sandy’s news from his world cruise

The club has missed Sandy during the second half of the season, though we appreciate the attractions of cruising around the world. Needless to say, with half an eye on next season, he gives high priority to his table tennis practice. Playing conditions on the ship are good but not quite to the same standards of excellence as at the Victory Memorial Hall.

Sandy holds the ladder during the ball search

The low ceiling on the cruise liner requires a periodic rummage in the lighting gantry for all those smashed balls which didn’t quite connect. Naturally we feel very sorry for the opponents who had to cope with Sandy’s smashed balls which did connect. Below is a picture of Sandy having a knock with his playing partner on St Patrick’s Day, with a hint of green on his clothing and more than a hint on the table. Given it was 32 degrees centigrade outside in Kuala Lumpur, Sandy was grateful for the onboard air conditioning.

Sandy (far end) celebrates St Patrick’s Day

Mixed penultimate week for St Andrews Teams

Prefects were looking for a strong win in their final fixture against Rockets to make their claim for 5th place in Division One of the Dundee and District Table Tennis League. Despite a hat-trick of wins from Michael Hahn, a 6-4 loss means they will probably have to settle for 6th place. Sascha Roschy’s three games all went to a fifth set, but he was only able to beat Gary Lowson, losing to Jim Dyson and Peter Dixon, the latter being a particularly close 11-9 loss. Clyde Johnson unfortunately couldn’t pick up any wins.

Truants managed a 5-5 draw with Viscounts. Sascha Roschy lost only his second singles game of the year in Division Two with a reverse to an in-form Andrew Nimmo, who was undefeated. Both Sascha and Graham Wood managed strong wins against Jacob Munro and Filip Jovanovic, and joined forces to beat Andrew and Jacob 3-2 in the doubles.

New Kids had a strong 6-4 win against Rollercoasters, although no player was undefeated on the night. Howard Lee beat David Lane and Tony Cook, but lost to Paul Jackson, while Ian Smith lost to David but beat Tony and Paul. The pair of Howard and Ian managed a 3-1 win against Paul and David in the doubles, while Kong Wan secured a good 3-0 win against Tony.

Swots had a close fixture against Chieftains, losing 6-4, with each team winning two five-set games. They were unfortunate at the start of the night, losing the first two games 3-2, Emma Bissett to Jacob Munro and Collin Bleak to Fiona Kinloch. Things went from bad to worse as Dave Beveridge lost 3-0 to Jim Tawse and Collin lost 3-1 to Jacob, losing all three sets by the minimum two-point margin. However, Swots then mounted a comeback, winning four of the remaining six games. Emma beat Jim 3-2 but Dave lost to Fiona 3-1, leaving Swots fighting for a draw. A strong doubles win for Emma and Collin against Jacob and Fiona was followed by a 3-2 win for Collin against Jim and a great 3-1 win for Dave against Jacob but unfortunately Emma could not complete the comeback, losing out 6-4 to Fiona.
In their second fixture of the week, Swots drew 5-5 with Lundin Links. Nick Shepherd was the star for Swots, winning a hat-trick for the loss of just two sets. Collin had a very narrow win against Roman Nydza, scraping through 13-11 in the fifth set, while Dave lost all three of his games but did well to pick up a set in all three. A good doubles win for Dave and Collin proved decisive in the overall draw.

Prospects found their fixture against Kingsway tough, losing 9-1. Ian Brumwell had a comfortable 3-0 win against Alan Carrie but Dave Goddard and Neil Lea could not add to the score.

Michael Hahn (left) alongside Callum Riddoch and Adeola Fabola, who came 2nd in the Scottish Inter-league men’s team event

Two St Andrews players, Michael Hahn and Sascha Roschy, represented the Dundee League in the annual Scottish Inter-League competition this weekend in Perth. Sascha contributed to a great 3rd place finish for Dundee ‘A’ in the Veteran Men’s event while Michael played as the number 1 player for Dundee ‘A’ in the Senior Men’s, with the team managing a fantastic 2nd place finish against some strong opposition, losing only to West of Scotland and coming through in no fewer than three 3-2 team matches.

Swots reach Handicap Final

Swots continued an excellent run to reach the final of the Handicap Cup in the Dundee and District Table Tennis League. They managed to beat Chieftains 10-7. Emma Bissett won 3 of her 6 sets, and Dave Beveridge 2 of his 5, but the star of the show was Chris Wroniecki, playing up for Swots, who won 5 of his 6 sets. Being poised at 6-6, Chris beat Jim Tawse 2-0, also winning on actual points played, to give Swots an 8-6 lead. Emma drew 1-1 with Jacob Munro to set Swots up 9-7, before Dave finished matters off in the first set against Fiona Kinloch 21-19.

Swots’ league match did not go the same way as the trio of Emma, Dave, and Nick Shepherd lost 8-2 to a strong Villa side. Nick won 3-0 against Ian McLagan and 3-1 against Sandy Bertie, but David Hay was too strong for all of the Swots players, not dropping a set. Dave Beveridge was unfortunate not to beat Ian, losing 3-2.

Prefects had a strong 9-1 win against Thumpers. Michael Hahn and Justin Yang were unbeaten; Michael only losing one set, to Tony O’Shea 12-10, but only lost 11 points across the other three sets to assert his dominance. Justin beat Tony 3-0, but lost a set against both Ian Hunter and Jordan Ednie, the latter being a particularly entertaining match. Clyde Johnson eased past Ian and recovered after losing the first set to beat Tony, but lost 3-1 against Jordan.

Sascha Roschy who did not drop a set this week

Sascha Roschy was back in action after an injury this week for Truants, not losing a set in his three games against Jill Milne, Dougal Ogilvie, and Glenn Christie. Alain Leger was also undefeated, losing one set each against Jill and Dougal, and teamed up with Sascha to win the doubles. Knut Radmer added a 3-0 win against Jill, and was unlucky to lose 3-2 to Dougal, losing the last two sets 12-10.

New Kids lost a close match against Chieftains 6-4. Ian Smith beat Jim Tawse 3-1, while Howard Lee also beat Jim and had a good win against Jacob Munro 3-2, coming through a close fourth set 16-14. Howard and Ian also came through 3-2 to win the doubles against Fiona and Jim.

Prospects had a tough game against Princes, losing 8-2. Chris Wroniecki beat Eddie Dougan 3-0 and teamed up with Ian Brumwell to beat Blair Duncan and Chris Riddoch 11-9 in the deciding set. Ian was unlucky not to win any singles games, losing 3-2 to both Chris Riddoch and Eddie.

Swots reach Handicap Cup Semi-Final

Emma Bissett, whose wins were crucial for Swots’ win in the Handicap Cup

It was a busy week for St Andrews teams in the Dundee and District Table Tennis League, especially following many postponed fixtures due to the snow. The highlight of the week was Swots’ victory against Aces—currently second in Division One—in the quarter-final of the Handicap Cup. Emma Bissett won the first two sets of the night against Grant Williams to give Swots a 2-0 lead and they never fell behind despite being levelled on three occasions. Jason Fleming was the star for Aces, only losing one of his sets to Emma. Emma’s win was crucial, giving Swots a 9-7 lead which Dave Beveridge capitalised on, winning the first set against Grant to give Swots the victory. Emma and Nick Shepherd each won four sets of their six played, with Dave winning two of his five.

Swots also played their league match against Tigers but unfortunately lost 8-2. Collin Bleak had a strong win against Kenny McLaren 11-9 in the fifth set and Collin and Nick won by the same margin to Logie Anderson and Scott Thomson, despite losing the first set 11-1. Emma Bissett was unfortunate not to also beat Kenny, losing 12-10 in the fifth set, having fought back from 2-0 down. Nick Shepherd also will be disappointed not to have won a singles game, losing in five games to both Scott and Logie.

Prefects had two dominant wins which see them currently in fifth place in Division One. First, they defeated Defenders 7-3. Michael Hahn was impervious, not dropping a set in any of his singles games. Clyde Johnson also won his three games, each 3-1, and Michael and Clyde won their doubles game against Ken Head and Arthur Pritchard 3-2. Bonifac Legrady demonstrated some good attacking play but ultimately lost to Richard Tough and Arthur 3-1 and Ken 3-0. Prefects also beat Saints 10-0. Again, Michael did not drop a set, whilst Clyde and Justin Yang lost one set each.

Two St Andrews teams, New Kids and Truants faced each other this week. Graham Wood was undefeated in singles for Truants, although lost a set to Dave Beveridge and two to Howard Lee. Howard beat Alain Leger and Dave beat Knut Radmer, both 3-0, and the pair combined to beat Graham and Alain 11-0 in the fifth set. However, the rest of the games went to Truants.

Prospects had a tough week, losing both of their fixtures. First, they lost 7-3 to Duffers. Chris Wroniecki, Neil Lea, and Dave Goddard each beat William Liddle, but Richard McLaren and Andy Reid proved too strong, although Chris managed to take Andy to a fifth set. In their second fixture, the two-man team of Dave and Chris lost 9-1 to Kingsway. Chris got a strong 3-1 win against Willie Cooper, but lost to both Derek Thomson and Stephen Caird 3-0. Dave was unlucky to lose 11-7 in the fifth set to Derek, and even more unlucky to lose 14-12 in the fifth set to Willie. The pair of Chris and Dave were also unfortunate to lose 11-9 in the fifth set in the doubles to Stephen and Derek.

Good results for St Andrews in truncated week of league fixtures

The red weather warning and alpine-like conditions of last week brought St Andrews to a lockdown with the University and many businesses closing for large parts of the week. As a result, many of the matches in the Dundee and District Table Tennis League were postponed. However, some of the matches earlier in the week were played, and St Andrews’ Monday home night saw two fixtures before any sign of snow, and Prospects managed their away fixture.

Michael Hahn who won his four games this week for Prefects

Prefects got a strong 8-2 win against Telstars. Michael Hahn and Clyde Johnson both won three games losing a solitary set each, Clyde to David Monteith and Michael to Ian Farquhar. Michael and Clyde won the doubles against David and Ian 3-1 and were always in control of the game. Bonifac Legrady won his first game of the season 3-2 against Stewart Clark and came close in his other two games. First he lost to Ian in a close three-game encounter, and then his game with David went to a fifth set. Bonifac led 5-1 before David started a comeback and eventually won 13-11.

On the other side of the hall, Swots got a strong win against Rollercoasters in a close fixture. Dave Beveridge started with a dominant 3-0 win against David Lane before both Collin Bleak and Emma Bissett were beaten in close five-set games against Paul Jackson and Scott Thompson respectively to give Rollercoasters a 2-1 lead. Collin was again forced into a fifth set, but this time was successful against David to level the score but Dave was then beaten 3-0 by Scott. A 3-1 win for Emma against Paul and 3-0 doubles win for Dave and Emma against Paul and Scott put Swots 4-3 ahead, but a third win for Scott, this time against Collin, levelled the score at 4-4. Emma beat David 3-1 to give Swots the advantage and Dave defeated Paul by the same score to give Swots the overall victory.

Prospects unfortunately could not follow suit, losing 9-1 to Sputniks. Neil Lea and Dave Goddard were both beaten by the trio of Jack Oughton, Carol McLean, and Eric Brown, although Neil managed to win a set against Eric. Ian Brumwell’s performance improved as the night went on and he managed to win a set in the doubles alongside Dave against Carol and Eric before beating Carol 3-2 in his last game of the night.

Prospects get St Andrews’ only win of the week

Prefects got a good draw against Star, who recently won the Excelsior Cup. The first eight games were won in straight sets. Michael Hahn had comfortable wins against Iain Martin and Andy Ferguson and Justin had a similarly straightforward win against Andy. Clyde lost in straight sets to Iain, and John Hannah outplayed all three Prefects player on this occasion. In the doubles, Michael and Clyde were unfortunate not to win a set but lost 3-0 to John and Iain. In the penultimate game, Justin edged past Iain in an excellent five-set game, with only one of the sets being won by more than a two-point margin. Clyde then levelled the match at 5-5 with a 3-1 win over Andy.

New Kids also drew in their game against Lundin Lasers, although the individual games were much closer than Prefects’, with only two games being won in straight sets. Roman Nydza was undefeated for Lundin Lasers, beating Howard Lee and Ian Smith 3-1 and Kong Wan 3-0. Howard and Ian won their other two games each, against Ron Filsell and Arthur Duncan, and combined to win the doubles against Ron and Roman.

Swots did not fare as well against Viscounts, as they lost 10-0. However, many of the games were close, and the Swots trio of Dave Beveridge, Emma Bissett, and Chris Wroniecki all lost to Filip Jovanovic in five-set games, Chris being the closest to winning, losing 12-10 in the decider.

Truants also had a tough time, losing 9-1 to Villa. Graham Wood got Truant’s win, 3-1 against Sandy Bertie. Graham was beaten comfortably by David Hay and was unfortunate to lose to Ian McLagan in a deciding set. Alain Leger and Knut Radmer lost all three of their singles games 3-0, but Alain and Graham were very unlucky not to win the doubles. They were 2-1 and 10-6 down but came back to win that set and were just edged out 13-11 in the fifth set.

Ken Falconer who won all his games for Prospects this week

Prospects were the only winners this week, beating Telsports 7-3. Ken Falconer did well to win his three games, recovering from 2-1 down to beat David Axton and winning 3-0 against both Paul McDade and Anthony Keeling. Chris Wroniecki beat Paul and Anthony but lost out to David, and Neil Lea got a good win against Anthony. Chris and Neil managed a strong 3-1 win against Paul and Anthony in the doubles.

Tough week for St Andrews Teams

Prefects were the first St Andrews’ team playing this week in the Dundee and District Table Tennis League, being beaten 8-2 by Up4It. Michael Hahn managed convincing 3-1 wins against both Paul Monteith and Ryan Docherty in the first and last games of the fixture, but Up4It won all of the other games. Howard Lee, who stood in for an ill Justin Yang at the very last minute, did well to get a set against Paul but found the opposition too strong. Clyde Johnson was defeated 3-1 by Ryan and 3-0 by Paul, despite two deuce sets, and played well against Scottish International Gillian Edwards despite the 3-0 scoreline, being unfortunate to lose the second set 17-15. After two epic encounters earlier this season, Michael would have been hopeful to beat Gillian but, despite a good performance by both players, Gillian was stronger on the important points, winning 3-0. The highlight of the night was the doubles game, with many excellent rallies; Gillian and Ryan eventually beating Michael and Clyde 16-14 in the fourth set.

New Kids suffered a surprising 10-0 loss to Tigers. However, only two of the ten games played were won in straight sets so it could have been much closer. Particularly unfortunate were Ian Smith against Kenny McLaren, and Howard Lee against Scott Thomson, who were beaten 11-8 and 11-9 in the fifth sets, respectively.

Truants managed the only win this week for St Andrews. Without Sascha Roschy, it was a much closer match than expected, beating Rollercoasters 6-4. Truants raced to a 4-0 lead as Alain Leger beat Tony Cook, Knut Radmer beat David Lane, and Graham Wood beat Paul Jackson and Tony. David scored the first point for Rollercoasters in a close encounter with Alain, winning 11-8, then Paul beat Knut 3-1 to reduce the deficit to 4-2. Alain and Graham halted their progress with a 3-1 win in the doubles against Paul and David before Graham closed out the win for Truants with a 3-2 win against David. Tony and Paul did gain some consolation for Rollercoasters as they beat Knut and Alain in the last two games to finish the night 6-4.

Emma Bissett (far right) who was runner-up in the mixed and women’s doubles at the Dundee Championships

The Dundee Championships were held on Saturday 17th February, with several St Andrews players being involved. Emma Bissett did well to be runner-up in both the women’s doubles (with Carol McLean) and the mixed doubles (with Callum Riddoch). Dave Beveridge and Howard Lee also did well to be runners-up in the veteran’s doubles, and Dave was also runner-up alongside Stuart Halliday in the ballot doubles.

Mixed Cup Week for St Andrews teams

It was a quiet week for St Andrews teams, with only two teams playing cup fixtures.

Truants faced Star, one of the leading Division One teams, in the Stanley Doubles Cup. Ian Martin and John Hannah—who currently leads the Division One averages—won a very comfortable opening game against Graham Wood and Alain Leger. Things look hopeful as Graham and Sascha Roschy defeated Iain and Andy Ferguson in five sets. However, the remaining games were all quite one-sided. Sascha and Alain won one set against John and Andy, but the Star pair won that and three other straight-sets games to take the fixture.

Collin Bleak who won all of his games for Swots

However, Swots had a much better result in their Handicap Cup fixture against Tigers. Emma Bissett gave Swots a great start with a 2-0 win over Scott Thomson; Emma started 9-2 up in each set but the first set was particularly convincing for her at 21-7. From then on Swots always had the lead. Dave Beveridge lost the first set to Marion Davidson 21-15, but recovered to take the second 21-19. Collin Bleak furthered Swots’ lead when he came through in two close 21-18 sets against Kenny McLaren. Emma lost the first set to Marion 21-13 and then was pipped at the post 21-20 in the second set, but two more great wins for Collin against Scott gave Swots a 7-3 lead. Dave delivered two 21-17 wins against Kenny and Collin finished off the fixture with two comfortable wins against Marion. This win puts Swots into the quarter finals, where they will face Division One team Aces in the next few weeks.

Important wins for Prefects and Truants

Four St Andrews teams were in action this week in the Dundee and District Table Tennis League, with Prefects and Truants both winning fixtures against teams close to them in the league tables.

Prefects won 8-2 against Kings, who were tied with them on points at the half-way stage. Prefects were helped by Kings only having two players, although the score-line would have likely been the same had they had a full team. The trio of Michael Hahn, Clyde Johnson, and Justin Yang all defeated Aleksandar Jovanovic, with Michael and Clyde dropping one set each and Justin winning 3-0. Adeola Fabola—Kings’ strongest player by a long way and Michael and Justin’s University of St Andrews teammate—managed to beat Clyde 3-0 and came through a close four-set game against Justin. However, Michael was too strong, beating Adeola 3-1. Michael and Clyde finished off the fixture with a 3-2 win in the doubles against Adeola and Aleksandar.

Graham Wood who had two strong wins for Truants.

Truants had a much tighter 6-4 win against Chieftains. Sascha Roschy reigned supreme, winning his three singles games for the loss of a single set, whilst Graham Wood also had a good night, winning two of his singles 3-1, but could not beat Jacob Munro, losing 3-0. Crucially, Sascha and Graham also won their doubles game against Fiona Kinloch and Jim Tawse 3-1. Alain Leger could not add to the score-line, losing 3-0 to Jacob and Jim, but was unfortunate not to beat Fiona, losing 11-8 in the deciding set, having led 2-1.

However, New Kids found things much tougher in their match against Viscounts. Kong Wan started the night with a five-set game against Filip Jovanovic, losing out 11-8 in the final set. However, after that, every game for the rest of the night was 3-0. Kong also lost to Andy Hughes and Andrew Nimmo, and Ian Smith lost his three games. Howard Lee had two impressive wins against Andy and Filip, both 3-0, but lost in three comfortable sets against Andrew.

Similarly, Prospects lost 7-3 to Lairds. However, given that they lost one five-set and four four-set games, it could have been much closer. Ian Brumwell and Dave Goddard were each beaten by the trio of Ewan MacDonald, William Beattie, and Ryan Connor, although Ian was particularly unfortunate to lose to Ryan, just being denied 13-11 in the deciding set. Fabio Sani put in a strong performance to beat both Ryan and William 3-0, but was soundly beaten by Ewan in the opening game of the night. Fabio and Ian were able to gain a further point for Prospects as they beat Ewan and William in five sets.

Prefects put on good show against Knights

Michael Hahn who won two of his three games against league leaders Knights

Prefects had the tough task this week of facing league-leaders and reigning champions, Knights. Michael Hahn gave Prefects a perfect start when he comfortably beat Stuart Halliday. Justin Yang went 2-0 down against Callum Riddoch, but bounced back to win the next two sets, and things looked bright for Prefects as Justin fought to a 10-6 lead. However, Callum managed to win the game 15-13. Howard Lee played some good shots but lost comfortably to Robert Toth before Justin levelled the match with an excellent 3-2 win against Stuart. Michael then had a very close game with Robert, who is currently top of the averages and finished last season undefeated, but lost 3-1, having lost two sets at deuce. The next four games all went to Knights 3-0 as Justin lost to Robert, Howard lost to Stuart and Callum, and the doubles pairing of Michael and Justin lost to Robert and Stuart. Michael gained some consolation for Prefects in the final game by beating Callum.

Across the hall was a second consecutive match against another St Andrews’ team for Swots as they faced Truants, with the match ending up 6-4 to Truants. Alain Leger and Graham Wood were too strong, winning all three of their singles games, although Graham was taken to a deciding set against Emma Bissett and also lost a set to Collin Bleak, whilst Alain lost a set each to Emma and Collin and was taken to a deciding set by Nick Shepherd, who has recently returned to the club after work commitments had taken him away for a few seasons. The Swots trio all managed to defeat Knut Radmer, but Emma lost two sets in the process. They picked up another point when Collin and Nick secured a strong 3-1 doubles win against Graham and Alain.

Prospects also had a tough time in their match against Squires. Jon Fraser and new player, Christian Wroniecki, both defeated Winnie Stein 3-0 and Jon picked up another win as he beat Tanya Kapelyukh 3-1. Christian was unfortunate to not also beat Tanya, having led 2-1 and lost the last two sets 12-10 and 11-9. Squires’ Steve Wilson was too strong, winning his three singles games for the loss of only two sets. Neil Lea found the games tough, but was able to pick up a set against both Winnie and Steve. In the doubles, the new pairing of Jon and Christian edged a well-fought 3-2 victory over Steve and Tanya.

Swots beat New Kids in all-St-Andrews game

There were only two fixtures involving St Andrews teams in the Dundee and District League this week. Unfortunately Prospects could not field a team and so forfeited their match, whilst Prefects’ match with Saints has been rescheduled to accommodate the student semesters. Due to some of the other top players facing each other, Michael Hahn, without playing, went up to third in the Division One averages.

Emma Bissett who had two strong wins against New Kids

On Monday, Swots and New Kids faced each other in an all-St-Andrews game. A great team effort saw Swots cause an upset to defeat New Kids 7-3 as the trio of Dave Beveridge, Emma Bissett, and Collin Bleak pulled together to get some great individual wins. Dave beat Ken Falconer in straight sets, before Emma caused a big upset by defeating Howard Lee 3-0. Ian Smith looked to be starting a come-back for New Kids as he raced to a 2-0 lead against Collin, but Collin won the next three games to make it 3-0 for Swots. Whilst Howard beat Dave 3-1, Swots then won the next three games in a row; Collin beat Ken 3-1, Emma beat Ian 3-0, and Emma and Dave beat Ian and Howard 3-0 in the doubles. Howard and Collin played out an excellent game. Howard won the first and third games, with Collin equalising both times to win the second and fourth, but Howard then won the fifth to seal the game. Dave defeated Ian 3-0 before Ken won some consolation for New Kids by beating Emma in the final game.

Truants had a night they may wish to forget as they lost 8-2 to Brechin. The match featured the three top players in Division Two, with Truant’s Sascha Roschy and Brechin’s Derek Mitchell being undefeated before the fixture, and Brechin’s John Anderson having the next best average. The night would end with both Sascha and Derek losing their 100% records as Sascha first defeated Derek 3-1 before John beat Sascha in a very close five-set game. Sascha also beat Aaron Robertson 3-0 to give Truant’s their two points from the fixture. John and Derek both beat Knut Radmer and Alain Leger comfortably, and Aaron’s wins against Knut and Alain were important for Brechin’s overall victory. The doubles game was close with Sascha and Alain leading Derek and John 2-1 before the pair from Brechin recovered to win the game. Some consolation is that Sascha still leads the Division Two averages thanks to his win over Derek.

Cup ties open 2018

The first week of play of 2018 in the Dundee and District Table Tennis League was filled with cup matches.

In the handicap cup, St Andrews teams experienced two wins and two losses. Last year’s runners-up, Prefects faced a tough opening-round match against Viscounts. Howard Lee and Michael Hahn each won three of their six sets—drawing each of their games 1-1—with Michael doing particularly well, starting off scratch and giving his opponents quite high starts. Michael was involved in four 26-25 games, winning three of them. However, this was not enough to win the fixture for Prefects as Viscounts won 10-6, Filip Jovanovic and Andrew Nimmo’s 2-0 wins against Clyde Johnson proving decisive.

Similarly, New Kids found their match against Tigers difficult. Although Howard Lee and Ian Smith won two sets each, and Ken Falconer won three, this was not enough to prevent Tigers winning the fixture 10-7. The first three sets were all won 21-20, with Howard Lee and Marion Davidson sharing the first two sets, and Scott Thomson winning the third set against Ken Falconer. Ken beat Scott in a dominant fourth set but a strong performance from Kenny McLaren against Ian Smith gave Tigers a 4-2 advantage. Howard and Scott shared their two sets, as did Ian and Marion, to give Tigers a 6-4 lead, before Ken levelled the score at 6-6 after two excellent sets against Kenny. Ian and Scott shared their two sets, both 21-16 to keep the fixture even. Unfortunately, Howard lost both sets against Kenny before Marion closed out the fixture with a 21-19 win against Ken.

Bearded Collin

Collin Bleak who was in impressive form this week and whose wins led Swots to victory

However, Swots were able to win their game against Kings. Collin Bleak was particularly impressive, beating Plamen Kostadinov and Adeola Fabola 2-0 and drawing with Aleksandar Jovanovic. Dave Beveridge also beat Plamen 2-0 and drew with Aleksandar, whilst Emma Bissett drew with Adeola and Aleksandar.

Likewise, Prospects—represented by Jon Fraser, Neil Lea, and Ian Brumwell—had success over Princes. Whilst five of the first seven games were draws, two excellent wins for Neil against Derek Johnston and Eddie Dougan gave Prospects a 9-5 lead. Ian Brumwell won the first set against Derek to close out the fixture, and then won the next ‘dead’ rubber before Jon suffered defeat to Chris Riddoch in a further two ‘dead’ rubbers to give a final score of 11-7.

Earlier in the week, Swots had lost to Division One team Rockets in the Stanley Doubles Cup. Even though the score was 6-0 in favour of Rockets, Swots put up a good fight, taking three of the games to a deciding set. Two of these games, both against the pair of Jim Dyson and Gary Lowson, saw the Swots pairings—first Emma Bissett and Dave Beveridge and then Dave and Collin Bleak— lead 2-1, whilst Emma and Dave recovered against Pete Yearworth and Jim to take the game to a fifth set.

At the weekend, Michael Hahn, Clyde Johnson, and Sascha Roschy benefited from two coaching sessions with Stephen Gertsen, who is coaching the Scottish national teams this year, at Ward Road, which saw many of the leading senior, veteran, and junior players in the district take part.

New Kids are St Andrews’ only winner

The final round of matches in 2017 turned out to be a difficult week for St Andrews teams in the Dundee and District Table Tennis League.

With Michael Hahn out due to injury, and Justin Yang in the middle of exam season, Prefects had a tough match against Aces, losing 10-0. Clyde Johnson did well to win a set against each of the trio of Jason Fleming, Mark Lundberg, and Grant Williams. Emma Bissett — who must be thanked for standing in at the last minute — also did well to win a set against Grant, whilst Bonifac Legrady was unfortunate not to take a set against Grant, having lost two sets at deuce.

Swots also had a tough game against Brechin. Brechin’s John Anderson and Derek Mitchell were too strong, winning all of their singles games, and their doubles game together, for the loss of only one set when Dave Beveridge won a set against Derek. However, Emma Bissett and Collin Bleak both beat Aaron Robertson, and Dave was unfortunate to not add to the score-board as he lost to Aaron 11-9 in the deciding set in the first game of the night.

Truants, who were leading Division Two before this fixture, also couldn’t get a win as they lost 6-4 to Lundin Lasers. Graham Wood did well to win his three singles games and Knut Radmer also won one of his singles games 3-1 against Ron Filsell, but Alain Leger was unable to pick up any sets on the night. Crucial to Lundin Lasers’ win was the doubles game, which Graham and Knut were unfortunate to lose 3-2.

New Kids trio of Ian Smith, Kong Wan, and Howard Lee who won their fixture this week

New Kids got the only win of the week for St Andrews, winning 7-3 against Comets. Ian Smith reigned supreme, winning his singles games 3-0, 3-0, and 3-1. Howard Lee finished his night with a strong 11-3, 11-8, 11-0 win over Jill Milne, but his first two games were much closer. He was unlucky to lose his first game 3-2 against Glenn Christie, but beat Fraser Smith 14-12 in the deciding set. Kong Wan also had two five-set games at the start of the night, losing to Fraser before beating Jill 15-13 in the deciding set. Howard and Ian combined to win a strong doubles game against Glenn and Fraser 3-1.

Prospects drew 5-5 with Missiles, but were unfortunate not to win the fixture. Fabio Sani beat David Hunter and Jim Hodson 3-0 and came through in a tough 3-2 game against Daniel Russell. Sandy Pearson also beat David and Jim 3-0 but found Daniel too tough, losing 3-1. Dave Goddard was very unfortunate, losing all three games 3-2.

Truants move up to the top of Division Two

Having a free week of league fixtures, Prefects played their Stanley Doubles Cup match, with probably the hardest draw against last year’s league winners, Knights. Prefects had some chances in the first two games. Michael Hahn and Sascha Roschy, losing the first set against Stuart Halliday and Callum Riddoch, bounced back to win the second set and held an early advantage in the third set. However, they let it slip before comfortably losing the fourth set to give Knights a 1-0 lead. Similarly, Michael and Clyde Johnson had some chances against Stuart and Robert Toth, but lost 3-1. The next two games — Clyde and Sascha against Callum and Robert, and Michael and Clyde against Stuart and Callum — were more one-sided as Knights extended their lead to 4-0. Michael and Sascha played strongly in the fifth game against Callum and Robert. They won the first set 11-8 and led 9-7 in the second set, only to lose that set 12-10. Callum and Robert capitalised on this, winning the next two sets and sealing a 5-0 win for Knights.

Swots had a similarly difficult time in their Division Two league match, losing 7-3 to Comets.  Collin Bleak was the best player on the night for Swots, beating both Dougal Ogilvie and Fraser Smith, and combining with Emma Bissett to beat Dougal and Fraser 3-1 in the doubles, having lost the opening set. Emma and Dave Beveridge were unfortunate not to add to the score-board in their singles games, both losing 3-2 to Fraser, and Emma also losing 3-2 to Glenn Christie, who won all of his games on the night.

New Kids also had a tough result, losing 6-4 to Villa, in a fixture which saw no fewer than five five-set games. Rising star David Hay was the strongest player in this fixture, beating the New Kids trio of Howard Lee, Kong Wan, and Ian Smith for the loss of a single set to Howard. Howard beat Carol McLean in four close games and was unfortunate to lose to Sandy Bertie, having led 2-0. Ian did well to beat both Carol and Sandy in five sets, recovering on both occasions from 2-0 down. Ian and Howard fought hard to win the doubles against David and Sandy, also 3-2. Kong lost to Carol comfortably 3-0 and faced-up against Sandy in the final game of the night with New Kids  5-4 down. After losing a comfortable first set, Kong fought back to win two close sets and take the lead. However, two excruciatingly close sets saw Sandy close out 20-18, 11-9 to win the game and the match for Villa.

Truant’s Sascha Roschy who remains undefeated in Division Two

Truants achieved the only win this week for St Andrews as they defeated Tigers 9-1. Sascha Roschy and Graham Wood were both in great form, winning all six of their singles games without the loss of a single set and Sascha and Alain Leger also won the doubles 3-0. Alain performed strongly to win his first two games, against Marion Davidson and Kenny McLaren, both in five sets. However, Tigers came away with some consolation as Scott Thomson beat Alain 3-0 in game 9. This win puts Truants to the top of a very close Division Two table at the half-way stage, with Sascha undefeated and leading the averages.

Prospects managed to secure a draw against Tass with a great performance from Fabio Sani. Fabio won all three of his singles games, beating Jim Wotherspoon 3-0, being extended to five sets by Jim Houghton and winning 3-1 against Stewart Clark with every set being decided by the minimum two-point margin. Sandy Pearson beat Jim Wotherspoon 3-0 but lost two close four-set games against Jim Houghton and Stewart Clark. Decisively, Sandy and Neil Lea won the doubles 3-0 against Jim Houghton and Stewart.

Strong Week for St Andrews’ Teams

There were lots of matches this week for St Andrews teams in the Dundee and District Table Tennis League, with all four teams with league fixtures being successful.

Prefects started the week with a difficult match against Rockets in Division One. However, Michael Hahn and Justin Yang excelled, winning all of their singles games against Pete Yearworth, Peter Dixon, and Gary Lowson, for the loss of only one set each to give Prefects the overall win. Pete and Peter were able to get some revenge as they defeated Michael and Justin in the doubles in five sets, crucially winning the second set 12-10 having been 6-10 down. Bonifac Legrady found the match tough, but was able to win a set against both Peter and Gary. Prefects have now finished the first half of their season of league matches and are comfortable, sitting fifth in the table, and the averages going well with Michael at 93%, Justin at 57% and Clyde Johnson at 56%.

All three of the Division Two teams had success in their league fixtures. Swots were 2-0 and 3-1 down against Lundin Lasers, with Arthur Duncan beating Dave Beveridge 3-0 and Nat Forno defeating Collin Bleak 3-1, before Sandy Pearson beat Jamie Douglas 3-1 to get Swots on the scoreboard, but Collin was then beaten again 3-2 by Arthur. However, from then on everything went Swots’ way. Dave beat Jamie 3-0 before Sandy won a close four-set game against Nat. Dave and Collin won a tight doubles game against Nat and Arthur before Swots closed out the game with a trio of singles wins, including Sandy’s excellent 3-2 win against Nat to give him a hat-trick of singles wins, which was particularly impressive given that he was playing up a division.

New Kids had a tight 6-4 win against Rollercoasters. Howard Lee was particularly impressive as he defeated the trio of Marion Davidson, Tony Cook, and Paul Jackson, beating the latter two in five sets. Ian also did well to beat Marion and Paul 3-0 and 3-1, respectively, losing 3-1 to Tony. Howard and Ian combined to beat Tony and Paul 3-2. Kong Wan was unfortunate not to add to the scoreboard, losing 3-1 to Paul, 3-2 to Marion having led 2-0, and 13-11 in the fifth set to Tony.

Truants had an important 6-4 win over league-leaders Viscounts, with only four points now dividing the top four teams. Sascha was impervious, winning all three singles 3-0, despite some close scores against Filip Jovanovic. Graham Wood also played well, winning 3-1 against Filip and he and Sascha won the doubles 3-0 against Filip and Andrew Nimmo. Leading 5-4 going into the final game, Graham had a tough start against Andy Hughes, losing the first set, but battled back to win the game 3-1 and secure the victory for Truants.

Junior players Murray Paterson, Michael Snodgrass, Keir Paterson, and Edward Coles, who all competed well at the Dundee qualifiers of the Scottish Senior Schools Championships.

On Thursday, junior players Murray Paterson, Michael Snodgrass, Keir Paterson, and Edward Coles (pictured) all competed well at the Dundee qualifiers of the Scottish Senior Schools Championships, held at Ward Road Gym in Dundee. Murray came fourth in the under-14 boys’ event and Michael came fourth in the under-16 boys’ event, and both have been selected to represent the district in the National Finals in February.

On Saturday, Ward Road Gym hosted the semi-finals and finals of three cup competitions, the Chairman’s Challenge, the Secondary Shield, and the Consolation Cup, with two St Andrews teams competing.

Prefects faced reigning league champions Knights in a tough contest in the Chairman’s Challenge. Things looked bleak as Clyde Johnson led 1-0 against Adeola Fabola, but lost 3-2, and Bonifac Legrady lost 3-0 to Stuart Halliday. However, Michael Hahn led a fightback for Prefects. He first beat Callum Riddoch fairly comfortably 3-1 before he and Clyde won an excellent 3-2 doubles game against Callum and Adeola — including a youtube-worthy dive and around-the-net shot by Clyde to win a point — to level the score at 2-2. Stuart and Adeola then beat Clyde and Bonifac comfortably 3-0 to take the lead again, however Michael levelled the score when he beat Stuart Halliday in four sets. In the deciding game, Callum won a very comfortable first set against Bonifac, but Bonifac bounced back to win the second set however, despite two close sets, couldn’t maintain this and Callum won 3-1 to close the match out 4-3 for Knights. In the other semi-final, Aces defeated Up4It, also 4-3, with the final game being 12-10 in the 5th set. In the final, Aces defeated Knights 4-2.

New Kids also faced a tough challenge against Brechin in the Secondary Shield. Howard Lee started well as he beat Aaron Robertson 3-1, and things looked promising as Kong Wan won the first set against John Anderson, but John responded to win the next three sets and level the score-line at 1-1. Derek Mitchell then beat Ian Smith 3-0 and John beat Howard 3-0 to put Brechin firmly in-front. Ian had a good 3-0 win against Aaron before strong 3-0 wins for Derek over Kong and John over Ian sealed Brechin’s place in the final, which they duly won 5-1 against Viscounts.

Hahn wins St Andrew’s Day Tournament

It was a busy week for members of St Andrews Table Tennis Club with both matches in the Dundee and District League and the annual St Andrews Day tournament.
In Division One, Prefects managed a strong 8-2 win against Thumpers. Michael Hahn and Justin Yang both played very well and lost only a single set each — Michael to Jordan Ednie and Justin to Ian Hunter. Particularly impressive was Justin’s 3-0 win over Jordan in what could have been a very close game. Howard Lee, playing up for Prefects, played strongly and extended all three of his opponents to a fifth set, managing to defeat Ian and losing to Jordan and Tony O’Shea. Michael and Justin lost one set in the doubles against Jordan and Tony, but were otherwise reasonably untroubled in a 3-1 win.

Truants put on a very strong performance against Brechin in Division Two, the top end of which is now looking particularly close. Sascha Roschy dominated proceedings, not losing a set in his three singles games, including against previously-undefeated John Anderson. John proved too strong for Knut Radmer and Graham Wood, although Graham was able to win one set. Graham won his two other games, against William Balfour and Aaron Robertson, both 3-1, and combined with Sascha to defeat John and Aaron 3-2 in the doubles. Knut did his part; beating William Balfour 3-0 in the final game to close out an excellent 7-3 win for Truants.

New Kids also had a strong win against Chieftains. Howard Lee was the best player on the night, defeating the strong trio of Fiona Kinloch, Jacob Munro, and Jim Tawse, 3-2, 3-0, and 3-1, respectively. Colin Bleak, playing up, also had a good night, defeating Jim 3-1 and coming through in a particularly close game to defeat Jacob, 9-11, 12-14, 11-3, 12-10, 12-10. Kong Wang was unfortunate not to pick up any sets on the night, despite many close scores. Howard and Colin did well to win the doubles against Fiona and Jim, winning 3-1, with all of their three sets being by the minimum two-point margin.

Swots, however, had a much harder fixture against Villa, losing 8-2, but were close to having a much more positive result. In the opening game, Emma Bissett won the first two sets against Ian McLagan with ease, 11-1, and 11-3; however, Ian fought back to win the third set 11-8, saved a match point in the fourth set to win 12-10, and then closed the game out 11-8. Colin Bleak was particularly unfortunate to come away with no wins, having had match points in two of his games. He recovered from 2-0 down against Sandy Bertie to have match points in the fifth set, only for Sandy to recover to win 12-10. He also led Ian 10-6 in the fifth set, only to lose the next six points. Emma and Dave were also unfortunate to not win the doubles, having extended David Hay and Ian to five sets.

Prospects had a similarly difficult match against Princes. Stewart Mason and Eddie Dougan were too strong on this occasion for Prospects, although Sandy Pearson won sets against both Stewart and Eddie and Dave Goddard won one set against Eddie. The pair of Stewart and Eddie also beat Sandy and Dave 3-0 in the doubles. Dave Goddard had a strong 3-2 win against Derek Johnston, and Neil Lea was unfortunate not to follow suit, having extended Derek to five sets. Sandy also beat Derek in five sets, to close out an 8-2 defeat for Prospects.

Michael Hahn collecting his trophy from club chairperson, Alain Leger

On Friday night, the club hosted the now-annual St Andrew’s Day tournament. Michael Hahn was seeded straight through to the semi-finals whilst the other players competed in three groups of three or four to join him. The winners of the groups were Graham Wood, Ian Smith, and Howard Lee. Howard drew the short straw and played Michael in the semi-finals. Michael was ruthless in the first set, winning 11-2, and won a closer second set 11-9. He had two match points in the third set at 10-8 before Howard recovered to win 13-11. Michael got revenge by finishing the game with an 11-1 fourth set. Ian played very strongly to beat Graham 3-1, with the fourth set being particularly topsy-turvy before Ian closed it out 12-10. Michael didn’t let Ian into the match in the final, winning 11-5, 11-6, 11-7. The remaining players all played out a consolation doubles event, rotating partners, with Dave Beveridge being declared the winner.

This weekend saw Bathgate host the Scottish Schools Primary Championships with Keir Paterson, a P7 pupil at Lawhead Primary School, doing particularly well. Keir won two of his group games but lost the third. He then enjoyed more wins to progress through the early rounds of the consolation event, reaching the quarter finals.

Mixed week for St Andrews Teams

Prefects got St Andrews teams off to a good start this week in the Dundee and District Table Tennis League with a 9-1 win against Defenders in Division One. Michael Hahn and Clyde Johnson were undefeated in their singles games, for the loss of only one set in Michael’s game against Ken Head. Sascha Roschy had a surprise 3-0 loss to Arthur Pritchard, but accounted for Richard Tough 3-0 and Ken 3-2. Michael and Clyde came through 13-11 in the fourth set in the doubles against Ken and Richard, having won the first set 17-15.

Truants and New Kids clashed in an all-St-Andrews match on Tuesday which saw eight three-set games and two five-set games. Fortunately for Truants, they won both five-set games as Alain Leger beat Kong Wan and Graham Wood defeated Ian Smith. Sascha Roschy dominated the fixtures with three singles wins and a doubles win alongside Graham, but New Kids had some consolation as Howard Lee got two good wins against Alain and Graham, and Ian beat Alain, to give a final score of 7-3.

Swots had a tough fixture against Tigers, losing 8-2, however this could have been much closer as Swots lost three of the four five-set games of the night. Collin Bleak defeated Kenny McLaren 3-2, levelling the score after Scott Thomson had opened the night with a 3-0 win against Dave Beveridge. Emma Bissett came close to giving Swots the lead, having been 2-1 up against Logie Anderson and just falling short in the fifth set. Three further wins for Tigers put them 4-1 ahead as Scott beat Collin and Logie beat Dave, before Emma beat Kenny 3-0. After a doubles game dominated by Scott and Kenny, Swots will have been disappointed not to take either of the following two games as Collin lost 14-12 to Logie in the fifth set and Emma lost to Scott 12-10 in the fifth set. Kenny beat Dave 3-1 to complete the fixture.

Sandy Pearson who had a hat-trick of singles wins this week for Prospects.

Prospects drew in their away fixture with Duffers, despite leading for much of the night. Sandy Pearson and Neil Lea had two five-set wins early on against Rich McLaren and Billy Liddle, respectively, both having trailed 2-1. Dave Goddard also defeated Billy 3-0 whilst Sandy beat both Billy and Andy Reid 3-0 to give him a hat-trick of singles win on the night. The doubles would prove crucial as Rich and Andy won 3-1 against Sandy and Dave to prevent a Prospects’ victory overall.

Swots get first league victory

Emma Bissett, Dave Beveridge, and Collin Bleak, who all contributed two wins to Swots’ first win in over a year

Swots did well to win their first league victory in over a year as they defeated Rollercoasters in a close 6-4 match. The trio of Emma Bissett, Dave Beveridge, and Collin Bleak all won two games each, defeating Paul Jackson and David Lane, but found Tony Cook too hot to handle. Collin did particularly well to win his two games 3-0, with Emma winning her games 3-0 and 3-1, and Dave 3-1 and 3-2. Dave’s 3-2 victory over David Lane, by the smallest margin of 13-11 in the opening game of the night proved decisive to the overall result. Dave and Emma were unfortunate not to win the doubles game against Tony and David, losing out 14-12 in the deciding set. The result was not decided until the final game when Emma’s 3-0 victory over David gave Swots the victory.

Prefects’ win against Telstars in Division One was also not decided until the final game of the night. Michael Hahn won all three of his singles games 3-1, and combined with Justin Yang to take a 3-1 victory against Ian Farquhar and Graeme Elrick in the doubles. Howard Lee lost to both Ian and Graeme 3-0, and was unfortunate not to beat David Monteith, losing 11-8 in the deciding set. Justin Yang found Ian tough in the battle of the long pimples, losing in 3 close sets, before dispatching Graeme comfortably 3-0. With the match poised at 5-4 to Prefects, Justin lost the first set to David, but won the following three to close out a 6-4 win for Prefects.

Truants triumphed over Comets 8-2, but many of the games were very close. Sascha Roschy was dominant, winning his three singles games 3-0. Graham Wood was also successful in his three singles games, winning 3-1, 3-1, and 3-2 in a close game against Dougal Ogilvie. Alain Leger had an evening that can only be described as bizarre, being involved in three five-set games, and having no fewer than three 11-0 sets. Alain lost his first set of the night 11-0 to Jill Milne before recovering to win that game 3-2. His next game, against Dougal saw Alain win the first and third sets 11-0 but lost the other three sets. His third game saw Alain win two comfortable games but losing three very close ones against Fraser Smith. Alain and Graham teamed up and beat the pair of Dougal and Fraser 3-2.

New Kids had a tough fixture against leading Division Two team, Brechin, losing 8-2. The Brechin pair of John Anderson and Derek Mitchell did not lose a set throughout the night in their seven games against the trio of Howard Lee, Ian Smith, and Kong Wan. However, New Kids gained some consolation as Ian and Howard beat Aaron Robertson in three and four sets, respectively. Kong Wan was unfortunate not to add to the overall score as he lost 3-2 to Aaron, having narrowly lost the third set 13-11.

Prospects also had a difficult time at home against Sputniks, losing 7-3 despite some close games. Sandy Pearson and Fabio Sani started strongly, winning against Eric Brown and Jack Oughton, respectively, to give Prospects a 2-0 lead. Carol McLean squeezed past Swots’ Dave Goddard in five sets before Fabio responded with a 3-2 win against Eric to lead 3-1. However, Prospects were unable to win any further games. Fabio and Sandy were both unfortunate in their last games of the night; Fabio lost to Carol in four close sets, the last being 15-13, and Sandy losing out to Jack by the same score-line, with the last set being 16-14.

Mixed week for St Andrews teams

It was back to league action this week in the Dundee and District Table Tennis League, with St Andrews teams experiencing three losses, one draw, and one win.

Clyde Johnson who performed well for Prefects this week

Prefects suffered a 7-3 defeat to strong side, Star. Clyde Johnson had the best results for Prefects, comfortably dispatching Andy Ferguson, and having a strong 3-1 win against Iain Martin. Justin Yang was also able to defeat Andy but, after winning the first set against Iain, fell 3-1. Bonifac Legrady had a close game with Andy but was unable to pick up any wins on the night.  Callum Ross was the strongest player for Star, although Justin and Clyde had close games with him. Clyde and Justin paired up for the doubles, but were unable to defeat Callum and Iain, despite a close second set.

New Kids also experienced defeat at the hands of Lundin Lasers. Dave Beveridge, playing up as reserve, was the strongest player on the night for New Kids, defeating Nat Forno 3-1 and Ron Filsell in a particularly close 3-2 game. Ian Smith and Kong Wan were both able to also beat Ron, 3-0 and 3-1 respectively, but could not beat Nat. Arthur Duncan was in great form for Lundin Lasers, winning all three of his singles games without losing a single set. Arthur and Ron were too strong for Ian and Dave, closing out the doubles 3-0. Arthur’s singles win over Dave finished the match with a close 6-4 win for Lundin Lasers.

Swots had a tough fixture against a strong Viscounts team. The trio of Dave Beveridge, Collin Bleak, and Emma Bissett were unable to win any of their singles games. Viscounts’ Filip Jovanovic came through two five-set games against Dave and Emma, and also lost a set to Collin. Andy Hughes was impervious, not losing a set in his three singles games, whilst Andrew Nimmo had a tougher time, losing sets to both Dave and Collin. It is a rarity for a team who lose all nine singles games to win the doubles, however that is what Swots managed on this occasion. Collin and Emma led against Filip and Andrew Nimmo 2-1, and were edged into a fifth set as the Viscounts pair won the fourth set 13-11. However, Collin and Emma dominated proceedings from then on, winning the fifth set 11-3 to gain some consolation in a 9-1 loss.

Truants had a better result, drawing 5-5 with Villa. Sascha won his — now seemingly inevitable — three singles games, although was pushed to the full five sets by Ian McLagan. Alain Leger won an excellent 3-1 game against Ian, lost to David Hay 3-0, and was particularly unfortunate to lose to Sandy Bertie 3-2, having recovered from a 2-0 deficit in the final game of the night. Knut Radmer found this fixture tough, being unable to win a set throughout the night. Pivotal to the draw for Truants was Alain and Sascha’s 3-0 doubles win against Ian and David.

Prospects were the only St Andrews winners this week as they defeated Telsports 7-3 in Division Three. Telsports’ David Axton did well to win all three of his games, especially given that he found himself 2-0 down and match point down to Dave Goddard in his first game of the night, recovering to win that game 3-2 and to beat Neil Lea 3-0 and Ian Brumwell 3-1. However, all of the other games went to Prospects, despite some close affairs. Neil Lea and Ian Brumwell were involved in two very close matches early on. Neil won the first two games 12-10 against Robert Fotheringham and, having lost the third and fourth sets, recovered to win the fifth set 11-7. Ian had a particularly close game with David Axton, with every single set being won by the minimum two-point margin (15-13, 11-9, 9-11, 9-11, 11-9). Dave Goddard found himself 2-0 down against Sandy Elrick, but was able to recover to take the game 3-2. Neil and Ian combined to win the doubles 3-1 against Robert and Sandy.

Prefects, New Kids, and Prospects march on with cup success

Five St Andrews teams were in action in cup matches in the Dundee and District Table Tennis League this week, with three coming out successful and advancing to the next rounds.

Monday was a busy night at the Victory Memorial Hall in St Andrews with three cup matches taking place. The most closely contested saw Prefects take on Rockets in the Chairman’s Challenge cup for Division One teams. Things started well for Rockets as Peter Yearworth beat Clyde Johnson 3-1, before Michael Hahn responded by beating Peter Dixon by the same score to level things at 1-1. Next was the strongest game of the night as Justin Yang took on Jim Dyson. After sharing the first four sets — with particularly close 12-10, 9-11 third and fourth sets — Justin recovered from a two-point deficit in the deciding fifth set to win 12-10, demonstrating a fantastic mix of attacking and defensive table tennis to give Prefects a 2-1 lead. However, Jim gained some revenge as he and Peter Yearworth comfortably defeated Justin and Clyde 3-0 in the first doubles game. Experienced doubles pair, Michael and Clyde, struggled against the two Peters, losing the first and fourth games, but gave a determined performance to take the game 3-2, giving Prefects a 3-2 lead. Michael closed out the win for Prefects with a comfortable 3-0 singles win against Jim to put Prefects into the semi-finals.

New Kids also had success on Monday in the Secondary Shield against Chieftains, who could only field two players. Howard Lee was the star player for New Kids, winning both of his games, including a 3-2 win against Fiona Kinloch. Kong Wan and Sandy Pearson both did well to beat Jim Tawse, with Sandy’s win being a particularly closely-fought 3-1 game (12-10, 11-9, 9-11, 17-15). Fiona was able to win two games for Chieftains against Kong and Sandy, 3-1 and 3-0 respectively, but it wasn’t enough to hold off New Kids who won the fixture 7-2.

Also on Monday, Swots faced Tigers in the Secondary Shield. Whilst Tigers were able to win the match 5-0, it was a close affair. Swots were particularly unfortunate to be 3-0 down after the first three matches given the competitiveness of each game. First, Emma Bissett was tied 1-1 with Scott Thomson before losing two very tight sets 11-9, 12-10. Dave Beveridge and Collin Bleak lost the next two games against Kenny McLaren and Logie Anderson, respectively, both by the minimum two-point margin in the deciding fifth set. Scott and Logie then delivered two comfortable 3-0 wins against Dave and Emma, respectively, to close out a 5-0 win for Tigers which was not an accurate representation of the margin of victory.

Truants also had a tough Secondary Shield fixture against Brechin. Sascha Roschy was in superb form to win his three singles games without dropping a set, despite many close scores against both John Anderson and Derek Mitchell. However, Alain Leger and Graham Wood were unable to add to the overall score-line, and Alain’s 3-1 loss to Aaron Robertson was the only set won by either on the night. Overall, Brechin won 5-3 and progressed to the next round.


Prospects’ Jonathan Fraser and Neil Lea who battled through both their opponents and the cold to win in the Consolation Cup

Prospects recorded an excellent win over Buccaneers in the Consolation Cup. Jonathan Fraser and Sandy Pearson played very strongly throughout the night, both being unbeaten. Jonathan was particularly strong, losing only a single set to David Clark, recording 3-0 wins over both Gregor O’Neill and Stewart Ferguson. Sandy defeated Gregor 3-0 but fought through two epic five-set encounters on his way to victory against David and Stewart; against the latter, Sandy was 2-1 down and came through with two 11-9 wins in the game which sealed the overall result of the fixture. Neil Lea was unfortunate not to add to the score-line, losing 11-9 in the deciding fifth set against Stewart, having won a tight fourth set, 12-10. However, Sandy and Jon’s three wins apiece were enough to give Prospects a great 6-3 victory, and to see them through to the next round.

Prefects edged out twice by Up4It

It was a mixed week of league and cup fixtures for the St Andrews teams in the Dundee and District Table Tennis league.

Prefect’s Michael Hahn and Up4It’s Gillian Edwards, who played out two brilliant matches this week

Division One side Prefects had a tough week, facing Up4It twice. In their league fixture, Michael Hahn beat strong player, Paul Monteith comfortably 3-0, before Up4It’s Gillian Edwards equalled the score-line with a similar game against Clyde Johnson. Sascha Roschy was then edged out by Ryan Docherty, Sascha leading 7-4 in the deciding 5th set, only for Ryan to win the next 7 points and take the game. The next game was probably one of the greatest the league will witness this season, with leading players Michael and Gillian coming face-to-face. Michael played some excellent points to race into a 2-0 lead against the Scottish Number 1 and Commonwealth Games athlete, only for Gillian to win the third game. The fourth game stood at 10-10, and Michael held five match points during deuce, having won all the points on his own serve but being unable to win any on Gillian’s, before Gillian edged through that set 17-15. Michael was resilient, and the pair were neck-and-neck throughout the deciding fifth game, Gillian having her first match point at 10-9, before Michael won two points to give himself yet another match point on Gillian’s serve, but again was unable to convert it. Gillian pulled through 13-11 to take the epic encounter. Sascha and Clyde both had chances in their next two games but lost in four sets to Paul and Ryan respectively; Clyde was particularly unfortunate, with the three sets he lost all being 12-10. Michael then gained some revenge on Gillian when he and Clyde had a very strong 3-0 win over her and Ryan; a rare loss for the Up4It pair. Gillian then had a comfortable win over Sascha, and Michael responded with a similarly comfortable win against Ryan to set up the final game where Clyde lost a close 3-2 match against Paul. Whilst the scoreline was 7-3 to Up4It, the fixture was very close, with Michael’s extremely tight loss to Gillian, and Sascha and Clyde losing no fewer than 11 sets by the minimum 2-point margin.

Friday night saw nine of the first-round Excelsior Cup matches hosted at Ward Road Gym, with a good crowd and many St Andrews players there to watch. The two most highly anticipated matches of the night saw Prefects take on reigning champions, Up4It, and Knights take on Star (a battle between the winners of Division One from the last two seasons). The first six games were shared between Prefects and Up4It. Michael and Gillian stamped their authority on proceedings, each winning their first two games, Gillian with 3-0 wins over Clyde and Sascha, and Michael with a 3-0 win over Paul and a 3-1 win over Ryan. Sascha was unfortunate to lose a close four-set game to Ryan, and Clyde did well to reverse the result from earlier in the week and beat Paul 3-2. Michael and Gillian then played another nail-biting epic, sharing the first four games with some excellent attacking play. Gillian raced to a 5-2 lead in the deciding set, but Michael pegged her back to 5-5 before Gillian once again took a lead at 10-7 up. Michael saved the match points, winning four consecutive points to give himself a match point at 11-10, another at 12-11, and yet another at 13-12 but, again, was unable to break through Gillian on her own serve in these crucial points. Gillian played some very controlled and intelligent attacking table tennis, and was able to close out the game 15-13 to again beat Michael by the closest of margins and give Up4It a 4-3 lead. Clyde started well in each of the sets against Ryan, but was unable to convert any of them, losing 3-0 by the closest possible margin in each to Ryan to give Up4It a 5-3 victory. Two excellent matches between the two teams, and demonstrative that Prefects are a challenge for any team in the league. On the adjacent table, Star and Knights were tied 4-4, with Robert Toth and John Hannah — last season’s top two players in the league — competing in the last game. John managed to defeat Robert in four sets to give Star an unexpected, but not completely surprising, victory. Overall it was an excellent night of table tennis, especially with these two fixtures, and showed off some very strong table tennis, with spectators being particularly thrilled with the matches between Michael and Gillian, and Robert and John, showcasing the league’s top four players from last season.

In Division Two, Swots were involved in a close fixture of their own against Chieftains. Dave Beveridge was the strongest player for Swots on this occasion, defeating Jim Tawse 12-10 in the deciding set and Jacob Munro 3-0. Dave was unfortunate not to make it an unbeaten night, losing to Fiona Kinloch 11-8 in the deciding fifth set and, alongside Emma Bissett, losing to Fiona and Jim 13-11 in the fifth set. Emma lost two four-set games to Fiona and Jim, but was able to win a strong game against Jacob Munro 13-11 in the fifth set. Collin Bleak was unfortunate not to add to Swots’ score, losing two tight four-set games against Jacob and Fiona, and was edged out 11-9 in the fifth set by Jim. A 7-3 loss for Swots, but with only one game being 3-0, and no fewer than five games going to a deciding set, it was a very close encounter.

New Kids had a much more successful match against Tigers, winning 8-2. Clyde Johnson was the star player, having few difficulties and winning 3-0, 3-1, 3-1 in his singles games, and combined with Howard Lee to win the doubles 3-0. Emma Bissett and Howard both also had good nights, beating Marion Davidson and Kenny McLaren, although Howard had to come back from 2-0 down to defeat Kenny. Both, however, were defeated by Logie Anderson, 3-1 and 3-0, respectively.

Truants had similar success, defeating Rollercoasters 7-3, with Rollercoasters only fielding two players. Sascha Roschy had two very comfortable wins against David Lane and Tony Cook. Graham Wood beat Tony in four sets and was unfortunate to lose 11-9 in the fifth set to David. Sascha and Graham then combined to take the doubles game 3-2 against Tony and David. Knut Radmer lost his two games 3-1.

Cup Success for St Andrews Teams

With no league fixtures played this week, four St Andrews teams participated in cup fixtures in the Dundee and District Table Tennis league.

Truants and Prospects faced each other in an epic double-fixture, managing to complete both their Secondary Shield and Stanley Doubles Cup matches on one evening. In the Secondary Shield, Jon Fraser and Sandy Pearson were both able to defeat Alain Leger by the narrowest of margins, Sandy 15-13 and Jon 12-10 in their respective deciding sets. Jon was unfortunate to lose 3-1 to Graham Wood, having lost the first two sets 11-9, 16-14, and Graham was also able to beat Neil 3-0 despite a close second game. Graham’s two wins added to three from Sascha Roschy — who was impervious, not losing a single set — to give Truants a 5-2 victory. Truants won the Stanley Doubles Cup fixture 5-0, although Prospects won sets in four of the five games. Sandy and Neil were the closest to winning, losing to Alain and Graham 11-6 in the deciding fifth set.

Dave Beveridge who was undefeated in two fixtures this week

Swots defeated Duffers 5-1 in the Secondary Shield. Dave Beveridge and Emma Bissett both won two games, having particularly close matches against Richard McLaren. Collin Bleak was unfortunate to not also have a clean-sweep of victories, losing to Andy Reid in five sets, but bounced back to defeat Richard in straight sets. Swots were also successful in the Stanley Doubles Cup, defeating Princes 5-1. Dave was the strongest player on the night, winning two games with Emma and two games with Sandy Pearson. Princes’ Eddie Dougan and Stewart Mason won the first game of the night in five sets over Emma and Sandy, but it went Swots’ way from there.

New Kids were also on fine form, defeating Telsports 6-0 in the Secondary Shield, with Howard Lee, Kong Wan, and Ian Smith each picking up two wins, although only one game — Kong’s win over Robert Fotheringham — was in straight sets. In a battle of the veterans, Kong (soon to be 77) was also involved in the closest game of the night, defeating 82 year old Sandy Elrick in five close sets. Howard lost the second set to Robert but immediately bounced back to win the next set 11-0. Unfortunately, due to injury, New Kids had to pull out of their Stanley Doubles fixture earlier in the week.

Prefects secure only St Andrews win of the week

Prefects had a strong win against Kings in Division One of the Dundee and District Table Tennis League, but were the only St Andrews team to taste victory as Truants drew in Division Two, whilst New Kids and Prospects were defeated in Divisions Two and Three respectively.
Prefects defeated Kings 6-4 on Monday night at the Victory Memorial Hall, who finished one place above Prefects last season. Michael Hahn was impervious, winning all three of his singles games and the doubles 3-0. Particularly impressive was his 11-7, 11-8, 11-7 win against University of St Andrews teammate and training partner, Adeola Fabola, who is one of the strongest players in the division. Clyde Johnson also had a strong evening, defeating father-son duo Filip and Aleksandar Jovanovic 3-1 and 3-0 respectively. Clyde was unlucky to not defeat Adeola, having led 10-7 in the deciding fifth set, only for Adeola to peg it back and close out the game 12-10. Bonifac Legrady was unfortunate to lose his three games, losing to Aleksander 11-13, 11-6, 15-13, 12-10, and to Filip 11-9, 7-11, 13-11, 11-9. Experienced doubles pair Michael and Clyde had no problems sweeping aside Adeola and Filip 11-4, 11-6, 11-6. The overall score was a close 6-4 victory to Prefects, but given that Prefects lost three very close games and were not close to losing any of the games they won, it was quite a convincing overall win.

In Division Two, New Kids experienced their first defeat of the season at the hands of Viscounts. Ian Smith and Howard Lee were both able to defeat Andrew Nimmo, Ian in 3 sets and Howard in 4. Both will have been disappointed not to also beat Filip Jovanovic (playing his second match against a St Andrews club in two nights), Ian losing 11-3, 11-9, 7-11, 8-11, 11-2, and Howard losing 11-9, 9-11, 12-10, 11-8. Kong Wan was able to win one set against both Andy Hughes and Filip, but was unable to get any closer than this. Ian and Howard will take some consolation in the fact that they were able to defeat Andrew and Filip 3-1 in the doubles to make the overall score 7-3 to Viscounts.

Sascha Roschy was able to win all four of his games this week, maintaining his 100% record in Division Two this season.

Truants were able to secure a draw in Division Two against Chieftains. Sascha Roschy was the star player, winning all three of his singles games, and the doubles, for the loss of only one set, which was against Jim Tawse to maintain his 100% record. Club chairperson, Alain Leger, had a strong 3-1 win against upcoming junior, Jacob Munro 3-1, but will have been disappointed to have lost to Jim, 11-9, 8-11, 7-11, 11-8, 9-11, as a win would have secured overall victory for Truants. There was some consolation for Alain as he and Sascha won the doubles comfortably against Fiona Kinloch and Jim. Unfortunately Knut Radmer could not add any points onto Truant’s tally, but was able to win the first set against Fiona.

Prospects were defeated 7-3 by Lairds on Tuesday evening. Sandy Pearson was the strongest player for Prospects, defeating Ryan Connor and William Beattie, both in four sets. However, Sandy was defeated by Ewan MacDonald in four sets. Ian Brumwell won the closest game of the night, losing the first two sets against William 11-9 and 13-11, before bouncing back to take the remaining three sets 13-11, 11-4, 11-9. Ian was involved in another five set game against Ryan, but was unable to convert on this occasion. Neil Lea found Ewan too strong in his opening game, but was able to have much closer games with Ryan and William, winning one set against the latter. Sandy and Ian combined to play the doubles, and took the first set, but Ryan and Ewan bounced back to win three sets in a row and the game.

Cup Success for St Andrews Teams

This week, free of scheduled league matches, saw the start of some of the cups in the Dundee and District Table Tennis League. St Andrews teams were involved in three cup fixtures, and were successful in all three.

Division One team Prefects won two cup fixtures this week without the loss of a game. On Monday, they faced Division Two team Chieftains, who were represented by Jim Tawse, Fiona Kinloch, and Jacob Munro, in the Stanley Doubles Cup and were impervious, sweeping aside their opponents for the loss of a single set in a 5-0 victory. Howard Lee — who should be thanked enormously for stepping in at the very last minute — did not drop a set throughout the night, playing two games with Michael Hahn, and one with Clyde Johnson. Michael was involved in four of the five games, and Clyde involved in three. Michael and Clyde dropped the third set 11-9 to Fiona and Jacob, but bounced back to take that particular game 3-1.

On Thursday, the Prefects team of Michael Hahn, Justin Yang, and Clyde Johnson faced Forthill-based Division One team, Thumpers in the first round of the Chairman’s Challenge. Having lost 4-3 in the semi-finals of last year’s event, Prefects were keen to get a good start this year. Clyde started strongly, sweeping aside Ian Hunter 11-2, 12-10, 11-6, but Thumpers looked set to level the match at 1-1 as Justin lost the opening two sets 11-9 to strong player, David Sim. However, Justin fought hard and was able to win the third set 11-4 (at one point leading 8-0), and scraped through the fourth set with a 13-11 win. The fifth set was a very tense affair, but with an excellent combination of attacking and defensive table tennis, Justin managed to take the set 12-10 and the game 3-2 to give Prefects a 2-0 victory. After a slow start, Michael showed a strong display of attacking play, beating Jordan Ednie 3-1 in a comfortable, but not one-sided, game to give Prefects a 3-0 lead. The experienced doubles pair of Michael and Clyde had very few problems in an 11-6, 11-8, 11-6 win against Ian and Jordan to give Prefects a 4-0 victory in the match.

New Kids were successful this week in the Secondary Shield with a team of Ian Smith, Kong Wan and Howard Lee.

On Tuesday, Division Two team New Kids were successful in the first round of the Secondary Shield against Princes in a tough match. New Kids suffered two surprising losses at the start of the match, going 2-0 down as Howard Lee and Kong Wan lost to Stewart Mason and Derek Johnston, respectively. However, with two straight-sets victories for Ian Smith against Eddie Dougan and Stewart, and a win for Howard against Derek — all in straight sets — New Kids were back on track and took a 3-2 lead. Kong was unfortunate not to extend this lead, losing out 11-8 in the deciding set against Eddie which levelled the fixture at 3-3. However, it was plain sailing from then on with the three New Kids’ players winning one singles game each. Ian won his third 3-0 game of the night, this time against Derek, Howard guaranteed victory for his team with a 3-1 win against Eddie, with an epic 15-13 fourth set, and Kong defeated Stewart 3-0 for good measure to give a final score of 6-3 in favour of New Kids.

Prospects continue winning streak

Prefects had a difficult week in Division One against reigning champions and league favourites, Knights, who boast a team comprised of Robert Toth, who finished last season on 100%, as well as Stuart Halliday and Callum Riddoch, two of the top players in the league. Clyde Johnson and Justin Yang found it a tough fixture, both losing all three games, although Clyde was able to pick up one set against both Callum and Stuart, and was unfortunate not to extend the latter to a fifth-set. Michael, however, was able to defeat Callum in four sets and Stuart in five, and was involved in an epic encounter with Robert. At one set apiece, Robert managed to take the third and fourth sets 16-14, 14-12 to seal the game.

Division Two side Swots had the second derby-match in two weeks as they faced off against another St Andrews club, Truants, on Tuesday evening. The Swots trio of Emma Bissett, Collin Bleak, and Dave Beveridge all managed to account for Knut Radmer, although Knut extended Emma to the full five sets. However, Truants were able to pick up the remaining 7 games, with Graham Wood and club chairperson, Alain Leger, managing to win three singles games each, and combined to take a very close doubles match, 11-9 in the deciding set against Emma and Dave. Emma was unfortunate to lose a second match by the same score-line in her singles match against Alain, having recovered from a heavy deficit in the fifth set only to lose 11-9. Collin and Emma were both each able to win one set against Graham, whilst Dave won one set against Alain.

Sandy Pearson who has contributed strongly to Prospects’ good start to the season

Prospects managed a third consecutive win in a very positive start to the season in Division Three. Fabio Sani made a strong start to his season, defeating Winnie Stein and Derek Johnston in four sets, and Steve Wilson in three sets. Sandy Pearson continued his good form with three wins, losing one set against both Derek and Steve. However, the pairing of Sandy and Fabio could not add to their singles wins in the doubles as they lost in four sets to Winnie and Derek, with their second-set 14-12 loss proving decisive. Emily Howat secured a strong 3-2 win over Winnie but was unable to pick up any sets in her other two games.

Undefeated week for St Andrews teams

There were no losses for St Andrews teams this week as Prefects and Prospects won their fixtures whilst New Kids and Swots drew in the St Andrews derby; Truants’ game against Brechin was postponed.

The Prefects team of Michael Hahn, Clyde Johnson, and Justin Yang eased past the new Saints team from the University who were without their full strength team on Monday night at Victory Memorial Hall. The three Prefects players did not drop a set the entire match, although Chan Tsz Huen (Paisley) — who is Michael’s University mixed doubles partner, having reached the quarter finals of last year’s British Championships — delivered three strong performances and was the strongest Saints player on the night. Clyde and Justin combined to take the doubles in their first game together. Prefects were very briefly top of Division One (the briefness of which will be surely forgotten by all…), even if this was only because they were the only team to have played two matches after Monday night (again, a negligible fact surely ignore by all involved…).

On the other side of the hall, New Kids and Swots competed in an all-St-Andrews match which always proves a close affair with players close to their colleagues’ styles. The first round of games proved that and all went to a deciding set. Howard Lee beat Dave Beveridge 11-5 in the deciding set and Ian Smith beat Emma Bissett 11-6 also in the deciding set. The closest game of the night saw Collin Bleak edge out Kong Wan 11-9 in fifth set. The remaining games were all reasonably one-sided other than Howard’s 3-1 victory over Emma and Collin and Emma’s 12-10, 17-15, 11-7 doubles win against Howard and Ian. Perhaps the standout performance of the night was Collin’s 13-11, 11-3, 11-4 win against Howard. Ian Smith was the only undefeated singles player of the night; after his close opening match with Emma, he beat Dave and Collin, both in straight-sets wins.

Dave Goddard undefeated for Propsects after two matches in Division Three

Dave Goddard was the star player for Prospects, maintaining his 100% record for the season with three straight-sets victories against Brechin-based team Buccaneers, with only Gregor O’Neill coming close to winning a set with Dave edging out the first set 12-10. Sandy Pearson was also able to secure three singles victories but was pushed all the way against Gregor, winning 11-8, 12-14, 3-11, 13-11, 14-12. Emily Howat, making her league debut for the year, was unable to add to the match score, but had the closest set-score of the night, losing the second set 18-16 to Gregor, and was very unfortunate not to beat Dale McLeish, losing out 12-10 in the deciding set. Dave and Sandy combined for the second week in a row to take the doubles, this time 3-0 against Gregor and David Clark.

A successful week for the St Andrews teams ended on a high as several of the team players, joined by Neil’s wife, Wendy, and three players from Dundee, had a club night out with dinner at Maisha in St Andrews.

Mixed results for St Andrews teams in opening week

With two wins, two losses, and one draw, the five St Andrews teams had mixed fortunes in the opening week of games in the Dundee and District Table Tennis League.

Michael Hahn serving up success with three wins in Week One

Prefects had a difficult start to the season in Division One against Aces who are one of the top teams in the league and their three players on this occasion, Jason Fleming, Matthew Craig, and Jim Dyson, are all amongst the league’s finest players. New recruits Justin Yang and Bonifac Legrady — both students at the University of St Andrews — found this fixture tough. Justin was unfortunate not to win his opening game, losing to Jim 11-9 in the fifth set, but Justin and Bonifac’s other five singles games were all straight-sets losses. Michael Hahn, however, got off to an excellent start to the season, winning all three games for the loss of one solitary set. Michael opened proceedings with a particularly convincing 11-5, 11-5, 11-8 victory over Matthew, who finished last season on 72%, before dispatching Jason in four games after a slow start, and then beating Jim 3-0. The doubles saw Michael and Justin lose in four sets, all of which went to deuce, to Jason and Matt.

Truants also had a tough start to the season but were able to manage a draw against Lundin Lasers. Sascha Roschy, vying to top the Division Two averages again this season, had a strong start, winning two four-set games, and finishing the night off with a straight-sets win. Knut Radmer was able to add to Sascha’s three wins with a close five-set victory against Nat Forno and was unfortunate not to win a second game, losing in four very close sets against Ron Filsell. Club chairperson, Alain Leger, was unlucky not to beat Nat, losing 11-8 in the deciding set, having led 2-0, however was able to win the doubles alongside Sascha.

It was a more positive start to the season for New Kids who managed to secure a 6-4 victory against Forthill-based Comets in a very close fixture with four games going to a deciding set — two of which were decided at deuce — and only one game being won in straight sets. Howard and Ian won two games each, both being unfortunate to not make it a hat-trick, each losing one game in the deciding set. Howard lost the opening game 13-11 in the fifth set to Dougal Ogilvie, and Ian lost 11-8 in the fifth to Fraser Smith. The pair combined to defeat Dougal and Fraser in four sets in the doubles. Kong Wan defeated Jill 11-7 in the fifth set and performed well in the other two games, losing in four sets.

Swots found proceedings tough with an 8-2 loss to recently-promoted team, Brechin. Peter Bladen was unfortunate to lose the first game 11-8 in the fifth set to Derek Mitchell and retired half-way through his second game. Emma Bissett and Collin Bleak both defeated Aaron Robertson, in four and three sets, respectively, however were unable to win any additional games, both winning a set against John Anderson.

In Division Three, Prospects secured a good 6-4 start to the season at Forthill against Missiles. Dave Goddard was the star of the show, winning all three of his singles games, losing only one set to David Hunter in the final game of the night. Sandy Pearson also had a strong start to the season, winning two of his games 3-0, and was very unfortunate to not secure a hat-trick, losing 11-9 in the deciding set against Daniel Russell in a game which witnessed no fewer than four deuce-sets. The pair of Dave and Sandy combined to win a five-set doubles game. Neil Lea was unfortunate not to add to the score-board, losing out 11-8 in the fifth set to Lee Nixon.

Overall a fairly positive start to the season for the five teams against some tough opponents. The second week of fixtures sees all teams play again. Monday night at the Victory Memorial Hall will see two derby-fixtures. In Division One, Prefects will face-off against the new Saints team, the first team from the University of St Andrews in the league for a number of years. Meanwhile, Swots and New Kids will battle it out. Truants and Prospects will both travel deep into Angus to play against Brechin and Buccaneers respectively.

Sascha and Sandy take Eglinton Glory

On Monday 28th August, a good turnout of 16 players participated in the annual Eglinton Cup in the first event of the season. Players opted to play in eight pairs in a knock-out format. All players were allocated a handicap, with all games being played up to 31, other than games involving Michael, which were played up to 26. The first round saw two 3-2 victories which would have been reversed had a single point gone the other way. Howard Lee and Ian Brumwell defeated Michael Hahn and Emily Howat, and Dave Beveridge and Kong Wan defeated Emma Bissett and Rob Brown, with both matches including a game won on a sudden-death point (26-25 and 31-30) which proved decisive.

Sandy (left) and Sascha (right) receive the Eglinton Trophy from club chairman Alain (middle)

The final saw Dave vie for his third consecutive title, an unprecedented feat. However, Sascha Roschy and Sandy Pearson went on to defeat Dave and Kong 3-0 in the final. Club chair-person Alain Leger and Ken Falconer secured third place with a tight 2-1 victory over Howard and Ian in a match which witnessed two 31-30 scores, and one 31-29. Robert and Emma won the ‘consolation’ half of the draw, securing fifth place after defeating Graham Wood and Neil Lea 2-1, whilst Collin Bleak and Dave Goddard took seventh place, with Michael and Emily taking eighth.

Unofficial ‘player of the night’ goes to Sascha who went undefeated in singles, despite playing off a handicap of 5, the second lowest of the night. Special thanks go to Elaine Forbes who, as always, organised the tournament excellently. Her accurate handicapping was demonstrated by the number of tight games including five games which were won on a sudden-death point, seven 31-29s, and nine 31-28s. Attention now is drawn to the start of the competitive season, with the first fixtures for St Andrews’ five teams starting on Monday 11th September.

The Speeches (with apologies for poor sound quality)

The Presentation

The Winning Points

See lots more action from the Eglinton Cup in 21 videos on the club’s YouTube channel.

A.G.M. stands for Alain Got the Most-improved

Alain Gains the Magnificent honour of wining the Neilson Trophy for most improved player. He was also elected as the new chair person of the club.

Following almost two hours of play last Monday, table tennis tables were swapped for meeting tables and the club AGM was held. Neil Lea stepped down from the committee and was replaced by newly elected Chairperson Alain Leger. Similarly, Bill Sutherland stepped down after many years of service to the club and Dave Beveridge was elected into the position of treasurer. Howard Lee will continue his role on the committee as Head Coach, whilst Elaine Forbes and Michael Hahn take up the positions of Secretary and Publicity Officer, respectively. Howard, Graham, Kong, Emma and Jonathan were appointed team secretaries. Players had previously voted for the most improved player of the season and the award went to incoming Chairperson Alain.

Team secretaries also summarised their team’s seasons. Prefects finished eighth in Division One with 63 individual wins, although with the teams finishing directly above them ending up on 67, 68, and 76 wins, they were not too far off finishing mid-table. They also reached the final of the handicap cup — being the only Division One team to get beyond the round of 16 — and lost 4-3 in the semi-finals of the Chairman’s Challenge. After a tricky start, requiring a few play ups, Truants got into their stride and, after signing Sascha, went from strength to strength, finishing third in Division Two. After being involved in a very tight battle at the bottom of Division, Swots had a heart-breaking end to the season after failing to earn the single point in their last fixture that would have seen them avoid a relegation placing. Also involved in this struggle, New Kids finished third bottom in Division 2 after an especially strong performance from Ian Smith in their last fixture. Prospects finished second bottom of Division Three, although there were some strong performances from Sandy, Neil, and Emily.

Michael Hahn (Prefects) and Sascha Roschy (Truants) had particular success individually, with Michael finishing fourth in the Division One averages with 31 wins from 36 singles matches, and Sascha winning the Division Two averages with 44 wins from 45 singles matches. Michael represented the Dundee League on the Men’s 1st team at the Scottish Interleague tournament, whilst Sascha played for the Veteran’s 1st team and Howard Lee and Dave Beveridge competing for the Veteran’s 2nd team.

Off the table, things continue to look healthy for the club, with the Victory Memorial Hall being used on Mondays throughout the whole year, and the ‘Rascals’ adult beginners’ group using the Kilrymont hall to play on Thursdays. Howard has continued to lead the coaching of junior players on Monday nights, and Michael is coaching some of the team players over the summer before the start of the new season in September.

This week, it was called ping pong

St Andrews Table Tennis Club’s competitive season has drawn to a close with two contrasting events.

In the first, local team Prefects reached the heady heights of Dundee & District’s Handicap Cup Final – no mean achievement for a Division One outfit as the handicappers usually lean towards favouring clubs from the lower divisions. Clyde Johnson, Howard Lee and Michael Hahn took to the table against Division Three’s Sputniks from Forthill, knowing that in each match they would have a mountain to climb against very competent players in Sandy Bertie, Dave Hunter and Daniel Russell. At the halfway stage of the tie, honours were even with Michael having scored three points and Clyde two. The following battle between Howard and Dave became too painful for the St Andrews contingent to watch, with Howard agonisingly losing out 30-31 in both games. With this cushion, Sputniks gained in confidence and although Howard and Michael added another point, Clyde took to the table at 7-9 down knowing that he had to win all three remaining games if the trophy was to come back over the Tay. Clyde started strongly and was catching Dave when the man from Broughty abandoned his usual careful tactics. Speeding up the play proved the nail in the coffin for Prefects’ hopes and Sputniks took the honours with a 10-7 victory.

Graham Wood is flanked by the 12 hardy souls he defeated to win the club hard bat championship

On the last Monday of the season, thirteen players gathered in the Victory Memorial Hall to contest the annual hard bat (ping pong) challenge. With play a little tentative at the start while everyone got accustomed to playing without spin, the rallies eventually became more adventurous over the evening. From the first round of play, Ian Brumwell, Graham Wood, Ian Smith and Howard Lee emerged as winners to contest a four-player group final format and by this stage some of the hitting and retrieving had become awesome. Scores were very tight, with no clear winner emerging – Howard beat Ian S but lost to Graham, who in turn lost to Ian B and then Ian S beat Ian B. As the last match of the evening was poised to start, the possible permutations of outcomes were putting the previous night’s Masters play-off in Augusta in the shade – and Graham and Ian S did not disappoint with some spectacularly long rallies. In the end, Graham’s steady play just edged Ian out of the running but left himself and Howard tied on two wins from three outings. As Graham had overcome Howard in their head to head, it’s the former’s name which will be engraved on the Celebrate Legacy Shield, but it really could not have been more closely contested.

And so to a spring and summer of practice for all the table tennis enthusiasts. The Rascals gang of beginners and returners will continue to play at Madras College, Kilrymont on Thursdays between 6.00pm and 8.00pm while the league players will meet on Mondays at the Victory Memorial Hall where Michael Hahn will pass on his skills to his club-mates in a series of coaching sessions.

Sandy competes on the High Seas

Captain Cook (yes, that’s his real name) carried out an inspection of the P&O All Stars prior
to another sizzling table tennis tournament somewhere between Dubai and Southampton. The club has greatly missed Sandy during his annual world cruise.

Sandy (second from the right) with the captain and fellow cruising table tennis enthusiasts

New Kids pull off great escape

The last week of fixtures in the Dundee & District League brought mixed feelings to the five teams representing St Andrews Table Tennis Club.

In Division One, Prefects’ season rather fizzled out when opponents Earls conceded the match, but Howard Lee, Michael Hahn and Clyde Johnson will line up one more time in the season when they face Sputniks in the Handicap Cup final.

Prospects travelled to Broughty Ferry for their final fixture against Comets and achieved a respectable 3-7 score-line against the second placed team. Pleasingly, Jon Fraser, Dave Goddard and Neil Lea all shared in the three wins.

And so to the nail-biting conclusion to Division Two. Sitting in the top half of the table, Truants faced Kingsway with the dual task of achieving enough points to secure a third place finish, and of inflicting a telling defeat on their opponents, to help clubmates New Kids and Swots in their relegation battle. Sascha Roschy, Graham Wood and Knut Radmer rolled their sleeves up to battle to a 7-3 victory – just enough to give them the third spot in the division by a one game margin over Chieftains, but would it be enough for Swots and New Kids?

Ian Smith (left) led the charge as New Kids did just enough to avoid relegation

The previous evening, Ian Smith had found his best form of the season in winning his three singles against Rollercoasters and the doubles with Ken Falconer to bag four valuable points for the Kids. Kingsway’s three points against Truants meant that, at the end of twenty fixtures, the two teams were both locked on 58 points. In this situation, league rules put the team with the better head-to-head results into the higher position, giving New Kids the nod to be placed above Kingsway in the final table.

Finally, Swots took to the table against second placed Thumpers at Forthill on Thursday evening sitting on 57 points, knowing that a single victory would take them above both New Kids and Kingsway on the count-back ruling. Agonisingly, that win could not be manufactured despite the blood, sweat and tears of Dave Beveridge, Emma Bissett and Collin Bleak and the 10-0 thrashing meant that Swots finished the season propping up the rest of the teams. The sombre car chat on the journey home was of how different it would all have been if any one them had converted just one more match point out of the many contested earlier in the season.

Campbell pips brother Michael to Grove Trophy

There are two highlights to report from St Andrews Table Tennis Club activities this week.

Campbell and Michael Snodgrass fought out the final of the Grove Trophy

The Victory Memorial Hall was the venue on Monday for the annual junior tournament which rounds off the season’s coaching activities. Competition amongst the eight boys was fierce (but in the best sporting spirit) as organiser, Howard Lee, set out two groups of four, with the leading two players in each to progress to the semi finals. The event became a tale of two families as brothers Michael and Campbell Snodgrass emerged to face Murray and Keir Paterson respectively. In two exciting semis, it was Michael and Campbell who came through to face each other in the final. Campbell’s attacking forehand was probably the telling factor in an excellent final as he took home not only the coveted Grove Trophy for a year, but also family bragging rights for an evening at least!

The juniors were followed on the tables by the much awaited semi final of the Handicap Cup with home side, Prefects, taking on Brechin. A great team performance saw Howard and Clyde Johnson again backing up a faultless display from back-marker Michael Hahn to give Prefects a berth in the final with a 10-6 victory. Credit to the handicappers for getting the starting scores spot on – although Brechin’s Bill Balfour might not agree as he narrowly lost three of his four sets 29-31.

Prefects moved on to Ward road Gym on Tuesday evening to play Star with Sascha Roschy deputising for Michael. Highlight of the 3-7 defeat was Clyde’s four set victory over Iain Martin.

In Division Three, Prospects went down 2-8 at home to Duffers. Emily Howat and Dave Goddard each scored a win, but the fixture could have taken a very different complexion had Neil Lea and big Dave not both been pipped in close five-setters in two of the first three matches.

The saga at the bottom of Division Two goes on. Viscounts inflicted a 9-1 defeat on New Kids, with Ken Falconer the only St Andrean to win. Kingsway’s unexpected six points against Chieftains means that they have leap-frogged New Kids. Swots’ three valuable points against Truants in a club derby just keeps the former above the bottom two. With only three points separating the three bottom teams, and ten points up for grabs in each fixture, there won’t be many fingernails left as the teams swing into the last week of the league season.

Truants climb to third place in Division 2

Graham Wood – has led Truants to third place in Division 2

The best news for St Andrews Table Tennis Club this week was the 7-3 home victory by Truants against Rollercoasters which takes the team to the heady heights of third place in Division Two – especially pleasing after the tricky start made to the season by Truants, until they achieved a settled squad of four players. On Tuesday evening, it was trebles from Graham Wood and Sascha Roschy plus a doubles victory which saw off the Hecklers’ team, with Alain Leger unlucky not to get his name on the scoreboard too after a five set loss to Paul Jackson.

Sadly, no such good news from the other two teams in the Second Division. However, Swots did manage to pick up six points over two fixtures in their attempt to stave off relegation. Collin Bleak scored good wins against Viscounts and Chieftains and the St Andrews team had a stroke of luck when Viscounts were a player short due to illness, giving them three ‘buckshee’ points.

The gods were not looking so kindly on fellow strugglers New Kids who took only three points in a tough week when they had to play the Division’s top two teams. Ian Smith put a point on the scorecard against Thumpers while he was joined by Ken Falconer in each scoring a win against Telstars at Telephone House.

Both Swots and New Kids are managing to stay above bottom team Kingsway but with only two fixtures remaining, the points situation is too close for a guess at the likely finishing positions.

The standard of play at the Dundee & District Championships at Ward Road last weekend was very high, but the St Andrews contingent fought hard throughout. Sascha Roschy and Emma Bissett were runners-up in the Mixed Doubles, while Howard Lee battled through to the semi of the Men’s Vets and Keir Paterson reached the semi final of the Minor Boys singles.

Best wishes go to the club members who are representing Dundee & District in the coming weekend’s Scottish Inter League Championships at Bell’s Sports Centre in Perth. Howard Lee, Sascha Roschy, Michael Hahn and Keir and Murray Paterson have all been selected in a variety of age groups.

Prefects storm into semi-final of the Handicap Cup

Two of St Andrews Table Tennis Club’s five teams have battled their way to the quarter finals of this season’s Handicap Cup and both were in action this week trying to get one step closer to the trophy.

First Division Prefects were drawn at home against Division Two’s bottom team, Kingsway, and so were starting each game with a large deficit. Clyde Johnson and Howard Lee knuckled down well to the task and won five games between them, but the star of the night was yet again Michael Hahn who, despite being the ‘back-marker’ for the evening, added another five games – which included the deciding one with the match score at 9-9. Amazingly, starting at 0-17 down, Michael won 16 points in a row and maintained his form to win 26-23 to give his team a berth in the semis.

The following evening Swots travelled the long road to Brechin knowing that a win would give them a derby fixture against Prefects. Emma Bissett started the ball rolling with a draw but sadly the next six sets went the way of the Angus side. Dave Beveridge and Collin Bleak then each managed a draw but there was no comeback on the cards with Brechin emerging as 10-3 winners to face Prefects in the semi final.

A busy week for Swots saw them also play a local derby against Lundin Lasers. Collin and Dave were joined by Rob Brown for this tie and the St Andrews side really got it together in the first stages of the fixture to go 5-2 up. While these are five precious points in their attempt to avoid relegation, the trio must be kicking themselves that they were thwarted in their attempt to add to their tally when Lasers mounted a big comeback to win the last three matches, thus securing a 5-5 draw.

Prefects were also in action for a second time with a league fixture against Defenders at Forthill. Clyde and Michael each scored hat-tricks and combined to take the doubles. A singles win from Howard gave an 8-2 scoreline which ensures that Defenders stay at the bottom of the First Division table.

At the same venue, on the same night, New Kids were trying to maintain their effort to stay out of the Division Two relegation zone but they found Tigers too lively to tame. Ian Smith scored two wins and Ken Falconer took one of his three matches but three points on the night was a disappointment for the St Andrews side who found Scott Thomson in particularly good form.

At the top end of Division Two, Truants scored one of their best wins of a good season when they toppled second-placed Thumpers 7-3. Sascha Roschy, Graham Wood and Alain Leger all added points, with Sascha unbeaten on the night.

At the wrong end of Division Three, Prospects endured another defeat at the hands of Lairds but two singles wins from Jon Fraser and an excellent doubles victory by Jon and Emily Howat helped to relieve the pain somewhat.

As the season draws towards its close, there are a busy few weeks for the Monday coaching group. The youngsters have to fit in a parents’ night when family bragging rights will be decided, followed by the Junior club championships for the Grove Trophy which will take place on 20th March.

Sascha steals the show

As a change from league play, seven members of St Andrews Table Tennis Club entered the tournament presented by Dundee & District Table Tennis Association at Ward Road Gym, Dundee last Saturday. Dave Beveridge, Emma Bissett, Alain Leger, Neil Lea, Knut Radmer and Sascha Roschy enjoyed play in a number of events restricted to Division Two and Three players and were joined in the afternoon by Howard Lee for the Fowler Handicap event.

Sascha Roschy, middle of back row, lines up the other victors from the DDTTA lower division closed championships

Sascha Roschy, middle of back row, lines up the other victors from the DDTTA lower division closed championships

As the leading player in the Division Two averages, Sascha was first seed in both the Trident Challenge and the Over 25 singles. Living up to his top billing, he won both although he was given a particularly good run for his money by Brechin’s Derek Mitchell in the latter event. Derek had earlier forged a winning partnership with Knut to take the Hardy Ballot Doubles title, beating Sascha and Winnie Stein in the final.

Sascha continued his fine form in the league when his side Truants enjoyed a 9-1 derby victory over New Kids. He and Alain Leger were undefeated on the night, with only Ian Smith scoring for the Kids in a marathon encounter against Graham Wood.

In the other half of the Victory Memorial Hall, Prefects fought hard but could do little to dent the progress of Division One leaders, Knights. Only Michael Hahn managed a consolation point for the home side with a last gasp victory against Stuart Halliday. Earlier in the evening, both these players had been generous with their time in mesmerising the club’s junior coaching class with an exhibition of spin serves.

Third Division Prospects made the journey over to Forthill for an enjoyable fixture with Villa but, alas, emulated the popular TV programme by returning back over the bridge ‘pointless’.

Swots march on in handicap cup

There’s a win, a draw and two losses to report in this week’s mixed bag of St Andrews Table Tennis Club’s fixtures – plus the sad tale of the New Kids’ regular chauffeur, Kong Wan, being car-less meaning the team had to throw themselves to the benevolence of Telstars to obtain a postponement for their away fixture in Dundee.

Swots’ captain, Dave Beveridge.

Swots’ captain, Dave Beveridge.

The win came for Swots in their re-arranged Handicap Cup second round tie against Tigers. Five wins for Dave Beveridge, arguably enjoying his best form of the season, backed up by three from Rob Brown and two from Emma Bissett, make the 10-4 victory sound as if the handicappers erred on the generous side for Swots when, in fact, the team played with a freedom it has not been showing in its fight against relegation in recent weeks.

A draw and a defeat was the story for Truants in a week when they played two ties. They took to the table against Chieftains without this season’s ‘main man’ Sascha Roschy. Alain Leger, Graham Wood and Knut Radmer each put a score on the board and it was a fixture of ‘what might have beens’ as they lost all four five-setters in their 3-7 defeat.

Alain dropped out for the second fixture of the week against Telstars, with Sascha returning, but in the tight surroundings of the Telephone House venue and the wiley ways of the experienced Ian Farquhar, Sascha’s proud 100 per cent league record perished. However, two wins each from Sascha and Graham and one for Knut still meant Truants headed home with a 5-5 draw, although the shine was taken off the fixture by an injury sustained by Telstars’ popular Jim Houghton which may put him out for the rest of the season.

Playing at home against Mylnefield’s Princes, Prospects found their opponents’ blend of youth and experience too much to handle on the night. Jon Fraser scored two wins and Fabio Sani added another single but Alfie and Andrew, the young pair of Princes, showed the sort of form which suggests that they may rule the game in Dundee in the not too distant future.

Truants lift the gloom

There was a full program of league matches for the five St Andrews table tennis teams this week but only one victory was recorded.

In St Andrews on Monday, Prefects hosted league leaders Up4it who count Scotland No.1, Gillian Edwards, among their team. Michael Hahn squeezed two points out of the fixture for Prefects but Howard Lee and Sascha Roschy were unable to match his achievement. Sascha, moving up a league for the night, at least enjoyed the distinction of taking a game off the aforementioned Gillian. Final score 2-8.

On the adjacent table, New Kids registered a precious three wins against a Chieftains team that might be knocking on the door of promotion by the end of the season. Ian Smith enjoyed singles wins over Jim Tawse and Fiona Kinloch. The contest with Fiona was a 5 game thriller with Ian fighting back from a 2-0 deficit and saving several match points in the process. Ian also partnered Kong Wan to an unexpected doubles win over the same two Chieftains. It was Andy Hughes, however, playing up the Mylnefield side who did most damage to New Kids with an undefeated hat-trick of singles wins. Final score 3-7.

On Tuesday, the gloom lifted with a welcome 6-4 win for Truants in the squash courts at Lundin Links. There were a number of unlikely looking results in this contest. Knut Radmer scored impressive wins over Romann Nyfza and Arthur Duncan, while Sascha, more predictably, made up for Monday night with another second division hat-trick to keep his 100% average intact. Leading 5-4 going into the last match, it was Knut’s amazing performance against Arthur that secured the win for Truants. The pair shared the first two games but Knut must have had Arthur scratching his beard after taking the next two games for the loss of only 8 points. Final score 6-4.

The heaviest defeat of the week was inflicted on Prospects at Ward Road Gym on Tuesday. Emily Howat, Dave Goddard and Neil Lea fought gamely against Squires and might have had at least two wins if they could have reversed the outcome of the five game contests. It didn’t happen though and the dreaded whitewash was confirmed with Tanya Kapelyukh’s 3-1 win over Dave in the last match.

On Wednesday against Tigers, Swots continued their recent trend of not being able to get all three players firing on the same night. After losing the first two matches (the first being especially cruel on Emma Bissett who lost all three games despite winning 10 points or more in each one), Dave Beveridge got the St Andrews team back into the fixture with a comfortable straight games win over Logie Anderson. However, with Collin Bleak struggling to find his earlier season form it was match nine before Emma registered Swots’ second win with a tight 3-2 triumph, again over Logie. Collin regrouped, and for a while looked like causing damage to Scott Thomson in the last match of the night, but it wasn’t to be and Swots lost 2-8 to a strong Tigers line-up. The big cats returned home purring with delight.

Elaine Forbes presents Neil Lea with Wendy’s honorary membership

Elaine Forbes presents Neil Lea with Wendy’s honorary membership

Our tough season was set aside however on Friday night when the club held its sixth annual dinner in a local Indian restaurant. Outgoing Chairman, Neil Lea, was left speechless when Elaine Forbes presented him with a certificate of Honorary Membership for his partner, Wendy Taylor who was, unfortunately, unable to be present. Among other things Neil and Wendy have hosted club members for many years at their home in New Gilston on Sunday evenings for a game of table tennis and a famous spread of cakes and other irresistible comestibles provided by Wendy that accounts for many of our members’ growing waistlines.

Reserves help Prefects to a brace of good results

There was a mixture of matches on the fixture list of St Andrews Table Tennis Club this week. Officially designated a cup week, it also provided the chance for both Prefects and Prospects to catch up on rearranged league matches.

Prospects welcomed Forthill’s Sputniks to the Victory Memorial Hall on Monday night to fulfil a fixture originally scheduled for 2nd January, when other matters had been on the players’ minds! However, it turned out that Prospects’ focus must still have been elsewhere as only Fabio Sani managed a win, with a 1-9 scoreline in favour of the visitors.

Prefects’ Michael Hahn was in action twice this week

Prefects’ Michael Hahn was in action twice this week

Prefects travelled over to Broughty Ferry on the same evening to play a catch up Division One fixture against Aces. Michael Hahn turned in his usual polished performance, only dropping a single set in his three wins. Howard Lee battled hard in all his ties, and was particularly unlucky to go down in four entertaining sets to Grant Williams. Sascha Roschy, stepping in as the third player, scored a good win over Peter Dixon (late of St Andrews parish) and lost a tight five setter to Grant. To return with four points was a respectable haul against higher-placed opposition.

Swots’ eagerly anticipated Handicap Cup evening against fellow Division Two side Tigers turned into a damp squib when their opponents inadvertently stood them up, having confused the date of the tie. Good will on the part of Swots means that a new date has been found so that the tie can be played, rather than a walk-over claimed.

Prefects also had a Handicap tie on their schedule with Michael making his second visit in three nights over to Forthill Sports Club, this time in the company of reserves Dave Beveridge and Emma Bissett. Were the St Andreans on fire or did the handicappers misjudge slightly? Michael, Emma and Dave will doubtless claim the former, as they scalped Defenders 10-1 to secure a place in the quarter finals.

Truants’ run of good form in the Stanley Doubles was ended unceremoniously in the quarters when Graham Wood, Alain Leger and Sascha could do nothing to stop the overpowering attacking play of the Division One leaders. The Mylnefield side, no doubt with their Excelsior Cup final looming in their thoughts, were not in charitable mood and Knights put Truants to the sword 6-0.

A goodly number of players from both our competitive teams and from the Thursday night recreational ‘Rascals’ will join together at a venue in St Andrews this Friday evening to do what we do best at the club dinner – eat, drink and talk about the matches that got away.

New Kids climb out of relegation places

St Andrews Table Tennis Club’s Division Three side Prospects have had a busy week, playing one home match and one away match. At home on Monday night, they had a huge tussle with bottom team Telsports who were greatly strengthened by the presence of Graeme Elrick. By the time half the matches had been played, Prospects found themselves 1-4 down with Jon Fraser the only St Andrean to score a win. However, Emily Howat got the recovery underway by defeating Sandy Elrick, followed by a doubles win for Jon and Neil Lea. Jon drew Prospects back to 4-4 before they slipped behind again and it was left to Neil to secure the draw with a four set victory over Sandy.

On Thursday night Jon and Neil were joined by Dave Goddard in making their longest trip of the season up to Brechin – a tale of second bottom in the division taking on second top. Carrying an injury picked up in obscure circumstances following the team debriefing after the Telsports match, Dave nevertheless used all his guile to come back dramatically in the first encounter. From 2-8 and then 6-10 down in the fifth game, Dave saved five match points to eventually come through 13-11. Things unravelled after that and only Jon was able to put another score on the card as the high-flying Brechin team sent Prospects homewards with a 2-8 defeat.

In Division Two, it was also a case of a St Andrews team taking on table toppers in the shape of Telstars. Perhaps relaxing with few expectations on the evening, Swots made their opponents work hard, with only two of the ten matches being decided in straight sets. Emma Bissett scored an excellent win against Jim Houghton and was unlucky to be pipped 10-12 in the fifth by David Monteith but she had some consolation when, partnering Dave Beveridge, the Swots pair inflicted the first doubles defeat of the season on David and Ian Farquhar.

New Kids; Ian Smith, Kong Wan and Ken Falconer secured a valuable win over Kingsway this week

New Kids; Ian Smith, Kong Wan and Ken Falconer secured a valuable win over Kingsway this week

With neither Prefects nor Truants having fixtures, New Kids were our only other team playing this week and they made the challenging trip to take on bottom of the table Kingsway. Ken Falconer, Kong Wan and Ian Smith all found good form in scoring a valuable 7-3 victory which, for now, pulls them out of the relegation places in Division Two. The bottom of the table currently reads:
• New Kids – played 13, points won 43
• Swots – played 14, points won 41
• Kingsway – played 14, points won 38

With the fixtures among these three having been completed, relegation will be avoided by the team which can glean most points in the remaining fixtures against teams higher up the league.

Relegation threatens three of St Andrews Table Tennis teams

With Prospects having to postpone their trip to Brechin, there were four teams from St Andrews Table Tennis Club on league business this week.

In Division One, Prefects’ hopes of making up ground on near rivals Kings suffered a setback with the non-availability of Clyde Johnson and Peter Bladen. Alain Leger manfully stepped into the breech but neither he nor Howard Lee could back up Michael Hahn’s fine hat-trick of singles victories. Howard could feel aggrieved though at not putting a point on the scorecard when he fought back from two sets down against Plamen Kostadinov, only to be pipped 9-11 in the decider. Prefects may yet have to rely on league reconstruction saving them from relegation to Division Two.

Sascha Roschy also played a couple of close five-setters in the Truants match against Viscounts at Ward Road Gym, but he emerged with his 100% record intact. Graham Wood added another two wins and they combined to take the doubles for a 6-4 victory which consolidates their fourth place in Division Two.

To assist with player availability, New Kids switched their Division Two home tie against Lundin to the Lasers’ venue but perhaps emerged from the fixture regretting this decision. On a night when they just couldn’t get firing in the squash courts, Ian Smith and Ken Falconer only managed one win each for an 8-2 defeat.

Emma Bissett’s win over in-form Stephen Caird was a highlight in an otherwise disappointing Swots defeat to Kingsway.

Emma Bissett’s win over in-form Stephen Caird was a highlight in an otherwise disappointing Swots defeat to Kingsway.

Similarly, Swots did not find the carpeted conditions of Kingsway’s home patch to their liking. In the clash of bottom against third bottom. It was a strange evening, with no one player dominating. Dave Beveridge got Swots off to a good start with a win against Alan Carrie, coming back from 0-2 down to win 15-13 in a cliff-hanger fifth game. Collin Bleak was best for Swots with two wins and Emma Bissett was the first player to beat Stephen Caird for a few weeks. However, that only gave Swots a total of four points, which was far from ideal against the lower placed team.

Let’s hope Swots and New Kids are saving their best for the latter stages of the season, otherwise the club could be looking at both teams being relegated from Division Two.

Swots snatch draw from the jaws of a heavy defeat

With Prospects having a free week and Prefects’ fixture postponed, there were only three St Andrews table tennis teams in league action last week.

On Monday, the much anticipated Division 2 relegation derby between Swots and New Kids kicked off the week. It might have given either team a desperately needed advantage over the other but a long, tough battle saw the points shared five a piece with six of the ten matches requiring five games to decide. New Kids started best with Kong Wan edging out Dave Beveridge 3-2 before Collin Bleak levelled with a 3-1 win over Ken Falconer. Ian Smith put New Kids in front again with a 3-2 win over Emma Bissett, only for Collin to level things yet again with a 3-2 win over Kong. The Kids took the next three matches, including a tight doubles match (3-2 of course). With Swots facing a heavy defeat they produced their best form of the night when Collin and Emma beat Kong and Ian in straight games. The final match between Dave and Ken looked like securing the win for the Kids when Ken went 2-0 ahead with relative ease. However, a perceptible change of tactics in favour of a defensive war of attrition led to lengthy rallies, often exceeding 60 shots. Dave’s switch to a more conservative approach gave him the edge as he won the next three games to secure a draw that Swots had seemed highly unlikely to earn forty minutes earlier. Collin was the hat-trick hero of the evening, achieving his treble in front of two members of his fan club who were watching the action from the balcony. They agreed that the fixture was their social highlight of the year so far.

Truants’ Sascha Roschy has won all 21 of his league matches since joining St Andrews TTC this season

Truants’ Sascha Roschy has won all 21 of his league matches since joining St Andrews TTC this season

Tuesday saw Truants at home to fellow Division 2 ‘middle-tablers’ Tigers. Truants’ Alain Leger lost a tight first match 3-2 to Paul Jackson, but our Gauldry based team then reeled off eight straights wins, including fine hat-tricks for Sascha Roschy and Graham Wood, with the latter avenging Alain’s defeat with a 3-2 win over Paul. Tigers took the last match to make the final score a more respectable 8-2 for Truants. It’s an understatement to say that Sascha is proving to be the find of the season, having won all 21 of his matches since joining the club mid-way through the first half. The German secured a place in the DDTTA interleague squad this week and could yet walk off with the District’s award for the highest league average across all three Divisions. Watch this space.

Swots trump Aces

With Rob Brown (second from left) nursing an injury, it was left to Emma, Collin and Dave to see off Aces in the handicap cup.

With Rob Brown (second from left) nursing an injury, it was left to Emma, Collin and Dave to see off Aces in the handicap cup.

It was Handicap Cup week in the Dundee & District Table Tennis League and Swots were one of the teams who enjoyed having a break from the strain of relegation worries. The St Andrews side played hosts to Forthill’s Aces and, while they benefitted from the handicapping system which gave them a start in each encounter, the Swots trio committed themselves to attacking tactics which didn’t allow their Division One opponents to settle. Collin Bleak was in particularly good form, winning six out of six, but Emma Bissett and Dave Beveridge also turned in three wins from four to give a 12-2 scoreline. Swots now join clubmates Prefects in round two, the latter having enjoyed a first round bye.

Brechin made the long journey to take on New Kids on the same evening in the Victory Memorial Hall. This was a tricky one for the handicapping committee as the home side are second bottom of Division Two while Brechin are riding high in Division Three – and in retrospect the officials underestimated the form shown by the Angus side. Only Kong Wan managed two wins for the Kids, with Ian Brumwell and Ken Falconer not able to make any inroads.

Prospects’ captain Jon Fraser was also left cursing the handicappers at Telephone House on Thursday evening. Team mates Emily Howat and Neil Lea revelled in the starting scorelines and put eight wins on the board between them against Telsports, but Jon had been given too big a hole to climb out of and the St Andrews side lost out 8-10.

Back to league business this week, when the focus will be on the derby between Swots and New Kids, which will have a huge bearing on the end of season final positions at the bottom of Division Two.

Mid-Season Report: Could (must) do better!

With a few honourable exceptions, the mid-season report card for all five St Andrews Table Tennis teams reads ‘could do better’ and for two of our Second Division teams there is a stern warning that they ‘must do better if relegation is to be avoided.’

In Division One of the Dundee & District League Prefects are sitting seventh of ten teams but have the comfort of knowing that there is unlikely to be any relegation due to the division not having its full quota of teams. However, the team’s trio of Clyde Johnson, Howard Lee and Peter Bladen will be looking to back up their star man, Michael Hahn, to try to put some distance between themselves and their closest rivals, Rockets and Kings, with the target of finishing in sixth place. Availability of players is a problem at times for captain Howard, but if Michael is available on a regular basis to build on his thirteen wins from fifteen starts, then moving a place higher is a real possibility.

Sandy Pearson (right) demonstrates how to serve from the wrong side of the table in doubles.  Sandy will be missing for Prospects in the second half of the season, while Swots’ Collin Bleak (left) will be hoping that work commitments will not make him miss so much play as in the first half.

Sandy Pearson (right) demonstrates how to serve from the wrong side of the table in doubles. Sandy will be missing for Prospects in the second half of the season, while Swots’ Collin Bleak (left) will be hoping that work commitments will not make him miss so much play as in the first half.

Division Two team, Truants, is the highest placed of all our teams at the halfway stage. Graham Wood has turned in his usual solid performances, with thirteen wins from eighteen matches, and Alain Leger must be delighted to be sitting with an average of 53% after several seasons away from league play. However, the main reason Truants sit in fifth spot has been the arrival of Sascha Roschy who is unbeaten in eighteen starts.

At the other end of the table, New Kids and Swots find themselves second and third-bottom respectively and it will take a big turnaround in form if one or the other is to avoid relegation. Both teams are well adrift from fourth bottom Lundin Lasers who have enjoyed an excellent run in their first season at this level. The Swots v New Kids derby clash in the third week of January will have a big say in deciding who will accompany current relegation favourites Kingsway in the drop.

Unusually, four of the Prospects team are sitting on the same 67% average in Division Three. However, Sandy Pearson sets off soon on his world travels so that captain, Jon Fraser, will need to lean more heavily on Dave Goddard, Fabio Sani, Emily Howat and Neil Lea to lift the team above their current eighth position. At the moment, only two points separate four teams in the bottom half of the division so a good run of results could take Prospects into the top half of the table.

Whatever the fate of the five teams in 2017, rest assured that all the players will give it their best shot in their usual sporting fashion – which makes the Victory Memorial Hall a cheery and vibrant place to spend winter Monday evenings.

Swots and New Kids heading for relegation dogfight

Elaine's rascals know how to party

Elaine’s rascals know how to party

This week’s photo shows the ‘Thursday Night Rascals’ celebrating after a very enjoyable term’s play at Kilrymont which culminated in a fun team event won by the two left-handers of the group, Dave Angus and John Carlton. Dave is pictured far left in the back row.

However, play in Division One of the Dundee & District League was of a more serious nature when Prefects welcomed Forthill’s Rockets to the Victory Memorial Hall. With the target of keeping ahead of Rockets in the league table, Michael Hahn and Howard Lee proved well up to the task. Michael scored a hat-trick of singles wins, Howard produced possibly his best result of the season in taking the scalp of David Sim and they added the doubles to give a 5-5 draw which maintains their points differential.

On the second table in the hall, New Kids were unable to match their club mates. Against Viscounts from Mylnefield, the two Ians (Smith and Brumwell) playing alongside Kong Wan pressed hard to force five five-setters but as happened the previous week, the Kids could not convert any of the close encounters into a win.

On the following evening, Truants and Swots met in a derby for the first time. Bragging rights on the night went decisively to Truants. Alain Leger must have been particularly delighted with his form in joining Sascha Roschy in winning all his matches, with Knut Radmer chipping in a win too. Emma Bissett and Ian Smith each beat Knut to put a couple of points on the scoreboard for Swots. As the half-way stage in season approaches it is increasingly looking like Swots and New Kids are in a relegation dogfight in Division 2.

In Division Three, Prospects travelled over to Broughty Ferry for a tie with Duffers which swung back and forwards. A win and a loss each from Sandy Pearson, Neil Lea and Ian Brumwell meant that the doubles was to prove pivotal and when it and the following singles were lost, it was a big ask for the St Andrews side to pull back the last two encounters of the evening. Sandy gave it his best shot, pulling the score back to 4-5 but Rich McLaren had too much in the tank for Neil and Prospects had to be content with the four points.

Prefects aced by Aces in cup semi

Prefects (left to right) Howard Lee, Michael Hahn and Sascha Roschy before the Chairman’s Challenge semi final at Ward Road Gym

Prefects (left to right) Howard Lee, Michael Hahn and Sascha Roschy before the Chairman’s Challenge semi final at Ward Road Gym

St Andrews Table Tennis Club’s top team, Prefects, were on cup duty twice this week. On Monday, they went down 5-1 to Telstars, a disappointing defeat to a team in a lower division and they were hoping for more when they headed to Ward Road Gym on Saturday for the semi finals of the Chairman’s Challenge against Forthill’s Aces. Starting brightly with wins from Sascha Roschy and Michael Hahn against Peter Dixon and Jim Dyson, Prefects saw their 2-0 lead disappear when Howard Lee was pipped by Grant Williams in four sets followed by defeat in both doubles ties. At 2-3 down, Michael stopped the rot by beating Grant, leaving all to play for in the tie between Howard and Jim. In a fast paced match, Howard was unable to contain Jim’s strong attacking play and so it was Aces who headed onwards to the final.

Best (and only!) win of the week was undoubtedly by Truants who had an impressive 8-2 victory away to Rollercoasters. With Sascha winning his now customary 3 singles, there was excellent team back up from Alain Leger and Graham Wood who each added two wins – and Graham combined with Sascha to take the doubles point as well.

Not such a cheery tale for our other two Second Division teams who both suffered whitewashes. Despite forcing five five-setters against Chieftains, Swots’ trio of Rob Brown, Emma Bissett and Dave Beveridge must have been in despair when they could not convert any into a win. New Kids similarly just did not get the rub of the green against Thumpers. On an evening when only two of the ten ties was won in straight sets, Ian Smith was the unluckiest in losing 10-12 in the fifth to the rapidly improving Tony O’Shea.

Fabio Sani was the man in form for Prospects in their Division Three tie against Tass. Fabio scored two wins and just missed out on a treble going down 11-13 in the fifth set of his third singles. Neil Lea and Emily Howat stretched their Telephone House opponents to a number of four-setters without quite managing to turn the match Prospects’ way.

In the Secondary Schools tournament played at Ward Road Gym at the start of the week, Murray Paterson finished a creditable fifth out of a strong entry in the Under 14 boys event and so will be reserve for the Dundee and District team which goes forward to the Scottish finals in the new year. For the second week in a row, Campbell Snodgrass showed his prowess in a consolation singles, winning the event organised for those players who didn’t get through their first stage group.

A week of threes

It was a full week of fixtures for the five teams from St Andrews’ Table Tennis Club in the Dundee & District League.

Graham Wood – secured a fine ‘play up’ hat-trick for Prefects

Graham Wood – secured a fine ‘play up’ hat-trick for Prefects

No-one was busier than Graham Wood who had the strange anomaly of winning his three matches guesting for Prefects in Division One on Monday and then the following evening losing three playing for his own team, Truants, in Division Two. In the Division One fixture, Prefects managed a 7-3 victory against Defenders to keep daylight between themselves and the bottom-placed team. To add to Graham’s treble, Clyde Johnson also won three singles and combined with Howard Lee to take the doubles.

In fairness to Graham, Truants’ opponents Thumpers fielded a particularly strong team with the experienced David Sim substituting for young Jordan Ednie. However, none of the Thumpers could withstand the attacking play of our current man in form, Sascha Roschy, who put three points on the scorecard for Truants to keep them well out of the relegation zone.

Swots also managed three points in their match away to Lundin Lasers but would have been hoping for more to keep them away from relegation danger. Dave Beveridge registered two singles wins and joined up with Rob Brown to stage a good recovery in the doubles tie, saving several match points and winning 12-10 in both the fourth and fifth ends.

Also in Division Two, New Kids must have been kicking themselves for, after a good team effort from Kong Wan, Ian Brumwell and Ian Smith in leading 5-2 after two rounds of singles and the doubles, they let Tigers off the hook in the final three singles for a final scoreline of 5-5. Regular player Ken Falconer was unavailable for the Kids due to oral Latin practice. Substitute Ian Brumwell had an eventful evening. Following a great win over Logan Anderson, Ian was well ahead against Marion Davidson after winning the first two games. Fortunes turned in the third game when Ian smashed a winner which inadvertently caught Marion’s lip and caused some bruising. Having inflicted this unintended injury, Ian lost concentration and Marion fought back to inflict some bruising on Ian’s ego by taking victory in the fifth game.

In Division Three, Neil Lea, Emily Howat and Sandy Pearson travelled over to Ward Road Gym to take on Lairds but only Sandy scored for the St Andrews’ side. Continuing his recent good form, Sandy won all three singles in the 3-7 reverse.

Finally, Lawhead Primary School pupils Keir Paterson and Campbell Snodgrass enjoyed a busy day’s play at the Scottish Primaries Championships at Bathgate. Against strong opposition, neither made it through their group to the final stages of the main draw, but with a consolation event organised to give the youngsters as many games as possible, Campbell got his eye in to win four matches and reach the final, only losing out 3-1. Great experience for the boys – and Keir still has another year in this age group.

Sascha takes the honours

The nine tournament participants (Left-Right) Kong Wan, Dave Beveridge, Graham Wood, Sascha Roschy, Ian Smith, Sandy Pearson, John Carlton, Clyde Johnson and Howard Lee.

The nine tournament participants (Left-Right) Kong Wan, Dave Beveridge, Graham Wood, Sascha Roschy, Ian Smith, Sandy Pearson, John Carlton, Clyde Johnson and Howard Lee.

St Andrews’ programme of events celebrating our patron saint gave an excuse for a most enjoyable evening’s table tennis at the Victory Memorial Hall on Friday. Hosted by the local club, play started with an open session to encourage young and old to either give the sport a go for the first time or to dust off a bat after years of neglect. Both these aims were certainly achieved, with the youngest participant having only had six birthdays and the two grandparents who took to the tables not divulging how many birthdays had passed! Those at the extremes of the age range were joined by the ‘in-betweeners’ in a number of fun games over 90 minutes’ play, culminating in the favourite grand finale – ‘running round the table’.

At 7.30pm the tone of the evening became much more serious with nine of the league players competing furiously but fairly in over two hours of tournament play. With players starting out in three groups of three, there were some unexpected results. Most notably, Sandy Pearson posted a 3-1 victory against Ian Smith. Condolences to John Carlton who drew the two ‘funny bat’ players in his group. As ever, John rolled up his sleeves and will have gained more experience to take back to the table tennis club in Crail which is going from strength to strength under his tender care. In this group, Howard Lee scored his first win ‘evah’ over Graham Wood to take his place in the winner’s group alongside Clyde Johnston and newcomer Sascha Roschy who had both scored two victories in their respective first stage matches.

With ‘participation’ the name of the game, those placed first, second and thirds from the stage one groups formed three new groups to determine the final placings. The matches in the group playing for 7th to 9th position were contested just as fiercely as in the group to decide the overall winner. However, nowhere was competition tighter than in the group to decide 4th to 6th positions where each player posted one win and one loss, with Dave Beveridge just taking 4th spot by virtue of having the best ratio of sets won to lost.

On the top table, Howard started brightly by taking the first set against Clyde. However, last year’s champion fought back to take the next three sets, leaving Howard the daunting task of having to tame Sascha’s powerful attack if he was to stay in the running. Sascha started the better, taking a 2-0 lead, but Howard fought back to take the third; and the fourth was nip and tuck with Sascha running out the winner with a 12-10 scoreline. With both Clyde and Sascha committed to attacking play, a mouthwatering final match was in prospect and it didn’t disappoint. Sascha went into a 1-0 lead which Clyde pegged back, winning at deuce. Sascha took the lead again with some blistering attack but Clyde was not giving up his title lightly and matched Sascha all the way to 10 all in the 4th game. However, the next two points went Sascha’s way and so a new name goes on the roll of honour with club chairman Neil Lea presenting the winner’s medal to Sascha.

And we’re all looking forward to St Andrews Day 2017 already!

St Andrews’ Week celebrations coming up

The Victory Memorial Hall is the place to be this Friday evening (November 25th) for any budding, or past, players to ‘give table tennis a go’. From 6.00pm to 7.15pm, all ages and standards will be welcome to take part in a very informal session as part of the local club’s involvement in the St Andrews Week celebrations. From 7.30pm the evening takes on a slightly more serious tone with the four tables being devoted to tournament play with Clyde Johnson attempting to defend the title he won last year in an entertaining final against Howard Lee.

It’s also a busy weekend on the road for three club players. Michael Hahn is travelling to Nottingham to compete in the British Universities Championships, while Keir Paterson and Campbell Snodgrass make the shorter journey to Bathgate Academy which is the venue for the Scottish Primary Schools tournament.

The past week saw the second derby match of the season with Truants and New Kids clashing in a Division Two fixture. Four close five setters showed the level of determination of both sides. New Kids had the better of the first two, with Ken Falconer edging out Alain Leger 18-16 in a marathon final set and Ian Smith victorious in a long tussle with Knut Radmer. With the match score at 3-3, the doubles took on great importance. Sascha Roschy and Alain came back from 1-2 down to win in 5 and give Truants a slight advantage. Ian levelled the match score but then Knut put Truants into an unbeatable position with a 5-set win against Kong Wan and Sascha followed this up with his third straight sets singles win to inflict a 6-4 defeat on New Kids.

In Division Three, Prospects were also involved in a close tie at home against Broughty side, Villa. Sandy Pearson set them on their way, holding his nerve in a 15-13 fifth game win against Jim Fleming. This set the pattern for an evening which saw only one straight sets win, six four setters and three five set matches. Emily Howat followed Sandy’s example in digging in to beat Daniel Russell, coming back from 1-2 down to win the fourth 14-12 and the fifth 11-9. Fabio Sani chipped in two wins and Sandy added another for a good team effort to achieve a 5-5 draw.

Prefects faced top class opposition at Ward Road Gym on Tuesday when they took on current leaders, Knights. Michael Hahn got them off to a good start with a win against Callum Riddoch, but lost the battle of the no. 1s to Robert Toth in four sets. Michael also enjoyed a tight victory against Stuart Halliday, but neither Clyde nor Howard Lee could find a way past the three Knights to add to Michael’s two points.

Another tough week

It seems that the teams from St Andrews Table Tennis Club have an agreement at the moment that only one should win each week.

This week’s victors were Truants who, playing against strong Mylnefield outfit Chieftains at Ward Road Gym, gave Sasha Roschy his debut. Graham Wood produced his usual reliable performance in winning his three singles and, as team captain, must have been delighted when Sasha matched this and also proved to be a fine doubles player when they combined to add that point as well, giving an overall 7-3 win. It was a frustrating night for reserve Emma Bissett who battled hard but missed out on getting on the scoreboard.

On a nearby table, a classic Division Three tie was unfolding between Prospects and Princes who this season are fielding two youngsters under the guidance of Eddie Dougan. The match score swung back and forwards. From taking an early 2-0 lead, the Prospects trio of Neil Lea, Sandy Pearson and Dave Goddard found themselves 2-4 down. A doubles win for Sandy and Dave brought them back to 3-4 and, with the next two singles shared, Sandy took to the table against Jacob Munro in search of the win that would give the St Andrews team a draw. In keeping with the tone of the evening, the match was evenly balanced. Jacob won the first 11-9, lost the second 11-13, won the third 15-13, lost the fourth 8-11. A thrilling decider followed with Sandy finally going down 11-8 to the most promising young player to emerge in Dundee for a number of years.

At the Victory Memorial Hall on Monday evening, Prefects were always going to struggle against last season’s Division One winners, Star. Their task was made all the more difficult by the non-availability of both Michael Hahn and Clyde Johnson, and when last minute illness hit Peter Bladen, Howard Lee and reserve Graham Wood faced a mountain to climb. The twosome rolled up their sleeves to make their opponents fight hard but could not avoid a 0-10 whitewash.

At the same venue, New Kids faced a similarly tough fixture against top Division Two team Telstars but again put up a strong battle and wins from Kong Wan and Ken Falconer gave them two valuable points in their battle to stay above the relegation zone.

A date for the diary for table tennis enthusiasts in the area – on Friday 25th November the club will stage a special evening as part of the town’s St Andrews Week celebrations. Play starts at 6.00pm with an open session for anyone wishing to give table tennis a go and this will be followed by tournament play.

Better – but only just

Time this week to broaden our view of St Andrews Table Tennis Club to take in all its strands, which embrace players from teens to seventies, from beginners to top performers, and all that fall between.

On Monday evenings, our Table Tennis Scotland qualified coaches Howard Lee and Dave Beveridge work with a lively group of under 14s at the Victory Memorial Hall. Five of the youngsters have taken on the challenge of playing in the newly formed Dundee Junior League and made their debut at Ward Road Gym on Thursday evening. This exposure to new opponents can only help the development of brothers Campbell and Michael Snodgrass, Edward Coles and Murray and Keir Paterson.

At the other end of the age range, the adult beginners/returners group at Kilrymont Community Use is proving so popular that a moratorium is now in place for any newcomers joining the 6.00pm session. However, there is generally still space at the 7.30pm session on Thursday evenings for anyone with past experience in the game to practise alongside current team players.

Prefects’ Michael Hahn demonstrates his service action in a recent fixture at Ward Road Gym – the ball has still to come down!

Prefects’ Michael Hahn demonstrates his service action in a recent fixture at Ward Road Gym – the ball has still to come down!

And so to this week’s results – and the admission that the foregoing had the purpose of disguising the bad news – that we started the week with four teams in the quarter finals of the Secondary Shield and finished the week with no teams in the semi finals! In fairness, none of the four were favourites to win their ties and honourable mentions go to New Kids and Truants who each took their matches against Rollercoasters and Viscounts respectively to the eighth game before succumbing 3-5. Our regular readership will be pleased to know that following the previous week’s run of defeats by the narrowest of margins, Alain Leger managed to win his inevitable five-setter this week!

Saving best to last, this week’s plucky performance award goes to Prefects. For the second week in a row they faced Kings in a cup match. Having lost their Excelsior Cup tie to the Mylnefield side, things didn’t look promising when they went 0-2 down in their Chairman’s Challenge quarter final. Once again a victory from Michael Hahn got the St Andrews’ show on the road. Astute player placement for the two doubles ties by captain Howard Lee made use of Clyde Johnson’s forehand attacking skills and suddenly Prefects were 3-2 up. Needing one more win to take the tie, Michael duly obliged with an excellent win against Ade Fabola which puts his team into the semi final in December.


Thump ! Ouch!
Following last week’s triumph of all five St Andrews Table Tennis teams progressing in their respective cup competitions, the club tail is firmly between legs after the busiest week of the season. Teams were involved in a combination of nine cup and league matches but, alas, there is only one win to report.

The Prospects (left to right: Sandy, Big Dave and Jon)

The Prospects (left to right: Sandy, Big Dave and Jon)

The ray of sunshine came early in the week when Prospects defeated Squires in a Monday evening home tie. Team captain Jon Fraser led from the front in the Division Three encounter, winning all his singles matches and combining with Dave Goddard to take the doubles too. With Dave and Sandy Pearson each pitching in with a singles win, the scoreline finished 6-4 to the Prospects. Their celebrations were short-lived though on the following evening when Sandy and Dave, joined by Emily Howat in place of Jon, made their longest journey of the season but found no hospitable kindness from Brechin who quickly despatched them home again with a 5-0 defeat in the Stanley Doubles cup competition.

While Prefects lost their Division One tie against Up4it by 3-7 there was much good attacking play on show. Michael Hahn again posted two singles wins and anchored the team to a doubles win with Clyde Johnson before losing his 100% record, going down in 4 sets to Scottish No 1 Gillian Edwards. Returning to the table later in the week for an Excelsior Cup tie, Prefects were disappointed to go down 3-5 to Kings.

Don’t mention close scorelines to Truants’ Alain Leger! Playing against Fife rivals Lundin Lasers, Alain did his utmost to back up team captain Graham Wood’s fine treble of singles victories but the fates were against the Frenchman who lost three 5-set ties, including a 16-18 marathon final set against Arthur Duncan. There was a little consolation though when Alain joined Graham in winning the doubles, inevitably in five sets, to give a 4-6 scoreline.

For our other pair of division Two teams, it was a week to delete from the memory. Both were disappointed not to pick up more points in their league fixtures, Swots losing 3-7 at home to Tigers and Ken Falconer the only New Kid to score a win against Chieftains. To rub salt in the wound, both then lost their Stanley Doubles ties later in the week without registering a win. In fairness, Swots could have expected little joy against top Mylnefield team Knights, but New Kids must have hoped for more over at Forthill against Thumpers.

A weekend then to lick the wounds, search for some positives and come out fighting again next week!

Grand slam week for St Andrews’ TT teams

All five St Andrews table tennis teams progressed to the next round of knock-out competitions after the designated cup week, but there were variations in the manner of their progress.

Four teams were involved on Monday evening. Prefects played an interesting Stanley Doubles tie at Forthill against Sputniks, a team two divisions below them but who are strengthened this season by the occasional presence of David Sim. While Howard Lee, Michael Hahn and Peter Bladen did emerge with a comfortable 5-1 scoreline, four of the ties went to four games and two required a decider.

Meanwhile, in the Secondary Shield, New Kids were the first team through thanks to a walkover granted by Tass in unusual circumstances. Their team was scuppered when one of their players, on setting out to travel to the match, found that his car had been clamped. With one of his team mates also recovering from illness, Stewart Clark had little choice but to concede the match.

Swots (Dave, Collin and Rob) posed for the camera before a comfortable win over Squires

Swots (Dave, Collin and Rob) posed for the camera before a comfortable win over Squires

Fortunately, the two teams scheduled for the Victory Memorial Hall made it to the table. Swots were also taking on lower division opponents in Squires but, with Collin Bleak and Rob Brown in no mood to be generous, each winning three ties with the loss of only a single game, and Dave Beveridge pitching in with another point, the Mylnefield trio were comfortably dispatched with a 7-2 victory.

A closer battle took place on the adjacent table with Prospects hosting fellow Division Three outfit Villa. Fabio Sani got the home side off to a good start, followed up by an excellent win by Sandy Pearson against Jim Fleming, the master of the combination bat. Thereafter the wins swung back and forwards but with Dave Goddard adding a win to another two points from Fabio and Sandy, the home side got over the finishing line 5-3 without the need for a final deciding tie.

And so to the fortunes of our final team. Truants’ trio of Graham Wood, Alain Leger and Knut Radmer headed over to Ward Road Gym on Tuesday evening. Unusually for the showpiece venue, their tie against Lairds was the only one scheduled for the evening and it turned into a lonely place when their opponents failed to turn up; a most unusual breach of etiquette and not the way which Truants would have chosen to progress.

Back to league business next week.

Hat trick for Ian eases pressure on New Kids

It was back to league business for one week only for three teams from St Andrews Table Tennis Club, with neither Prefects nor Truants having a fixture.

New Kids gave their position in the Division Two table a healthy boost with a tidy 7-3 win against Kingsway. Kong Wan (2) and Ken Falconer (1) added to the hat-trick of singles wins posted by Ian Smith, while Ken and Ian combined well for a comfortable win in the doubles – the ideal team effort required to keep the team away from the strain of relegation under which they played most of last season.

Both Prospects and Swots headed over the bridge to take on opponents at Telephone House but with widely differing outcomes.

Rob gave the Swots a perfect start against Telstars

Rob gave the Swots a perfect start against Telstars

On Monday night, Swots got off to the best possible start with Rob Brown mounting an amazing fourth game comeback against David Monteith to put the St Andrews side ahead. Emma Bissett added to this with one of the best wins of her career, against Jim Houghton, holding her nerve to win 13-11 in the fifth. But then the experienced Ian Farquhar (he of the evil bat and tricky forehand) entered proceedings for Telstars and the match swung away from Swots. At 2-4 down, Emma and Collin Bleak put their thinking caps on from 2-0 down in the doubles to take it back to 2-2, but couldn’t keep the momentum going. Ian and Jim regrouped to take the fifth and carried on to win the three remaining singles, although Emma came very close to adding to Swots’ total, only going down 12-10 in the fifth to David in the last match of the night. A defeat maybe, but still two valuable points against the team which are probably favourites for the Division Two title.

Driving over on Thursday night for a Division Three tie against Telsports, Prospects’ trio of Ian Brumwell, Sandy Pearson and Neil Lea showed their clubmates how it should be done, returning back over the water with a 9-1 win under their belts.

Cup ties will again be the name of the game next week, with four of our sides competing in round two of the Secondary Shield.

Cup wins and friendly play dominate the week

Only two of our teams were involved in official Dundee and District action this week. In the Stanley Doubles first round cup tie played at Gauldry on Tuesday, Truants’ trio of Graham Wood, Knut Radmer and Alain Leger screamed into a 3-0 lead without the loss of a game. Squires did regroup a little to force a deciding game in the next two matches but Truants stayed strong to deliver a 5-0 scoreline.

New Kids also took on lower division opponents on Tuesday night in the Secondary Shield. Princes are fielding a mix of youngsters and experienced players this season but, on the evening, New Kids proved too steady for them and Ian Brumwell, Ken Falconer and Kong Wan advanced into the draw for the next round with an impressive 5-1 win.

A good turn out from the University and St Andrews TT clubs were still in good humour after Monday’s ‘friendly’ competition

A good turn out from the University and St Andrews TT clubs were still in good humour after Monday’s ‘friendly’ competition

The previous night, with none of our teams in league action in the Victory Memorial Hall, we took the opportunity to invite St Andrews University Table Tennis Club for some ‘friendly’ play. To dampen the mounting adrenalin and avoid the Ryder Cup nonsense of folk screaming ‘get in the net’ or ‘hit the edge’, deputy organiser for the night Dave Beveridge decided to form eight teams, comprised of a player from each club. Well, at least until Collin Bleak showed up unannounced, requiring one team of 3 and stimulating Dave’s OCD no end. Thereafter, two hours of riveting table tennis followed, handicapped to give everyone a (not always) fair chance and to further avoid the spillage of blood. As evidenced by the hall clock, it was all over by 9:05pm with the final results, in reverse order, as follows (University players first named in each case):

Completely useless: Mokyo Zhou & Dave Beveridge
Useless: Simon Fenn, Collin Bleak & Ian Smith
Nearly useless: Michael Hahn & Emily Howat
Almost respectable: Olivia Dovernor & Rob Brown
Just made the top half: Justin Yang & Sandy Pearson
Bronze medal: Andi Afezolli & Clyde Johnson
Silver medal: Paisley Chen & Howard Lee
Gold medal: Ade Fabola & Fabio Sani.

We might even do it again sometime.

Battles on and off the table

It was a mixed week for the four teams from St Andrews Table Tennis Club who took part in Dundee and District League matches this week – our First Division team, Prefects, having no fixture. Off the table, it was a very worrying week for the entire club following the newspaper headline about the possibility of Fife Council selling our much-loved and much-needed home venue, the Victory Memorial Hall, causing great anxiety for our many members aged eight to eighty.

As far as table matters go though it was back to earth for New Kids following their exciting derby draw last week. Playing in a Fife derby this week against Lundin Lasers, the Kids could have hoped for more with the return of Ian Smith to their line up. Indeed, Ian did provide three singles wins for his side, but when Ken Falconer was beaten 12-10 in the fifth set by Nat Forno in the second match of the night, the die was cast for the way in which the close encounters would go. And so it proved again in the doubles when Ron Filsell and Arthur Duncan came back from a 2-0 deficit to defeat Ian and Ken. With luck also deserting last week’s hero, Kong Wan, the scoreline finished 7-3 in favour of the Lundin lads.

With a change of line up for this week’s home tie, Third Division Prospects also failed to build on last week’s win. Only Fabio Sani and Emily Howat managed singles wins against their visitors from Brechin who were fielding two former Division One players making a comeback to the game after more than a decade’s absence. Derek Mitchell and John Anderson showed little sign of rust in winning all their matches comfortably.

Cheerier news for Truants for, as expected, their first tie with all three of their registered players available for duty brought their first win of the season. It was a good team effort, with Knut Radner, Graham Wood and Alain Leger all contributing two wins to the 6-4 scoreline. However, none of the threesome were able to halt the winning ways of Viscounts’ Andy Hughes.

Collin Bleak – recorded an impressive hat-trick in his first appearance for Swots this season

Collin Bleak – recorded an impressive hat-trick in his first appearance for Swots this season

Saving the best to last, Swots achieved a full house (10-0) in their home tie against Kingsway. On a night when any close games went the way of Emma Bissett, Rob Brown and Collin Bleak, these points may prove invaluable come the end of the season, in what already looks like being a very tight struggle for survival between four or five teams. Collin’s hat-trick, in particular, was an impressive performance in his first appearance of the season in a Swots shirt.

There is now a break from league play to concentrate on cup ties in the coming week -and time for the club’s officials to turn from their playing campaigns to a different tactical battle to persuade Fife Council of the social and health benefits of the Victory Memorial Hall to its many and varied users.

King Kong swats Swots

A much more upbeat report comes out of the St Andrews Table Tennis Club this week. With all five teams in action, there is only one defeat to draw a quick veil over, two victories to celebrate and an honourable draw in the Division Two derby to highlight.

Bad news first – although again sympathy is due to Truants who were short of regular players Graham Wood and Alain Leger for their trip to Broughty Ferry to play Tigers. Collin Bleak in particular proved a worthy stand in, winning two of his singles and Dave Goddard also pitched in with a win to give Truants their first points of the season in this 7-3 reverse.

Playing for his own team, Prospects, also at Forthill earlier in the week, Dave Goddard had been in unstoppable form winning three singles and combining with Jon Fraser to take the doubles as well. Another couple of singles wins added by Jon gave a finishing scoreline of 6-4 against Sputniks to get Prospects off the mark.

At the Victory Memorial Hall on Monday evening, Prefects had the advantage of starting 3-0 up when opponents Kings could only field two players. With the form which postgrad student Michael Hahn is showing at the moment, this was too much of a handicap for Kings to make up. Michael won his two singles and joined up with Peter Bladen to squeak home in the doubles at 12-10 in the fifth to give the home side a 6-4 victory.

The only penhold player in the club, Kong Wan, picked up a fine hat-trick of wins

The only penhold player in the club, Kong Wan, picked up a fine hat-trick of wins

And so to the match of the week. Smarting from two defeats to Swots last season, New Kids got off to an excellent start with a win for Kong Wan against Rob Brown. Thereafter the match score swung back and forwards with neither side able to take more than a single point lead. Rob recovered from his early setback to post two wins, Dave Beveridge added another two for Swots and they combined to take the doubles. In the meantime, Kong with his second singles victory and team mates Fabio Sani and Ken Falconer each added a point to New Kids’ tally. With one tie to be played and the score at 5-4 in Swots’ favour, the two players unbeaten in singles faced each other and, to continue the tone of the evening, neither could gain the upper hand. Kong and Dave took the match to a deciding fifth set and still couldn’t be separated when they reached 10-all, and then 12 all. In the end it turned out to be Kong’s night as he “edged” it 14-12 to earn the overall draw for New Kids. A great evening’s play and hopefully the forerunner of many more exciting Monday evenings at the Victory Memorial Hall.

..but they couldn’t tame Michael

Back to the table in earnest for three of St Andrews Table Tennis Club’s five teams this week with the start of league play for season 2016/17 – but it turned into a week of warning as all three met with defeat.

With the standard of teams in Division Two being particularly high, it is definitely going to call for some fine performances from our three teams if they are to retain their status come next spring. Truants started their campaign in the unfortunate position of having to call on two reserves for their match against a strong threesome from Telephone House. Knut Radmer, Dave Beveridge and Dave Goddard experienced little joy in a 10-0 defeat by the Telstars trio who were obviously buoyed up by the return to fitness of Jim Houghton who missed most of last season after damaging his achilles tendon in an early match.

Swots fared little better later in the week at Forthill, going down 9-1 to newly reformed Rollercoasters. Rob Brown was the only St Andrean to put a score on the door. These were particularly tough starting fixtures for both our teams as, even at this early stage, it is expected that their opponents will be the division’s front runners.

Michael Hahn – singles hat-trick against last year’s champions

Michael Hahn – singles hat-trick against last year’s champions

Despite going down 3-7 at home to Aces, Prefects did find something to cheer about with the scintillating form of Michael Hahn in winning all his singles ties. All three went to a deciding fifth set and, to the delight of team-mates Peter Bladen and Howard Lee, Michael produced some fantastic attacking play to edge over the line each time to gain three precious points against the top Forthill side which will expect to be up there as a contender for the Division One title.

Next week’s report will definitely have news of points for at least one St Andrews team though – as we have the first derby of the season when New Kids start their Division Two campaign against club mates Swots!

The new season is about to begin…

Some of the St Andrews’ TTC league players (L-R: Emma, Elaine, Collin, Dave, Sandy and Howard) recently enjoyed some some extra practice at the new University Sports Centre.

Some of the St Andrews’ TTC league players (L-R: Emma, Elaine, Collin, Dave, Sandy and Howard) recently enjoyed some some extra practice at the new University Sports Centre.

St Andrews Table Tennis club members are eagerly awaiting the start of Dundee & District League fixtures this week after a summer both of practice on the tables at the Victory Memorial Hall and of tactical discussions around the tables in the Whey Pat Tavern!

Having successfully kept their place in the top division, Prefects have strengthened their squad for the new season. Team stalwarts Peter Bladen and Howard Lee are joined by Michael Hahn, who makes a welcome return to continue his studies in the town, and by Clyde Johnson who played such an important role in saving New Kids’ Division Two status last season. They start with a home tie against Forthill’s strongest team, Aces.

In Division Two, St Andrews provides three of the eleven teams which should make for a season of interesting derbies. Swots and New Kids will again fight the fight to stay in a very strong division. For the first time in a number of years, the team name “Truants” has been resurrected by our amalgamation with the former “Triple Bypass” club which plays out of the Morison –Duncan Hall in Gauldry. This joining of forces has encouraged the return of Alain Leger to competitive play. Truants kick off their season in Gauldry with a tie against Telstars while Swots travel to Broughty Ferry to take on the recently re – formed Rollercoasters. New Kids have more time to hone their skills, having been allocated a “free week.”

Last season Division Three side Prospects had difficulty on several occasions in fielding a full team. Answering the call from his former clubmates, Jon Fraser has sacrificed his academic career in England to return to St Andrews to take up the role of team secretary and lick his team-mates into shape. The return to better health of club chairman Neil Lea should also help ease Prospects’ selection problems, making them one of the stronger pools of players in the bottom division. They too have been given a first tie over in Broughty against Sputniks.

With Monday nights in the Victory Memorial now being dedicated to team matches, practice sessions switch to Kilrymont community use facilities on Thursday evenings from 7.30 to 9.00pm with the Adult Beginners/Returners group preceding them from 6.00 to 7.30. Club coaches Howard Lee and Dave Beveridge will also get the youngsters’ coaching group underway again at the early session on Mondays at the Victory Memorial Hall.

A record turnout for the Eglinton Cup 2016/17

The first event of the season on St Andrews Table Tennis Club’s calendar is traditionally Eglinton Trophy night. After a summer of intense practice, the members’ competitive instincts must have been straining to be unleashed as a record entry of nineteen players turned up to compete in the handicap team event held in memory of former club stalwart David Eglinton.
With nineteen not being the easiest number to shape into a team event, it gave a first class excuse for a bamboozling format, ably organised by Elaine Forbes, but the players buckled down with their usual mix of good sportsmanship and desire to win.

In the group of four teams, Michael Hahn, Dave Beveridge and Neil Lea nudged out Ian Smith, Rob Brown and Jon Fraser to take their place in the final against Graham Wood and Sandy Pearson from the group of three.

Clyde Johnson and Fabio Sani made up for their disappointment in being beaten to a final slot by finishing in third place with a win over Ian, Rob and Jon.

The final was closely contested. Graham’s win against Dave was cancelled out by Michael beating Sandy. With the doubles being pivotal, Graham and Sandy caught up from a big handicap deficit against Neil and Dave just in time to reach 20-20 and “sudden death: next point the winner”. Three careful shots in the final rally and then Dave offered up a prayer, went for a big forehand and gained a huge win for his team. Playing as the most heavily handicapped player on the night, Michael once again came from behind, his win against Graham sealing a 3-1 victory for his team.

And so the evening proved a great warm up for the new season of league and cup matches which will get underway from Monday 12th September.

Howard Lee presents the trophy in the video to the victors of the 11th Eglinton Cup tournament: Dave Beveridge, Neil Lea and Michael Hahn. Well done boys!

And here is some video action from the singles and doubles. Club members showcase impressive improvements in their skills and footwork thanks to earnest practice over the summer months:

Inspired by the Olympics? If so, Dundee welcomes you..

Olympic Come and Try Event – Sunday 21st August 1pm to 4pm at Dundee International Sports Centre (DISC)

Funded by Awards for All, sports organisations from the Dundee area are getting together at DISC to present the opportunity for those enthused by watching the Olympics on TV to give it a go themselves.

Representatives from the Dundee and District Table Tennis Association will be on hand throughout the day to encourage newcomers and returners of all ages to pick up a bat.

Amongst other sports on offer will be football, korfball, netball,badminton,short tennis, hockey, Tae Kwon Do and (possibly) cricket.

Please spread the word to everyone and anyone who may be interested.

What…no women?

St Andrews Table Tennis Club has much to teach the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers in its Muirfield fortress! A happily mixed gender club, but with a male majority, they have just voted for a female as the worthy recipient of their most prestigious award. At Monday’s AGM, Chairperson Neil Lea presented Emma Bissett with the Neilson Trophy as most improved player of season 2015-16. Her team-mates Dave Beveridge and Collin Bleak were quick to pay tribute to Emma’s contribution of 21 wins in consolidating Swots’ status as a Division 2 team following last year’s promotion.

Emma, with Chairperson Neil Lea and the Graham Neilson Trophy

Emma, with Chairperson Neil Lea and the Graham Neilson Trophy

Reviewing the club’s overall position at the meeting, there was cause for satisfaction at a season where all teams avoided relegation – albeit by a whisker for New Kids who just managed to retain their Division 2 status. However, the intrepid threesome of Ken, Kong and Ian Smith have already embarked upon a summer programme of intense practice to ensure there will be no repeat of the past winter’s traumas and they will also be able to call on the skills of Ian Brumwell who will move up after a successful season in Division 3. The return to the town and to the club of Jonathan Fraser is also very welcome – hopefully, Jon will be able to galvanise Prospects into a promotion threat in the forthcoming months.

At the end of its 50th season, there was also a feeling of wellbeing about the status of the club in general. Finances are healthy under the continued stewardship of Bill Sutherland and recent grants from Fife Council’s Club Development Fund and St Andrews Common Good Fund towards summer practice and coaching costs are enabling the club to offer practice all year round for the first time for those players wishing to hone their competitive skills. The youngsters’ coaching group is also flourishing under the watchful eye of lead coach Howard Lee, with weekly assistance from Dave Beveridge. Sandy Pearson has also been giving his time to help the juniors over the summer term.

The social side of the club is also flourishing with the more informal Adult beginners and returners group enjoying its Thursday sessions with Elaine Forbes at Kilrymont, where many new participants have been welcomed over the past months.

And so the overall feeling of the AGM was definitely “onwards and upwards”!

Nice shirts at least

On Tuesday evening the curtain fell on another busy playing season in the Dundee & District Table Tennis League with teams from Division Three competing for the Halliday Trophy at Ward Road Gym.

Left to Right: Sandy Pearson, Emily Howat and Neil Lea prior to doing battle in the Halliday Cup

Left to Right: Sandy Pearson, Emily Howat and Neil Lea prior to doing battle in the Halliday Cup

St Andrews TTC was represented by Prospects, with Emily Howat, Neil Lea and Sandy Pearson unfortunately not quite managing to match their smart appearance in club shirts with smart play on the table. The tidy threesome never quite got to grips with the “tag” format of the event but nevertheless it was a light-hearted note on which to end.

Overall, it has been a season of consolidation for the club. Prefects finished in 7th place in Division One, with a comfortable margin between them and the teams in 8th and 9th places, who will face relegation. Peter Bladen was the highest placed Prefect in the individual averages, agonisingly just missing the magic 50% mark. Howard Lee won more than a third of his matches – a very creditable performance in his first season at the top level.

The aim of keeping two teams in Division Two was achieved, albeit with a fair spillage of blood, sweat and tears. Newly promoted Swots were pleased with their 8th place, with New Kids relieved to finish only one behind. Clyde Johnson scored a magnificent 18 invaluable wins out of 21 and Ian Smith chipped in with an average of 46% in the “Kids'” battle to avoid relegation, while Emma Bissett had many fine victories to be the leading Swot of the regular team selection.

Prospects’ 8th position in Division Three was lower than they would have hoped for when the season started in September. Injuries and work commitments depleted the team in seven matches, a situation which made a higher finish nigh on impossible. Four of their players finished with averages of 50% or higher – Sandy Pearson, Dave Goddard, Fabio Sani and Ian Brumwell (with a particularly noteworthy 63% in his first season) – which begs the question of how high they might have flown had they managed to field a full side for each match.

And so we now have the summer to reflect – and to work on new forehands and cunning tactics for the next campaign – roll on September!

The cream always comes to the top

1965 was a busy year – Wilson was Prime Minister, Ross was Scottish Secretary, Churchill died, J K Rowling was born, Stanley Matthews played his last top flight game, Ronnie Biggs escaped from prison, the Beatles film ‘Help’ was released and the Rolling Stones topped the charts with ‘Satisfaction’. And in the old Burgh School in a small corner of Fife, Arthur Edward and Tim Grove were spending intervals and lunchtimes contesting bragging rights on the table tennis table they set up in Arthur’s art classroom.

Move forward to 2015/16 and you find current members giving thanks to Messrs Grove and Edward in celebrating the 50th anniversary season of St Andrews Table Tennis Club. To mark the occasion, twelve players laid down their modern bats, covered in thick sponge and mesmerising rubbers, to wield instead old style sandpaper weapons – and the resulting noise of ball on bat in the Victory Memorial Hall on Monday night was deafening.

There was scant reward for event organiser, Howard Lee, when his name was included in the first four drawn out of the hat. Immediately proclaimed the ‘group of death’, all the players involved in the group had been mooted as possible favourites to win the event, and it lived up to its billing with many tight encounters. Howard started with a deuce victory against Clyde Johnson, but defeats by John Carlton and Dave Beveridge put him out of the running. Dave then beat John but went down 21-19 to Clyde, who in turn beat John. Thus, with Dave and Clyde tied on two wins each, the group score sheet was rushed over to referee Bill Sutherland to work out who would go through to the final.

No such headaches for Bill when it came to sorting out the other two groups. Ian Smith emerged as clear winner against Emily Howat, Emma Bissett and Collin Bleak while Elaine Forbes was undefeated in her group with Sandy Pearson, Alain Leger and Ken Falconer.

With all tables again in use for the second stage of the event, Ian and Elaine were joined in the top group by Clyde who got the nod having beaten Dave in their ‘head to head’. With the sandpaper unreceptive to his usual sidespin attacking game, Ian had to adopt a more economic style than usual, but it wasn’t quite enough to win the race to 21 against either Clyde or Elaine. Thus the latter two took to the table for the final with Clyde deciding to favour a very non aggressive style, a ploy which paid dividends as he worked his socks off to gain a 17-10 lead. Probably benefitting from a lifetime of having played the ‘first to 21’ scoring system, which Clyde can only have heard of from his grandparents, and eventually finding her hitting range, Elaine impressively clawed back Clyde’s lead and sneaked ahead in the last few rallies to win 21-18. They say the cream always comes to the top…

Here is a video of the final two points:

More action and great rallies from the event can be viewed on the club’s YouTube channel

No doubting Sandy’s delight at winning the doubles event, but Clyde still looks stunned at losing a seven point lead in the singles ‘final’.

There was time after the singles event to add in a doubles tournament and this time Clyde, partnered by Sandy, got the better of Elaine and partner Emily in the final.

Voted an overall success, the sandpaper bat event will surely become an annual feature at the club – but with the government health warning issued for players’ normal strokes, it can really only be contemplated at the end of the competitive league season.

Kids survive against all odds

The soap opera of St Andrews table tennis team New Kids and their attempt to avoid relegation from Division Two of the Dundee League reached the final two episodes this week and, true to the genre, there was an ending of high drama. Needing 13 points from their last two matches, New Kids felt well up to the task and were eagerly anticipating the first fixture against Attackers when, only a few hours before ‘kick off’, the Monifieth team conceded the tie because of the unavailability of their home venue. With the end of the season imminent, there was no possibility of rescheduling and so New Kids were awarded 10 points.

Clyde Johnson’s 18 wins out of 21 matches were vital to New Kids’ escape from relegation

Clyde Johnson’s 18 wins out of 21 matches were vital to New Kids’ escape from relegation

And so to the last episode, with only 3 points now required for the great escape – a match against Forthill’s Comets, postponed from mid season when bad weather prevented the Broughty side from travelling over the Bridge. Clyde Johnson, Ian Smith and Ken Falconer, in no mood to heighten the drama, buckled down to the challenge and ran out 8-2 winners to end the suspense which has pervaded the club over the past weeks.

Meanwhile, in Division Three, the featured programme was again ‘The Invisible Man’. Sandy Pearson and Emily Howat gamely took up the challenge of competing with a player short and turned up for the match at Ward Road on Tuesday to encounter an unusual situation. It was agreed that one of the Bishops would play his two matches in quick succession to allow him to head to Dens Park for the Dundee v Celtic match. However only one of his team- mates showed up and so on the night only four matches were actually completed, leaving the league match secretary to work out the allocation of points (officially, 6-3 to Bishops).

Across the road in Telephone House on Thursday night, Emily and Sandy found Telsports with their full complement of players. Sandy hit top form with three singles victories, Emily pitched in with another win and so they took to the table for the doubles with the score 5-4 in favour of the home team. A great fighting display from the St Andrews pair saw them reel off three sets in a row to force a very creditable 5-5 draw to round off their season.

Swots secure solitary point from last two fixtures

It was another week of varying activities for St Andrews Table Tennis Club .

In Division Two, a busy week on the table for Swots started at the Victory Memorial Hall against a Rockets side who, requiring sixteen points from two matches to ensure promotion, were in no mood to be generous. Swots just couldn’t live with the Broughty Ferry threesome, only Emma Bissett managing to force a deciding set on the night. However, Emma didn’t manage to put a score on the door for Swots in losing 12-10 to Carol McLean in the final set of the evening.

Little cheer on the following night either when Swots went down 1-9 to Chieftains at Ward Road. Collin Bleak came through 11-9 in the fifth for a notable win against the steady Fiona Kinloch. This afforded some consolation for his earlier loss to Chris Riddoch (10 –12 in the fifth) but the most nail-biting encounter of the contest was surely Dave Beveridge going down 18-20 in the fifth to Chris in the last match of Swots’ season.

Prospects gave 12 year old Murray Paterson his Division Three debut in their fixture against Squires. Murray did more than could have been asked of him by winning the first end against both Winnie Stein and Steve Wilson but lost out overall. Ian Brumwell was in great form, winning two singles and, agonizingly, just missing his hat-trick with a 14-16 fifth set loss to Tanya Kapelyukh. Ian scored a doubles win with Sandy Pearson who was also involved in close singles matches, recovering from a 10-12 fifth set loss to Steve to beat Winnie 18-16 in the fifth. A 4-6 defeat then, but an exciting night’s play.

For the youngsters who attend the junior coaching sessions, their winter season was wrapped up with an evening of fun games devised by coaches Howard Lee and Dave Beveridge.

TT youngsters put on a show

This week’s report on the activities of St Andrews Table Tennis Club focuses on the junior tournament held in the Victory Memorial Hall on Monday. Probably the youngest overall group of players to take part in this event, the boys put on a great show of table tennis, unfazed by the large group of spectators who included club chairman Neil Lea and Tim Grove, founder member of the club fifty years ago.

Split into two sections of four, Murray Paterson emerged as undisputed winner of Group One with victories over Michael Snodgrass, Jake Martin and Liam Baillie. The foursome contesting Group Two gave organisers, Howard Lee and Dave Beveridge, a headache of the best kind when Tom MacKay, Campbell Snodgrass and Keir Paterson all tied on two wins each, with Andy Ruseckas just losing out to the threesome. On a count-back of games won and lost, it was Keir (9) who emerged with the best ratio to go on to challenge big brother Murray (12) in the final.

Competitors for the 2016 Grove Trophy, left to right: Liam Baillie; Andy Ruseckas; Jake Martin; Tom Mackay; Keir Paterson; Michael Snodgrass; Campbell Snodgrass and Murray Paterson.

Competitors for the 2016 Grove Trophy, left to right: Liam Baillie; Andy Ruseckas; Jake Martin; Tom Mackay; Keir Paterson; Michael Snodgrass; Campbell Snodgrass and Murray Paterson.

With all the competitors taking to the tables again to play for final positions, the standard of play, concentration and good sportsmanship was a credit to Howard’s and Dave’s coaching over the winter months. As expected, the final itself provided some excellent attacking rallies, with Keir putting up great resistance. But in the end it was Murray who became this year’s winner of the Grove Trophy with an 11-9, 12-10, 11-8 scoreline.

Michael Snodgrass was presented with a personal signed message from former Olympian and Commonwealth champion, Matthew Syed, for being the club’s ‘most improved’ junior over the season.

Only two of the club’s league teams were in action this week. On Monday, in Division One, Prefects’ opponents Rifle Club could only field two players but were still able to run out 7-3 winners, although by all accounts there was much exciting play to admire over the evening. On Tuesday, Swots travelled to Ward Road to take on Division Two leaders, Barons. Credit to Collin Bleak who managed a fine singles victory and who also combined well with Dave Beveridge to win the doubles. Following much debate, and little agreement it must be said, about what was going wrong in the early stages of the match, our lads still mounted a remarkable recovery from a set and 1-7 down to win in five. Adding the two points gained to their season’s total has ensured that Swots will enjoy Division Two status again next season.

Fun, more fun, most fun?

The adult beginners/returners group meet at 6pm in Madras College Gym on Thursdays.

The adult beginners/returners group meet at 6pm in Madras College Gym on Thursdays.

There are three strands to St Andrews Table Tennis Club – the Junior coaching group, the teams competing in the Dundee League and the Adult beginners/returners group. It would be difficult to know which group has most fun, but it would be hard to bet against this accolade going to the last named. In only its second season, the Adult group which meets at Kilrymont Community Use (Madras College Gym) has attracted players of a wide range of standards for a variety of reasons but there is no doubting the enjoyment factor as everyone has a go at mastering the mystery of the spins and the speed of the sport – so much so that it has been decided to continue the group into the summer term and so, when Kilrymont re-opens after the Easter break, the group will reconvene on Thursday 14th April from 6.00pm. New members are always welcome.

The junior group also had a fun session this week, inviting parents to stay and play rather than merely dropping off and disappearing. With family bragging rights at stake, hopefully none of the youngsters were docked their weekly pocket money for victories scored against pride-pricked parents. More serious business is scheduled for next week when the group members will compete to become the club junior champion and the holder of the Grove Trophy.

Now to the life and death exploits of New Kids in their fight to avoid relegation from Division Two. With nearest rivals Comets only picking up a single point in two matches, New Kids took the chance to draw level despite going down 4-6 away to Thumpers. Clyde Johnson was again the hero with three singles wins and victory in the doubles with Ian Smith. Don’t mention five setters to Ian though – fighting back from a two game deficit to 77 year old Jim Fleming, Ian won the third 17-15 and the fourth 11-9 only for his recovery to go unrewarded when he lost the decider 11-13 after having two match points. To rub salt in the wound, he later lost another 2-3 to Ian McLagan.

Summer training for Division 1 Prefects will include sessions on how to read the fixture list correctly. Despite a mix up, they made it to the second table at Forthill on Monday to play Aces, just in the nick of time, with two players, and were delighted to find that Clyde was willing to play in both matches (almost) simultaneously. With the adrenaline of the dash still pumping through his veins, Howard Lee excelled in beating Gary Lowson for the first time and Clyde put another one on the scoresheet for St Andrews with an exciting four game defeat of Jim Dyson. Final score 8-2 to Aces.

Meanwhile, at the Victory Memorial Hall, Swots showed much improvement in their ability to win close matches. Taking on Attackers from Monifieth, the threesome of Collin Bleak, Emma Bissett and Dave Beveridge may have gone down 4-6 but in winning three of the six five-setters, showed the difference from the first half of the season when they lost 1-9 to the same team, having won none of the many close encounters that night. Special mention goes to Collin who saved four match points against Rick Prevost to record a 12-10 victory in the fifth.