Monthly Archives: January 2015

Pressure mounts on TT title chasers

It was league business again this week for the St Andrews table tennis teams, and it’s getting a bit like a pressure cooker for a couple of our teams.

At home on Monday, on the top table, New Kids faced Earls, the current Division 1 leaders and hot favourites to lift the title. Michael Hahn was the only player to damage Earls in the away fixture and it was the same again this week. However, Michael’s two wins over Ally Rennet and Patrick Cao weren’t enough to put the overall result in any doubt. It was an unusually barren night for Peter Bladen and Nick Shepherd and our doubles pair of Michael and Peter could only muster up eight points in their doubles loss against Ally and Christian Fischer. Nevertheless, any wins are welcome in the quest for Division 1 survival. Final score New Kids 2, Earls 8.

On the neighbouring table, Swots were spurred on against Sputniks by big Dave Goddard who was performing his own personal version of the Mexican wave in the viewing balcony (description unwelcome). The Forthill team have improved greatly since the away fixture, so for Swots to repeat a 9-1 victorious score-line was no mean feat. All three Swots (Dave Beveridge, Robert Brown and Emma Bissett) played a significant part in the win. Emma was disappointed not to make it a perfect 10 but her game isn’t suited to Deepak Gopinath’s persistent chopping and he frustrated her into too many unforced errors. Dave and Robert also had to battle back from losing the first game of the doubles, but ultimately kept their heads to win 3-1. Swots still top, and still unbeaten in Division 3.

Up in Dundee, on the same night, Prefects scored a solid 6-4 win over the firemen of Kingsway. The carpet tiles and the low ceiling in the lecture room at Blackness Fire HQ make it no-one’s favourite venue but our points came from terrific singles hat-tricks by Howard Lee and Ian Smith, Unfortunately, the dynamic duo were unable to convert their doubles efforts into a seventh point. Kong Wan, an author of books on quantum mechanics, had a tough night, unusually losing to all three of the Kingsway players. He identified some quantum fluctuations that caused several adverse net cords and edges, upsetting his normal rhythm. Prefects remain top of Division 2 for now but there are several teams hot on their heels and, like Division 3, this competition won’t be decided until much closer to the end of the season.

Maxi in action

Maxi in action

On Tuesday, Maxi Strobl, back from a long festive break, picked Collin Bleak and Emily Howat from the Prospects squad to play Princes at Ward Road, Dundee. The Dundee youngsters were a man short but they won four of the seven matches that were actually played. None of our heroes could beat Darren Mitchell, arguably one the league’s future stars. Along with his namesake (but not brother) Jack Mitchell, the two youngsters also humbled the bushy bearded Collin and the sparsely bearded Maxi in the doubles, winning in four games. The St Andrews players all beat young Jack though and, along with the points won by default, it was enough to come back over the Bridge with a 6-4 win.


St Andrews TT teams top two divisions

New Kids’ fixture in Division 1 was postponed this week, while Prefects’ collected a 10-0 win, courtesy of a walk-over against Telstars. The Prefects’ ‘win’ sees them top of Division 2 and looking well placed for promotion. Eek!

Monday night saw fellow promotion chasers, Swots, play their most crucial 3rd Division fixture so far when they took on table-toppers, Comets, at Broughty Ferry. Things weren’t looking healthy when Robert Brown and then Dave Beveridge lost the first two matches, both in tight five affairs games. However, Emma Bissett sparked the contest into life in match three with an impressive win over Jill Milne and our heroes had the fixture well alight at 3-3 going into the doubles. With Captain Beveridge struggling to find his form in his first league game since early December (and perhaps too much paella in Lanzarote) he tasked Robert and Emma with the challenge of preserving the team’s unbeaten doubles record. It was a nerve-wracking affair but the win was finally secured in game five after surviving a couple of match points in the fourth. Another singles win apiece for the dynamic duo saw Swots scamper off with a 6-4 win to go back to the top of the league. Epic.

Back in St Andrews, Prospects fielded Chairman Lea, big Dave Goddard and Emily Howat against Telsports in Division 3. The St Andrews team had previously won the away fixture 8-2, but Telsports were clearly in the mood for revenge. Our trio all took a singles point off Anthony Keeling, and Dave and Emily won a terrific doubles match that went the full distance. But no-one could halt veteran Sandy Elrick, or the fast improving David Axton, from taking the six singles points that Telsports needed to collect only their second league win of the season.

National Coaching for the St Andrews Junior Squad

St. Andrews Table Tennis Club Juniors from left Keir Paterson, Sam Thomson, Murray Paterson and Tom Morris with Li Chao, Scotland's National Table Tennis Coach.

St. Andrews Table Tennis Club Juniors from left Keir Paterson, Sam Thomson, Murray Paterson and Tom Morris with Li Chao, Scotland’s National Table Tennis Coach.

St. Andrews Table Tennis Club juniors, Keir, Sam, Murray and Tom attended The Table Tennis Scotland’s Coaching session for primary/S1 age group at Ward Road Gym, Dundee on Saturday 17th January with Li Chao, Scotland’s National Coach. After 30 mins. of intense warm up and shadow play, where even the onlookers were shattered, they had world class coaching in stroke development.

Back to business

After the indulgences of the festive season, the St Andrews table tennis teams got back to some serious business over the last couple of weeks.

Only Prefects had a league match in the first week of the new year. They took on Thumpers up in Broughty Ferry in a tightly fought contest that never saw either team more than one point ahead. Two wins for Howard Lee and a terrific hat-trick from Ian Smith gave Ken Falconer the opportunity to score the decisive sixth point in the last match of the night. Unfortunately, that one wasn’t close, with Ian McLagan running out a comfortable winner for Thumpers in straight games. Final score Thumpers 5, Prefects 5.

The second week of January was reserved for the first round of the Handicap Cup. On the Monday, Swots recorded an impressive win over second division Viscounts. There were many tight games, helped by some impressive handicap allocations, but Swots were never behind all night and had the tie over at 10-6. The points were won by Robert Brown (3), Emma Bissett (5) and reserve Collin Bleak (2), who was filling in for the holidaying Dave Beveridge.

Neil Lea - back in action for the Prospects

Neil Lea – back in action for the Prospects

Meanwhile, on the adjacent table, Prospects were delivering a win over Sputniks in the same competition. The highlight of this fixture was club Chairman, Neil Lea’s first appearance after heart surgery. Neil picked up two points in the first half of a tie which saw Prospects race into a seemingly unassailable 9-1 lead. The St Andrews team faltered at this stage and by the ninth and final match they were still seeking the last point needed to win the fixture. Big Dave Goddard did not disappoint though and he secured the win in the first game of that match. Final score 10-7 for Prospects.

If that one was close, Prefects finished off the week’s cup action with an epic encounter against Chieftains at Ward Road. Collin Bleak, acting up for the second time in the week, a terrific six (maximum) points in this one. Howard Lee and Ian Smith collected one each before Howard had to face Bruce Duncan with the scores level at 8-8. Howard took the first game 21-16 but lost the second 14-21. At 9-9 the heart breaking tie break was won 21-16 by Bruce. Final score Chieftains 10, Prefects 9.  Win some, lose some.