Monthly Archives: November 2014

Back to winning ways

All four of the St Andrews table tennis teams were in league action this week and, overall, they fared very well indeed.

On Monday, New Kids (Peter Bladen, Nick Shepherd and Michael Hahn) continued their Division 1 adventure with a tough home match against Missiles from the Plebeians Club in Broughty Ferry. For the first half of the night New Kids periodically had their noses in front but the doubles match (won in straight games by David Sim and Jim Dyson against Nick and Michael) switched the momentum in favour of Missiles who went into the last match a point in front, with the chance to win overall. New Kids would have none of it though, and Michael secured the 5-5 draw with a fine win in four games against David (12-10 in both of the last two games). Prior to that the star of the night with three wins, Pete Bladen, had also beaten David in four games, 17-15 in both of the last two games in that one! Breathless stuff.

Emma was at her best for the Swots

Emma was at her best for the Swots

On the adjacent table, Swots took on Telsports knowing that a handsome win would put them at the top of Division 3 all on their own. Telsports had picked up a few good scalps in recent weeks and our guys were aware of the potential banana skin. However, Emma Bissett and Robert Brown, in particular, were magnificent on the night, with neither dropping a single game on the way to collecting singles hat-tricks. Emma also partnered Dave Beveridge to a good doubles win over Sandy Elrick and David Axton in four games. The only blip of the night came in match eight when David Axton played out his [banana] skin to upset our own Dave in five games. David had some good fortune at the end of game four to take the match into the decisive fifth but he was a worthy winner in the end. No complaints over that, or the final score: Swots 9, Telsports 1.

Meanwhile, again in Division 3, Prospects were collecting a shed-load of welcome points against Sputniks up in Broughty Ferry. Prospects line up this week comprised Captain Maxi Strobl, Dr Collin Bleak and Mr Sandy Pearson. Messrs Strobl and Bleak collected a maximum seven points between then as Prospects largely over-ran the opposition – none of the matches needing more than four games to settle. Sandy collected Prospects’ other point with fine straight games win over Ian Lockhart early in the fixture. However, Sandy will collect a lot more when, in his own words, he ‘picks his shots and stops trying to burst the net’. Final score: Sputniks 2, Prospects 8.

The week’s action was concluded on Tuesday when Prefects (this week, Howard Lee, Kong Wan and Ian Smith) travelled to Ward Road Gym in Dundee to face Viscounts from the Mylnefield Club in Division 2. And what a contest it was. This one also swung back and forward all night until Prefects got themselves into a hard earned 5-3 lead. However, both Howard and Kong will be disappointed that one of them couldn’t pick up the point from match nine or ten that would have sent them home as victors. Howard came closest, losing 9-11 in the fifth game against young Filip Jovanovic. Filip had previously also beaten Kong in a four game match that saw the youngster win the third game 20-18. Apparently everyone in the hall stopped to watch this one. Final score: Viscounts 5, Prefects 5 (Howard 2½, Ian 2½, Kong 0).

Two thrilling draws and two comprehensive wins – good stuff.

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Can Prefects push for promotion?

Last week saw Prefects and Prospects at home on Monday and New Kids travel to Broughty Ferry on Thursday. Swots had a free week.

Ken used his knowledge of geometry to stage an epic come back against Stewart Clark

Ken used his knowledge of geometry to stage an epic come back against Stewart Clark

Prefects were the stars on Monday, delivering another comprehensive win in Division 2, beating Tass 8-2. Ken Falconer and Kong Wan both returned hat-tricks from their singles contests and Howard Lee didn’t do too shabbily either, winning two of his three matches. Tass’s pairing of Ian Hutchison and Stuart Farquharson won the doubles against Ken and Howard but they had to play the full five games to earn the point. The astonishing moment of the night, however, was Ken’s 3-0 win over Stewart Clark, which was achieved from 2-10 down in the first game, largely thanks to his expertise in fractal geometry. A lesson in perseverance (or dogged chopping) for us all. Prefects are becoming the surprise package in Division 2. A few more results like this and they may need to decide if they fancy playing in the first division next season.

It wasn’t such a happy ending for Prospects who were playing Comets in a Division 3 fixture. The score was the same, but it was the away team that skipped home with their tails wagging. Collin Bleak and Dave Goddard both managed to overcome Glenn Christie in the singles, but they couldn’t do the same to Jill Milne or Dougal Ogilvie. Collin was poised to take Dougal to a fifth game but for the curse of two hideously cruel edges at game point and deuce in the fourth game. Emily Howat again played well for Prospects without getting on the score-sheet. The doubles match is best not mentioned. Och, why not. Dave and Collin were gubbed, winning only ten points in the three games that Jill and Dougal needed to win the match. Final score: Prospects 2, Comets 8.

It wasn’t a happy ending to the week either for New Kids who were thrashed 9-1 by Aces up in Broughty Ferry. A rare communication error meant that the Kids’ third player got left behind in St Andrews although, as it was reserve Dave Beveridge, it maybe/likely/certainly (delete first two, as appropriate) did not affect the final score. It was all pretty easy for Aces until the sixth match when Nick Shepherd at least picked up a game against Gary Lowson. The doubles match saw our boys win another game, but it was match nine before Peter Bladen won a welcome consolation point against Gary.

More league action next week.

Swots win derby and go joint top of Division 3

Last week saw the first derby of the season at St Andrews Table Tennis Club and it ended with Swots going joint top of Division 3 in the Dundee and District league, alongside Lairds from Dundee.

Swots and Prospects (left to right) Emma Bissett, Dave Goddard, Robert Brown, Collin Bleak, Dave Beveridge and Maxi Strobl

Swots and Prospects (left to right) Emma Bissett, Dave Goddard, Robert Brown, Collin Bleak, Dave Beveridge and Maxi Strobl


Swots (Dave Beveridge, Robert Brown and Emma Bissett) were nominally the home team as they faced Prospects’ strongest line up in Maxi Strobl, Collin Bleak and Dave Goddard. The usual insults, sorry, banter had been thrown back and forth before the match but the bragging rights were ultimately grabbed by Swots. Dave Beveridge and Robert both won all their singles matches and combined well to comfortably beat Collin and Dave Goddard in straight games in the doubles. Here is a video clip of some of the action in the doubles:

Maxi and Emma both struggled to get the better of their respective opponents in the early exchanges, but it was Emma that earned victory over Maxi in their own head to head during the final series of singles matches. Final score: Swots 8, Prospects 2.

Swots finished a good week’s work with a resounding 10-0 win over the Topspin youngsters at Monifieth High School on Thursday. With Emma in London on business, Collin Bleak changed his colours for the Swots’ cause and ably helped Dave and Robert retain the team’s unbeaten status in the league and take them to joint top of the third division. Dave later confessed to being the only one to lose a game on the night.

Back on Monday, there was another equally riveting tussle going on in Victory Memorial Hall between Division 1 newcomers, New Kids and Kings. The Kids (Peter Bladen, Michael Hahn and Nick Shepherd) are beginning to find their feet in Division 1. Peter scored a terrific hat-trick and Michael (with two wins) and Nick also got on the score-sheet. Plamen Kostadinov and Angie Guo took the doubles match for Kings but they needed the full five games to grind down Michael and Nick. Final score: New Kids 6, Kings 4. New Kids have only completed two league fixtures but have won both by the same narrow margin.

The week’s action concluded on Thursday night in Broughty Ferry where Prefects (Kong Wan, Ian Smith, and Howard Lee) faced Rockets in Division 2 – and this was the best contest of the week. Our boys were never behind in this fixture, but never far ahead, mainly thanks to Howard Lee who won all his singles matches and partnered Ian Smith to a fine five game win over David Fletcher and Carol McLean. Kong Wan had the unenviable task of securing an overall win on the last match of the night but, after fighting and losing two previous four games matches, Kong couldn’t make any inroads in his contest with David Fletcher and lost in straight games. Final score: Prefects 5, Rockets 5. Great stuff.

One out of four ain’t all bad?

Early November saw the St Andrews Table Tennis teams competing in and, with one exception, departing from the Secondary Shield, the Consolation Cup and the Stanley Doubles Cup.

In Victory Memorial Hall on Monday, Prefects (Ian Smith, Kong Wan and Ken Falconer) took on fellow Division 2 outfit Attackers, who had conquered Swots in the previous round of the Secondary Shield. Veteran Kong Wan was celebrating his 74th birthday and hoping the Attackers wouldn’t spoil the party. The Monifieth team must be beginning to enjoy their journeys over the Tay. Prefects looked odds on to win at 4-2 in front and Ken 2-1 ahead in the next match. However, Rick Prevost came back to win the next two games 11-9 and that broke Prefects’ momentum. Alex Thom and Brent Mitchell proceeded to win their last two matches against Ian and Kong in straight games to win the tie and take Attackers into the semi finals. Final score 5-4 for Attackers. Kong returned home to blow out his candles and console himself with a large slice of birthday cake.

Emily is showing great promise for the Prospects

Emily is showing great promise for the Prospects

On the next table, Prospects (Maxi Strobl, Collin Bleak and Emily Howat) were involved in a terrific contest against Squires in round one of the Consolation Cup. This one swung back and forth until the last two matches sealed the deal for the St Andrews team. Although Emily Howat didn’t get on the score-sheet for Prospects she showed great promise and forced the experienced Winnie Stein to go the full distance in match four. Squires were 3-1 ahead at this point and still had their noses in front, just, after match seven. Captain Strobl kept the tie alive in match eight, after beating Winnie in four games and, with Collin Bleak up against Tanya Kapelyukh in the last match, Prospects regained the lead that they had last held after match one. Perfect timing. Prospects 5, Squires 4.

Meanwhile Swots were up in Dundee to take on a team from a higher division for the fourth time this season. Although Dave Beveridge, Robert Brown and Emma Bissett fancied their chances against Kingsway in the Consolation Cup, it was another frustrating night of what ifs. It was almost all Kingsway at the business end of the tie although Swots competed better when it didn’t matter. Willie Cooper was terrific for the home team and dropped only one game all night. Robert looked like getting Swots back into the contest in match three against Derek Thomson but his challenge fizzled out in the fifth game. Emma scored a good win over Derek in match eight and Dave took Steven Caird the full distance in match nine. However, Kingsway were good value for their 8-1 win.

Prospects completed their week’s work on Thursday in Monifieth, when they took on Attackers from Division 2 in the Stanley Doubles Cup. There was little joy, however, as the refreshed line up of Maxi Strobl, Dave Goddard and Sandy Pearson crashed out 5-0. There were some close games and the Prospects guys managed to win a couple but the overall result was never in any doubt. This completed a hat-trick of wins for Attackers over St Andrews’ teams in as many weeks.

It will be back to league business next week with the much anticipated local derby between Swots and Prospects shaping up to be a battle royal. Go Swots, go Prospects!