Monthly Archives: October 2016

BACK DOWN TO EARTH WITH A BUMP!

Thump ! Ouch!
Following last week’s triumph of all five St Andrews Table Tennis teams progressing in their respective cup competitions, the club tail is firmly between legs after the busiest week of the season. Teams were involved in a combination of nine cup and league matches but, alas, there is only one win to report.

The Prospects (left to right: Sandy, Big Dave and Jon)

The Prospects (left to right: Sandy, Big Dave and Jon)

The ray of sunshine came early in the week when Prospects defeated Squires in a Monday evening home tie. Team captain Jon Fraser led from the front in the Division Three encounter, winning all his singles matches and combining with Dave Goddard to take the doubles too. With Dave and Sandy Pearson each pitching in with a singles win, the scoreline finished 6-4 to the Prospects. Their celebrations were short-lived though on the following evening when Sandy and Dave, joined by Emily Howat in place of Jon, made their longest journey of the season but found no hospitable kindness from Brechin who quickly despatched them home again with a 5-0 defeat in the Stanley Doubles cup competition.

While Prefects lost their Division One tie against Up4it by 3-7 there was much good attacking play on show. Michael Hahn again posted two singles wins and anchored the team to a doubles win with Clyde Johnson before losing his 100% record, going down in 4 sets to Scottish No 1 Gillian Edwards. Returning to the table later in the week for an Excelsior Cup tie, Prefects were disappointed to go down 3-5 to Kings.

Don’t mention close scorelines to Truants’ Alain Leger! Playing against Fife rivals Lundin Lasers, Alain did his utmost to back up team captain Graham Wood’s fine treble of singles victories but the fates were against the Frenchman who lost three 5-set ties, including a 16-18 marathon final set against Arthur Duncan. There was a little consolation though when Alain joined Graham in winning the doubles, inevitably in five sets, to give a 4-6 scoreline.

For our other pair of division Two teams, it was a week to delete from the memory. Both were disappointed not to pick up more points in their league fixtures, Swots losing 3-7 at home to Tigers and Ken Falconer the only New Kid to score a win against Chieftains. To rub salt in the wound, both then lost their Stanley Doubles ties later in the week without registering a win. In fairness, Swots could have expected little joy against top Mylnefield team Knights, but New Kids must have hoped for more over at Forthill against Thumpers.

A weekend then to lick the wounds, search for some positives and come out fighting again next week!

Advertisements

Grand slam week for St Andrews’ TT teams

All five St Andrews table tennis teams progressed to the next round of knock-out competitions after the designated cup week, but there were variations in the manner of their progress.

Four teams were involved on Monday evening. Prefects played an interesting Stanley Doubles tie at Forthill against Sputniks, a team two divisions below them but who are strengthened this season by the occasional presence of David Sim. While Howard Lee, Michael Hahn and Peter Bladen did emerge with a comfortable 5-1 scoreline, four of the ties went to four games and two required a decider.

Meanwhile, in the Secondary Shield, New Kids were the first team through thanks to a walkover granted by Tass in unusual circumstances. Their team was scuppered when one of their players, on setting out to travel to the match, found that his car had been clamped. With one of his team mates also recovering from illness, Stewart Clark had little choice but to concede the match.

Swots (Dave, Collin and Rob) posed for the camera before a comfortable win over Squires

Swots (Dave, Collin and Rob) posed for the camera before a comfortable win over Squires

Fortunately, the two teams scheduled for the Victory Memorial Hall made it to the table. Swots were also taking on lower division opponents in Squires but, with Collin Bleak and Rob Brown in no mood to be generous, each winning three ties with the loss of only a single game, and Dave Beveridge pitching in with another point, the Mylnefield trio were comfortably dispatched with a 7-2 victory.

A closer battle took place on the adjacent table with Prospects hosting fellow Division Three outfit Villa. Fabio Sani got the home side off to a good start, followed up by an excellent win by Sandy Pearson against Jim Fleming, the master of the combination bat. Thereafter the wins swung back and forwards but with Dave Goddard adding a win to another two points from Fabio and Sandy, the home side got over the finishing line 5-3 without the need for a final deciding tie.

And so to the fortunes of our final team. Truants’ trio of Graham Wood, Alain Leger and Knut Radmer headed over to Ward Road Gym on Tuesday evening. Unusually for the showpiece venue, their tie against Lairds was the only one scheduled for the evening and it turned into a lonely place when their opponents failed to turn up; a most unusual breach of etiquette and not the way which Truants would have chosen to progress.

Back to league business next week.

Hat trick for Ian eases pressure on New Kids

It was back to league business for one week only for three teams from St Andrews Table Tennis Club, with neither Prefects nor Truants having a fixture.

New Kids gave their position in the Division Two table a healthy boost with a tidy 7-3 win against Kingsway. Kong Wan (2) and Ken Falconer (1) added to the hat-trick of singles wins posted by Ian Smith, while Ken and Ian combined well for a comfortable win in the doubles – the ideal team effort required to keep the team away from the strain of relegation under which they played most of last season.

Both Prospects and Swots headed over the bridge to take on opponents at Telephone House but with widely differing outcomes.

Rob gave the Swots a perfect start against Telstars

Rob gave the Swots a perfect start against Telstars

On Monday night, Swots got off to the best possible start with Rob Brown mounting an amazing fourth game comeback against David Monteith to put the St Andrews side ahead. Emma Bissett added to this with one of the best wins of her career, against Jim Houghton, holding her nerve to win 13-11 in the fifth. But then the experienced Ian Farquhar (he of the evil bat and tricky forehand) entered proceedings for Telstars and the match swung away from Swots. At 2-4 down, Emma and Collin Bleak put their thinking caps on from 2-0 down in the doubles to take it back to 2-2, but couldn’t keep the momentum going. Ian and Jim regrouped to take the fifth and carried on to win the three remaining singles, although Emma came very close to adding to Swots’ total, only going down 12-10 in the fifth to David in the last match of the night. A defeat maybe, but still two valuable points against the team which are probably favourites for the Division Two title.

Driving over on Thursday night for a Division Three tie against Telsports, Prospects’ trio of Ian Brumwell, Sandy Pearson and Neil Lea showed their clubmates how it should be done, returning back over the water with a 9-1 win under their belts.

Cup ties will again be the name of the game next week, with four of our sides competing in round two of the Secondary Shield.

Cup wins and friendly play dominate the week

Only two of our teams were involved in official Dundee and District action this week. In the Stanley Doubles first round cup tie played at Gauldry on Tuesday, Truants’ trio of Graham Wood, Knut Radmer and Alain Leger screamed into a 3-0 lead without the loss of a game. Squires did regroup a little to force a deciding game in the next two matches but Truants stayed strong to deliver a 5-0 scoreline.

New Kids also took on lower division opponents on Tuesday night in the Secondary Shield. Princes are fielding a mix of youngsters and experienced players this season but, on the evening, New Kids proved too steady for them and Ian Brumwell, Ken Falconer and Kong Wan advanced into the draw for the next round with an impressive 5-1 win.

A good turn out from the University and St Andrews TT clubs were still in good humour after Monday’s ‘friendly’ competition

A good turn out from the University and St Andrews TT clubs were still in good humour after Monday’s ‘friendly’ competition

The previous night, with none of our teams in league action in the Victory Memorial Hall, we took the opportunity to invite St Andrews University Table Tennis Club for some ‘friendly’ play. To dampen the mounting adrenalin and avoid the Ryder Cup nonsense of folk screaming ‘get in the net’ or ‘hit the edge’, deputy organiser for the night Dave Beveridge decided to form eight teams, comprised of a player from each club. Well, at least until Collin Bleak showed up unannounced, requiring one team of 3 and stimulating Dave’s OCD no end. Thereafter, two hours of riveting table tennis followed, handicapped to give everyone a (not always) fair chance and to further avoid the spillage of blood. As evidenced by the hall clock, it was all over by 9:05pm with the final results, in reverse order, as follows (University players first named in each case):

Completely useless: Mokyo Zhou & Dave Beveridge
Useless: Simon Fenn, Collin Bleak & Ian Smith
Nearly useless: Michael Hahn & Emily Howat
Almost respectable: Olivia Dovernor & Rob Brown
Just made the top half: Justin Yang & Sandy Pearson
Bronze medal: Andi Afezolli & Clyde Johnson
Silver medal: Paisley Chen & Howard Lee
Gold medal: Ade Fabola & Fabio Sani.

We might even do it again sometime.

Battles on and off the table

It was a mixed week for the four teams from St Andrews Table Tennis Club who took part in Dundee and District League matches this week – our First Division team, Prefects, having no fixture. Off the table, it was a very worrying week for the entire club following the newspaper headline about the possibility of Fife Council selling our much-loved and much-needed home venue, the Victory Memorial Hall, causing great anxiety for our many members aged eight to eighty.

As far as table matters go though it was back to earth for New Kids following their exciting derby draw last week. Playing in a Fife derby this week against Lundin Lasers, the Kids could have hoped for more with the return of Ian Smith to their line up. Indeed, Ian did provide three singles wins for his side, but when Ken Falconer was beaten 12-10 in the fifth set by Nat Forno in the second match of the night, the die was cast for the way in which the close encounters would go. And so it proved again in the doubles when Ron Filsell and Arthur Duncan came back from a 2-0 deficit to defeat Ian and Ken. With luck also deserting last week’s hero, Kong Wan, the scoreline finished 7-3 in favour of the Lundin lads.

With a change of line up for this week’s home tie, Third Division Prospects also failed to build on last week’s win. Only Fabio Sani and Emily Howat managed singles wins against their visitors from Brechin who were fielding two former Division One players making a comeback to the game after more than a decade’s absence. Derek Mitchell and John Anderson showed little sign of rust in winning all their matches comfortably.

Cheerier news for Truants for, as expected, their first tie with all three of their registered players available for duty brought their first win of the season. It was a good team effort, with Knut Radner, Graham Wood and Alain Leger all contributing two wins to the 6-4 scoreline. However, none of the threesome were able to halt the winning ways of Viscounts’ Andy Hughes.

Collin Bleak – recorded an impressive hat-trick in his first appearance for Swots this season

Collin Bleak – recorded an impressive hat-trick in his first appearance for Swots this season

Saving the best to last, Swots achieved a full house (10-0) in their home tie against Kingsway. On a night when any close games went the way of Emma Bissett, Rob Brown and Collin Bleak, these points may prove invaluable come the end of the season, in what already looks like being a very tight struggle for survival between four or five teams. Collin’s hat-trick, in particular, was an impressive performance in his first appearance of the season in a Swots shirt.

There is now a break from league play to concentrate on cup ties in the coming week -and time for the club’s officials to turn from their playing campaigns to a different tactical battle to persuade Fife Council of the social and health benefits of the Victory Memorial Hall to its many and varied users.