The halfway point in the Dundee & District Table Tennis season is an appropriate time for St Andrews clubmates Collin Bleak and Dave Goddard to stroke their mighty beards in contemplation.
Dave is surely looking at Prospects’ seventh position in Division 3 and wondering how much higher they might be placed had they managed to field a full side in each fixture. Joining Dave in the squad are Fabio Sani, Ian Brumwell, Emily Howat and Sandy Pearson who have all contributed sound performances when available for matches but they are doubtless missing the strong play of Neil Lea who has been unavailable through injury. If able to get three players on the table each week in the second stage of matches, the team should realistically hope for a finishing position of 5th by the end of March. Failure to achieve this will surely call for the cancellation of all Sandy’s warm weather training next winter to ensure he is around to play in more fixtures in season 2016/7.
Meanwhile, Collin must be pondering whether Swots’ accumulation of 43 points at the midway stage of Division 2 fixtures is a strong enough launching pad to ensure a mid table finish for the team come Easter. Emma Bissett has achieved a personal average of 50%, throwing down the challenge to teammates Collin and Dave Beveridge to match this in the forthcoming games to achieve the aim of keeping the team safely in the division for another season – hopefully without causing more grey hairs for the squad’s mentor, trainer and tactician Elaine Forbes. Emma, Dave and Collin have the potential to turn a number of 3-2 losses into wins second time around and this will be the key to them staying out of relegation nail –biting.
Rumour has it that all players are considering answering the call of the national campaign for an alcohol-free January in their dedication to their sport – but then St Andrews is always a hotbed of baseless rumours!
With fixtures in the Dundee & District Table Tennis League reaching the half way point, players in Prefects and New Kids from the St Andrews Club will have slightly different views of the season so far.
Peter Bladen has been joined by top division debutants Howard Lee and Robert Brown and they are currently sitting in seventh position. While this is only one place above a relegation spot, Prefects have the comfort of some daylight between themselves and the bottom two teams. An excellent, not to mention invaluable, win against Rifle Club a couple of weeks back showed great spirit with Peter taking the notable scalps of Ryan Docherty and Paul Monteith. In the latest fixture, Howard had an impressive win against Earl’s Patrick Cao and it is these useful points against higher placed clubs which are helping to keep Prefects above Defibrillators from Gauldry and Hecklers’ Rollercoasters. Howard and Peter will be looking to push their personal averages up towards the 50 % mark in the second half and with the fighting support of Robert, who will be able to draw on the experience gained in the first round of matches, the team can go into the second half of the season with optimism of keeping First Division status.
In Division Two, New Kids trio of Ian Smith, Ken Falconer and Kong Wan may not have such a cheery view as they sit in bottom spot. The team is battling for all it is worth but self belief is often hard to find in this position –the last match against Attackers epitomised this: of eleven sets which were won at 11-9 or deuce, only two were won by New Kids. A wee
change in luck will hopefully make for a happier 2016 and they are by no means adrift from closest rivals Tigers and Comets. The good news that Clyde Johnston is going to join the squad from January may just be the fillip required.
Junior coaching and league play will resume at the Victory Memorial Hall on Monday 4th January, with Kilrymont community play kicking in again from Thursday 7th.
Next week we will review the fortunes of Swots and Prospects.
Five young table tennis players from St. Andrews Table Tennis Club competed well at the recent Tayside qualifying event of the under 14 boys Scottish Schools Table Tennis Championship in Dundee. Brother’s Michael and Campbell Snodgrass won several matches, a great achievement for newcomers to the sport. Keir Paterson and Tom McKay also played well by reaching the quarter finals. Murray Paterson was the clubs star of the night by reaching the final and only just losing in a five game thriller to no. 1 seed Jacob Munroe. As runner up, Murray qualified for the national finals at Bathgate Academy in February.
Left to right – Murray Paterson, Howard Lee (coach), Keir Paterson, Campbell Snodgrass, Tom McKay, Michael Snodgrass
St Andrews celebrated St Andrew’s Day in style at the end of November. Supported by a local charity, the St Andrews Partnership, the Table Tennis Club hosted an evening of ping pong practice for all standards, from beginner to experienced.
When hallkeeper Roy Rintoul opened the doors of the Victory Memorial Hall at 6pm, there was (almost) a stampede of ladies from the Kilrymont beginners/returners group eager for the extra opportunity to play and they were quickly joined by a number of newcomers excited to take part in the informal “give TT a try” 90 minute session aided by club coaches Howard, Dave and Elaine.
This fresh-faced group was replaced at 7.30pm by the street-wise tournament entrants. Six regulars from the club’s league teams took to the tables – Howard Lee, Ian Smith, Emily Howat, Robert Brown, Dave Beveridge and Fabio Sani – all familiar with each other’s playing styles. But into the mix was added a trio of “unknowns” – Clyde Johnston who had made occasional appearances at the community Thursday night sessions at Kilrymont, John Carlton who in the lighter nights of spring and summer cycles up from Crail to the same sessions and finally Tim Woollins, returning as a graduate to the scene of many triumphs enjoyed as a schoolboy.
The nine were organised into three preliminary groups of three. Howard emerged victorious in Group One against Fabio and Emily. The interesting mix of Robert, Clyde and Tim saw Clyde come through with two wins. The calculator had to come out to decide the winner of Group Three where Ian beat John, Dave beat Ian and John beat Dave (you still with me?) Ian got the nod with the best games difference.
Clyde receives the St Andrews Day trophy from club Chairman, Neil Lea
And so to the final stage of the evening. While the remaining six players were organised into two groups to play for positions 4 to 9, Ian joined Clyde and Howard in the the top group, but lost out to both. The climax of the evening – Howard v Clyde in the final. Howard started strongly to take the first two ends but with a subtle change in tactics from all out attack to frequent topspin lobbing, Clyde drew level and clinched the decider to become the first winner of the new trophy presented by club chairman Neil Lea. Below is a video of some of the action. For 16 more videos of the St Andrew’s Day action, click here.