Monthly Archives: December 2014

St Andrews’ TT teams sitting pretty

This week saw the last fixtures of the first half of the season and all three of the leagues make a pretty sight for St Andrews Table Tennis Club.

Prefects' Howard Lee

Prefects’ Howard Lee

On Monday, Prefects (Howard Lee, Ken Falconer and Ian Smith) delivered a simply stunning 9-1 rout of the league leaders, Rollercoasters. Howard and Ian both played a blinder to win all their matches (including the doubles) and Ken lost only one match, to Ken Head. Three matches went to five games and Prefects won them all. Howard’s battle with Tony Cook in the last match saw four games go to deuce and Howard fight back from 1-5 to win 11-8 in the last game. It always looked like Prefects’ night from the point when Ian fluked a shot under the net post in his match against Tony. The result puts Prefects to within a point of the Division 2 leaders, but with a priceless game in hand. We’ll say it again – stunning.

On Wednesday, New Kids achieved the same result in Division 1 against Defenders from Broughty Ferry. The Kids (Peter Bladen, Michael Hahn and Nick Shepherd) will not care a jot that they were aided by Defenders being a man light. Defenders picked up their sole consolation point in match two when Richard Tough beat Nick 3-1. Michael and Peter were New Kids’ successful double duo on the night. New Kids expected to be battling to stay in Division 1, but after this result you can put your money on them staying up.

With Prospects on a free week, the third division action saw Swots travel to Broughty Ferry on Thursday to face fellow promotion chasers, Tigers. With Dave Beveridge still sponsoring Imodium, Robert Brown and Emma Bissett were accompanied by Collin Bleak for this match. And what a Christmas cracker it was. Swots were 0-2 down after Robert, then Collin, let 2-0 leads slip in the first two matches. The next two matches were shared and then Emma lost, again in five, to Charlie Ross before she and Robert preserved Swots’ 100% doubles record. By the last match Swots were one ahead but Collin was unable to make an impact on the experienced Kenny McLaren. It could have been a win if the St Andrews team had snatched even one of the three five game affairs. Despite a first half that has seen them get relatively little luck, this breathless 5-5 draw sees the Swots sit just one point behind leaders Comets – whom they meet next on 19th January.

Bring on 2015 – and a Merry Christmas to all our readers.

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Table tennis players prove that they are party animals

St Andrews Table Tennis Club never declines an opportunity to party. It was, therefore, with great enthusiasm that members responded to Dave Goddard’s invitation to join him to celebrate the 50th anniversary of his arrival in the world.

For readers who have never met Dave, an introduction is appropriate. Physically, he is big and hairy, characteristics which may appear intimidating but he is actually a gentle giant, good natured and always up for a laugh. Dave is a baby boomer, born in London during the post-war fertility peak in 1964. At 50, he is the same age as one of his favourite TV programmes, Match of the Day. Dave shares his birthday with Charles Wesley, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and John Kerry. A Crystal Palace supporter, Dave is familiar with perseverance under adversity. In table tennis, he plays for the Prospects team in Division 3 of the Dundee and District League and likes to torment opponents with spinny serves and to loop on both forehand and backhand wings.

SAM_1581The birthday celebrations began with drinks in the Central Bar in St Andrews followed by an Indian curry at Maisha, an attractive Indian restaurant with atmospheric blue lighting inside and numerous fairy lights outside. The 12 of us in attendance were warmly served by the waiter, Tito Ali, who is well acquainted with Dave through his many takeaway orders.

SAM_1582Mid-way through the feast, Dave’s team mate Collin delivered a short speech commending Dave for his friendship and commitment to physical fitness. Dave replied, thanking everyone for sharing the evening with him and noting that another team mate, Maxi, had just celebrated his 21st birthday. To our surprise, the waiter, Tito, then asked to speak and he recalled with fondness Dave’s appetite for various Indian dishes and his kindly disposition. Dave certainly enjoys his food, especially roast potatoes and parsnips, though he prefers to avoid excessive quantities of sweetcorn at Christmas.

Here’s to the next 50 years.

Needless to say, the club is already busy planning the next night out early in the new year.

Hairy Dave celebrates 50th Birthday with a Hat-Trick

This week saw the penultimate fixtures of the first half of the season and the picture of who might win what (or not) may be starting to take shape. The week also saw hairy Dave Goddard achieve a personal half century.

On Monday, New Kids (Peter Bladen, Michael Hahn and Nick Shepherd) lined up at home against Star from Broughty Ferry in what would be a ‘six-pointer’ in football terms. Our boys were 4-1 ahead after the first half of the fixture but their main stumbling block was Star’s Calum Ross who resolutely refused to lose to anyone. The Kids dug in though and managed to keep their noses in front, just, with one match to play. Up stepped Michael with the opportunity to secure an overall win, along with said Calum, who had the chance to earn his team a draw. The pair delivered the match of the night – it could have gone either way – but cool Calum prevailed in five games. Final score: New Kids 5, Star 5. The result certainly keeps the Kids in with a fighting chance of staying in Division 1.

Alongside, Swots were playing the first of three fixtures that will likely determine if they are real promotion contenders in Division 3. At least they navigated this one against Lairds without too much mishap. Robert Brown starred yet again, winning all his matches. Robert and Dave Beveridge also combined to win the doubles, in which Swots are so far unbeaten this season. It was also a good night for Emma Bissett who picked up two terrific singles points and almost made it three. Dave might also have earned the team an unexpected ‘bonus’ eighth point on the night, but he lost in five games to Eddie Dougan, for the first time in a while. Eddie was on fire and although he lost to Emma he also had a 2-0 lead over Robert before running out of steam and losing in the fifth game. Final score; Swots 7, Lairds 3. Swots remain a good bet for promotion – at least for another week.

On Thursday, Prefects and Prospects were both playing at Monifieth High School. The Prefects fixture was a cracker. Howard Lee picked up an impressive hat-trick and Ian Smith earned an almost equally impressive brace of points. It was a tough night for Ken Falconer, who was unlucky not to get on the score-sheet, especially after having two match points in a tight fifth game against young Jordan Ednie. Prefects were ahead for the first half of the night, pulled back to level after matches six and eight, before sneaking 5-4 ahead before the last match. It was down to Ken to try and win it but he lost in straight games to Alex Thom. Prefects won four of the five matches that went to five games, so they will have no complaints at securing a 5-5 draw. Prefects remain promotion contenders after this one.

Hairy Dave unbeaten on his 50th birthday

Hairy Dave unbeaten on his 50th birthday

Prospects earned their best points tally of the season with a solid 9-1 win over Topspin’s youngsters. Collin Bleak and Dave Goddard (celebrating his 50th birthday) snatched impressive singles hat-tricks and Collin combined with Sandy Pearson to take the doubles points. Prospects have been struggling to find an effective doubles pair so this may be a good sign for the future. Sandy did well to win two of his three singles matches. Final score Topspin 1, Prospects 9. More results like this should help Prospects position themselves as the ‘best of the rest’, just outside the promotion contenders in Division 3.

Swots lead the way

With Prefects’ fixture postponed, there were only three of the St Andrews table tennis teams in league action this week; but only title chasers, Swots, managed a win.

On Monday, Prospects lined up Maxi Strobl, Dave Goddard and Sandy Pearson to take on Squires at home in Division 3. Our boys got a great start when league rookie, Sandy, defeated the ever tricky Winnie Stein in five games to become one of the few St Andrews players to have never lost to Winnie (played one, won one)! Then, two wins for big Dave and one for Maxi saw Prospects take a healthy 4-2 lead into the doubles – and then it all went wrong. Squires came back from 0-2 to beat Sandy and Maxi in the doubles before snatching all three points from the third series of singles matches. The pub talk later was of a change of strategy from Squires or a loss of focus from Prospects. Either way the shandies didn’t taste as good as usual.

On Tuesday, New Kids and Swots were on adjacent tables at Ward Road Gym, Dundee. The Kids had a tough fixture against Knights in Division 1. It was level at 2-2 early on, thanks to good wins for Michael Hahn over Stuart Halliday and Callum Riddoch – but neither Peter Bladen nor Nick Shepherd were able to help him out on the night. The next six matches all went Knights’ way, including two five game affairs that included the doubles and Peter Bladen’s loss to young Callum Riddoch. Goodness knows when this one ended – there were still two singles matches to play at 10:30pm so they must have been putting the cat out by the time the contest was over. Final score: Knights 8, New Kids 2.

Swots' star Robert Brown

Swots’ star Robert Brown

By contrast, Swots extended their slender lead at the top of the Division 3 with a solid 8-2 of their own against Princes. Two of the Princes’ youngsters posed little problems for our trio (Robert Brown, Dave Beveridge and Emma Bissett) although Emma had to work harder than expected to secure Swots’ eighth point against Nathan Christie. However, Princes’ wonder kid, Darren Mitchell, was another proposition altogether. Darren beat Dave and Emma, both in four games, despite a sterling attempt by Dave at emulating Ken Falconer’s recent comeback feat. At 0-2 in games and 2-10 in points, Dave won the third game 12-10 before narrowly losing the fourth 14-16. Dave was left to rue a dropped ball on his serve at 10-10 in that game. However, Robert’s spinny serves earned him enough cheap points against Darren to ensure that the talented youngster did not skip home with a hat-trick. Robert impressively completed his task, also in four games. Dave and Robert paired up effectively to win the doubles match in straight games.