Monthly Archives: December 2018

Swots so close to winning the Secondary Shield

The three St Andrews teams in Division 2, had all qualified for the semi-finals of the Secondary Shield tournament held at the Ward Road Gym in Dundee on the penultimate Saturday before Christmas. The fourth team remaining in the competition was Villa, the current leaders of the second division.

On one side of the room dividers, Swots were up against New Kids. Collin Bleak drew the first blood against Kong Wan with an easy straight sets victory. Just back from a gardening injury, Kong had brought an old bat with him by mistake which had very little grip. Howard Lee levelled the match against reserve Chris Wroniecki, but this was far from a comfortable win. Nick Shepherd put Swots in front again by beating Ian Smith in four games, but Howard once again evened up the scores with a narrow victory over Collin. Immediately, Nick responded by defeating Kong in three games, before Chris slayed Ian to put Swots within one point of qualifying for the final. One chance was all Nick needed to seal the victory for Swots with a four game win over Howard by 5-2 overall.

On the other side of the dividers, Truants were playing their semi-final against Villa. Unfortunately, Truants were without their injured star player Sascha Roschy who was supporting from the sidelines. Villa got off to a flying start, taking the first two matches. Alain Léger from Truants reduced the arrears with a narrow victory against Sandy Bertie, but Villa took the next three games to qualify for the final 5-1.

The finalists from left to right, Chris Wroniecki, Nick Shepherd and Collin Bleak for runner-ups “Swots”, and Ian Hunter, Sandy Bertie and Ian McLagan for champions “Villa”

Swots were very much the underdogs in this final against the division topping Villa. However, with a strong core of players supplemented by an excellent reserve, they caused a lot of problems for the favourites. Chris and Nick both beat Sandy Bertie and Ian Hunter, but stalwart Ian McLagan held on strong to pip Swots to the post 5-4 and claim the silverware.

In other news, Truants had a tough battle against first division Rockets in the Stanley Doubles cup. Despite winning the opening match, the Rockets took off and powered to a 5-1 victory. New Kids were also competing in the Stanley Doubles, but were narrowly edged out by Villa in a tense encounter settled in the deciding match. Prospects had a night to forget as they failed to bring a single point home from Telecom House in their encounter with Tass. Finally, Michael Hahn scored perhaps his most meaningful hat trick of the season against Up4It (current first division leaders), remaining unbeaten though his team mates were less successful. Final score 7-3 to Up4It.


Derby lives up to expectations

The first round of matches in December opened with a hotly anticipated Division 2 derby between New Kids and Swots at the Victory Memorial Hall. With bragging rights at stake, the players could not resist speculating on the likely outcome. First blood was drawn by Dave Beveridge, who disposed of Ken Falconer in straight sets, and then Nick Shepherd who inflicted the same punishment on Howard Lee, putting Swots 2-0 in front. But Ian Smith turned the tide by beating Colin Bleak in a nail-biting fifth game, before Howard levelled the match against Dave. Ken was defeated again, by Collin this time, which spurred Nick on to beat Ian in three closely contested sets. Having regained their 2-point lead, Swots went into the doubles match full of confidence, rightly so as Dave and Nick opened a comfortable 2-0 lead. However, Howard and Ian regrouped well to force a fifth game, which they then went on to win, inflicting the first defeat of the season in the doubles match on the Swots. Tired from this draining encounter, Collin and Howard engaged in battle. Howard picked up the first two games, Collin caught up but could not take the deciding set, allowing New Kids to level the match again at 4-4. With two singles left in the fixture, Ian kept his cool against Dave and, for the first time of the night, put his team in front. Nick concluded the fixture with a strong straight-sets win over Ken to clinch the draw at 5-5, which (almost) nobody had predicted.

In other news, Prospects had a straightforward 8-2 win over Duffers at home in which Charlie Ross was on top form as he scored a hat trick for the loss of only one set.

Michael Hahn also picked up a hat trick for Prefects against Telstars, but his team mates struggled against the team from BT. However, they secured an honourable draw 5-5 overall.

The final match involving a St Andrews team last week opposed Truants to Villa in Broughty Ferry. Villa are the current leaders in Division 2, but they were aware that on a good night Truants could cause an upset. Villa were merciless and took the first five matches, leaving little doubt about the outcome of the encounter. It was Graham Wood who stepped up to the mark to stop the haemorrhage, winning two singles and the doubles with Sascha Roschy, who had a night to forget after winning only one singles match. Alain Léger had no influence on the outcome despite showing some signs of form. Final score 6-4 to Villa.

Good results for St Andrews to celebrate St Andrew’s Day

It was a busy couple of days for the St Andrews teams at the end of November. Swots and Prefects were sharing the Victory Memorial Hall welcoming two teams, Villa and Rockets respectively, both from the Forthill Club in Broughty Ferry.

With Villa one of the title contenders in Division 2, Swots found themselves thrilled to be 4-3 up after the doubles, and looking like they would secure at least a draw. But Villa displayed great resilience and managed to take the last three singles matches to clinch a 6-4 win.

Prefects were in a stronger position and never looked like losing. Michael Hahn scored his usual hat trick while his team mates Bonifac Legrady and Jean-Augustin Touton only lost to Gary Lowson. 8-2 was the final score for the Prefects in this Division 1 fixture.

Truants were also at home, but in the Gauldry against the firemen of Kingsway. The first match of the night saw Knut Radmer face Willie Cooper. Between them, these very experienced players have celebrated 150 birthdays, showcasing the inclusivity of table tennis for all ages. At the end of the night, the points were shared evenly by the old timers 5-5.

On the same evening, New Kids were away at Ward Road gym in Dundee, playing Barons in Division 2. Both teams fielded a reserve, but whilst Barons’ Mohammad Alrubayee was unable to win a point, New Kids’ Nick Shepherd brought a triumphant hat trick home. Whilst New Kids were always in the lead, overall victory was only confirmed in the penultimate match of this highly competitive tie.

Finally, Prospects were playing twice last week. Their Consolation Cup match started well when Chris Wroniecki beat Stewart Clark in five games, but that was the only consolation for the Division 3 team, who lost the fixture 5-1 overall. Later in the week, they were on the road again for the long, long drive to the most distant venue in the whole league, facing Buccaneers in Brechin. The Dundee and District chairperson Elaine Forbes led the charge with three singles victories, assisted by Charlie Ross (2 wins) and Dave Goddard (1 win). The Brechin side took the doubles match but Prospects were able to savour the 6-4 victory on their lengthy journey home.