It was a mixed week of league and cup fixtures for the St Andrews teams in the Dundee and District Table Tennis league.Division One side Prefects had a tough week, facing Up4It twice. In their league fixture, Michael Hahn beat strong player, Paul Monteith comfortably 3-0, before Up4It’s Gillian Edwards equalled the score-line with a similar game against Clyde Johnson. Sascha Roschy was then edged out by Ryan Docherty, Sascha leading 7-4 in the deciding 5th set, only for Ryan to win the next 7 points and take the game. The next game was probably one of the greatest the league will witness this season, with leading players Michael and Gillian coming face-to-face. Michael played some excellent points to race into a 2-0 lead against the Scottish Number 1 and Commonwealth Games athlete, only for Gillian to win the third game. The fourth game stood at 10-10, and Michael held five match points during deuce, having won all the points on his own serve but being unable to win any on Gillian’s, before Gillian edged through that set 17-15. Michael was resilient, and the pair were neck-and-neck throughout the deciding fifth game, Gillian having her first match point at 10-9, before Michael won two points to give himself yet another match point on Gillian’s serve, but again was unable to convert it. Gillian pulled through 13-11 to take the epic encounter. Sascha and Clyde both had chances in their next two games but lost in four sets to Paul and Ryan respectively; Clyde was particularly unfortunate, with the three sets he lost all being 12-10. Michael then gained some revenge on Gillian when he and Clyde had a very strong 3-0 win over her and Ryan; a rare loss for the Up4It pair. Gillian then had a comfortable win over Sascha, and Michael responded with a similarly comfortable win against Ryan to set up the final game where Clyde lost a close 3-2 match against Paul. Whilst the scoreline was 7-3 to Up4It, the fixture was very close, with Michael’s extremely tight loss to Gillian, and Sascha and Clyde losing no fewer than 11 sets by the minimum 2-point margin.
Friday night saw nine of the first-round Excelsior Cup matches hosted at Ward Road Gym, with a good crowd and many St Andrews players there to watch. The two most highly anticipated matches of the night saw Prefects take on reigning champions, Up4It, and Knights take on Star (a battle between the winners of Division One from the last two seasons). The first six games were shared between Prefects and Up4It. Michael and Gillian stamped their authority on proceedings, each winning their first two games, Gillian with 3-0 wins over Clyde and Sascha, and Michael with a 3-0 win over Paul and a 3-1 win over Ryan. Sascha was unfortunate to lose a close four-set game to Ryan, and Clyde did well to reverse the result from earlier in the week and beat Paul 3-2. Michael and Gillian then played another nail-biting epic, sharing the first four games with some excellent attacking play. Gillian raced to a 5-2 lead in the deciding set, but Michael pegged her back to 5-5 before Gillian once again took a lead at 10-7 up. Michael saved the match points, winning four consecutive points to give himself a match point at 11-10, another at 12-11, and yet another at 13-12 but, again, was unable to break through Gillian on her own serve in these crucial points. Gillian played some very controlled and intelligent attacking table tennis, and was able to close out the game 15-13 to again beat Michael by the closest of margins and give Up4It a 4-3 lead. Clyde started well in each of the sets against Ryan, but was unable to convert any of them, losing 3-0 by the closest possible margin in each to Ryan to give Up4It a 5-3 victory. Two excellent matches between the two teams, and demonstrative that Prefects are a challenge for any team in the league. On the adjacent table, Star and Knights were tied 4-4, with Robert Toth and John Hannah — last season’s top two players in the league — competing in the last game. John managed to defeat Robert in four sets to give Star an unexpected, but not completely surprising, victory. Overall it was an excellent night of table tennis, especially with these two fixtures, and showed off some very strong table tennis, with spectators being particularly thrilled with the matches between Michael and Gillian, and Robert and John, showcasing the league’s top four players from last season.
In Division Two, Swots were involved in a close fixture of their own against Chieftains. Dave Beveridge was the strongest player for Swots on this occasion, defeating Jim Tawse 12-10 in the deciding set and Jacob Munro 3-0. Dave was unfortunate not to make it an unbeaten night, losing to Fiona Kinloch 11-8 in the deciding fifth set and, alongside Emma Bissett, losing to Fiona and Jim 13-11 in the fifth set. Emma lost two four-set games to Fiona and Jim, but was able to win a strong game against Jacob Munro 13-11 in the fifth set. Collin Bleak was unfortunate not to add to Swots’ score, losing two tight four-set games against Jacob and Fiona, and was edged out 11-9 in the fifth set by Jim. A 7-3 loss for Swots, but with only one game being 3-0, and no fewer than five games going to a deciding set, it was a very close encounter.
New Kids had a much more successful match against Tigers, winning 8-2. Clyde Johnson was the star player, having few difficulties and winning 3-0, 3-1, 3-1 in his singles games, and combined with Howard Lee to win the doubles 3-0. Emma Bissett and Howard both also had good nights, beating Marion Davidson and Kenny McLaren, although Howard had to come back from 2-0 down to defeat Kenny. Both, however, were defeated by Logie Anderson, 3-1 and 3-0, respectively.
Truants had similar success, defeating Rollercoasters 7-3, with Rollercoasters only fielding two players. Sascha Roschy had two very comfortable wins against David Lane and Tony Cook. Graham Wood beat Tony in four sets and was unfortunate to lose 11-9 in the fifth set to David. Sascha and Graham then combined to take the doubles game 3-2 against Tony and David. Knut Radmer lost his two games 3-1.