Monthly Archives: September 2014

A good week at the office

The last week in September saw the four St Andrews table tennis teams return an impressive set of results. Indeed, all four teams remain undefeated in the leagues this season.

At home on Monday, New Kids made their Division 1 debut against Telecoms. It was a great start for the Kids and new boy, Michael Hahn, who helped himself to a singles hat-trick. This fixture saw the score go from 1-1 to 2-2 to 3-3 before Telecoms took the lead for the first time (Ian Farquhar and Ryan Docherty beating Michael and Nick Shepherd in four games). However, Nick, Peter Bladen and Michael each won their final singles match to turn the final result back in favour of the Kids. The team’s overall win may console Peter who last lost a league match in season 2012/13. Ryan Docherty was the man to put Pete in his place with a hard fought win in five games in the sixth match of the night. Final score 6-4 for New Kids.

On the adjacent table, third division Swots effectively started with a 3-0 lead when their opponents, Comets, turned up with only two players. The score quickly became 5-0 after firstly Robert Brown, then Emma Bissett, dispatched Jill Milne and Dougal Ogilivie with the loss of only one game. Comets rallied, winning the next two singles matches, but Robert and Dave Beveridge converted their doubles practice over recent weeks into a fine 3-0 win over Jill and Dougal to put the fixture out of reach. Jill and Dougal limited the damage with hard fought five game wins in the last two matches after being behind to Dave and Robert respectively. Comets are title contenders so this result was a real bonus for Swots. Final score Swots 6, Comets 4.

Meanwhile, Prefects were engaged in a Division 2 battle royal with Telstars up in Dundee. The home side took an early lead but were 3-5 down to Prefects by the end of match eight. Howard Lee and Ian Smith had both won two singles matches and combined to win the doubles in four games. Telstars showed their battling qualities by winning three of the four singles matches that went the full distance. Telstars took match nine, and the last match between Howard and Telstars’ Graeme Elrick was to decide which of the two players would deliver a singles hat-trick, and whether Prefects would win or draw the fixture – but it was Graeme who won in four games. A terrific draw nevertheless for Prefects, against a team that played in Division 1 last year.

Collin led Prospects to victory

Collin led Prospects to victory

In the last fixture of the week on Thursday, new captain Maxi Strobl picked Collin Bleak, big Dave Goddard and Emily Howat to meet Telsports up in Dundee. The St Andrews team ran out comfortable winners after Collin helped himself to a clean sweep of wins (including the doubles, partnering Dave) and Dave and Emily collected a brace of points each. It was a particularly impressive display from Emily who was making her league debut. Her win in four games against Sandy Elrick in the last singles match of the night was a terrific achievement given that Sandy had earlier beaten big Dave in a five game thriller. Final score, Prospects 8 Telsports 2.


Hat-trick Hero Howard thumps the Thumpers

The Prefects’ team kicked off the new season for St Andrews Table Tennis Club at Victory Memorial Hall on Monday night in a fixture against Thumpers from Broughty Ferry.



Howard Lee got the St Andrews boys off to a perfect start with a comfortable victory over Tony O’Shea. Ken Falconer followed up with a hard fought five game win (12-10 in the fifth) against 77 year old Jim Fleming, who was ultimately to have a disappointing night, before Ian McLagan got Thumpers on the scoreboard in another five game thriller against Ian Smith. The second series of three singles matches all went to Prefects before Howard and Ken put the match out of sight at 6-1 with a fine doubles win over Messrs McLagan and O’Shea. Ian Smith picked up another point for Prefects in a tight match against Tony O’Shea. Tony had two match points in the fourth game but Ian fought back and went on to win 11-8 in the fifth game. Howard then completed a terrific night for himself and Prefects with a straightforward 3-0 win against Jim Fleming. Howard has looked strong in pre-season and duly picked up an unbeaten hat-trick of matches, dropping just one game in the process.

Thumpers’ two Veteran internationalists, and Jim Fleming in particular, looked a bit jaded after their weekend exertions in the six nations championships at Perth. The overall result was not a surprise but the margin of victory was better than anticipated.

Final result: Thumpers thumped (8-2).

The other three teams from the club enjoyed a free week but watch this space for news of all the action in their fixtures next week.

Battle about to commence

With the DDTTA league season now only a week away, St Andrews Table Tennis Club is in the throes of it’s final preparations for battle.

Peter Bladen

Peter Bladen

The club’s top team, New Kids, have signed up St Andrews University’s Michael Hahn to bolster their squad and consolidate their place in a First Division that is brimming with up and coming talent and seasoned players. The team will be captained again by Pete Bladen, last year’s winner of the Association’s award for the player with the best average. Former Scotland internationalist Elaine Forbes and Nick Shepherd complete the squad.

Prefects are unchanged from last year and will again be led by penholder Kong Wan. Kong’s squad is completed by chopper Ken Falconer, looper Ian Smith and ‘never say die’ Howard Lee. Prefects will do well to challenge for the Division 2 title and another solid mid-table finish would be a terrific performance.

Following the now infamous play-off, Swots will be led by Dave Beveridge, last season’s Prospects’ captain and officially the club’s most improved player. Dave is joined by fellow play off winners Robert Brown and Emma Bissett. Swots expect a lot of close matches in Division 3 and will need to be at their best to stay in touch with the top half of the table.

Finally, Prospects will also line up in Division 3 with new captain Maxi Strobl at the helm. Maxi has the experience of Collin Bleak and spin merchant Dave Goddard at his disposal, along with Emily Howat, who will be making her debut in the league. Club chairman Neil Lea is recovering from heart surgery and Prospects may yet add another player to their squad. With Collin and Dave still smarting from losing their places in Swots, we can expect a few tense derby matches with Prospects looking to prove a point by finishing above their Division 3 stable mates.

For most of the St Andrews’ teams battle commences on 22nd September. Bring it on.

Neil on the mend

The club is pleased to report that our esteemed Chairman, Neil Lea, is making good progress in Edinburgh Royal Infirmary after planned major heart surgery last week.

Neil was visited in hospital yesterday by Collin Bleak and Dave Beveridge who spent an hour or so bringing him up to date with the result of the Eglinton Cup and explaining why they should both have been on the winning team, if only that net/edge had….. Suffice to say that Neil cannot wait to be home and get back to his beloved table tennis – and Wendy.  We hope to see Neil playing in league again in the new year.

Get well soon, Neil.


Nick and Robert triumph in the Eglinton Cup

Robert Brown celebrated his recent promotion to the Swots by helping (or carrying) Nick Shepherd to St Andrews Table Tennis Club’s early season silverware.

Victory Memorial Hall was looking resplendent on a hot and steamy Monday night when the club rolled out it’s new Awards for All funded court surrounds for the annual Eglinton Trophy tournament. Twelve players entered the competition and they were divided “randomly” into six teams of two by tournament organiser Elaine Forbes.  The format was a round robin in which each team played singles and a doubles match against every other team.  To level the playing field, players were given a handicap for each match (an account of the history of the tournament can be found on the Eglinton Cup page). The ability span in the club has narrowed somewhat in the last year (i.e. the duffers are catching up) and it was no surprise that the competition was fierce and closely contested.

New recruit Sandy Pearson showed early promise in partnership with Ian Smith.  Using his powerful top spin strokes from both backhand and forehand, he whitewashed Howard Lee 21-0 though a generous handicap of 15 points gave Sandy a strong advantage.  Alas, Sandy’s great start was shattered during the doubles match.  As Sandy swung his bat to play another mighty forehand, his partner Ian was too slow to move out of the way, and Sandy’s bat collided with Ian’s gluteus maximus.  The force of the impact was so great that the bat broke into two pieces and Sandy’s wrist was left sore and damaged (though Ian’s backside was remarkably unscathed). Sandy carried on bravely using a reserve bat though this calamity was undoubtedly a blow to his performance.

Sandy's broken bat

Sandy’s broken bat

As the competition entered its final phase, there were still a few teams in with a chance of winning the trophy.  Peter Bladen and Collin Bleak needed a 4-1 win over Girls Aloud in the form of Emma Bissett and Emily Howat, but they just missed out 2-3. Nick and Robert also lost their last match 2-3 to Ken Falconer and Dave Beveridge, but they had done enough earlier in the night to put their names on the Eglinton Cup by the narrowest of margins. Emma, Robert and Collin led the individual results table with 7 wins each, followed by Nick, Ken Dave and Howard Lee, who each managed five.

Nick Shepherd and Robert Brown with their rucksacks and the Eglinton Cup

Nick Shepherd and Robert Brown with their rucksacks and the Eglinton Cup

The club is now looking forward to the start of the Dundee and District leagues on 15th September. New Kids will be hoping at least to consolidate their position as a Division 1 outfit, while Prefects will battle it out again in Division 2. With little between Swots and Prospects the derby matches in Division 3 will likely decide who does best in Division 3. Bring it on.

The club’s youth coaching also starts again on 15 September at 5:15pm in the Victory Memorial Hall, St Andrews. The club is still keen to add to the number of youths in its coaching programme. Contact Howard Lee on 01334 828694 for more details or just come along on the first night.