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.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.