Monthly Archives: February 2014

New Kids are crowned Division 2 Champions

Following a remarkable season of complete domination including another 10-0 victory this week, St Andrews’ New Kids have won the Dundee & District Division 2 title.

In the Victory Memorial Hall on Monday, the Kids lined up against Tigers with Collin Bleak deputising for Peter Bladen alongside regulars, Elaine Forbes and Nick Shepherd. Unleashed from the pressures of the Swots’ relegation battle, Collin proved his credentials by winning all his games (including two five setters) and the doubles, playing alongside Nick. Elaine and Nick also grabbed singles hat-tricks, without dropping a set, to send the Tigers home with their tails between their legs. The 10-0 result means that the Kids cannot be caught, even though there are another three rounds of matches still to play. It’s been a terrific performance from Peter, Elaine and Nick, ably assisted when necessary by reserves from the club’s other teams. Congratulations guys!

On the adjacent table Division 4 Prospects, lining up with Dave Beveridge, Neil Lea and Federico di Pace also completed a whitewash of Telsports from the Telecoms club in Dundee. Veteran Dundee table tennis legend, Sandy Elrick, stretched Dave in the second set of their game, but the Prospects’ captain ultimately prevailed and became the third St Andrews’ player to finish the evening without dropping a set. Federico, playing in his first league match, and Neil also secured fine hat-tricks. Neil also partnered Dave in a straight sets doubles victory. 10-0 Prospects. Prospects have a 17 point lead in the second promotion spot – but have played two games more than third placed Sputniks. This promotion battle will go to the last match of the season.

Division two Prefects were away from home on two consecutive nights this week. On Tuesday they motored to Ward Road, Dundee to fulfill their postponed Handicap Cup match against Squires from Division 3. However, with the handicaps loaded in favour of the opposition the challenge was just too much for our boys (Kong Wan, Ian Smith and Howard Lee). Ian and Kong did exceptionally well to win three sets from their games against Chris Riddoch. But Chris’s son and rising star, Callum, as well as the wily veteran Winnie Stein, were just too hot to handle with their handicaps. Final score Squires 10, Prefects 3.

Undaunted, Prefects were back in Dundee with the same line up on Wednesday to try to derail Rollercoasters in a Division 2 league match. Ian was the star of the night with a fine singles hat-trick and a doubles win, partnered by Howard who, untypically, failed to record a singles victory. Kong, sponsored by Benolyn Expectorant, had long games all night including two five setters and nine deuce games. However, he hung on to his hankie and managed to beat Paul Jackson in a pulsating final tie, 13-11 in the fifth set. Final score 5-5.

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Veteran trio give it another go

Nick Shepherd, Howard Lee and Dave Beveridge headed back along the M8 on Sunday 23 February to try their hand again in the latest Scottish Veteran’s Table Tennis Association assessment day at Bathgate Academy.  It was another tough, but enjoyable, day for the St Andrews’ players who each scored a win over ‘foreign’ opposition. Nick also took a ‘local’ victory home as a result of also overcoming Howard in the over 50s age group.  In the over 60s, Dave also managed only the one battling five set win but it was a shock result against high ranking Michael Shoenhoffen, coming back from 3-9 in the fourth set.

Dave Beveridge in action at the Scottish Veterans

Dave Beveridge in action at the Scottish Veterans

Back to winning ways

After a disappointing cup week, St Andrews table tennis club got back to winning ways this week when all three teams that were in league action recorded fine wins.

On Monday night, in Victory Memorial Hall, Prefects secured a narrow 6-4 win in Division 2 against Thumpers from Fort Hill, Broughty Ferry. Howard Lee and Ken Falconer got Prefects off to a terrific start, winning the first two games of the night, but the St Andrews team then lost three in row before Ian Smith levelled the match in the sixth game. Ken and Howard took the doubles game in four sets before the sides exchanged the next two games. Now 5-4 ahead, Howard took to the table in the last game and romped to a straight sets win before Thumpers had time to notice they were still in with a chance of securing a draw.

On the adjacent table, Swots had their finest night of the season against the struggling Bishops. Captain Bleak led his team by example, winning all three of his singles games, and the doubles alongside Dave Goddard. Dave and Emma Bissett both beat father and son, Jim and Dan Ferrie, but couldn’t overcome the fiery Filip Jovanovic. However, the overall win was never in any doubt and the final 8-2 score-line presents a lifeline to Swots, who are fighting for survival in Division 3. Go Swots!

On Wednesday, the New Kids travelled to Fort Hill to face Defenders in Division 2. As if it wasn’t going to be hard enough, Defenders third man forgot to turn up for the fixture. So, in what has become the customary pattern of events, Elaine Forbes and Peter Bladen preserved their 100% average by winning both their singles against Ken Head and Richard Tough. Nick Shepherd beat Ken (dramatically coming back from 4-9 down in the first set to win 12-10 and set himself up for a 3-0 win) but lost in four sets to Richard. Nick and Peter lost the doubles in four sets. Final score 8-2 in favour of New Kids. It won’t be long before we can report New Kids as the mathematical winners of Division 2.

Prospects had a free week in Division 4.

Prospects and Prefects out of the cups

The second week in February was cup week again in St Andrews table tennis club, with three teams still retaining an interest in the Stanley Doubles and Handicap Cups.

Two ties were played on Monday night in Victory Memorial Hall.

The top table saw Division 2 Prefects (Kong Wan, Ken Falconer and Ian Smith) try to upset the apple cart by felling Telecoms from Division 1 in the Stanley Doubles. The cart, however, would not be over-turned and Prefects only managed to win one of the sixteen sets played over five games. Final score: Prefects 0 Telecoms 5.

The other two tables hosted a thrilling handicap match between Division 4 Prospects (who fielded Vuksan Mijovic, Maxi Strobl and Federico di Pace) and Division 3 Tass, also from the Telecoms club. The Prospects players had a reasonable handicap start against the two Stu(ew)arts from Tass but, curiously, had to start a point behind Brian Hamill. The match was close all night, mainly thanks to Vuksan’s impressive five sets out of six, and it was tied at 8-8 when Federico took to the table against Brian in the last game. The match looked over when Brian won the first set and held three match points in the second. However, Federico won the next four points and the set 26-25. Playing in only his second match for Prospects, the Argentinian battled hard to secure a famous victory but ultimately succumbed 20-26 in the overtime deciding set. Almost a hero, Federico. Final score: Prospects 9 Tass 10.

The week ended on a damp squib after Prefects tie against Squires in the Handicap Cup on the Tuesday was postponed due to snow.

More like normal service

After a disappointing end to January, our local table tennis heroes were determined to get February off to a good start. And so they did.

At home on Monday, Prospects pocketed the full 10 points after Topspin called off late and conceded the match. This is not how anyone in St Andrews wants to win matches, but the points look like putting Prospects right back in the mix for promotion in Division 4.

While Prospects used the evening for some extra practice, the New Kids were relentless in their quest for the Division 2 title. With Howard Lee deputising again for Elaine Forbes alongside regulars, Pete Bladen and ‘Ski Sunday’ Nick Shepherd, the Kids almost took 10 points as well. Nick and Pete both earned hat-tricks while Howard won two games and the doubles, partnered by Nick. It wasn’t as one-sided as the score suggests though. Six games went to four or five sets, with the Kids winning all but one. In first game, Howard impressively battled to a match point in the fifth set against Fiona Kinloch – only to serve long. The penalty was a heavy one and you can bet that it led to a sleepless night. Fiona went on to win the decisive set 16-14. Final score New Kids 9 Chieftains 1.

While Prospects and New Kids were at home on Monday, Prefects travelled to Blackness Fire Station to take on Kingsway in Division 2. In what was clearly a tight encounter, Kingsway’s senior citizen, Willie Cooper was the only player who won all his games. However, Ken Falconer, returning from a bad back, and Ian Smith both beat Kingsway’s Steven Caird and Alan Carrie. Ian and Kong Wan won the doubles game to ensure that Prefects left Dundee with a share of the spoils. Final score 5-5.

Swots also picked up a much needed 10 point bonus this week after Comets had to concede a match due to be played in mid February. However they also headed for Ward Road Gym on Tuesday to face third placed Squires in Division 3. Collin Bleak, Dave Goddard and Emma Bisset all beat Steve Wilson but they were unable to pick up any more wins on a night when young Callum Riddoch from Squires was described by Collin as ‘simply unstoppable’. Final score: Squires 7 Swots 3. Captain Bleak has the unenviable task of finding a way to keep Swots in Division 3.

It’s that time of the season when teams are under pressure to re-schedule matches because of cup commitments or to catch up with postponements. A few matches will inevitably be conceded and it will be interesting to see how these affect the final outcomes in Divisions 3 and 4 especially.

CollinPicture: Collin ponders how to save the Swots from relegation

The Kids march on while others stumble

All four St Andrews table tennis teams had league fixtures in the last week of January but it was the third and fourth divisions teams who played the matches that mattered most – and both ended up bitterly disappointed.

In Division 4 on Tuesday, Prospects (Dave Beveridge, Neil Lea and Vuksan Mijovic) took on league leaders Blackness looking for a result that would at least consolidate their position in the second promotion spot. Dave almost got the team off to great start but an overdose of adrenaline saw him over-hit several serves in the fifth set of a terrific match against Derek Thomson. Things went even further south after that. It was game six before Neil won Prospects’ first point, beating Don Archibald. Dave repeated the feat in game eight, but those were the only highlights. Final score 8-2 for Blackness, who were very solid all night.

The previous night, in Division 3, Swots (Collin Bleak, Dave Goddard and Emma Bisset) had faced promotion contenders Attackers at the Victory Memorial Hall, knowing that they badly needed a handful of points in their battle to avoid relegation. Nothing’s going right for Swots though and although a few games went the full distance they were all won by Attackers. Emma won a consolation point for Swots in a 1-9 defeat that flattered the Attackers. Relegation isn’t quite a certainty, but the Swots have a mountain to climb.

On the adjacent table, Prefects (Kong Wan, Ian Smith and Howard Lee) took on the Kings in Division 2. It was a tough battle with only one game settled in straight sets. The game of the night was Ian’s encounter with young Bruce Duncan. Bruce was 2-1 up in sets and 10-5 ahead in the fourth, needing just one of the next five points to win. However, Ian wasn’t finished. He reeled off thirteen points in a row, winning the fourth and fifth sets – and the prize for the best comeback of the season so far. Unfortunately, Ian and Howard only managed to take a further point each against Glen Patterson. Final score 3-7 in favour of Kings.

Finally on Thursday, New Kids, who already lead Division 2 by a country mile, took to the table with regular, Peter Bladen, and reserves Ian Smith and Howard Lee, against the Rockets from Fort Hill Sports Club in Broughty Ferry. Elaine Forbes was either (a) in need of a rest (b) didn’t fancy playing in a cold squash court or (c) didn’t fancy playing her sister (delete as appropriate). However, the reserves were up for it and Howard (3 wins) and Ian (1 win) made a telling contribution to add to Peter’s customary hat-trick. It wasn’t completely plain sailing for Peter who almost lost his 100% record against Jill Milne who refused to surrender. It was touch and go in the fifth set at 8-8 but Peter eventually prevailed. Howard was playing at the top of his game and he teamed up with Peter to win the doubles and rack up a super 8-2 win for the Kids.